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Afield and Afloat

The Pine Ridge Special

Step away from ordinary equipment to fly-fish Nebraska’s trout streams. Let’s get this out of the way early. When looking for fly-fishing advice, you might want to go elsewhere. Mind you, I have fly-fished many times, but when it comes to getting serious about catching fish, a spinnerbait or can of nightcrawlers is usually involved. My fly-fishing dates back to the 1990s when I was gifted a rod-and-reel combo package. As with all fishing, it was fun. Too often, though, …

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New Research on Eastern Redcedar

For decades, mechanical removal has been a key strategy to control eastern redcedar, an invasive species sweeping north across the Great Plains. But new research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln indicates that this method isn’t as successful as previously expected. Eastern redcedar moves aggressively, with the ability to convert open grasslands to woodland in as little as 40 years, and it’s happening on a large scale. Our current strategies aren’t keeping pace with the rate of invasion, said Dillon Fogarty, …

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Fighting for Every Acre

The Joint Venture and the Rainwater Basin By Jeff Kurrus Late this fall, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Rainwater Basin (RWB) Joint Venture Coordinator Andy Bishop, who toured me through the Basin, meeting ranchers and landowners who have very intimate knowledge of this landscape and how they benefit from the wetlands, and how the wetlands benefit from them. I also had the chance to spend some time on the basins myself, shotgun in hand in search …

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2019 Flood: $19 million in Damage

Game and Parks Still Working to Recover For many Nebraskans, 2019 was a tough year. Historic flooding in March sent nearly every river in the eastern half of the state out of its banks, washing out highways, bridges, dams, levees, farms and homes, and killing four people and countless livestock. Flooding along the Missouri River in southeastern Nebraska continued throughout the year. More floods hit south-central Nebraska in July and the northeast in September. It is estimated that the flooding …

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Spring Fishing

6 Things to Try This Spring When Fishing I’ve been catching fish for more than 60 years, and I’m always looking for something new to try. Whether you’re new to fishing or “seasoned” such as myself, here are a few things you should try this spring. Braided Line If fish are breaking your 15- to 20-pound monofilament, consider 50-pound braid. It has the same diameter as 15- to 20-pound mono, with more than twice the strength for big fish. This …

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A Weekend of Exploration

My experience of Becoming an Outdoors-Woman As part of the communications team at Nebraska Game and Parks, I have been aware of the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Weekend Workshop for a long time, a three-day event featuring a variety of outdoors skills workshops for women. Each year I received e-mails encouraging employees to attend, but always resisted. I’ll admit it: I am not an “outdoors woman.” My hobbies – reading, cooking fancy recipes, watching foreign films – are usually indoor ones. …

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Those Alluring Orbs

When photographing Nebraska’s great places, the moon and the sun are always welcome to the scene. Whether it be the fast-beating wings of a zigzagging teal or the earth-hammering legs of a sprinting pronghorn, a quick “trigger finger” is often necessary for capturing imagery of the region’s natural resources. Perhaps no photo subjects, though, get me in hot pursuit more than two that are the farthest from the camera. One is about 239,000 miles away. The other, almost 93 million …

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Our Family Prairie

A simple quarter section of land contains a legacy of family memories and conservation. Back in 1960, my grandpa bought 160 acres of farm land near Stockham – a couple miles north of the farmstead where he and my grandma were raising my dad and his two sisters. Most of the parcel was in cultivation, except for several small draws (totaling about 26 acres) where isolated patches of native prairie persisted. According to family lore, much of the land was …

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Survival On the Missouri

A Warm Day It was Nov. 30, 1998. Three of my childhood friends were coming back to duck hunt – a tradition we had done since the mid-1980s. I’ve known one since kindergarten, the rest of them fifth and sixth grade, more than 50 years. We grew up hunting together with BB guns, so we spent a lot of time in the field getting to know one another. This probably had a lot to do with the fact we’re still …

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The Unseen

Camera traps capture wildlife at Indian Cave State Park When I placed a camera trap along a game trail in the wooded bluffs at Indian Cave State Park in 2017, I was hoping to capture a photograph of a mountain lion that had been spotted in the area. I figured it was a long shot, at best. And I never imagined the camera would capture nearly every mammal larger than a mouse that lives in those woods. To succeed on …

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