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The Beaches of Bridgeport

Five sandpits in the North Platte Valley have created countless memories. One does not have to stray far from home to enjoy one of the Panhandle’s premiere getaways with shady campsites and sandy beaches. The 200-acre Bridgeport State Recreation Area is located along the North Platte River at the northwestern edge of the community for which it is named. It has 78 acres of clear water in five sandpit lakes with more than 70 first-come, first-served basic campsites. The lakes …

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Buffalo Bill’s Big House

The Wild West built this house. At first glance, an 18-room French Second Empire-style mansion might not strike you as “Western,” but take a look at that huge barn! This is what a Western man would build for his family if he found himself with a lot of extra money in the 1880s. William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody came to Nebraska in 1869 as a Fort McPherson cavalry scout. Later he made his fortune as a showman. Buffalo Bill’s Wild …

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Stalking Nebraska’s Wild Asparagus

The apple blossoms have emerged. Why is that important? It is a reliable indicator that tells me I now will find one of my most valued vegetables in Nebraska’s rural landscape — wild asparagus. Apple blossoms. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Sure enough, I was right! Wild asparagus emerging in early May in eastern Nebraska. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Wild asparagus, a hardy plant that comes back from the same root system every …

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Western Fireworks

In the pursuit of captivating photography, it sometimes pays to aim low. When developing an interest in nature photography years ago, capturing the subjects on these pages were at the bottom of my list. Yet, on countless mornings of taking photos of landscapes and wildlife, there they were: Little bursts of color around my feet. I already knew that pretty sunrises, sunsets and fauna were even more attractive with wildflowers in the scene. Soon, though, I learned a macro lens …

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Your Camera Doesn’t See Like You Do

Part 1 of 3 Have you ever taken a picture of a bird or other animal, only to have it show up as a mere pinprick on the resulting photo? Why do some photos have large portions that look blurry and only a few bits that are in focus? Simply put, your camera doesn’t see the world the way you do. The lenses on your camera are constructed very differently than the lenses in your eyes (though the basics of …

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Our Fascinating and Fearless Foxes

Foxes are continuing to populate our urban areas A big dog rushed into my backyard a few years ago, likely because it saw a red fox puppy playing under the bushes. It let out a deep bark as it saw the adult fox that was watching over the pups. That is when things really got interesting. The adult fox leapt up and raced toward the big boxer — pretty brave for a 10-pound fox. It made a loud bark on …

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Weathering Turkeys

Using the elements to your advantage With Mother’s Day being the target date to pursue lonely toms, you can find success at almost any turn if you’ve paid your dues scouting. However, even the best laid plans can go to waste if Mother Nature intervenes and makes your hunting, well, miserable. On more than one occasion, I’ve scheduled a hunting trip around early to mid-May, only to be blindsided by weather that only Nebraska could provide at that time of …

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How To Not Let The Big One Get Away

All of us who love to fish have a story or two about the one that got away, don’t we? Invariably, the tale involves hooking the fish of a lifetime and losing it to unforeseen circumstances or mistakes. Trust me, I have made my share of mistakes when it comes to large, prized game fish. Without question, these stories, however embellished, can be devastating to those who have a passion for wetting lines. For as many wild and crazy occurrences …

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Hunting Turkeys in Foul Weather

Nebraska weather. Don’t like it? Wait a short while. It’ll change, maybe. Reality is rarely so kind. The Cornhusker State’s spring wild turkey hunting seasons are in full swing amid the ever-changing, ever-fluctuating weather patterns here on the Great Plains. Nevertheless, should we wait to turkey hunt until we have those beautiful bluebird-like days with warm sunshine and slight to no wind? If time is not available to do that, we might have to hunt when the weather is dealing …

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Morels Aren’t The Only Edible Mushroom In Spring

Topside photo of a dryad’s saddle, a.k.a. pheasant’s back or hawks wing, in Nebraska. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Hey, what’s that mushroom? Hmmm … Wonder if it’s edible? Along with finding and picking morel mushrooms, there is another edible wild fungi growing in your moist woodlands that you should know and consider harvesting and making for dinner — the dryad’s saddle. Dryad’s saddle? The dryad’s saddle (Polyporus squamosus) , a.k.a., pheasant’s back mushroom, or hawk’s wing, is …

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