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Going Outdoors Alone in Winter: Survival and Splendor

I treasure my time spent alone in nature or in a rural setting, especially this time of year in Nebraska. If I don’t get some alone time in the great outdoors, I end up getting a little restless, grumpy and cabin fever-like (just ask my wife, Polly). Alone time is essential with the hustle and bustle of the season and all that is happening in this world. Sure, it is safer and more fun to share your outdoor adventures with …

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WMA Habitat Fuels Songbird Migration

By Stephen Brenner and Joel Jorgensen, Nongame Bird Program managers Migration is a critically important event in the lives of many avian species. This period accounts for over a quarter of the annual cycle for some birds and is extremely risky as individual birds travel long distances through unfamiliar areas. Consequently, many species experience higher rates of mortality compared to the breeding or wintering periods. Some of the smallest migratory species in North America also can travel the longest distances, …

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Rose Creek Mausoleum

Tucked away in a sandstone outcropping in Jefferson County is an oddity that will amaze anyone who visits: a rock-cut tomb carved by hand a century ago. Nelson McDowell was reportedly a colorful character. And if you visit the “mausoleum” he carved out of a sandstone cliff overlooking Rose Creek in Jefferson County, and later learn that it may have simply been a hobby to keep him busy and in good health rather than a place he intended to be …

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Holiday Gift Ideas for the Hard-to-Buy-for Outdoor Enthusiast

I know it sounds cliché, but I’ll be the first to admit it. As a hardcore outdoor enthusiast, finding a holiday gift for me is a difficult task. In fact, whether you hunt, trap, fish, boat, kayak, camp, backpack, hike, bike or watch wildlife, I bet you are also in the hard-to-buy-for category. Am I right? We are a picky lot, aren’t we? We are a detailed bunch. We know what we need and desire to have. And what the …

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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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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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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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Nuts for Nuts in Nebraska!

Nature’s fantastic color show is emerging in the west and north. To me, that means the forest floor will soon be saturated with autumn leaf matter as well as something else — nuts! Freshly fallen black walnuts on the forest floor along a creek bottom in southeastern Nebraska woodlands. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. One of the reasons to take a long walk in the woods during autumn is to gather some delicious, nutritious, wild or homegrown …

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Venture Outdoors for an Adventure this Autumn in Nebraska!

Unquestionably, fall in Nebraska is one of the best times of the year to spend outdoors. Truth be known, it is my favorite season! The days are definitely getting shorter, the air is getting crisper, the crop harvest has started; the leaves and other foliage are beginning to transform into canopies of deep orange, bright yellow, and brilliant red. The brilliant red leaves of smooth sumac in the fall at Schramm Park State Recreation Are near Gretna, NE. Photo by …

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