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Roadside Viewing in Nebraska

Alternative Routes and Scenic Drives Best Ways to Travel Through State Desoto National Wildlife Refuge Drive the roads through the Desoto National Wildlife Refuge one afternoon and there’s no telling what you’ll see. Located 25 miles north of Omaha on Highway 30, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, ring-necked pheasants, waterfowl and bald eagles are visible from roads. A vehicle entry fee of $3 is charged, but waived for those with a The DeSoto Refuge annual pass ($15.00), Federal Duck Stamp and …

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15 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, binge-watching …

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Prairie Seeds in Winter

By autumn, the seeds of most prairie plants have fallen, and with luck, pounding rain, digging animals or winter frost heaving will work them into the soil to await germination. Some seeds, however, are stragglers — held in pods, shriveled fruits or tight bracts to face the elements of winter aboveground. Many of these will fall prey to hungry birds and mammals, and a lucky few will pass through the foragers’ gut unharmed and be dispersed about the land. Others …

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A Winter Hike

A Great Time to Observe Nature Anyone can hike on a warm day, surrounded by birdsong and verdant meadows of wildflowers. The world is full of sights and sounds. But in the winter? That sounds ridiculous. It’s cold outside, the plants are all brown and animals are either hibernating or vacationing in warmer places. What are you supposed to do, tromp through the snow, bundled up like that one kid in that one movie? Well, yes. Whether you explore the …

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Foraging for Winter Wild Edibles in Nebraska

Gathering wild foods in Nebraska is not just a spring, summer or fall outdoor activity, it can be done in winter. What? Winter! Seriously. Don’t stop reading. Stay with me here. But let’s get this straight: Foraging for wild plant foods in winter is not easy. It’s tough, it’s rough, it’s cold, it’s hard work. It’s challenging, to say the least. Frigid temperatures, snow cover and low-light add to the difficulty. Winter foraging can sometimes be about slim-pickings, too. However, …

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Going Outdoors Alone in Winter: Survival and Splendor

I treasure my time spent alone in nature or in a rural setting, especially this time of year in Nebraska. If I don’t get some alone time in the great outdoors, I end up getting a little restless, grumpy and cabin fever-like (just ask my wife, Polly). Alone time is essential with the hustle and bustle of the season and all that is happening in this world. Sure, it is safer and more fun to share your outdoor adventures with …

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WMA Habitat Fuels Songbird Migration

By Stephen Brenner and Joel Jorgensen, Nongame Bird Program managers Migration is a critically important event in the lives of many avian species. This period accounts for over a quarter of the annual cycle for some birds and is extremely risky as individual birds travel long distances through unfamiliar areas. Consequently, many species experience higher rates of mortality compared to the breeding or wintering periods. Some of the smallest migratory species in North America also can travel the longest distances, …

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Rose Creek Mausoleum

Tucked away in a sandstone outcropping in Jefferson County is an oddity that will amaze anyone who visits: a rock-cut tomb carved by hand a century ago. Nelson McDowell was reportedly a colorful character. And if you visit the “mausoleum” he carved out of a sandstone cliff overlooking Rose Creek in Jefferson County, and later learn that it may have simply been a hobby to keep him busy and in good health rather than a place he intended to be …

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Holiday Gift Ideas for the Hard-to-Buy-for Outdoor Enthusiast

I know it sounds cliché, but I’ll be the first to admit it. As a hardcore outdoor enthusiast, finding a holiday gift for me is a difficult task. In fact, whether you hunt, trap, fish, boat, kayak, camp, backpack, hike, bike or watch wildlife, I bet you are also in the hard-to-buy-for category. Am I right? We are a picky lot, aren’t we? We are a detailed bunch. We know what we need and desire to have. And what the …

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Honoring a Conservation Legend

After 47 years of service, including nine years serving as director of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Jim Douglas is retiring. He has celebrated a lifetime of conservation accomplishments. “Ask yourself what kind of world you want to live in and leave for your kids,” said Director Jim Douglas, a statement that says so much about what he has accomplished during his 47 years in conservation. For the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, he has served in a variety …

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