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FUNdamentals of Fishing

He is adorable. He is unpredictable. He is often impatient. He is moving almost nonstop from morning to night. And, from all indicators, he absolutely loved his first fishing experience! He is my grandson, 17-month old Jackson Edward Wagner. For young kids, exposure to something means everything. It’s the make up of young children to touch the very things in their environment that even their parents find somewhat squeamish. University of Chicago research shows that touch is one of the most important senses for developing children because it helps …

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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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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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Photographing the Panhandle: A Top 10 for No. 3

Photographing the Panhandle: A Top 10 for No. 3 I live in a pretty special place. A recent National Geographic article by Robert Reid ranks all of America’s 10 panhandles from 1 to 10 in terms of travel appeal. Nebraska came in at No. 3 on the list, topped only by Alaska and Florida. Travelers who have seen Nebraska only during a drive along Interstate 80 might be surprised our panhandle ranked so high, but it certainly comes as no …

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The Best Holiday Gift of All: Access to the Great Outdoors!

Before the accident, he loved to hunt, fish, hike, watch wildlife, target shoot and camp. But in the last six months, he has questioned whether it would even be possible to do any of those outdoor activities ever again without being able to use his legs to walk. You see, my son-in-law, Tyler Nichols, of Omaha, NE, while serving with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC, was involved in a horrific motor vehicle accident on Father’s …

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