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eric fowler

Nebraskaland Regional Editor Eric Fowler was born in Hastings, graduated from Ogallala High School in 1988 and completed his Bachelor’s at Chadron State College in 1993. After six years as a writer and photographer with newspapers in Chadron and Scottsbluff, he joined the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in 1998 as Publications Editor and has been a member of the NEBRASKAland staff since 2001. Fowler spends as much time as he can in Outdoor Nebraska. When he’s not photographing wildlife, landscapes or people enjoying the state’s outdoor resources for the magazine, he’s enjoying them himself while hunting, fishing, boating, kayaking, hiking or camping with family, including his wife and son, and friends.

Elijah – Finding Your Place

Lincoln hunter on a mission to reach underserved minorities in hunting and fishing Story and photos by Eric Fowler Some people live their entire lives searching for some place, any place, where they feel comfortable. It didn’t take Elijah Riley that long. Late in high school, when he picked up a bow and arrow and headed to the woods, is when he knew. “I felt like for a long time I didn’t know my place in the world,” said Riley, …

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Shoreline to Spare – Sherman Reservoir SRA

At 2,845 acres and a little more than 4 miles long, Sherman Reservoir is far from Nebraska’s largest. Story and photos by Eric Fowler At 2,845 acres and a little more than 4 miles long, Sherman Reservoir is far from Nebraska’s largest. Yet between five large bays that branch off the main lake, and the many coves found in each of those, the lake boasts a maze of 77 miles of shoreline when full. That ranks second among the state’s …

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Melting the Green Glacier – Eastern Red Cedar Management

In the Loess Canyons region of southwestern Nebraska, landowners are making serious headway in fighting back eastern red cedar trees. Story and photos by Eric Fowler It happened slowly. Eastern red cedar trees were once found only in steep, moist corners of the landscape, rocky hilltops or islands in rivers where they were protected from the fires set by Native Americans to attract game or sparked by lightning that periodically swept across the Great Plains. When settlers arrived and fire …

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Courting Bluegills

A first-hand account of this rare spectacle Story and photos by Eric Fowler If you’ve spent much time fishing, chances are you’ve seen a male bluegill guarding its spawning bed, a bowl-shaped depression that it fans out in the lakebed using its tail. Or numerous bluegills in a nesting colony, each guarding its own bed. If, instead of casting to those beds hoping to catch dinner, you put down your rod and reel and watched for a time, you may …

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Aquatic Habitat 2024

Recent projects to improve fisheries and access are coming into their own and producing keeper-sized fish. By Eric Fowler Three years after Glenn Cunningham Lake in Omaha was drained to kill invasive zebra mussels, the reservoir is expected to provide excellent fishing this year. Drawing down the 390-acre reservoir in 2019 also allowed the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to replace vegetation barriers and gravel on spawning beds and repair a breakwater and fishing deck installed during a major Aquatic …

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Do Cranes Sleep?

Trail cameras on the Platte River catches sandhill cranes on their bellies. Story and photos by Eric Fowler Do sandhill cranes sleep? On their bellies? In a wooded creekbottom? From what we know about the cranes that stop in the Platte River Valley in Nebraska each spring, none of those ideas seem to make sense. It certainly didn’t to Chris Helzer of the Nature Conservancy, whose tip on this seemingly odd behavior spurred me to spend two days in a …

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Don’t Forget the Ducks

In March, the millions of ducks that move through Nebraska are just as impressive as the gathering of sandhill cranes. By Eric Fowler When it comes to birdwatching in Nebraska in March, sandhill cranes get most of the love. But many don’t realize that a few miles south of the Platte River in the Rainwater Basin there is an equally impressive gathering of millions of ducks. The Rainwater Basin includes nearly 400 wetlands, ranging in size from a few to …

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Volunteer Spotlight – Windmill State Recreation Area

An interview with Helen Brazee, campground host at Windmill State Recreation Area By Eric Fowler How long have you been a campground host? I started as a camp host in the year 2000, when I retired, but we used to come out here and camp, from the mid-70s all the way until now. It was in the early ’70s when they made this a park because of the interstate and the sandpits. We’ve got six fishing lakes. People love it …

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A River Used to Run Through It – Red Wing Wildlife Management Area

Situated along the Elkhorn River, Red Wing Wildlife Management Area is a haven for wildlife. Story and photos by  Eric Fowler Dams, diversions and development have changed many rivers in Nebraska. The Elkhorn River is not one of them. It still winds its way through the northeastern Nebraska countryside, its channel slowly shifting course from year to year. During floods, those shifts can be drastic. That is what happened sometime early in the 20th century at what would, in 1977, …

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Choose Your Duck Limits

The two-tier duck bag limit system allows hunters to choose a bag limit that doesn’t require them to accurately identify ducks on the wing. By Eric Fowler Prior to 2021, Brandon Black had never hunted ducks. Rusty Rautenberg had, but only occasionally with family. Darin Hahne hadn’t since he was in college. An invitation from a seasoned hunter convinced the trio, all of whom work at Elkhorn Valley Schools in Tilden, to get into, or back into, waterfowl hunting. Their …

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