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Our Deer Hunting Land: Thanks Granddad!

To those of us born and raised in Nebraska with longstanding family farming roots, the firearm deer hunting season represents a very special, unique tradition. Each season, I take the time to reflect what it must have been like for my great, great, great, great grandfather, James Murphy, a Union Army Veteran, as he saw a whitetail deer hidden in the prairie grass of the land he was about to claim in southeastern Nebraska after the war in the late 1860’s.


Here’s his headstone in the Holy Sepulcher/Forest City Cemetery near Gretna, NE. The star in front of the headstone represents his service to the country and membership in a post of the Grand Army of the Republic.


“Granddad, I can never thank you enough for being able to hunt the land you eventually went on to homestead with your family! Every single time I set foot on that land my mind drifts back to what it must have looked like back then, especially the creek bottom woodlands where we deer hunt!


I never have taken this land for granted, try to manage it properly, hunt with family on it (passing on the tradition) and will always be eternally grateful to you, Granddad! I hope you can somehow enjoy this photo of your great, great, great, great, great grandson Noah with a nice whitetail buck he took on the land you acquired for us!” Sincerely, Your Grandson – Greg.


About greg wagner

A native of Gretna, NE, a graduate of Gretna High School and Bellevue University, Greg Wagner currently serves as the Communications and Marketing Specialist and Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Service Center in Omaha. On a weekly basis, Wagner can be heard on a number of radio stations, seen on local television in Omaha, and on social media channels, creatively conveying natural resource conservation messages as well as promoting outdoor activities and destinations in Nebraska. Wagner, whose career at Game and Parks began in 1979, walks, talks, lives, breathes and blogs about Nebraska’s outdoors. He grew up in rural Gretna, building forts in the woods, hunting, fishing, collecting leaves, and generally thriving on constant outdoor activity. One of the primary goals of his blog is to get people, especially young ones, to have fun and spend time outside!

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