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2020 Photo Contest

Best of Show With more than 2,500 entries, the 2020 Nebraskaland Magazine Photo Contest drew a record number of stunning images from Nebraska photographers in the categories of Wildlife, Flora, Scenic and Recreation. This year’s Best of Show winner, “Young Buck” by Karen Kader of Omaha, was shot at Chalco Hills Recreation Area. She used Lightroom as her post-image software, adding shadow and accessing the program’s color sliders to accentuate the photo. We thank everyone who participated and look forward …

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Sleeping with the Cranes

An Adventure Story I’m often asked about the best place to see the sandhill cranes during their annual spring stopover in Nebraska. My reply: Do you want to see the cranes or experience them? The former requires getting a reservation in a riverside viewing blind, several of which are available in the central Platte River Valley. But if you really want to experience the cranes, I tell them, you need to spend the night with the birds on the river. …

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The Science of Antlers

Antler Basics Horns and antlers, decorative headgear sported by some of Nebraska’s best-known species, are not the same. Horns are keratin, a hair-like sheath, that grows over a bony core throughout an animal’s life. They are found on pronghorn, bison, cattle, goats and sheep. Antlers, however, are bones that grow each spring and summer and are shed, or cast, late the following winter as the animal’s testosterone levels decrease. You’ll find them on deer and elk. Antlers grow up to …

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Think Like a Buck to Find Shed Deer Antlers

A wildlife biologist I once knew used tell me that to be an effective shed deer antler hunter, you must know white-tailed deer biology and “think like a buck” during winter and early spring. I get the biology part, but “think like a buck?” Hmmm … Luke Meduna who’s the Big Game Program Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, responds to that shed antler hunting strategy by saying: “Yes, to be successful, a shed deer antler hunter needs …

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Going Outdoors Alone: The Splendor of Solitude

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 in this pandemic. Sure, it is safer and more fun to share your outdoor adventures with others in your household or “bubble,” but going solo isn’t all bad either. …

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Winter Wild Edibles in Nebraska

Foraging for wild foods on a cold, snowy day in Nebraska’s wintry landscape is an interesting and enjoyable outdoor activity. After all, foraging doesn’t have to be a fair-weather activity, right? 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 is hard work. Frigid temperatures, snow cover and low-light add to the difficulty. Winter foraging can sometimes be about slim-pickings, too. However, if you have basic knowledge of specific …

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Buttes of the Breakout

The Cheyenne Buttes provide one of the most scenic vantage points in the Pine Ridge. They also are forever tied to an event from Fort Robinson State Park’s history as a U.S. Cavalry post and got their name from a notorious event. Historians rate the happenings of Jan. 9, 1879, among the most significant events of the Indian Wars. While that day is certainly important, it is just one day among a period of more than three months. The previous …

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New specialty license plates benefit conservation, Nebraska trails

Sandhill crane license plate design

LINCOLN, Neb. – Starting Jan. 1, Nebraskans will have four new colorful specialty license plates to choose from for their vehicles to show their conservation pride. The newly designed plates, which will be available at the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles, celebrate Nebraska’s diverse wildlife and recreation opportunities. The three wildlife options include a Nebraska bighorn sheep, sandhill crane and ornate box turtle. The fourth option, championed by Bike/Walk Nebraska, includes a trail scene and the words “The Good Life …

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Ice Bubbles

As a photographer drawn mostly to small subjects like bugs and flowers, it can be hard to find much to photograph after the end of the growing season. Most invertebrates die, migrate or go dormant. Plants wither and turn brown. It’s fun to seek out interesting texture and patterns after a fresh snow or on a frosty morning, but those opportunities are relatively uncommon during most winters. When I start to feel especially stir crazy, one of my go-to remedies …

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Plains Onion

The Not So Plain Plains Onion Of our state’s six species of native onion, the Plains onion, though small in stature, has the largest, and in my opinion, most elegant flowers. Unlike the other onions, its flowers are scented, a sweet fragrance reminiscent of hyacinths or cloves. Unfortunately, hidden among the prairie grasses, this uncommon little onion is rarely seen, except when exposed by its colorful May blooms. Rose-colored Petals Aptly named, the Plains onion (Allium perdulce) grows throughout the …

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