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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, a …

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2014 Fishing Forecast Available Statewide

LINCOLN – Anglers can start planning fishing vacations or researching their strategies for the year with the 2014 Fishing Forecast, a publication available from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. The publication contains fish sampling data, along with a forecast of where anglers may find large quantities and large sizes of certain fish in various waters across the state. Game and Parks biologists annually sample fish populations. Some of the largest bodies of waters are sampled every year, while other …

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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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A Whole Lot of Rough-legs Going On

Snowy Owls receive a lot of attention when they venture south to the conterminous U.S., as well they should.  However, there is another stunning Arctic-breeding raptor species that regularly travels south to places like Nebraska.  It generally receives little fanfare.  If you’ve traveled around the state recently (and were conscious), you’ve likely seen one or two, maybe 22.   The species I am referring to is the Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus).  Like Snowy Owls, numbers fluctuate from year to year. …

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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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Mallard X Northern Pintail hybrid

Sifting through large flocks of common species searching for uncommon or rare birds is a standard practice of birding, particularly during Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) when one of the objectives is to rack up as many species as possible.   On Saturday, 28 December, on the North Platte CBC, my party (group of birders) was sifting through a couple thousand Mallards and several hundred Canada and Cackling Geese at Bowley’s Pond.  We were successful at finding a few Greater White-fronted and …

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Making a Difference – Cleaning Your Closet

If you have been hunting for any amount of time you likely have a garage filled with gear and a closet choked with camouflage and blaze orange.  Chances are some of it doesn’t get used near as much as it should.  Perhaps you even have a significant other that reminds you of such on a regular basis, too. Each year hundreds of participants take part in the mentored hunts across Nebraska.  However, for many that are new to hunting a …

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Nebraska Bald Eagle Nest Numbers Flat in 2013

LINCOLN – The number of recorded active bald eagle nests in Nebraska held more or less steady from 2012 to 2013, dropping by just one nest. In 2013, 102 active nests were recorded in Nebraska, down from 103 the year before. The flat numbers came as a surprise to those who track the state’s bald eagle population – the number of active bald eagle nests has increased each year since 1991 when the first active nest in a century was …

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2013 Youth Fishing Instructors Holiday Newsletter

If you want to see a cleaner version, if you want to follow any of the links in that newsletter, here is the .pdf, 2013 Youth Fishing Instructor Holiday Newsletter. Once again let me say a big THANK YOU to all of our volunteer fishing instructors.  You all are a big help and we would not be able to accomplish what we do without you!  Have a blessed holiday season!

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Christmas Bird Counts – A Tradition Like No Other

I, like many other dedicated birders, will be out in the elements this upcoming Saturday searching for birds as Christmas Bird Count (CBCs) season kick off.  CBCs are several things:  serious birding, volunteerism, a little bit of socializing, a dash of competition, citizen science and just getting outside during a season when it can be a little too easy to find excuses not to venture out.  CBCs were initiated in 1900 by Frank Chapman as an alternative to Christmas side …

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