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Wildlife

Find Does, Find Bucks

“I wish more deer hunters would forget about all the stuff they have read or heard over the years and focus their deer hunting on the does in order to be more successful in the field,” says Jeff Rawlinson, longtime deer hunter and outdoor educator at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. And he’s right! Far too many of us who hunt bucks get wrapped in a rub and scrape lines, grunt calls, rattling antlers, decoys and a multitude of …

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Deer Hunting Offers Tranquility and Personal Introspection

Someone once said: “Deer hunting is a lot about nothing.” “Nothing,” really? In my view, that statement is so far from the truth. It is the time of year for archery deer hunters and soon, firearm deer hunters, to be on their stands or in their blinds all day long, up to 12 hours. Doesn’t sound like it’s too difficult to do, does it? But it is. Deer hunting for long periods of time demands complete fortitude, conviction and tenacity. To …

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Lessons from Cat Country

Thanks to research in the Pine Ridge, we are gaining knowledge about one of Nebraska’s most criticized, treasured and, of course, misunderstood repatriates – the cougar. Referred to as mountain lion, cougar and several other names, Puma concolor has become one of the most discussed wildlife species in the state. For all of that talking, though, it seems there is always a need to dispel a few myths and provide accurate information to the public regarding the species. Historical accounts …

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Walk This Way

Just like the shape of its bill, a bird’s feet can tell us a lot about its ecology and the habitat in which it lives. Birds do a lot with their feet – they can perch, walk, preen, feed, carry/hold objects and even swim. These animals are considered digitigrade, meaning they generally walk on their toes, not their entire foot like people do. Most birds have four toes, or digits, while some species only have three. These digits are arranged …

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Don’t Mess with Oil Beetles

Among all the crazy life stories of all the crazy insects in the world, the oil beetle ranks as an elite. The oil beetle is a plant-feeding insect in the blister beetle family. As with other blister beetles, the oil beetle produces a toxic compound called cantharidin that is used to protect its eggs from predation. In addition, when an oil beetle feels threatened, it secretes a yellow substance from its leg joints (of all places) that contains enough cantharidin …

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Expose Your Kids To Agriculture

Let’s face it. We are living in an era where people do not fully understand where their food originates. We are living in an era where urbanization is spreading like wildfire. We are living in an era where there is a decline in rural populations. Yes, we are living in an era where for the first time in history most of the world’s population lives in a city. Enter agriculture (ag). Enter youth. Enter my nearly 4-year old grandson – …

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Twelve Tips For Archery Deer Hunting During the Rut

It’s a magical time of year, really. As daylight wanes, the temperature begins to drop, frost appears on the pumpkin, leaves turn color and start toppling to the ground, and experienced bowhunters know the deer rut is beginning. Buck rubs on trees and scrapes on the ground are apparent. Deer movement is picking up and the bowhunter’s excitement is intensifying. The timeless tradition of waking up well before dawn compiling gear and walking to deer stands and blinds in the …

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Thoughts on Waterfowl

It’s just my humble opinion, but I believe those of us involved in fish and wildlife conservation on a professional level are “wired” a bit differently than the rest of society. There’s some innate draw or attraction to wild and natural things and places that is difficult to explain, let alone understand. That attraction has led us down a path of life that isn’t just a job or a career, but a vocation that is inexplicably intertwined with our lives, …

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National Hunting and Fishing Day: A Personal Perspective

National Hunting and Fishing Day is this Saturday, Sept. 28. Our Governor Pete Ricketts, an avid sportsman, has proclaimed Sept. 28 as National Hunting and Fishing Day in Nebraska. This is a significant day. No, this is not just another one of those celebratory days, not by a long shot. This day is deeply personal to me and many others as we are devoted hunters, anglers, trappers and landowners. We take our roles as stewards of the land and wildlife …

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Hunters: Now, what are those reasons why you don’t want to fall turkey hunt?

It never ceases to amaze me that more avid hunters don’t buy a turkey permit in the fall. Hunters say a lot of things about why they don’t hunt North America’s and Nebraska’s largest upland game bird during autumn. They say there are too many other game birds and animals to hunt in the fall and they may not even see turkeys. They say the fall hunt for turkeys is merely an ambush and not as challenging as the spring …

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