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In The Wild

An Open Letter to My Grandson on His 2nd Birthday

Dearest Jackson Edward, Today is your birthday, your second birthday. My grandson, this is the day we celebrate you. I’ve been thinking back about the interesting directions on how my love for you has continued to expand this past year. Yes, you’re two, and it’s occurred to me that my love for you actually goes far beyond your connection to me. I see it when you continually say: “Ouuutsiiiiide!” There’s no place you’d rather be in any season than outside, on our porch, on your deck at home, at …

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Wild Game Cooking: The Heart of the Matter

I have eaten deer heart for as long as I can remember. I like it a lot. It is among my favorite wild game entrees and a tradition in our family to cook and eat during the Nebraska firearm deer hunting season. Since my initial blog about deer heart a year ago, I have received many requests to share it, once again. So, with that in mind, here it is. Deer hunters, save the heart from the deer you harvest this season! No, no, don’t just toss it in the gut pile …

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The Year to Become a Quailer

It is like no other form of hunting. It is exhilarating, action-packed, and humbling to even the most practiced shotgun shooter! I should know. I grew up with it on our southeastern Nebraska farm. What kind of hunting is it? IT is hunting the northern bobwhite quail. Have you ever hunted quail? It’s awesome! You need to try it. And, their numbers this year look outstanding! Flushing a covey of quail is as exciting as any outdoor activity gets! However, from years of first-hand experience I will …

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Foraging for Fall Fungi

It’s very unfair. Spring and its morel mushrooms get all the limelight, but hard-core nature enthusiasts in Nebraska know that autumn rains deliver a mushroom bounty in the woods that’s far more diverse, robust and rewarding. Fall mushroom hunting offers a bunch of benefits, and not just for fairy tale goblins and witches! It offers a refreshing, cool walk in the woods amid fall foliage colors, a chance to better understand forest ecology, and an opportunity to see a variety of woodland wildlife, as …

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25 Reasons to Hunt Turkeys in the Fall

I know, I know. There is nothing like spring wild turkey hunting in Nebraska, and the fall hunting season for wild turkeys, well, it just doesn’t rise to that level. Or, does it? Hmm. I don’t think you can call yourself a true turkey hunter until you have willingly and eagerly accepted the fun challenge and vivid excitement of hunting North America’s largest upland game bird during the fall season in Nebraska. Hunters who have never experienced fall hunting are …

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Hunting Experience Feels Like Husker Game Day

The morning air is crisp and cold. Hardwood trees stand motionless and silent — faint brush strokes against the slowly lightening predawn sky. As light emerges, wild plants still green are bejeweled with dew. Small sounds begin to carve the creek bottom. A raucous calamity of crows can be heard in the distance. An assertive, vociferous blue jay appears on a limb. Two fox squirrels squabble amid the leaves on the woodland floor. The insistent nasal yammering of a white-breasted …

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Last-Minute Notes for The Great American Eclipse

Are you gearing up and getting excited for the historic spectacle on Monday, Aug. 21st, when a total solar eclipse will race over Nebraska from the northwest to the southeast? Good! Thought so. Me, too! Here are some last-minute notes to assist you in safely and enjoyably experiencing The Great American Eclipse in The Cornhusker State. Plan ahead. Buy your state park permit ahead of time. Take additional supplies (water, food, insect repellent, sunblock, etc.). Carry park brochures and a road map. Fill your vehicle …

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Are you REALLY ready for the total solar eclipse?

It will undoubtedly be among the most stunning sights you have ever witnessed. It has been labeled as one of the most awe-inspiring events in nature, and it’s coming! For the first time in 26 years, a total solar eclipse will occur in our great country, and we, in Nebraska, will play host to the world’s eclipse-chasers along with eleven other states on August 21st for about a minute or two around the lunch hour depending on local time. To find out exact times of the …

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Big Catfish Manifesto

Never in my outdoor life have I ever endured so much negativity, so much criticism, and taken so much flak for an action. It all was the result of a photo and video I shared recently on my personal social media accounts. Both were of a large, master angler-sized flathead catfish that I caught in an eastern Nebraska sandpit lake and then duly released back into it. Here are the photo and short video clip shot by my fishing partner, Rich Berggren of Waterloo, NE. Alright, I know what you’re thinking: “Nice fish, good job on the release,” …

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Release Big Catfish Unharmed

Why do some people get perplexed when they see someone release a massive, master angler-sized catfish? After all, catfish, even the larger ones, sure taste good, don’t they? So why is it every time we see an angler report or a social media post mention or show a picture of a large catfish they have put back in the water, a spirited discussion most likely ensues over what should or should have not been done with that whopper? So how …

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