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In The Wild

Early Season Morels

It is the time of year when folklore and science start to collide. But, about what?  I’ll tell you what. Morel mushrooms! The two aspects of nature begin to clash bout the emergence of the prized, delectable morel mushroom. So, let the coffee shop conversations and the biological banter move forward! Morel mushroom in Elkhorn River bottom woodlands in Sarpy County, NE. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. These are just some of nature’s triggers that prompt longtime gatherers of the succulent …

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A Fan of the State Tree

As Nebraska celebrates its 150th year of statehood, an iconic, representative symbol of the state is the official tree — the native cottonwood. The 1972 legislature named the cottonwood (Populus deltoides) as the state tree, replacing the original selection made in 1937 — the American elm (Ulmus Americana L.). The cottonwood was chosen because many elm trees had been killed by Dutch elm disease and it is rooted in Nebraska’s pioneer history. I have great admiration for the cottonwood tree. I can …

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How To Cook Your Goose: Tasty Light Geese

Hey, who says that snow and Ross’s geese are not good to eat, huh? No, they’re not cat food, garden fertilizer, “sky carp,” “bad lutefisk with feathers,” “over-cooked catcher’s mitts,” or any other derogatory  names you want to call them! With these geese, it’s just the opposite! Please don’t roll your eyes. Bear with me. Snow geese and Ross’s geese, defined as light geese,  have dark, richly flavored meat. They can be quite delicious, if, and I mean, if, you take adequate care of them in the field, prepare them …

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Nebraska’s 150th Anniversary: Bursting with Pioneer Pride

They were immigrants who braved the unknown to carve out new lives in a strange new land among native inhabitants. They were about determination, perseverance, strong backs and an unwavering faith in their religion. They never recognized the impossible. They fought and endured a Civil War. They loaded up their belongings and themselves in covered wagons and came here in search of a better life in which to claim land to farm, hunt, fish and raise their children. Along the …

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Shed Antlers: Another Reason to Explore Nature in Winter

Maybe you’re a hunter. Maybe you’re not. But, there’s a unique form of hunting you will enjoy. It is a challenging and rewarding pastime that makes for an excellent family outdoor activity this time of year. It is shed deer antler hunting. Beginning in late December and continuing through April, white-tailed and mule deer shed their antlers for regrowth purposes in Nebraska. A number of deer drop their antlers in February and March. Nebraska law allows a person to pick up, possess, buy, …

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Hunter Surveys: The Importance of Being Heard

Are you a hunter? Have you have received a couple emails from us at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission asking something about hunting surveys? If so, answer them, don’t delete or trash them! But, why? Why does Game and Parks care about what I think as a hunter or what wild game I put in my freezer during these past seasons? Well, let me tell you that our wildlife biologists are genuinely, genuinely interested in what you think about the different aspects of hunting here in Nebraska and how you did in the …

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Care about and Contribute to Nongame Wildlife

We see them everywhere in Nebraska. They are readily spotted in our yards, acreages, farms, ranches, parks, wildlife management areas and various other places. We see a variety of them when we are hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, biking, camping, picnicking and participating in other outdoor activities. They are “nongame” wildlife species. They number in the thousands and are not hunted, trapped, fished, harvested or collected. They are birds, mammals, fish, mollusks and crayfish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and plants. And, they …

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Get Fit for Hunting and Fishing in 2017

You just read the title of this blog and I know what you’re thinking (or voicing aloud): “Come on, Greg, really? Hunters and anglers need to be physically fit?” After all, we are mainly just sitting in blinds and boats, right? Au contraire. Consider those long walks early in the morning, tromping through dense woods, back loaded with gear while fighting the elements to get to a deer or turkey hunting blind. And, consider those long hot days in the …

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The Best Holiday Gift of All: Access to the Great Outdoors!

Before the accident, he loved to hunt, fish, hike, watch wildlife, target shoot and camp. But in the last six months, he has questioned whether it would even be possible to do any of those outdoor activities ever again without being able to use his legs to walk. You see, my son-in-law, Tyler Nichols, of Omaha, NE, while serving with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC, was involved in a horrific motor vehicle accident on Father’s …

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Late Season Deer Hunting Tips

Sadly, it’s the time of year when many deer hunters start hanging up their gear for the season. Perhaps they have already harvested deer, or are tired of trying to do so with their bow, crossbow or muzzleloader, or are just not interested in taking a white-tailed doe during the deep-freeze weather of the late season. Whatever the case may be, that deer hunting gear should not be put away! Hunters should not let the word ‘late’ make them feel …

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