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No Excuse for not Wearing a Life Jacket

It bothers me to no end that people have such cavalier excuses regarding why they don’t want to wear life jackets on the water in a boat. In my 42 years at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, I have seen my share of boating tragedies. I have seen the victims of boating fatalities who were not wearing their life jackets. You never, ever forget them. Often the victims died right in front of close family members and good friends …

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A Thorough Guide for Tubing on Nebraska Rivers

Ahhh … Leisurely floating on one of Nebraska’s many scenic rivers or streams in an inflated inner tube is a cool, refreshing, relaxing, way to enjoy a hot summer day with family and friends, isn’t it? A small group of tubers take a rest break on their float trip amid the beautiful scenery of the Calamus River near Burwell in the Nebraska Sandhills. Photo courtesy of NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Oh, yeah! Summer river or stream tubing is …

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Why Wear Rubber Gloves When Handling Fish?

I continue to be called bad names for wearing them. Most recently, I was called a “super wimp” for having them on my hands. I have been labeled an “inadequate angler” since I have donned on them. I have been told that my “bravado” and “edge” have been lost when it comes to fishing because I am handling fish while wearing rubber gloves. Ah yes, THOSE GLOVES. People have also had their curiosity piqued by those of us who wear rubber …

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How to Avoid the Crowds When Going Camping

My neighbors told me the other day that they were heading out on a Friday night to camp at a popular state recreation area in order to “get away from it all” on a nice weekend. Hmmm … I wanted to tell them that most likely, they were heading an area to where it all will be happening with quite a few people there. But how do you steer clear of crowds when you’re trying to plan a summer camping …

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Victoria Springs State Recreation Area

An Oasis at the Edge of the Sandhills Victoria Springs State Recreation opened in August 1925, an estimated 4,500 people attended the celebration. These days, around 6,000 people visit in an entire year. It’s a quiet little park, which is exactly why those who visit do so. Some folks will say the 60-acre park is in the middle of nowhere. But that isn’t true. It’s only 6 miles off the beaten path of Nebraska Highway 2 if you head west …

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Backpacking the Pine Ridge Trail

An Adventure Story Through work and play, I have been no stranger to the Pine Ridge Trail. Portions of the route that transects the heart of public lands in the Pine Ridge escarpment between Chadron and Crawford have served me well as a way to access scenic landscapes and wildlife, or just enjoy a short hike or bike ride. Though I had been on many parts of the trail, which measures about 40 miles, I had never connected the dots …

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Your Camera Doesn’t See Like You

Park 2 of 3 Have you ever wondered why the photos you take at dusk turn out grainy or blurry? Why is it that only the left ear of your deer photo is sharp and the rest of the scene is out of focus? Simply put, your camera doesn’t see the world like you do. The first installment of this series, released in the May 2021 edition, covered mainly field of view and focus, but also mentioned depth of field. …

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Tips for Catching Northern Pike

Two men hold a norther pike at Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area.

A Toothy, Primeval Fighter For anglers who love a good fight, the northern pike, a needle-toothed, aggressive — almost primeval — fish, is highly sought after. According to the 2021 Nebraska Fishing Forecast, Hackberry and Dewey lakes on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge, Box Butte Reservoir and Lake Wanahoo are this year’s top picks. Other reservoirs like Elwood, Enders, McConaughy, Merritt and Red Willow hold a few big pike. Several other lakes around the state have been stocked with pike …

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Continuing the Hunt

How to Pursue Your Passion as You Age Nothing drives a human being like pursuing a passion. And when it comes to hunting, well, some will do most anything to bag a bird or that trophy buck. But what happens when your physical capabilities limit or even stop you from chasing that long-time dream of hunting when you are past retirement? What once was a burning desire to strap on those waders and grab that gun, now gets replaced with …

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Community Fishing Events, 2021

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Thank goodness the coronavirus is finally running its course.  We are starting to schedule some fishing events again!  This news release went out recently, but I want to share it, spread it around some more: Discover Fly-Fishing expands program for 2021 LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraskans are becoming increasingly curious about fly-fishing. So much so, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, with the help of Cornhusker Fly Fishers and Trout Unlimited, has expanded its Discover Fly-Fishing event schedule for 2021. The …

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