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Why Wear Rubber Gloves When Handling Fish?

I continue to be called bad names for wearing them. Most recently, I was called a “super wimp” for having them on my hands. I have been labeled an “inadequate angler” since I have donned on them. I have been told that my “bravado” and “edge” have been lost when it comes to fishing because I am handling fish while wearing rubber gloves. Ah yes, THOSE GLOVES. People have also had their curiosity piqued by those of us who wear rubber …

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How to Avoid the Crowds When Going Camping

My neighbors told me the other day that they were heading out on a Friday night to camp at a popular state recreation area in order to “get away from it all” on a nice weekend. Hmmm … I wanted to tell them that most likely, they were heading an area to where it all will be happening with quite a few people there. But how do you steer clear of crowds when you’re trying to plan a summer camping …

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Victoria Springs State Recreation Area

An Oasis at the Edge of the Sandhills Victoria Springs State Recreation opened in August 1925, an estimated 4,500 people attended the celebration. These days, around 6,000 people visit in an entire year. It’s a quiet little park, which is exactly why those who visit do so. Some folks will say the 60-acre park is in the middle of nowhere. But that isn’t true. It’s only 6 miles off the beaten path of Nebraska Highway 2 if you head west …

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Backpacking the Pine Ridge Trail

An Adventure Story Through work and play, I have been no stranger to the Pine Ridge Trail. Portions of the route that transects the heart of public lands in the Pine Ridge escarpment between Chadron and Crawford have served me well as a way to access scenic landscapes and wildlife, or just enjoy a short hike or bike ride. Though I had been on many parts of the trail, which measures about 40 miles, I had never connected the dots …

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Out-of-the-(Tackle) Box Tips for Catching Channel Catfish

“Dang, I thought I had a big bass! Hey, it’s a big channel cat.” The channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), Nebraska’s official state fish, sometimes gets misunderstood, particularly it seems, by those who exclusively fish for bass and walleye. Catfish, especially the channel cats, have a reputation as bottom feeders that just lazily swim around sucking up stinky, dead stuff from the bottom. And that is not entirely true! I asked Chris Pokorny of Elkhorn, NE, who’s among Nebraska’s most avid …

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Try Tanking: A Fun Float Trip!

Want something fun, relaxing and unique to do with your family or friends this spring or summer? Well, well. I have an idea for you. How about floating a slow-moving, meandering, scenic Nebraska river downstream in a round, buoyant livestock watering tank? Tank floating on the picturesque Middle Loup River near Mullen, NE. Photo courtesy of Glidden Canoe Rental/The Sandhills Motel. I know what you’re thinking, trust me, I do. But, let me tell you that this is one of …

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Late Season Turkey Tips: Gettin’ That Gobbler

We are in the latter part of the season for spring wild turkey hunting in Nebraska. Using a baseball analogy, it is the bottom of the 9th inning, your team is behind, the bases are loaded, there two outs and you are up to bat! I don’t think there is any doubt about it, spring wild turkey hunting late in the season is challenging. However, there are still plenty of gobbles to be heard and birds to be worked plus …

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The Beaches of Bridgeport

Five sandpits in the North Platte Valley have created countless memories. One does not have to stray far from home to enjoy one of the Panhandle’s premiere getaways with shady campsites and sandy beaches. The 200-acre Bridgeport State Recreation Area is located along the North Platte River at the northwestern edge of the community for which it is named. It has 78 acres of clear water in five sandpit lakes with more than 70 first-come, first-served basic campsites. The lakes …

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Stalking Nebraska’s Wild Asparagus

The apple blossoms have emerged. Why is that important? It is a reliable indicator that tells me I now will find one of my most valued vegetables in Nebraska’s rural landscape — wild asparagus. Apple blossoms. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Sure enough, I was right! Wild asparagus emerging in early May in eastern Nebraska. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Wild asparagus, a hardy plant that comes back from the same root system every …

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Western Fireworks

In the pursuit of captivating photography, it sometimes pays to aim low. When developing an interest in nature photography years ago, capturing the subjects on these pages were at the bottom of my list. Yet, on countless mornings of taking photos of landscapes and wildlife, there they were: Little bursts of color around my feet. I already knew that pretty sunrises, sunsets and fauna were even more attractive with wildflowers in the scene. Soon, though, I learned a macro lens …

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