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Hit the Trails

Hiking is a supportive activity for your heart and body as well as a much needed chance to recharge your mind. Recreationally walking through nature plays into all of your senses. You will become enchanted by the sound of a bird symphony while simultaneously watching the ocean of leaves dancing on the trees by the same breeze that you feel blowing through your hair.  Hiking is a way to tap into the explorative side of ourselves we treasured as a …

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8 Great Grilling Tips

With spring here and summer just around the bend, many of us are preparing our grills for a lengthy season of outdoor cooking (and eating). Though I may not cook much (my wife will tell you that), outdoor grilling is one of my favorite pastimes. I declare it “social cooking,” where family and friends come over on the deck or patio to drink cool, refreshing beverages while the smell of burning charcoal and meat being barbecued permeate the air. Below are my top eight tips for getting the most out of cooking on a …

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Success in Late Season

Feeling the need to be outdoors I opted to try my luck on some panfish for a couple evenings this past week.  The first night as I left the lake I had to pump the breaks to allow a tom turkey to get across the road ahead of me. His thick, beard nearly sweeping the ground in front of him.   After fishing the second evening I spotted the same gobbler (I assume) in pretty much the same spot.  He was …

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Food is the Lure to Take Millennials Hunting

Conditions are ripe for the oldest millennial in our family to continue to hunt. Our son, Zach, is at an age (29) where he has transitioned through many life stages — secondary schooling, new career, marriage and a child. You might think the demands of these stages compete for his limited time and resources, but actually, they don’t. These transitions have presented opportunities for tradition and family history within the lifestyle of hunting to emerge and be fostered. You see, Zach is among the millennial generation, also known as Generation Y or those born in the 1980s to the early 2000s. They currently total more than 80 million in the U.S., are the largest group of Americans alive today, and are said to be the largest cohort or group in history. Nevertheless, …

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Try The Float Trip Phenomenon Called Tanking

Want something fun, relaxing and unique to do with your family or friends this spring or summer? Well, well. I have an idea for you. How about floating a slow-moving, meandering, scenic Nebraska river downstream in a round, buoyant livestock watering tank? I know what you’re thinking, trust me, I do. But, let me tell you that this is one of the most amusing, interesting and memorable small group outdoor experiences you can have in Nebraska! Originating in the Sandhills …

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This one’s for the birds

Black-crowned night heron

I probably owe my job to birds as much as anything. Prior to my NEBRASKAland days, just after getting my student loans paid off, I bought a 100-500mm telephoto zoom lens and set out on the back roads of the Pine Ridge region in search of animals to photograph. Loving both the outdoors and camerawork, wildlife photography just seemed natural, so to speak. As I launched my new pastime, I was excited to get images of the charismatic mammals of …

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It’s Bird Month; Do You Know Your Birds?

“What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?” – David Attenborough Are Everywhere You Are One thing you cannot help in this world is seeing birds. They are virtually everywhere! Look up, look down, look over there, go to the waters, the woods, the wavy field of grass or watch through the window of your home, you’ll see birds. More than 450 species of birds …

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The shotgun state — Cornhusker Trapshoot celebrates 48th year

By Joel W. Helmer, Trapshooting Coach Taking a walk down the quarter-mile long row of trap houses during the Cornhusker Junior/Senior High School Trapshoot is something every Nebraskan should do at least once. It is a unique sensory experience. First is the noise – thousands of rounds of shotgun shells exploding and mixing together with the talking, clapping, and cheering of friends, family, teammates, and coaches. Then the smell of spent gunpowder mingling in the air with grilling burgers, funnel …

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Those Darn Hens

Still have an open spring turkey permit?  Me, too.  But with the season running until May 31 (what I believe to be the longest spring turkey hunting season in the U.S.) there is still plenty of time to get out and find a Nebraska gobbler or two.  In fact, I think the best of the season is just getting started.  Here’s why… The spring hunting trips I have been on this year have been filled with talkative toms. Even when …

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Photographing wildlife … from millions of years ago

Saber-toothed cats, by Jan Vriesen

When out and about capturing photos and stories for NEBRASKAland and other Commission materials, my mind frequently wanders to what the region we now know as Nebraska’s Panhandle looked like long ago. While at Fort Robinson State Park, I cannot help but think about how it must have appeared as an active military post in the 1800s — lively with U.S. Cavalry soldiers instead of today’s tourists. A drive through the ghost town of Orella on the serene and scenic …

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