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Flora & Fauna

My 40th Year at Game and Parks

Forty years is very long time for anything, isn’t it? Forty years is an exceptionally long time for working at the same organization. Think about — four decades. WOW! This year, 2019, marks the beginning of my 40th year at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. My career spans a few different divisions within the agency – Fisheries, Parks and Information and Education (now Communications). I am currently the public information officer and manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks …

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Bucket List Hunts In Nebraska

Do you have dream hunt you like to do someday? You know what I mean … a hunt you’d like to complete before you “kick the bucket?” Perhaps you have compiled a bucket list of hunts. Maybe you can’t afford a grandiose adventure to a far away place for exotic game but would like to stay closer to home to accomplish a memorable hunting experience. If you are looking for some ideas about Do-It-Yourself (DIY), value-driven bucket list hunts that …

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February Rabbits

Rabbit hunting is a cure for cabin fever. With upland bird seasons closing Jan. 31, there’s not much to hunt in February besides rabbits. February is actually my favorite month to hunt rabbits. I typically discourage my dog, Phantom, from pursuing rabbits, often ignoring her rabbit points so she remains focused on birds. But once February rolls around, we have some fun. Look for cottontails near brush piles or thick shelterbelts. With a pointing dog, be prepared to kick some …

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Wild What’s Up

Send your wildlife questions to our environmental educators. As an environmental educator, I am asked countless questions about wildlife, habitats, and plants. Occasionally I know the answer, but now and then I have to do some research. Nebraska Game and Parks now has an email address (wildwhatsup@nebraska.gov) where people can send their wildlife questions and get a response. Here are some questions we have recently received. Do fish freeze in the winter? Fish are cold-blooded, which means that as the …

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Threatened and Endangered

The Scaleshell Mussel If you spend time along Nebraska’s lakes and rivers, you are likely to come across the occasional large “clam” shell. These are examples of our state’s native freshwater mussels. It can be quite interesting to observe the unique shapes, sizes and colors of the 29 species found in our state, although a few of those are considered relicts, meaning only their shells, and not the living mollusk that would normally reside within, are detected. They have descriptive …

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CRP, Grassland Conservation, Early Successional Habitat; Not Just For Pheasants

C-R-P, grassland conservation and early successional habitat. When those letters and words are brought up in a conversation, chances are the ring-necked pheasant will be mentioned in a sentence or two. Yes, CRP, grassland conservation and early successional habitat and pheasants all go together, but they also go with a lot of other wildlife. You see, our family farm is enrolled in the Unites States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Conservation Reserve Program or what is referred to as the CRP. …

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Learn prescribed fire basics at workshops across Nebraska

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LINCOLN, Neb. – Learn the basics of safe, effective burning when Pheasants Forever and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission host prescribed burn training workshops across the state early in 2019. These workshops will provide guidance and instruction for completing safe and effective prescribed fires. Landowners, resource professionals, volunteer fire departments and other interested persons are invited to attend. No prior burn experience is required. Most workshops are scheduled for 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Basic workshops will be held Jan. 17 …

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Why I Hunt

I am a hunter. I write and speak about hunting. I take images and record videos of hunting. I interact with hunters. Hunting is a major part of both my personal and professional lives. With my occupation (as a public information officer for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission) and through my personal social media accounts, I am asked frequently about “why I hunt.” The answer is not a simple one.  And, no, “it ain’t about the killin’ or just …

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Bighorn sheep hunt is big gift for Auburn man

Dave Hunter with ram

CRAWFORD, Neb. – Christmas is just around the corner, but it was Father’s Day that brought a southeast Nebraska man and his son to northwest Nebraska this month for an experience of a lifetime. As a Father’s Day gift, Greg Hunter of Johnson has entered Nebraska’s bighorn sheep permit lottery each of the past four years for his father, Dave Hunter of Auburn. It proved a good investment as the elder Hunter’s name was the one drawn in the lottery …

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The Red Crossbill

A distinctive finch with an unusual beak The red crossbill is a distinctive finch whose crooked beak usually catches one’s attention. Rather than being a deformity, the odd beak is an adaptation that the bird uses to extract its preferred food source – seeds from the cones of conifers such as pines, spruces and firs. Although its specialized beak may give the red crossbill an advantage in foraging on its preferred cone type, its relationship with conifer cone seeds is …

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