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Wildlife

A Sandhills Mixed Bag

I can still remember my fist trip to the incredible Nebraska Sandhills with a shotgun in hand.  It was nearly 25 years ago and it literally changed my life. The Nebraska Sandhills are home to many species of game birds including the northern zone of our ducks coming from the Dakotas into the central part of the state as well as my favorite game bird of all time, Sharp-tailed grouse.   There is no better place to chase this bird …

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What Does the Buck Say?

A year or so ago there was this song/music video that enjoyed some popularity.  It was something about “What Does the Fox Say?” I guess I am getting old and apparently ain’t too hip on my pop culture, because I did not get it. I found something similar on the internet, a spoof, “What Does the Buck Say?”  I can relate to it a little more. Now, before someone complains, I am not condoning the unsafe practices that might be …

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Let the Bird Season Begin

As I pointed out in a 2012 Blog,  tomorrow (10/25) marks the beginning of a new year for many upland bird hunters.  And according to the 2014 Upland Game Outlook we can expect to do a bit better than last year, especially with quail.  I hope this an upward trend that continues for some time – suitable habitat and weather being the limiting factors – and know I am not alone. I am a bird hunter, with a slight bias …

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Smoky Gray Photos

“Smoky gray” isn’t often a quality we photographers seek in images, but it’s a different story when it comes to turkeys. I was pleased to receive a few photos of smoky gray phase wild turkeys after requesting them in a post last week. While most of the responses I received were from northwestern Nebraska, it appears some really unique birds, ranging from all white plumage to a colorful mix, are seen on occasion throughout the state. The most eye-catching of …

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Panhandle Passages: The Great White Turkey

As I was driving through the Nebraska National Forest southeast of Chadron on Thursday, a pleasant surprise greeted me as I rounded a bend in the road. Discovering a flock of wild turkeys is certainly no cause for amazement these days but one bird predominantly covered by white feathers stood out among the group. The big bird didn’t give me much time to get a photo before it disappeared over the horizon, but you should be able to see that …

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Bald Birds

Northern cardinals are familiar birds found throughout most of Nebraska. But sometimes familiar species can become unfamiliar by exhibiting an odd plumage. Sometimes an explanation for such an aberration is well-known and readily available. Other times an explanation is more elusive. The entirely bald head exhibited by this northern cardinal is unusual, but not unprecedented. Birds similar to this have been observed throughout the species’ range. However, why a cardinal would lose essentially all of its head feathers at one …

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An Old Coot Trick

It happens just about every year.  The ducks that are around have been around for a while and they seem to have it all figured out.  They not only avoid your decoys, many disappear during shooting hours and those that stick around land on the wrong side of the pond. Some call it the October Lull.  But all of us wildfowlers grumble bad words as we watch our lonely dekes bobbing in the water. We try our best to derive …

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Fish Eagles

I have been on the water a bit this week.  It is fall and the “fish eagles”, more appropriately ospreys, are definitely migrating through the state right now.  While fishing, every now and then my partners and I have heard a big splash and glanced over to see an osprey flying away with a fish.  Yes, they are strictly predators of fish, yes, fish I could be catching, but they do not get a lot and they sure are interesting to …

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The Beneficial Beetle

When you hear the term beneficial insect, pollinators like bees or butterflies probably come to mind. Or maybe you think of predatory insects such as the praying mantis or spiders. Either way these good bugs sure are nice to have around. There is another insect, though less glamorous than butterflies or ladybugs, but arguably just as important – the dung beetle. These industrious little workers are the waste disposal engineers of the insect world. If they weren’t around, it would …

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Old Hunter Tales, Myths and Outright Lies

We hunters are continually in search of tips and secrets that will help out in the pursuit of our prey.  We read articles, watch videos, talk to biologists and listen to experienced hunters.  There are many great sources of good information.  There is also a lot of misinformation out there.  Some are Old Hunter Tales, others are often repeated myths and a few simply outright lies. I have several people to thank for getting me into duck hunting.  Rhett was …

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