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Honoring a Conservation Legend

After 47 years of service, including nine years serving as director of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Jim Douglas is retiring. He has celebrated a lifetime of conservation accomplishments. “Ask yourself what kind of world you want to live in and leave for your kids,” said Director Jim Douglas, a statement that says so much about what he has accomplished during his 47 years in conservation. For the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, he has served in a variety …

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Public Grouse: An Adventure Story

The hunting world can be small, and it seems even smaller on the internet. I credit social media for several friendships over the years — connections with like-minded hunters whom I would’ve never met otherwise. Through sharing photos, advice and recipes on Instagram and Facebook, we celebrate and commiserate in each other’s successes and failures every season. And sometimes, these online connections lead to hunting opportunities — real “FaceTime” and new adventures — down the road. A few years ago, …

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One Trail

Many species use a well-worn path between two waters If you’ve ever “blazed a trail” through the woods, or gone “bushwhacking” as some might say, you know it can often be an unpleasant experience pushing your way through branches, brush and tall grass. Life is much easier on a trail. And wildlife agree. That’s why a hike through any woodland or prairie will reveal a series of what we often call game trails. These trails, to put it simply, are …

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Fort Robinson: Exceptional Horses and Fine Fish

The ponds that attract anglers to Fort Robinson State Park played part in a rich history. Historians often tell of Fort Robinson’s period of producing the trusty steeds of the cavalry as a remount depot for the U.S. Army in 1919-1945. The fort’s role in rearing aquatic species that bolstered the region’s fishing heritage during that era gets less attention. During the 20th century, Crawford and Fort Robinson became an integral location for producing the fish that found their way …

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Wild Turkey Salad

Over crackers, in a sandwich or scooped over a bed of fresh greens, this is my go-to turkey salad recipe for leftover Thanksgiving dinner or made from scratch with a wild bird. Tarragon — a classic French herb — has an anise, or licorice-like, aroma and used sparingly, can transform any poultry dish. Tart cranberries, lemon zest and juice add balance and brightness to this creamy salad. Skip the brine if you wish, but wild turkey dries out easily. This …

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Nebraska’s Fishing State Park?

When discussing Fort Robinson State Park, fishing may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Perhaps it should be. Tall buttes rising over pine forests and sweeping grasslands. Herds of bison, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and other megafauna. Historical architecture. Theatrical performances, weekly rodeos, two museums, cookouts and an indoor swimming pool. More than 120 miles of trails suited for horse hooves and hiking shoes. With so much to see and do at Fort Robinson State Park, it is …

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Start Them Young

When you take children hunting, you better have a checklist. Warm clothes? Check. Warm boots? Check. Snacks? Check. Diaper bag? Excuse me? Baby food? Beg your pardon? Pacifier? Are you nuts? Jesse and Casey Campbell of Grand Island aren’t nuts, but that’s what their packing list has included since they took their son, Harris, hunting for the first time — when he was 2 months old. By the time Harris went on that goose hunt in February 2020, Harris already …

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Restoring the Blowout Penstemon

On Turner Enterprises’ Spikebox Ranch “Blowouts are sort of like anchovies — you either love them or hate them,” wrote the late Nebraskaland writer Jon Farrar. Among the blowout lovers are “ranch children who for generations have slid down a blowout’s steep sandy slope [and] artifact hunters who currycomb them hoping to find an 11,000-year-old Clovis projectile point exposed by the wind.” Among the blowout haters are “Most ranchers [who] wage war on their blowouts. To some, they are seen …

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A Second Chance

A Retired Wildlife Ecologist Gives Back At first sight, a plains pocket mouse makes a lasting impression. There’s only one word for it: cute. It’s tiny and delicate-looking, with small ears and fur-lined cheek pouches. Retired wildlife ecologist Mike Schrad can identify one in seconds, as he does on this cool October morning, striding through a restored prairie near Wood River, Nebraska. He lifts one from a live trap baited with oatmeal and birdseed, and hands it me to warm …

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The Lazy European

While I’m quite fond of traditional white-tailed deer shoulder mounts, European mounts — showing just the skull and antlers — are a spectacular alternative. For my first European mount, I removed the head and as much hair as possible, boiled the “stuff” attached to the skull on the stovetop, picked the rest of the fat, sinew and meat away with a pair of pliers, then prepared to fill out my divorce papers because of the odor in the house. There …

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