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Afield and Afloat

A Western Nebraska Hunt for a Westerner

CRAWFORD – In order to find success, one hunter this week made the 430-mile journey from Western, Nebraska, to Western Nebraska. Yes, you read that right. Johnny Barta, a big game hunter from Western, Nebraska (the village near Fairbury, not the region), visited the butte country of western Nebraska (the region, not the village) to fill the state’s lone bighorn sheep tag. His hunt ended successfully at noon Tuesday, Dec. 9, when he bagged a trophy ram at Fort Robinson …

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Christmas Bird Count at Ponca State Park

Join Ponca State Park for the Annual Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, December 14. Experienced and novice birders, nature enthusiasts, and families are invited to participate in this 115-year-old tradition sponsored by the National Audubon Society. Guests are advised to dress accordingly and to bring their binoculars and bird books. The event will begin at 7:30 a.m. in the Missouri National Recreational River Resource and Education Center. A chili feed will be offered at noon amid counting. This event is …

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Panhandle Passages: Check Station Miscellany

This was my second year of being assigned to two days of deer check station duty at Rushville during the firearm season. The 12-hour shifts can seem long at times, but I really enjoy having conversations with the hunters and hearing from them what’s happening in the field. As was the case last year, I saw some nice mule deer and whitetails. The most prominent memories I carry away from the experience, however, have little to do with antler mass …

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The Love of the Hunt

There is nothing like hunting season; when brisk air bites at bare skin and the challenge of the hunt begins. Every hunt has its challenges, which evens the score for the quarry and keeps the hunter in pursuit. Hunting isn’t about the kill or bag limits, or it shouldn’t be, but is a personal quest, a way to touch nature, view it and be a part of it. While walking fields of bluestem and stubble during the Pheasants Forever Rooster …

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A Dry Idea: The Sticky Business of Wader Repair

In the December issue of NEBRASKAland Magazine, I have a lighthearted article on page 44 about my failed attempt to repair my beloved waders given to me as an anniversary gift by my wife years ago. As stated in the article, patching waders can be a futile effort. If you want to just make it through the season it can often be accomplished with some success, however. As a fisheries biologist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Joe Rydell …

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Garlic Mustard on Basswood Ridge WMA

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is planning a prescribed burn to improve wildlife habitat on Basswood Ridge Wildlife Management Area near Homer, Neb. on Thursday, November 6. Approximately 150 acres of this site will be burned to reduce the presence of undesirable plants. Area users should expect the prescribed burn to start in the late morning and last the remainder of the day. This prescribed fire is expected to be a low intensity burn, primarily consuming leaf litter and …

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Panhandle Passages: Moving the Spotlight

One day this week I set out early looking to capture photos of migrating sandhill cranes which commonly stay over in our area on their journey southward this time of year. Even though I had heard promising reports from the previous night I didn’t find where the cranes had roosted. I did, however, capture the above image which I believe is worth keeping. One of the challenges in landscape photography is recognizing the portion of a scene that makes it …

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Fall Crafts at Ponca State Park

Come celebrate the beginning of the holiday season on Saturday, November 8 at Ponca State Park. The entire family can make pinecone owl ornaments, fall wreaths and then test their archery skills at the Eric Wiebe Shooting Complex. Meet at the Resource and Education center at 10 a.m. to learn about the owls of Ponca State Park while making your own owl craft to display at home for the fall season. All ages are welcome at $2 per craft. Then …

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