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Afield and Afloat

Northwestern Exposure, Feb. 6, 2019: Killer Frost

There is always a lot of beauty in the Nebraska Panhandle. For nature photography, though, I am a lot less inspired during periods without snow or colorful foliage. Seems we have not had as much snow this year as usual, and the snow we have had has melted quickly. With such conditions, I gravitate toward the wildlife for imagery. Such as pronghorn at sunrise. Those of us who have been around long enough to witness the return of the bald …

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Northwestern Exposure, Jan. 31, 2019

In an effort to show some of the beauty I get to frequently encounter in this part of the world, I’ve decided to periodically feature some of my favorite photos on this site. Here are some scenes from around the Panhandle in recent weeks. Frosty ponderosa pines always catch my eye. With a little splash of evening sunlight, it seemed these specimens in the Pine Ridge Ranger District of the Nebraska National Forest were begging to have their photo taken. …

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An Ice Storm Feast

Photographs after an ice storm. I woke up on the morning of January 17 with a clear plan of attack. The biggest ice storm in a decade had ended the previous evening, and the forecast had correctly predicted clear skies and calm winds for the post-storm sunrise. Road crews had worked through the night, allowing me to slowly and carefully make my way across Aurora to a series of restored prairies along Lincoln Creek. It was going to be an …

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February Rabbits

Rabbit hunting is a cure for cabin fever. With upland bird seasons closing Jan. 31, there’s not much to hunt in February besides rabbits. February is actually my favorite month to hunt rabbits. I typically discourage my dog, Phantom, from pursuing rabbits, often ignoring her rabbit points so she remains focused on birds. But once February rolls around, we have some fun. Look for cottontails near brush piles or thick shelterbelts. With a pointing dog, be prepared to kick some …

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Tips: Keep Me Warm

Tips from Nebraskaland photographers on how to keep warm. Each year, the contributors to Nebraskaland Magazine spend hundreds of hours outside in frigid temperatures. There is no way to consistently battle this type of climate without a game plan. For me, I eat multiple servings of protein – including peanut butter and yogurt, before and during my trips to increase my metabolism which, in turn, increases body heat. Here are some thoughts from our staff. Jenny Wheatley – “I use Hot …

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Wild What’s Up

Send your wildlife questions to our environmental educators. As an environmental educator, I am asked countless questions about wildlife, habitats, and plants. Occasionally I know the answer, but now and then I have to do some research. Nebraska Game and Parks now has an email address (wildwhatsup@nebraska.gov) where people can send their wildlife questions and get a response. Here are some questions we have recently received. Do fish freeze in the winter? Fish are cold-blooded, which means that as the …

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Threatened and Endangered

The Scaleshell Mussel If you spend time along Nebraska’s lakes and rivers, you are likely to come across the occasional large “clam” shell. These are examples of our state’s native freshwater mussels. It can be quite interesting to observe the unique shapes, sizes and colors of the 29 species found in our state, although a few of those are considered relicts, meaning only their shells, and not the living mollusk that would normally reside within, are detected. They have descriptive …

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Ice Fishing: Search for the Heydey

Ice fisherman Don Cox reflects on 25 years of fishing through the ice Don Cox of Mullen clearly remembers 28 years ago. He was at Pelican Lake on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge ice-fishing with his brother-in-law, Dave Fehlhafer, near an angler they nicknamed Red Man. While Red Man was catching some of the largest bluegill Don has ever seen, Don and Dave weren’t doing so well, spending most of the time second-guessing their tackle and technique. Nowadays, Don doesn’t …

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The Rut: Constants, Myths and Legends

Let’s discuss the constants, myths, and what you can do to advance your white-tailed deer hunting experience during the rut. Look online, or watch outdoor television, and you’re bound to see or hear someone talking about “the rut,” one of nature’s most intriguing rituals as bucks and does appear more and more across the landscape. When exactly the rut takes place and precisely how deer – particularly whitetails – behave then is a source of great debate. Millions of dollars …

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Diving Nebraska: DiVentures

DiVentures in Omaha has become one of the largest scuba schools in the Midwest. As Dean Hollis began to think about how he wanted to spend his retirement, his thoughts kept returning to the water. Hollis grew up in Florida “on, in and under the water.” When a career with ConAgra brought him to land-locked Omaha, he continued to spend time scuba diving, swimming, boating and water skiing. When he retired as Conagra’s Chief Operating Officer in 2008, he imagined …

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