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From the pages of NEBRASKAland Magazine.

Ahead of Their Time

There might be a few high school kids who hunted more than Blaine Dorn and Kobe Clevenger. Or harder. Or more passionately. But there can’t be many. From the start of the archery deer season in September through duck and goose seasons to the end of goose season in February, these two members of the Chase County High School class of 2020 in Imperial hunted every chance they could. They were back in the field for the spring turkey season, …

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Finding the Right Duck Call

I remember getting my first “real” duck call. It was a gift from a friend, and I couldn’t wait to give it a try. After several failed attempts to make it sound like a duck, I realized that maybe it wasn’t the right call for me or maybe I just wasn’t very good at blowing it. It was then that I went on a search to find the right call for my skill level and my budget. I forged ahead …

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Reflecting on the Crown-tipped Coral

One morning last July, I was riding in a UTV down a trail at Indian Cave State Park with ecologist Krista Lang, when I blurted out “Stop, stop, stop!” What had I seen? What had so excited this botanist? There, deep in the oak woods, growing on a log, was a beautiful crown-tipped coral mushroom. One of our missions that day was to photograph mushrooms, and this was a perfect specimen — fresh, big and immaculately shaped. But there was …

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Five Wingshooting Tips

‘Tis the wingshooter’s favorite time of the year. With quail, pheasant and waterfowl seasons open, why wouldn’t it be? Keep these tips in mind this month: Know the loads you’re shooting. Pellet count, energy and velocity are big deals when wingshooting. The more you know about what you’re firing from your gun, the better you can make adjustments when you’re afield. It’s much easier to diagnose your problems of the day when you know what loads you’re firing. Shoot the …

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Make Safety a Priority Every Deer Season

Most hunters think that an accident won’t happen to them, but anyone who has fallen from a tree stand thought the same thing. Those who have had the misfortune say that it happened so fast they had no time to react. At the end of the day, returning home safely should be every tree-stand hunter’s top priority. Falls account for the vast majority of injuries and deaths that involve tree stands. Although modern tree stands are made better than ever …

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Venison “Meatball” Sliders

I had an unsuccessful rifle season last year, so I decided to attempt deer hunting with a muzzleloader in December. I am a self-proclaimed “meat hunter,” so a season choice tag gives me “the best bang for my buck” — except that I wasn’t looking for a buck. It turned out that I got one anyway. As I turned “her” over, I realized that she was a “he.” It was the first time I had ever shot a male deer, …

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Hallowfest

Celebrate Halloween at Ponca State Park For more than two decades, Ponca State Park’s Hallowfest has thrilled guests of all ages. The park modeled its event after Indian Cave State Park’s festival, starting out with just one weekend of haunted hayrack rides in 1998 and expanding its offerings to two weekends full of Halloween activities. This fall festival has become a tradition for families, many of whom begin booking their cabins and campsites a year in advance. Hallowfest 2020 falls …

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Jump-shooting the Rainwater Basin

An Adventure Story I had long wanted to jump-shoot ducks in the Rainwater Basin wetlands. Growing up pursuing this midday passion in Tennessee, I wanted to get back to where it all started for me: slowly working through a slough, ready at any second for a flush. With this goal in mind, I started asking questions to folks who had hunted the area. “Do that when it’s windy,” one hunter told me. “The birds will be pressed against the vegetation …

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Barn Owl Rescue

An Act of Devotion Nebraska Game and Parks district offices get many calls about wildlife. The call I received about stranded baby barn owls was no exception. A rural family was getting ready to tear down a dilapidated barn on their property when they noticed a baby owl peering over a ledge near the rafters. True stewards of wildlife, they called their local Nebraska Game and Parks office to find out what they could do. Typically, this type of information …

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Feathers: Nature’s Abstract Art

Nature’s Abstract Art About 20 years ago on a Sandhills hunt, I was arranging a few harvested grouse for a classic “I shot my limit” photo when I noticed something far more enticing — the feathers on the bird’s back accentuated in warm sunlight. After taking the photo, I was immediately hooked and have been photographing feather close-ups whenever the opportunity arises. For bird hunters, feathers to photograph are easy to come by. Gaudy rooster pheasants are decked out in …

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