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Husker Bananas

Pawpaws on tree in wooded Missouri River bluffs of rural Otoe County, NE. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Nebraska has a banana. Well, sort of. If you are not familiar with the “Husker banana” as it is also known, the pawpaw or common pawpaw is an oblong-shaped fruit, yellow-green to brown in color, averaging the size of a standard supermarket potato. It produces the largest edible fruit indigenous to North America and is the hardiest member of the custard-apple family. And, guess what? In Nebraska, the highly aromatic, sweet-smelling fruits ripen about now (late September or early October), if …

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Nebraska Top-4 for Deer Hunting

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I know the ‘grass is greener‘ syndrome can be very prevalent in outdoor pursuits and it can be easy to overlook what blessings we have around us.   Even in Nebraska, the mixed bag capital of the nation, we sometimes forget just how good we have it. I’m often reminded of just how much of the outdoor lifestyle makes up ‘the Good Life‘ when talking to hunters that live outside our borders.  Almost invariably, when they find out I live in …

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A Different Kind of “Apple”

Fruit of Osage-orange on the ground. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska game and Parks Commission.

You see the yellow-green, grapefruit-sized, brainy-looking fruit at grocery stores, farmer’s markets, garden centers, and other locations this time of year. Maybe you’ve seen them scattered about the ground along the edge of an old shelter belt or fence line while hunting or hiking? Whatever the scenario may be, look closely at the fruit. It sure is strange, isn’t it? Hedge apple in hand. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. But, what exactly is it? Where does it …

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Got Milkweeds? Let us know!

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It is not just a “weed.” Monarch butterflies, which are currently migrating through Nebraska, cannot survive without it. Their larvae, caterpillars, will only feed on it. Female monarchs need it to lay their eggs. It is a very important group of wildflowers that produce a key nectar source for pollinating insects and animals critical to our environment, food supply and economy. It is also an essential habitat component for birds like the ring-necked pheasant with its broad leaves, seed production …

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Two Dozen Reasons to Hunt Turkeys in the Fall

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I know, I know. There is nothing like spring wild turkey hunting in Nebraska, and the fall hunting season for wild turkeys, well, it just doesn’t rise to that level. Or, does it? I don’t think you can call yourself a true turkey hunter until you have willingly and eagerly accepted the fun challenge and vivid excitement of hunting North America’s largest upland game bird during the fall season in Nebraska. Hunters who have never experienced fall hunting are missing …

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Accessible Outdoors; A Letter to Tyler

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About 56.7 million people — 19 percent of the population — have a disability, according to the the latest U.S. Census done in 2010. It revealed that nearly one in every five people in the United States, has a disability that significantly limits one or more major life activities such as walking, seeing, hearing, breathing, thinking, and so forth. Furthermore, the population of the United States is aging. By the year 2030, 110 million people will be older than 55. …

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A Dozen Reasons to Appreciate Hunting in Nebraska

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Hunting is a quiet dampness on a frosty morning. Hunting is the ease of camaraderie. Hunting is the familiarity of a good dog. Hunting is the flash of iridescent reds, golds and bronzes, when a rooster pheasant is spotted in a snow-covered landscape. But, hunting is so much more. Really, it is. It is part of our history. It benefits nature. It offers an understanding of wildlife. It boosts our economy. It provides funding for conservation and wildlife management. It …

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Great Park Pursuit Winding Down for 2016

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LINCOLN – Nebraskans enjoying the outdoors via the Great Park Pursuit (GPP) still have time to visit more parks and become eligible for prizes. The Great Park Pursuit encourages participants to visit up to 20 sites across Nebraska between May 1 and Sept. 16, 2016. Participants follow clues to a post, where they make an impression of it with a pencil to prove they were there. Prizes and entry into drawings are based on the number of impressions collected. The …

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Fish not biting? Go bullfrogging!

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It’s truly an adventure. It’s quite unusual. It’s a challenge. It’s entertainment value is high. And, it will create memories like no other outdoor experience! This is a one-of-a-kind outdoor activity that allows individuals to fully see nature, day or night! Getting to spend those late hours under the stars and the moon, listening to insects a buzz over a pond or wetland, feeling a cool summer breeze, and perhaps acquiring some fresh, delicious wild fare for the dinner table …

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Can I get permission to hunt on your land?

Private land with good quality wildlife habitat in Nebraska where your blogger has secured permission to hunt. Photo by Greg Wagner.

Maybe it’s because I am a lifelong Nebraskan with deep farm roots. Maybe it’s because I am a person with an outgoing, assertive personality who thoroughly enjoys interacting with people. Maybe it’s because of what I do for living and my employer. Maybe it’s because I am a legal hunter, an ethical hunter. I don’t know for sure. But honestly, I have never had difficulty acquiring permission to hunt on private land with good habitat. Over the years, I’ve developed …

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