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Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area

Big Changes at the Big Lake Nearly everything about Lake McConaughy is big. At 30,000 surface acres, it is Nebraska’s largest reservoir, its dam is among the largest of its kind in the world, and its fish grow to trophy proportions, accounting for several state records. Even its nickname, “Big Mac,” reflects its size. Located 8 miles northeast of Ogallala, Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area is known to most Nebraskans and residents of neighboring states as a great place for …

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Platte River State Park Bike Trails

Mountain bikers have been riding the trails carved into the bluffs at Platte River State Park for decades, its hills and rocks providing a challenge many yearn for, with the scenery providing the icing on the cake. Now they have a new set of singletrack trails loaded with unique features all for themselves as part of an addition to the park that could become a mountain bike destination for riders from across the country. Along with 4.4 miles of new …

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Practice Makes Better

I’m 5 feet 2 inches, female, right-handed and left-eye dominant. Out-of-the-box firearms typically don’t fit me, and youth models have made poor substitutes. As if learning to shoot at a flying target, left handed, wasn’t difficult enough – throw in an ill-fitting gun and it becomes a recipe for frustration. I took up shooting and hunting in my early 20s. My husband, Rick, introduced me to it, and since then, my journey has been like a roller coaster, one that …

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Techniques for July Bass

Story and photos by Jeff Kurrus July is the perfect time to fish for largemouth bass. Because of the heat, boat traffic on non-ski lakes is often minimal and your chance to fish your favorite spots, especially in the middle of the day, increases as the temperatures do. Whether new to dog-day fishing or a sweaty, seasoned veteran, try a few of these techniques to increase your summertime success. Tip 1: Night “The night is where it’s at,” a longtime …

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Those Fiery Redheads

Beauty or beast, this woodpecker has an eye-catching appearance Aerial proficiency to swoop and snatch prey from the sky. Symmetrically arranged talons for clinging to vertical surfaces and a chiseled beak that hammers hardwood surfaces at 1,000 times the force of gravity. A long barbed tongue, three times as long as that self-sharpening dagger-like bill, for retrieving victims from deep within a crevice. All that, and a fiery red head. If readers were to consider that description alone, they might …

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Venison “Dirty” Rice

Servings: 6-8 Prep Time: 2 hours Cooking Time: 30 minutes Ingredients: • 2 cups of uncooked long-grain white rice (and required water) • 3 ounces of deer liver, minced • 1 pound of ground venison • 2 tablespoons of olive oil, separated • Half a red bell pepper, ribs removed and diced • Half a green bell pepper, ribs removed and diced • 2 ribs of celery, chopped • 1 onion, chopped • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped • 2 cups …

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Instant Pot Walleye Stew

Servings: 4 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes Ingredients: • ½ to 1 pound of boneless, skinless walleye fillets • 1 pound of live mussels • Half a medium onion • 1 small fennel bulb, with decent fronds (leaves) intact • 1 shallot • 1 tablespoon of olive oil, plus extra • 4 cloves of garlic, minced • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste • ½ cup of Chardonnay white wine • Dash of red pepper flakes • 16 …

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Sandhills Trumpeters

The marsh had a lot more cattails and bulrushes than most Sandhills lakes, concealing the trumpeter swans we were after. The swans themselves were doing their best to hide by swimming in a different direction than the large and loud airboat zigzagging through the marsh. So, when we burst through a wall of vegetation, and there were four swans right in front of us – two adults and two young, known as cygnets – we were not sure who was …

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Preserving the Pine Ridge

Catastrophic wildfires have ravaged more than half of northwestern Nebraska’s pine forests. Land managers are making strides toward a more sustainable future. On this sunny day, Bryce Gerlach is visiting a timber-thinning project at Gilbert-Baker Wildlife Management Area in the northwest corner of the state. Gerlach, who is a forester funded by the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, likes what he sees. “This is the project that is going to save Gilbert-Baker someday,” he …

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Saving Saltwort

Returning salt to salt marshes. The state endangered plant saltwort grows in salt marshes in Lancaster County and nowhere else in our state. Unfortunately, decline of the marshes during the past 150 years has left this species hanging on by a thread. I held little hope of saltwort surviving in Nebraska until I recently learned of a creative new restoration method for returning salt to the damaged marshes. A Uniquely Adapted Plant Within salt marshes, saltwort (Salicornia rubra) grows mainly …

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