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Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

Panhandle Afield Podcast: Wildlife in Winter

By Justin Haag Justin Haag · Panhandle Afield: Wildlife in Winter A weekly radio segment featuring outdoor topics relevant to the Nebraska Panhandle. This week, the show focuses on the remarkable features that help wildlife species survive cold weather. Air Dates: Jan. 21-28 Length: 3:00 Episode 203

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Changes bring happy campers to Lake McConaughy

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OGALLALA, Neb. — In registering visitors for campsites, Nebraska’s largest reservoir sailed uncharted waters in 2021. The predominant verdict is that it was a highly successful voyage. Last April, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission implemented changes needed to create a safer, family-friendly environment at the 22-mile-long Lake McConaughy and the smaller reservoir below its dam, Lake Ogallala. One change was requiring reservations during the peak season for camping at the two state recreation areas. The new system, largely implemented …

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Panhandle Afield Podcast: Free-earned Landowner Elk Permits

By Justin Haag Justin Haag · Panhandle Afield: Free-earned Landowner Elk Permits A weekly radio segment featuring outdoor topics relevant to the Nebraska Panhandle. This week the topic is the new Free-earned Landowner Elk Permit Program. The segment features Luke Meduna, big game program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Air Dates: Jan. 14-21 Length: 3:00 Episode 202

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Panhandle Afield Podcast: Ice-fishing Safety

By Justin Haag Justin Haag · Ice-fishing Safety A weekly radio segment featuring outdoor topics relevant to the Nebraska Panhandle. This week the discussion is about ice-fishing safety. Air Dates: Jan. 7-14 Length: 3:00 Episode 201

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Panhandle Afield Podcast: Jackrabbits

By Justin Haag Justin Haag · Panhandle Afield: Jackrabbits A weekly radio segment featuring outdoor topics relevant to the Nebraska Panhandle. This week the discussion is about jackrabbits. Air Dates: Dec. 10-17 Length: 3:00 Episode 199

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Panhandle Afield Podcast: Blue Jays

By Justin Haag Justin Haag · Panhandle Afield: Blue Jays A weekly radio segment featuring outdoor topics relevant to the Nebraska Panhandle. This week the discussion is about blue jays. Air Dates: Dec. 17-24 Length: 3:00 Episode 200

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Bighorn sheep hunters harvest big rams

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GERING, Neb. – Nebraska’s bighorn sheep hunting season ended this week when a hunter harvested the second of two rams. Both of this year’s tag holders found success in the Wildcat Hills near Gering. Todd Nordeen, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission big game and disease research manager who supervises the hunting program, said each ram harvested this year was 8½ years old with a set of full-curl horns. Grant Smith of Fishers, Indiana, who won his tag in an …

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Wildlife area reopens after wildfire

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GERING, Neb. — Buffalo Creek Wildlife Management Area, which experienced a monumental wildfire in mid-November, has reopened to the public. Although the property is open, Nebraska Game and Parks wildlife manager Hunter Baillie of Alliance recommends visitors stay away from burned areas and practice heightened caution. Some trees are still smoldering, and many have been weakened and will pose a risk of falling for years to come. Estimates show that 1,742 of the wildlife area’s 4,141 acres burned in the …

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Buffalo Creek WMA closed as wildfire burns

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LINCOLN, Neb. — Buffalo Creek Wildlife Management Area, located about 7 miles southeast of Gering in the rugged Wildcat Hills escarpment, has been closed because of a wildfire that is burning on the property. Multiple fire crews, including air support, began battling the blaze early Sunday afternoon when high winds quickly pushed it to more than 400 acres. Officials believe they have been able to evacuate all people from the property, which was getting heavy visitation on the opening weekend …

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Fort Robinson: Exceptional Horses and Fine Fish

The ponds that attract anglers to Fort Robinson State Park played part in a rich history. Historians often tell of Fort Robinson’s period of producing the trusty steeds of the cavalry as a remount depot for the U.S. Army in 1919-1945. The fort’s role in rearing aquatic species that bolstered the region’s fishing heritage during that era gets less attention. During the 20th century, Crawford and Fort Robinson became an integral location for producing the fish that found their way …

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