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From the pages of NEBRASKAland Magazine.

All-Season Dog Training

By Todd Mills Keeping your hunting dog in shape during the summer can be challenging, to say the least. With nothing to hunt, and kids and family activities getting in the way, it’s easy to neglect your hunting companion. Unfortunately, that can lead to frustration when fall rolls around. An out-of-shape dog can lead to handling issues as well as physical problems — all can result in anxiety, and in some cases, disaster. Although keeping your dog in hunting form …

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Patterns from Above

I fell in love with flying in small planes when I was a little twerp, riding in the back seat of one my dad was piloting. My first foray into aerial photography came during an internship at Chadron State College. That assignment was a big one: Photograph the entirety of the Oregon and California trails from Missouri to the West Coast. Wow. So when I joined the staff at Nebraskaland Magazine 21 years ago, I quickly raised my hand when …

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The Turtle Family

The Rutten Family of Cedar Rapids Pass on a Hunting Tradition The Ruttens of Cedar Rapids do something that no one else does: hunt snapping turtles with their bare hands. Every summer, the Rutten “boys” — geared in old tennis shoes, jeans and a T-shirt — ease down into the greasy, stagnant oxbow lake on the flood-prone family property, called “The Island.” Each man carries a pitchfork, while other family members wait on the bank ready with gunny sacks. Walking …

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Conestoga — A Model Lake

Conestoga Lake is a peaceful retreat. But it’s not as quiet as it used to be. That’s what happens whenever improvements are made to a fishery near Nebraska’s capital city. And the improvements made to Conestoga were many. Located south of Emerald, Conestoga State Recreation Area is one of 11 Salt Valley Lakes built around Lincoln in the 1960s and 1970s by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The dam on Holmes Creek that created the reservoir was completed in …

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Rarer Than a Three-Spurred Rooster

By Cassidy Wessel, Wildlife Biologist I can remember the first rooster pheasant I ever held as a kid, standing over the trash can in our garage helping my dad clean birds and thinking that this brown, purple, blue, red and green iridescent thing might just be too pretty to pluck. And I’m sure I did think “pluck” — skinning a bird at that time would have been completely foreign to me. Pheasants were rare table fare. Being the fifth generation …

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Northern Saw-whet Owl Migration

Northern Saw-whet Owl autumn migration in eastern Nebraska: results from a three-year banding study By Stephen J. Brenner & Joel G. Jorgensen The northern saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadius) is one the smallest owls in North America. In Nebraska, breeding has been documented in the Pine Ridge and Wildcat Hills and is suspected in the middle Niobrara river region, but its status over the remainder of the state is poorly defined. We recently concluded a three-year banding study at sites near …

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Roadside Viewing in Nebraska

Alternative Routes and Scenic Drives Best Ways to Travel Through State Desoto National Wildlife Refuge Drive the roads through the Desoto National Wildlife Refuge one afternoon and there’s no telling what you’ll see. Located 25 miles north of Omaha on Highway 30, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, ring-necked pheasants, waterfowl and bald eagles are visible from roads. A vehicle entry fee of $3 is charged, but waived for those with a The DeSoto Refuge annual pass ($15.00), Federal Duck Stamp and …

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American Burying Beetle Reintroduction

Nebraska Game and Parks assists in collecting American burying beetles for Ohio reintroductions By Shaun Dunn, Zoologist This summer, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and partner biologists led and participated in several trapping efforts for the federally threatened American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) in the Loess Canyons and Sandhills regions of the state. The populations in these two areas are among the largest concentrations of American burying beetles in the world. Efforts to monitor their numbers and distribution have …

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A Day With a Conservation Officer

Questions for Conservation Officer Cory Krause I had the opportunity to patrol the Elkhorn River with Game and Parks Conservation Officer Cory Krause, who is stationed in West Point in northeastern Nebraska. Shortly after getting on the water, we came upon two fishermen in a remote area of the river. As Cory predicted, they did not have valid fishing permits. Cory filled out a couple of tickets and made some calls, and just when I thought this was going to …

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Mystery Goose Mount

Waiting 50 Years to be Told The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission occasionally receives animal mounts from individuals who want or need to unload them but do not want to see them go straight to the garbage bin. These donations, if in acceptable condition, can be used for education or to spruce up a public space. Usually the mounts the agency receives possess little or no information about where the animal was harvested or collected, as most are decades old. …

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