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Afield and Afloat

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. …

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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 …

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From Hi-fi to Hunt Guide

Aaron Schroder lives in Lyons, Nebraska, with his wife, four dogs and two horses. He drives a truck, appreciates cheap beer, and enjoys spending time in his “man cave” – though he probably doesn’t like to call it that. Hunting gear takes up nearly all the extra space on the Schroder property, and when the season is in full swing, his wife, April Goettle, rarely sees him. You may think you know an Aaron – or two or several – …

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Lewis & Clark

Paradise in the North There aren’t many places you can pull your boat up on the bank at Lewis and Clark Lake. Water has eroded away hillsides ringing much of the lake, leaving cliffs that reveal colorful layers of Niobrara chalk and Carlisle shale, part of the geology of the area. Below those cliffs, more than 100 feet high in places, the shoreline is just too rocky. Still, boaters make the most of it, anchoring in the shadow of those …

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Project Healing Waters

When a roadside bomb exploded next to the vehicle David Landon and his fellow soldiers were riding in on a road in Iraq in 2009, Landon was thrown clear and the others killed instantly. When a firefight ensued, others in the patrol had orders to pull back and nearly left him for dead. But one soldier thought he saw Landon move, ran into the gunfire and dragged him back to safety. That was only one of the horrors Landon experienced. …

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Tool-sharpening Dam Builders

Anyone who has watched a North American beaver (Castor canadensis) gnaw through a tree trunk has surely been in awe of its proficiency. Using teeth to whittle on wood, after all, is a task neither appealing to humans nor something the American Dental Association advises us to do. Those four orange incisors that protrude as much as one inch from the top and bottom of a beaver’s mouth comprise just one remarkable feature of North America’s largest rodent, and perhaps …

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A magical time in northwestern Nebraska

Spring and early summer is a magical time of year that leaves us too quickly. It seems I never get out with the cameras as much as I want to during this period, but usually end up with a few keeper images, anyway. Here is a collection of random photos from recent weeks. I am often amused when any given chamber of commerce or tourism bureau brags on its sunrises and sunsets being the best. (Since we are all watching …

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Wildcat Hills: A Wild Place

Whether you’re looking for state-of-the-art facilities, or just a great view in the pines, this Panhandle park has it. High on the list of Nebraska’s captivating scenery and natural assets are the Wildcat Hills. It seems an understatement to label this topographical spectacle as “hills,” as it is actually a land of rugged buttes, ridges and canyons with topographical elements rising upwards to 1,000 feet above the North Platte Valley. Some of the state’s most recognizable landforms – Chimney Rock, …

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The Divine Devil’s Den

Scientists of yesteryear agree: this crevice in far northwestern Nebraska is in a class by itself. Western Nebraska has many landforms labeled canyons. Each contradicts Nebraska’s “flat” stereotype, but a true box canyon – one featuring steep walls on each side with single access for entrance and exit – is a rarity in the state. One site in the northwest corner of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s northwestern-most property fills the bill as such even though it does not …

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Dodder: A Parasitic Plant

Plants are green. In school, we all learned about photosynthesis, the ability of plants to convert sunlight to food using green chlorophyll in their leaves. It’s one of those foundational ideas upon which we’ve built our understanding of the world. Well, as it turns out, the world is a pretty complicated place, and there are some plants that aren’t green and that don’t even photosynthesize. One of those is a crazy-looking plant called dodder that grows across much of Nebraska. …

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