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Stalking Nebraska’s Wild Asparagus

Morel mushrooms may be the heart of foraging activity now in Nebraska, but the spring gathering of wild plants in the countryside for the table goes well beyond fungi. Consider, wild asparagus. Tender, succulent and with a flavor zest that combines subtle sweetness and slight bitterness, asparagus growing in the countryside doesn’t taste anything like the asparagus from the produce section of your large supermarket! Wild asparagus has high nutritional value. It is about as Paleo as it gets. Whether cooked or eaten raw, it is …

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10 Reasons to Hunt Turkeys in Nebraska this Spring!

Nebraska’s spring wild turkey hunting is tough to beat. It really is. Trust me, I know from firsthand experience! And, we Nebraskans as well as our nonresident visitors have plenty of reasons, ten at least, to take to the woods to call in a bearded bird this year.  1. All counties have turkeys. Wild turkeys thrive in all 93 Nebraska counties where there is suitable habitat. Interestingly, some counties in the state even rank within the top 10 counties in the nation for wild turkey abundance.  2. Variety of …

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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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Take Your Tyke on a Hike

The little one in your family is getting bigger. They’re walking. They’re running. They’re climbing. They’re grabbing things. They’re examining things. And yes, they’re even tasting things. The toddler in your family is bubbling over with personality and propelling themselves with their own two legs! Enter the toddler in our family, my grandson, Jackson. He is a restless little ball of energy and doesn’t want to miss anything! Jackson, at 16 months of age, prefers to get down and explore. He is inherently busy …

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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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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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No Ice Required for this Winter Trout Fishing

If plopping your behind on a five-gallon bucket and then staring at a hole in the ice doesn’t meet your criterion for winter fishing, take note! There is an open-water fishing option in Nebraska during the coldest part of the year and it involves trout. Grab the neoprene waders and gloves, and rig the spinning rod, it is winter trout stream fishing! Fed by groundwater springs, many of Nebraska’s trout streams, or at least stretches of them, remain relatively ice-free …

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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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