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Conservation

Sneak Attack on the Invasive Species Front

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Some of you may have seen mention of this in the news already: Game and Parks urges public to check aquariums for invasive zebra mussels LINCOLN, Neb. – After a recent discovery of invasive zebra mussels within Marimo or “moss” balls used in aquarium tanks, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is urging the public to take precautions to prevent the spread of this highly destructive species. A container of Marimo balls sold as “Betta Buddy” was first found to …

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Parallel

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My son and I do not get to fish together all the time.  Still it is nice knowing that even though we are separated by miles, we are on the water.  Maybe apart for now, but still on the water.  In fact it is interesting how often we are doing the same things even though we are fishing individually. For example, each winter we target big bluegills, 10-inches and larger, just like we get after muskies in open water.  At …

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Merritt Fish Attractors

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Got this note from Brandon Maahs, one of our field biologists in north-central Nebraska: Need a new fishing hotspot? Be on the lookout for new artificial habitat structures in Merritt Reservoir this year. NGPC Fisheries staff have built and are ready to deploy at least 30 modified Georgia Cubes. Years of siltation, erosion, and decay of submerged trees has reduced the overall habitat complexity within Merritt Reservoir. Adding artificial habitat, such as these PVC cubes, can help replenish degraded natural …

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Sleeping with the Cranes

An Adventure Story I’m often asked about the best place to see the sandhill cranes during their annual spring stopover in Nebraska. My reply: Do you want to see the cranes or experience them? The former requires getting a reservation in a riverside viewing blind, several of which are available in the central Platte River Valley. But if you really want to experience the cranes, I tell them, you need to spend the night with the birds on the river. …

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The Science of Antlers

Antler Basics Horns and antlers, decorative headgear sported by some of Nebraska’s best-known species, are not the same. Horns are keratin, a hair-like sheath, that grows over a bony core throughout an animal’s life. They are found on pronghorn, bison, cattle, goats and sheep. Antlers, however, are bones that grow each spring and summer and are shed, or cast, late the following winter as the animal’s testosterone levels decrease. You’ll find them on deer and elk. Antlers grow up to …

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A Conservation Dream Come True

A man-made prairie-chicken lek finds success. It was a calm March morning when Dan Leuenberger first heard it: the echoing calls of greater prairie-chickens. Climbing a hill on his Johnson County farm, he spotted a flock of about 20 birds gathered for mating season. Each spring, males congregate on leks, or display grounds, to perform mating rituals that have made the species an icon of the prairie. They stomp, leap, spin in circles, inflate orange air sacs on their neck …

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Release and Return

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I got to looking through some old blog posts and discovered something interesting.  Seems as though in past years about this time, end of February, I have commented about people being in a foul mood and needing to lighten up!  I know that has sure been true again this week; lots of complaining.  I am telling you, people would be so much happier if they would just learn to ice-fish! So, this is for you.  In case you do not …

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Public Fish Meetings 2021

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I know a lot of you have seen this already.  I am just trying to spread the word even more: Participate in virtual fisheries meetings in March LINCOLN, Neb. – Join the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in a virtual discussion on fisheries management during meetings March 1-4. These public informational sessions – one statewide overview and four others specific to each of Game and Parks’ districts – will provide local updates on the fishing outlook and special projects in …

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Think Like a Buck to Find Shed Deer Antlers

A wildlife biologist I once knew used tell me that to be an effective shed deer antler hunter, you must know white-tailed deer biology and “think like a buck” during winter and early spring. I get the biology part, but “think like a buck?” Hmmm … Luke Meduna who’s the Big Game Program Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, responds to that shed antler hunting strategy by saying: “Yes, to be successful, a shed deer antler hunter needs …

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Convergence

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Work schedules for my kids converged recently and they both had days off at the same time.  They were going fishing. Of course I found a way to go with them! First, let me play my usual part of “old man” and say a thing or three about ice safety. . . . Our trip was at the beginning of the arctic outbreak.  We still found patches of unsafe ice.  Snow on the ice made that even more difficult to …

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