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A Winter Hike

A Great Time to Observe Nature Anyone can hike on a warm day, surrounded by birdsong and verdant meadows of wildflowers. The world is full of sights and sounds. But in the winter? That sounds ridiculous. It’s cold outside, the plants are all brown and animals are either hibernating or vacationing in warmer places. What are you supposed to do, tromp through the snow, bundled up like that one kid in that one movie? Well, yes. Whether you explore the …

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Foraging for Winter Wild Edibles in Nebraska

Gathering wild foods in Nebraska is not just a spring, summer or fall outdoor activity, it can be done in winter. What? Winter! Seriously. Don’t stop reading. Stay with me here. But let’s get this straight: Foraging for wild plant foods in winter is not easy. It’s tough, it’s rough, it’s cold, it’s hard work. It’s challenging, to say the least. Frigid temperatures, snow cover and low-light add to the difficulty. Winter foraging can sometimes be about slim-pickings, too. However, …

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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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Flagging for Canadas

Anyone who waterfowl hunts knows that movement in a decoy spread is crucial. Yeah, there are a plethora of motion decoys on the market to buy — battery-powered ones, mechanical flappers, windsocks, bags, kites, moving shells, etc. However, there is another kind of motion decoy used in waterfowl hunting by the hunter — the flag. A longtime waterfowl hunter “flags” to try to entice a flock of Canada geese off in the distance to come within shooting range in his …

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What You Need to Know for Late Season Deer Hunting in Nebraska

It is the late period for deer hunting now and things can sure get tougher. So, hear me out. I want to use a football analogy that many of you who hunt deer will understand. For a football team, it is often necessary for coaches to make adjustments to their game plan at halftime. If the defensive backs are locked in on the receivers every play, consideration is given to a few quick-hitters into the line by the running backs. …

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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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How the Republican River Got Its Name

Have you ever wondered how the Republican River got its name? Gov. Frank Morrison, a Democrat, used to tease his Republican friends by asking, “Is it because it’s so shallow or so crooked?” Jokes aside, the connection to the party seems obvious, doesn’t it? With few exceptions, Nebraska has been majority Republican since the Civil War. But look at the center of this 1839 map detail from Mitchell’s School and Family Geography. The Republican Fork had its name long before …

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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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So Grateful

The season for gratitude and reflection is upon us. Thanksgiving week is when we remind our families, friends and close associates how much they mean to us and express our sincere appreciation for what positive things we have been given in life. While you are considering what you are thankful for, don’t forget about Nebraska’s outdoor scene. During the nine days of the recent firearm deer hunting season here in Cornhusker State, I selected a dozen key elements to be …

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Are you paying attention to nature’s sounds when deer hunting?

Picture yourself harnessed in a tree stand for deer hunting. You are losing light. It’s nearing sunset. The prime time for deer movement. Suddenly, you hear a squirrel bark and chatter. Then even closer to you, from the same direction, you hear curiosity putts from some wild turkeys. Within a few minutes you hear another squirrel bark and chatter by your location. Then, you hear the guttural grunt of a buck. Out of nowhere appears an adult white-tailed deer doe …

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