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In The Wild

What to know about morel mushroom hunting

The morel mushroom hunting season is literally upon us. I think we’re on the cusp of it along river bottoms in eastern Nebraska. A few morels have been found. The Nebraska Morels Facebook Page indicates that some morels are also being found, although moisture (soaking rain) is needed for them to be more widespread in various parts of the state. We have had the warmth. So how do we really know when morels will emerge? Among the primary indicators of …

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There Are Plants Growing In Your Yard That You Can Eat (No Kidding!)

You have just read the title to this blog and you’re thinking ‘Whoa! What? Wagner is way off base with this one!’ PL-EASE … Allow me, the avid forager, to explain. Now that spring has sprung and while you wait for your morel mushrooms to emerge, some of the more prolific, more accessible wild edible foods are making their initial appearances … in your yard! No kidding! This is the time of year when when edible wild plants emerge and …

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How to Spring Wild Turkey Hunt in Foul (No pun intended) 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 archery wild turkey hunting season is in full swing and soon the spring shotgun wild turkey hunting seasons will be getting underway (Youth – April 6 and Regular Shotgun – April 13). These seasons for turkey take place in the spring amid the ever-changing, ever-fluctuating, and sometimes unpredictable weather patterns and conditions we deal with here in Nebraska.  But …

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Prep your equipment for spring outdoor activities

Those of us who enjoy outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, boating and camping are spending an awful of time around the house when there is inclement outside. Nevertheless as you think of or plan your next outdoor trip, those conditions offer an opportune time to go through your equipment – cleaning, repairing, restoring and organizing various items that most likely were shelved, locked in a cabinet or safe or neglected. You have the time to do this, trust me. …

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Spring Wild Turkey Hunting: Addiction, Obsession, Passion

Noted turkey hunter and outdoor writer Tom Kelly once wrote, “I do not hunt turkeys because I want to. I hunt them because I have to. I would, really, rather not. But I am helpless in the grip of my compulsion.” I completely agree! And the grip of my compulsion begins on March 25 with the opening of the spring archery wild turkey hunting season here in Nebraska. You know, some hunters describe spring wild turkey hunting as a cross …

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A Fan of the State Tree

As Nebraska celebrates its 157th year of statehood, an iconic, representative symbol of the state is the official tree — the native eastern cottonwood. The 1972 legislature named the eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides) as the state tree, replacing the original selection made in 1937 — the American elm (Ulmus Americana L.). The eastern cottonwood was chosen because many elm trees had been killed by Dutch elm disease and it is rooted in Nebraska’s pioneer history. The cottonwoods are large deciduous …

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Tips for Early Open-Water Fishing

Green grass shoots are sprouting in my Elkhorn, NE yard. The days are getting longer. Water temperatures are warming. The time is now to get ready for some early open-water fishing action! Emma Wagner-Nichols, your blogger’s daughter, caught this crappie in chilly, sunny early spring weather in a private sandpit lake in Dodge County, NE. Photo courtesy of Emma Wagner-Nichols of Elkhorn, NE Have you put new line on your reels? Have you gone through your tackle box yet? Sharpened …

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Determining if a match set or pair of shed antlers are from the same deer

By: Brian Peterson and Greg Wagner Brian Peterson is a wildlife biologist at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) and coordinates the M.S Biology Online Program. His research focus is white-tailed deer antler metrics.  He is also an avid hunter and outdoor enthusiast. If you observed or harvested a deer, it is usually obvious that the buck’s antlers belong together based on their similar size, configuration and how they are situated upon the skull. Did you know? Deer antlers …

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Late-Winter Scouting for Spring Turkeys in Nebraska

Don’t kid yourself, we are still in the chilly grips of winter. However, the length of daylight is increasing. Deer have begun shedding their antlers. Some sandhill cranes have arrived already along the Platte River in south-central Nebraska. It is calving season on ranches in the Nebraska Sandhills. These are all indicators that spring is just around the bend. For those of us who spring wild turkey hunt, our thoughts are drifting to the woods where we stake our blinds …

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Wild Game Cooking 101

This is the time of year when wild game meat has been accumulated in the freezers of hunters and the cook of the house is grabbing a bird or a meat cut destined for the kitchen. This is also the time of year when those new to cooking wild game are asking questions on how to prepare the game meat they have been given by a friend or relative. This is also the time of year when wild game feeds …

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