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Afield and Afloat

Burning Cedar Tree Piles at Grove Lake WMA

In an effort to reclaim native grassland ridges and openings, biologists at Grove Lake Wildlife Management Area near Royal have been cutting down eastern red cedar trees that have overrun many parts of the WMA. Although native to Nebraska, cedar trees are often invasive. They thrive and spread quickly, and if left unchecked, cedars can take over a piece of ground in just a few years, choking out more desirable vegetation and wildlife species that depend on open grassland. Like …

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Snow Goose Recipe From New York

As a writer, getting letters from readers can be one of the most rewarding things that can happen. It lets me know that my work is interesting and engaging to at least one person out there, and it has me on cloud nine for the rest of the day. This morning, I received a snow goose recipe all the way from New York! It was in response to a snow goose recipe I offered in our March 2014 NEBRASKAland Magazine. …

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Learn how to hunt turkey at Ponca State Park!

As spring turkey season ebbs closer, the Commission will be offering turkey hunting workshops throughout the state. Whether you’re a complete beginner or someone with a little more experience looking to learn something new, our turkey hunting workshops are where you need to be! In the northeast region, Bill Lewis will be your instructor on Saturday, March 15 in the Sandbar Room at Ponca State Park from 10am-12pm. Bill is an avid turkey hunter and has been enjoying archery for …

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Panhandle Passages: Chopper Time

From the rocky buttes of the Wildcat Hills near Gering to the evergreen-studded canyons near Bassett, a helicopter crew put in time for Nebraska’s big game conservation efforts during the past week and month. I’ve been fortunate to be up close and personal with some of their air time. Last week, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission used the help of a contracted helicopter crew of California-based Native Range Capture Services to catch bighorn sheep and elk and provide the …

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From the West: A Walk on the Wild Side – Photography in a Zoo

  Visiting the Sonora Desert Museum south of Tucson last week I was surprised at the variety of photo opportunities, especially a morning presentation by a group from Raptor Free Flight. Beautiful birds in flight and with careful planning and a few camera and lens tweaks, the presentation really worked for bird flight photography and the spectators enjoyed a great time as well.   Raptor Free Flight team member Wally Hestermann shown here with a great performing red-tailed hawk. Released from a …

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Great Plains Connections: Bald Eagles are Winter Wonders

Bald eagles are one of my favorite birds to view during the winter months – when ice covers the rivers and reservoirs eagles will search out any open areas of water to fish or they find places where an easy meal is available. Living near reservoirs that have inlets or spillways is an advantage for eagle viewers as those areas will attract these gorgeous big birds of prey. Finding areas to fish from is a must in the winter for …

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From the West: Great Lenses, Great Cameras

  When I mention “great lenses, great cameras” I’m talking about the tremendous and continuing progress in camera and lens design and even the lower prices that make owning the new technologies possible. My son in Omaha is a devoted photographer and my source for the latest information, especially on the so-called “four thirds” and “micro four thirds” sensor size cameras and the trainloads of new lenses that will fit on most of the cameras. He even loaned a lens, …

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Great Plains Connections: Chasing Sunsets

Every chance I get I’m out chasing the sunset – I’m hooked on chasing the setting sun. There is a little homework that must be done before the sun goes down to get the perfect image of a good sunset. I check the sky late in the afternoon to see if there is good cloud cover that will hopefully make a gorgeous reflection of the sun’s setting colors or clouds with interesting shapes in them – but not too many …

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Panhandle Passages: Tracking Cats

A new year and a new season. As you’ve probably heard by now, Nebraska’s first two permit holders for mountain lion season in the Pine Ridge were successful Thursday. The season has garnered a lot of attention, being Nebraska’s first. With photography equipment in hand, I accompanied Holden Bruce, the 16-year-old hunter from Franklin, one of the two permit holders. He came to northwest Nebraska with his father, Jeremy, and older brother, Tristan. We set out early New Year’s Day …

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Panhandle Passages: Scanning for Deer

I remember when a large retail chain opened a store near my hometown and brought with it something amazing. To a child such as me, bar code scanner technology seemed magical. No longer did we have to wait for the cashier to hand input each item – all that was required was a simple beep. The same technology received positive feedback last week at a place far from the express lane– a northwestern district public deer meeting at Chadron. The …

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