Home » Afield and Afloat

Afield and Afloat

Fleeting scenes of fall

Whether it be the first sign of frost or quickly changing explosion of color, autumn brings a sense of urgency to nature photography. With snow in the forecast this week, scenes such as these seem especially fleeting. When fall foliage bursts to the scene, I often find myself driving the Pine Ridge’s West Ash Creek Road. And stopping for a few photos, of course. Towering cottonwoods, such as this one at Fort Robinson State Park, seem to have benefited from …

Read More »

So long, summer

I know everyone is excited for fall, but I would be remiss not to post some scenes from late summer. It is always a good work day when I get to wade in the creek. Such was the case last week when I joined Nebraska fisheries biologists as they stocked about 1,000 cutthroat trout in the middle fork of Soldier Creek and the Wood Reserve Ponds. Here are just a few of those fish leaving the net. The fish, which …

Read More »

Thoughts on Waterfowl

It’s just my humble opinion, but I believe those of us involved in fish and wildlife conservation on a professional level are “wired” a bit differently than the rest of society. There’s some innate draw or attraction to wild and natural things and places that is difficult to explain, let alone understand. That attraction has led us down a path of life that isn’t just a job or a career, but a vocation that is inexplicably intertwined with our lives, …

Read More »

Breakfast in the Blind

When you’ve been up and dragging decoys since 4 a.m., you’re ready for some grub by the time the ducks have flown and the midmorning lull begins. Whether you’re hunting from a heated pit blind, camouflaged among the reeds or lying in a small layout blind, there’s never a reason to go hungry. Read on for ideas beyond energy bars and good old raisins and peanuts. Kitchen-ready Blind Hunting from a heated blind can be like staying in a 5-star …

Read More »

BB Gun Beginning

Henry Matulka of Gretna went on his first hunting trip when he was 5 years old. Without a driver’s license to operate a vehicle, or his own money to purchase gear, he was reliant upon someone taking him. That person was his dad, Tim. With BB gun in hand, Henry continued to accompany his dad on dove, waterfowl, deer, and turkey hunting trips, waiting for the day he could pull the trigger on something besides his Red Ryder lever action. …

Read More »

Tree Stand Safety

As you hit the field this deer season, be sure to keep tree stand safety in mind. Every year hunters have accidents, some fatal, when hunting out of a tree stand. Before the season starts, here are some tips to consider: • Always check old tree stands for safety. Look at welds, nuts and bolts to make sure they are secure. • Check all tree stand straps and replace any that are weathered or frayed. • Always use a safety …

Read More »

Finding History in the Sandhills

Long ago on grassy hills, a hunter stalks a deer. Wearing skins of the same animal, he loads a thin-shafted spear onto a wooden spear thrower. Rising from cover, he whips the spear into a silent, shallow arch. The stone spear point strikes a mortal wound, but the still-mobile deer bounds away never to be found. Frustrated about the loss of good meat and his prized speckled brown point, the dejected hunter heads home, belly growling. Two thousand years later, …

Read More »

Stream bank surprise

Photographing Nebraska’s wild animals is always rewarding, but capturing imagery of those that reside only in specific parts of the state is especially gratifying. I was wading up the middle fork of Soldier Creek to capture trout video with Nebraskaland intern Emily Burch last week when this little character, not much bigger than a nightcrawler, caught my eye from its perch below a small overhang. The terrestrial garter snake (Thamnophis elegans) is one of four garter snake species in Nebraska. …

Read More »

A Thank You to Landowners

Dear Landowner, I’m reaching out to say thank you. But before I do, I’d like to explain myself. I think a lot of hunters who share my passion would agree. I love to hunt. Like many of us, my garage is full of decoys, blinds, generators, camouflage and tools. Whatever doesn’t fit in the garage stays in the storage unit. But sometimes it’s hard to find a place to put all that gear to use. I don’t own any land. …

Read More »

Summer beauty at Gilbert-Baker WMA

Harrison bills itself as “Nebraska’s Top Town,” which is mostly a play on the village’s elevation of 4,876 feet — the highest of all Nebraska communities. Also tops, though, is the scenery and natural beauty of the surrounding landscape, certainly not the least of which is Gilbert-Baker Wildlife Management Area about 6 miles north of town. Here are some images from a recent visit to this remarkable public land. Perhaps one of the best examples of the serenity of Gilbert-Baker …

Read More »