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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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Mushroom Knives, Cutting Deep

DSCN4651

I got to surfing the interwebby once and discovered mushroom knives.  Mushroom knives?  Why in the world would anyone need a special knife for collecting mushrooms????  But then I got to looking at them, and you know what?  They are very useful and artful tools!  Here are some examples, mushroom knives from World Knives. There are several knives there that I would love to have in my pocket on a mushroom “hunt”. That got me thinking, mushroom hunting is a …

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“Open Letter to My. . .”

PIKElog2

Stumbled across this on the interwebs this week.  It is corny, but I loved it.  Before I quote it, here is where you can see the “original”:  Ordinary Outdoorsman. An Open Letter to My Old Fishing Reel The only thing I would have to change about that little “ditty” is the reel–gotta be one of my beloved “cream and green” Zebco Cardinal 4’s!  Oh, and I ain’t retiring it. Back in my high school days I saved my pennies to …

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Camping Season – Get Ready!

Spring has come alive these last few days.  April is upon us and we have all know that April showers bring May flowers. I don’t mind the cool, cloudy days. Those are the days when I do the most thinking and therefore my best planning. All of the outdoor adventures I could discover this camping season have been dancing around in my mind. This time of year is when I do most of my camping preparations. My method usually goes …

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New Spring Challenge

There are three things that I take as telltale signs that spring is here: the chirping of the Boreal Chorus Frog, budding trees, and the sound of gobbling turkeys. The latter of these signs is what excites me the most about spring’s slow arrival. Until recently, I’ve spent much of turkey season sitting behind the barrel of a 20 gauge shotgun. This season will be spent looking through the sites of my Matthews bow. I’ve had great luck hunting for …

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Waiting for Morels? Try Dandelions!

While you’re waiting for those succulent morel mushrooms to pop up in size and number, there’s another spring wild edible nearby that you should harvest and eat. What is it? Well, it’s growing in your yard. Any ideas? It is the dandelion! No, don’t stop reading the blog, bear with me here, please. Look, I know that dandelion is the scourge of yards, lots, flower beds, gardens and fields this time of year here in Nebraska. But that scourge – (Taraxacum officinale) – …

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