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Wildcat Hills: A Wild Place

Whether you’re looking for state-of-the-art facilities, or just a great view in the pines, this Panhandle park has it. High on the list of Nebraska’s captivating scenery and natural assets are the Wildcat Hills. It seems an understatement to label this topographical spectacle as “hills,” as it is actually a land of rugged buttes, ridges and canyons with topographical elements rising upwards to 1,000 feet above the North Platte Valley. Some of the state’s most recognizable landforms – Chimney Rock, …

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The Divine Devil’s Den

Scientists of yesteryear agree: this crevice in far northwestern Nebraska is in a class by itself. Western Nebraska has many landforms labeled canyons. Each contradicts Nebraska’s “flat” stereotype, but a true box canyon – one featuring steep walls on each side with single access for entrance and exit – is a rarity in the state. One site in the northwest corner of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s northwestern-most property fills the bill as such even though it does not …

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Outdoors in a Thunderstorm or Tornado: What Should You Do or Not Do?

It’s the spring and summer storm season in Nebraska. You’re­ on a leisurely canoe/camping trip on Nebraska’s Elkhorn River. It’s a warm, humid spring afternoon. You’re unloading your canoe where you have permission to camp. Suddenly, you feel a few raindrops splat on your forehead as the sky becomes tumultuous and rapidly begins to darken. Then you hear loud claps of thunder in the distance. What should you do or not do? If you find yourself outdoors when a thunderstorm or tornado …

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Hunters, Anglers: Become Bird Watchers!

I am a hunter. I am an angler. I am a bird watcher. I love to watch birds, especially when I am hunting or fishing. I love watching all birds, not just the game birds I hunt. I enjoy viewing them intently and trying to capture some halfway decent photos of them. If you’re a hunter or an angler, you should become a bird watcher. I’ll explain why in a moment. May is a great month to view birds. In …

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Saddling Up Out West

For exploring the rugged and spacious public lands of the Panhandle, it is tough to beat a mode of transportation that has been around a while. The Panhandle of western Nebraska’s rugged buttes, sweeping grasslands, rolling hills and ponderosa pine forests spur an urge of exploration for countless visitors each year. For many a seasoned cowpoke on down to the greenest of greenhorns, their most memorable experiences while visiting this region have been atop a mode of transportation that has …

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Morels Aren’t the Only Edible Fungus in Spring

Along with finding and picking morel mushrooms, there is another edible wild fungus growing in your moist woodlands that you should know and consider harvesting and making for dinner — the dryad’s saddle. Dryad’s saddle? Say, what? The dryad’s saddle (Polyporus squamosus) , a.k.a., pheasant back’s mushroom, or hawks wing, is a widespread edible wild fungi that is easy to spot beginning in late April and continuing into May. Found east of the Rockies and potentially throughout Nebraska, it is a common basidiomycete bracket fungus …

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About Morel Mushrooms This Spring

There is no doubt that your morel mushroom hunting grounds along river bottoms and their tributaries in eastern and central Nebraska were greatly impacted by recent catastrophic flooding. This is the most widespread damage the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has experienced due to a natural disaster. In my 40 years with the agency and growing up near the Platte River, I have never witnessed any natural catastrophe to this magnitude. So, as an outdoor enthusiast, maybe you’ve been thinking: …

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Theft of Black Walnut Trees

I am shaking my head. It is so hard to believe. This scenario has been among the most surprising and shocking in my career as a conservation professional. More on that in a bit. All of us realize that wildlife-related crimes know no boundaries. Just like poaching game and fish, there are unethical, unscrupulous people, motivated purely by greed, who seek to profit without regard for natural resources, private or public property and ecosystem health. But now, valuable woodland habitat is …

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13 Ways to Cure Cabin Fever

It’s winter. The daylight is short. The nights are long and dreary. Air temperatures outside are cold, downright frigid at times. There’s probably some snow cover. We are all spending more a lot of time indoors this season, aren’t we? It is that time of year when we get that cooped-up, restless, nothing-to-do feeling that is referred to as “cabin fever.” Stuck inside, too many of us get weary and lethargic and spend long, endless hours watching TV re-runs or …

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Post-Season Scouting For Deer

If you’re a deer hunter in Nebraska, chances are you have wrapped up or are getting ready to wrap up your season (the late deer hunting season closes at 30 minutes after sunset on Jan. 15). Question for you: Have you ever considered scouting after the last deer hunting season closes for the remainder of the winter? I have and I do it! Deer hunting is a year-round process and post-season scouting for deer is part of it! So, why …

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