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The Old Wolf Oak Tree

tree

Ponca State Park tree is one of the oldest in Nebraska Ponca’s 373 Year Old Tree Ponca State Park, one the agency’s flagship parks, is located on bluffs overlooking the Missouri River just 2 miles north of the town of Ponca. Growing in the interior of park woodlands is a bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) estimated at a whopping 373 years old. This “Old Wolf Tree” was so named and designated as a “Nebraska Heritage Tree” by the Nebraska Community Forestry …

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City Foxes

city foxes

A Facebook post leads to a mystery being solved. by Cara Pesek City Foxes Whether or not they’re distracted by a freshly killed chicken, foxes are more common in Lincoln and other cities than one might think, said Sam Wilson, the furbearer and carnivore program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.  Foxes compete with larger canids, such as coyotes, for habitat and prey. Coyotes kill foxes when they have the chance, Wilson said. But coyotes are less likely …

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A Small Dose of Darkness at Bighorn

I will not count it among easiest photo assignments I have had. Mother Nature says, “Hey, I’m going to give you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with challenging lighting situations and because you’re a nature photographer everyone is going to expect you to get great images. You can have from a few seconds to 2½ minutes to get your shot, depending on the spot you choose within this narrow strip through the middle of Nebraska. I may or may not send clouds. …

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Convergence on Sacred Ground

If the hills and bluffs at Ash Hollow State Historical Park could talk they would have been buzzing about the Convergence on Sacred Ground event last weekend. Perhaps they were pleased to have the Lakota’s with their teepees, dances and sacred dialog being echoed about. Wagons once again rolled along the Oregon/California trail. The sounds of horses and cattle filled the air as cowboys roped and branded cattle on the meadows of the park. And the aromas from Dutch ovens …

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Please, no Bobbers! Introducing Adults to Fishing

“How about the spinnerbait?” Brad Feeken of Gretna asked as we fished from a john boat on a small pond in Cass County. “Buzzbait,” I responded. “Buzzbait?” “That’s the name of that lure,” I said.  “A spinnerbait is a little bit different.” These are the types of conversations that I have with my newest fishing partner, 41-year-old Brad Feeken, during our times on the water during the spring and summer – times that he would have never imagined having even a few years ago. Sit Still? No …

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Racin’ and ‘Reckin’ at the Regatta

Alpine and Rick Hickstein

With Chadron’s Fur Trade Days celebration nearing, a photo on the shelf caught my eye last week. It was a black and white image from my first entry in the Fur Trade Regatta, an annual canoe race at Chadron State Park. That year, I teamed up with Bart Hughes, a coworker at the Chadron Record. It blew my mind to think that photo was taken 20 years ago. The Fur Trade Days Regatta at Chadron State Park might not be …

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Pioneering Pine Ridge wildlife management

Young Lon Lemmon at prescribed fire

CRAWFORD, Neb. – When tourists catch sight of a bighorn sheep in the Pine Ridge, or a herd of bison grazing at Fort Robinson State Park, they likely give little thought to the people responsible for those animals being there. One such person is Lon Lemmon, a life-long resident of the Crawford area who was at the forefront of many projects resulting in the wild animals and lands people enjoy today during his 39-year career with the Nebraska Game and …

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Fisheries work by horse and mule

Packhorse along Soldier Creek

Sometimes, if you want to get where the fish are, you have to go where other people are not. Such was the case for fisheries biologists in the Pine Ridge last week, as they recruited the help of a Game and Parks Commissioner, a Wyoming outfitter, and six four-legged friends to study one of Nebraska’s most remote public fishing areas. With the help of horses and mules owned by Commissioner Rick Brandt of Roca and outfitter Casey Cary of Powell, …

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This one’s for the birds

Black-crowned night heron

I probably owe my job to birds as much as anything. Prior to my NEBRASKAland days, just after getting my student loans paid off, I bought a 100-500mm telephoto zoom lens and set out on the back roads of the Pine Ridge region in search of animals to photograph. Loving both the outdoors and camerawork, wildlife photography just seemed natural, so to speak. As I launched my new pastime, I was excited to get images of the charismatic mammals of …

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Dancing on the prairies

It has been another great year of viewing prairie chickens and sharp-tailed grouse as they performed their mating rituals on the prairie. The displays usually occur from mid-April through the first week of May. If you have never experienced the mating rituals of these two species of birds I suggest you put this on your to do list for next spring.  I cannot express how exciting the mating displays are as these birds gather on their leks to claim territories …

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