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Hunting Experience Feels Like Husker Game Day

The morning air is crisp and cold.

Hardwood trees stand motionless and silent — faint brush strokes against the slowly lightening predawn sky.

An emerging September sunrise on an archery deer hunt along the Elkhorn River in southeastern Nebraska. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

As light emerges, wild plants still green are bejeweled with dew.

Dew droplets or beads on smooth brome grass in September on a southeastern Nebraska farm. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Small sounds begin to carve the creek bottom.

A raucous calamity of crows can be heard in the distance. An assertive, vociferous blue jay appears on a limb. Two fox squirrels squabble amid the leaves on the woodland floor. The insistent nasal yammering of a white-breasted nuthatch captures the attention.

A white-breasted nuthatch is seen going down a cottonwood tree along the Platte River in west-central Nebraska during an archery deer hunt. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

In the grass beyond the trees, a rooster pheasant cackles; greeting the first full rays of the sun.

Suddenly, and without sound, where there had been only sumac and wild plum, a white-tailed deer materializes. Symmetrically curved antlers thrust forward, nose somewhat delicately testing the autumn air.

A white-tailed deer buck pauses momentarily along a woodland edge in southeastern Nebraska during a September bow hunt. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The hunter in the ground blind freezes.

He is hardly breathing. The adrenaline is beginning to flow in his body. He tightens the grip on his bow.

Slowly, carefully, he raises it and begins to pull the string back.

This is what hunting is all about — the experience. It is one of, if not the most, essential elements of hunting.

Some think hunting is only about harvesting a game animal or game bird. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The taking of that game animal or game bird involves only a split second.

Far more time — innumerable hours — will be spent by the hunter surrounded by and observing nature. Not much compares to the beauty, serenity and adventure of being in nature and waiting for game.

For many of us in the Nebraska outdoor community, hunting is an autumn experience that can be compared to the atmosphere of a Husker game day in Memorial Stadium.

Like going to a Nebraska football game in Lincoln, the experience of hunting is about a lot of things.

Sure, it is the ambiance, the feeling of great enthusiasm and eagerness. But it is also the tradition, the camaraderie of family and friends and the entire process. It creates memories that a person will carry well into his or her senior years.

Your blogger pictured with his daughter, Emma Wagner-Nichols, at a Nebraska Cornhusker football game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, NE. Photo by Polly Wagner of Omaha, NE.

It’s also about understanding the importance of good habitat, biodiversity (that all things are connected) and the role we play in the natural cycle of life and death.

The hunting experience is truly a celebration of America’s freedom and the North American Model of Conservation.

The hunting experience allows for one to fully escape the concrete jungle, the hustle and bustle of everyday life filled with modern technological devices.

It’s also about understanding the importance of good habitat, biodiversity (that all things are connected) and the role we play in the natural cycle of life and death.

The challenge the hunting experience offers is unmatched.

There are factors such as weather and crop harvest coupled with trying to draw wild game animals and birds close enough for a shot on their turf. The odds are not in the hunter’s favor.

So harvesting a free-ranging wild game animal or bird is purely a bonus.

Hunting isn’t about killing, rather, it’s about the intrinsic things that are connected to the hunt that we enjoy the most.

It is about the experience.

Rolls of barbed-wire hang from an old fence post and a deer skull with antlers attached on a southeastern Nebraska farm. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

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About greg wagner

A native of Gretna, NE, a graduate of Gretna High School and Bellevue University, Greg Wagner currently serves as the Public Information Officer 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 sites, 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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