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Preseason Checklist For Hunters

We are in the “dog days” of summer. Ears of sweet corn have already been harvested. Elderberries are ripe. School is starting. Boating, swimming, tubing and fishing are being widely enjoyed now on the weekends. And, Nebraska’s first official hunting season that carries into fall – the squirrel hunting season – is open! But, wait a second. Hold on for a moment. For those of us who are avidly involved in the hunting lifestyle and its process, late-summer means a …

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Going Fishing? Be on Top with a Top Water Lure

Chug bug. Jitterbug. Hula popper. Creek chub knuckle-head. Zara spook. They all have very creative names and designs by the companies that manufacture them. They imitate every conceivable critter that could be on, around or just under the surface of the water in a wild environment from baitfish or bugs to mice or lizards to frogs, toads or even small flying mammals. They are the “go-to” fishing lures of late-summer. They are top water lures or surface lures, some call …

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Getting Permission to Hunt on Private Land: Selling Yourself

Maybe it’s because I am a lifelong Nebraskan with deep farm roots and help my brother manage his farm. Maybe it’s because I am a person with an outgoing, assertive personality who thoroughly enjoys interacting with people. Maybe it’s because of what I do for living and my employer. Maybe it’s because I pride myself on being a legal hunter and an ethical one at that. Maybe it’s because I work at it. I don’t know for sure. But honestly, …

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Wing Commander

Commission biologist Randy Stutheit’s experience evaluating duck wings over the years has helped formulate waterfowl regulations across central U.S. Quickly studying a duck’s wing, Randy Stutheit plays a role in determining waterfowl regulations and seasons in states throughout the central portion of the country. But he’s been doing it awhile — 35 years — and that experience means a lot in the Central Flyway, which stretches from Canada to Mexico. Stutheit, a longtime wildlife biologist with the Nebraska Game and …

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Beyond BOW Hunting

Where Skills Are Learned in the Field Women are the fastest growing group of outdoor enthusiasts, and the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program is a great contributor to this trend. In Nebraska, this program has taken hundreds of women into the field during its 30-year run, and, personally provided some of my most memorable hunting experiences. Many occurred during BOW’s annual training event the first full weekend in October. This event is packed with three days of learning about outdoor-related topics …

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Becoming Part of Something Bigger

The Wildlife Conservation Fund The Nebraska state income tax form isn’t known for its wildlife illustrations. Yet, tucked on the second page is a small illustration of a peregrine falcon, along with a space to donate to the Wildlife Conservation Fund. These tax-deductible donations play a vital role in conserving Nebraska’s wildlife, said Melissa Panella, Nebraska Game and Parks’ wildlife diversity program manager. They form the Wildlife Conservation Fund, which is “one of the primary means that Game and Parks …

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The Dewy Bug Guy Is Back

All the photos in this article were photographed on the morning of Sept. 15, 2019, at Lincoln Creek Prairie in Aurora. When I first started working with Nebraskaland as a college student in the mid-1990s, my nickname among at least some of the magazine staff was “the dewy bug guy.” It was completely fair. A large part of my portfolio, such as it was, consisted of insects covered in tiny water droplets. At the time, my parents had recently helped …

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The Wonderfully Named Fungi

Jelly fungi have great names. Some are delicious sounding: jelly drops, orange jelly, golden jelly cone, apricot jelly and black jelly roll. At the other extreme, some are graveyard spooky: willow brain, goblin ear, jelly tongue, Judas’ ear and, best of all, witches’ butter. Growing in forests, the appearance of these gelatinous mushrooms ranges from blobs of jelly spilled onto a decaying log, to ears sprouting from a tree trunk, to globs of brain tissue smeared on a branch. Like …

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Wood-Sorrels

A Burst of Tartness On a hot summer day, I often pop a wood-sorrel’s clover-like leaf into my mouth to experience a burst of citrusy tartness. The practice is a long tradition, as for millennia Native Americans have enjoyed them. Three species of wood-sorrel are native to our state. The yellow-flowered yellow wood-sorrel (Oxalis stricta) and gray wood-sorrel (O. dillenii) are common, weedy species that bloom spring through fall in lawns, gardens, pastures and other disturbed habitats. The former is …

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Foraging for Wild Fruits and Berries in Nebraska

I always get rather impatient this time of year. Is it because of the weather being so hot, humid and hazy? No. Is it that the hunting seasons are just around the bend? No. Then, why? Well, I am a gatherer, a prairie wanderer – if you will, and I am anxiously waiting to harvest elderberries during these dog days of summer. Here I am checking out wild elderberries for ripeness on a Saunders County, NE farm in mid August. …

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