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From the pages of NEBRASKAland Magazine.

Common Scents

A No-nonsense Approach to Scent Control Besides Nebraska farmers, no group in the state frets over the weather more than deer hunters. They study barometric pressure, moon phase, temperature and daylight hours, trying to figure out when deer will move and where. Of all these factors, they pay the most attention to the wind, and for good reason. While we experience the world through our eyes, deer live in a world of smell, and the wind is what delivers that …

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In Pursuit of the Blue Dart

As a youngster, I cut my teeth duck hunting on small marshes in northwestern Iowa. Before the days of fancy decoys, acrylic calls, robo ducks and all the rest of modern-day technology, I would not sleep just so I could get to my favorite duck “hole.” It was there that I experienced my first encounter with this majestic bird that I would later term the “blue dart.” Although it’s been over 40 years since I harvested, or at least tried …

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Dove Banding

A nationwide mourning dove banding program has been helping biologists monitor population trends of the species while also providing interesting stories of the movement and longevity of this migratory game bird. The banding program began in 2003. The information it provides, combined with more obtained from the examination of wings of harvested doves, is used to estimate the number of doves in the nation and the age structure and productivity of the population. That information, as well as hunter and …

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Large Milkweed Bugs

If you pay attention to milkweed plants during the summer, you’ll notice a wide variety of insect species feeding on the nectar produced by milkweed flowers. That nectar is sweet, nutritious and free of the toxic latex found throughout most of the rest of the plant. A much smaller group of insects can be found feeding on the leaves, stems or seeds of those milkweed plants, both dealing with and taking advantage of the toxicity. Those insects include monarch caterpillars, …

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Squirrel Hunting Questions

Ask yourself these questions before squirrel hunting this season. What’s Cutting? This is a squirrel hunter’s most effective knowledge base. If a hunter knows what a squirrel is eating and at what time, then their success increases exponentially. In Nebraska, squirrels eat a variety of nuts, including acorns and walnuts. A quick midday scout through the woods will reveal what nuts squirrels are cutting at a particular time, as remnants will be scattered on the ground. Partner or Alone? There’s …

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Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area

Big Changes at the Big Lake Nearly everything about Lake McConaughy is big. At 30,000 surface acres, it is Nebraska’s largest reservoir, its dam is among the largest of its kind in the world, and its fish grow to trophy proportions, accounting for several state records. Even its nickname, “Big Mac,” reflects its size. Located 8 miles northeast of Ogallala, Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area is known to most Nebraskans and residents of neighboring states as a great place for …

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Platte River State Park Bike Trails

Mountain bikers have been riding the trails carved into the bluffs at Platte River State Park for decades, its hills and rocks providing a challenge many yearn for, with the scenery providing the icing on the cake. Now they have a new set of singletrack trails loaded with unique features all for themselves as part of an addition to the park that could become a mountain bike destination for riders from across the country. Along with 4.4 miles of new …

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Practice Makes Better

I’m 5 feet 2 inches, female, right-handed and left-eye dominant. Out-of-the-box firearms typically don’t fit me, and youth models have made poor substitutes. As if learning to shoot at a flying target, left handed, wasn’t difficult enough – throw in an ill-fitting gun and it becomes a recipe for frustration. I took up shooting and hunting in my early 20s. My husband, Rick, introduced me to it, and since then, my journey has been like a roller coaster, one that …

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Techniques for July Bass

Story and photos by Jeff Kurrus July is the perfect time to fish for largemouth bass. Because of the heat, boat traffic on non-ski lakes is often minimal and your chance to fish your favorite spots, especially in the middle of the day, increases as the temperatures do. Whether new to dog-day fishing or a sweaty, seasoned veteran, try a few of these techniques to increase your summertime success. Tip 1: Night “The night is where it’s at,” a longtime …

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Those Fiery Redheads

Beauty or beast, this woodpecker has an eye-catching appearance Aerial proficiency to swoop and snatch prey from the sky. Symmetrically arranged talons for clinging to vertical surfaces and a chiseled beak that hammers hardwood surfaces at 1,000 times the force of gravity. A long barbed tongue, three times as long as that self-sharpening dagger-like bill, for retrieving victims from deep within a crevice. All that, and a fiery red head. If readers were to consider that description alone, they might …

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