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What to know about the morel mushroom hunting season that has begun

Good news … The morel mushroom hunting season has begun! Morels are now being found near dead and decaying hardwood trees like cottonwoods and elms in moist eastern Nebraska river bottom woodlands. Tersh Kepler of Omaha is Nebraska’s morel mushroom hunting expert with more than 50 years of experience and he points out there are some important things to know about morel mushroom hunting before venturing to the woods. Kepler found early season morels with the arrival of May and …

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Conestoga — A Model Lake

Conestoga Lake is a peaceful retreat. But it’s not as quiet as it used to be. That’s what happens whenever improvements are made to a fishery near Nebraska’s capital city. And the improvements made to Conestoga were many. Located south of Emerald, Conestoga State Recreation Area is one of 11 Salt Valley Lakes built around Lincoln in the 1960s and 1970s by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The dam on Holmes Creek that created the reservoir was completed in …

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Five Trails to Hike This Summer

By Monica Macoubrie, Wildlife Education Specialist I recently saw the most incredible meme: It compared hiking with a naturalist versus hiking with someone who was there for physical activity. The naturalist finished the 1-mile hike in about 3 hours, while the person motivated by exercise finished in about 11 minutes. You may be wondering why the naturalist took so long to finish the hike. Well, if you have ever hiked with a naturalist, or someone who appreciates nature, you know …

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Spring’s Other Tasty Edible Mushroom: The Dryad’s Saddle

Topside photo of a dryad’s saddle, a.k.a. pheasant’s back or hawks wing, in Nebraska. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Hey, what’s that mushroom? Hmmm … Wonder if it’s edible? Along with finding and picking morel mushrooms, there is another edible wild fungi growing in your moist woodlands that you should know and consider harvesting and making for dinner — the dryad’s saddle. Dryad’s saddle? The dryad’s saddle (Cerioporus squamosus, formerly known as Polyporus squamosus), and referred to as …

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Turkey Talk with a Top Caller

Spring wild turkey hunting all about the “talk.” Really, it is about communication. You, the turkey hunter, make the sounds of a sexually appealing hen and the interested, aroused toms gobble back. Very simply, you are talking to that bird.  Now, what you are saying, how you are saying it and when you are saying it is the source of much discussion in turkey hunting circles. So, that being stated, I reached out to Douglas Herman of Wahoo, NE, a renown, …

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When to Expect the First Morel Mushrooms of the Season

Tersh Kepler of Omaha, NE, one of the Midwest’s foremost morel mushroom hunting experts, is hoping for two things these early spring days: More what he calls “liquid gold” and rays from BOB in the sky. The “liquid gold” would be more measurable precipitation in the form of rain and the rays from BOB would be warmth provided by the big orange ball in the sky, the sun. Kepler says the conditions are still dry at this point in Nebraska …

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A More Family Friendly Lake McConaughy

In registering visitors for campsites, Nebraska’s largest reservoir sailed uncharted waters in 2021. The predominant verdict is that it was a highly successful voyage. Last April, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission implemented changes needed to create a safer, family-friendly environment at the 22-mile-long Lake McConaughy and the smaller reservoir below its dam, Lake Ogallala. One change was requiring reservations during the peak season for camping at the two state recreation areas. The new system, largely implemented to combat problems …

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Spring Forward With These Outdoor Activities

Spring. It has arrived on the calendar. The amount daylight is increasing. The weather is warming. In Nebraska, there are a multitude of activities that you can do in early spring. Here are several to encourage you to step outside. View Early Spring Birds. A wide variety of opportunities await Nebraska bird watchers in early spring. The migration of wild fowl is truly something to behold! The spring spectacle of the sandhill crane migration along the Platte River in south-central …

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Spring Wild Turkey Hunting: Addiction, Obsession, Passion

Noted turkey hunter and outdoor writer Tom Kelly once wrote, “I do not hunt turkeys because I want to. I hunt them because I have to. I would, really, rather not. But I am helpless in the grip of my compulsion.” I completely agree! Anyone who has ever spent a gorgeous Nebraska spring morning with their back leaning against the base of a mature hardwood tree or sitting in a camouflaged blind, using a call and decoys to lure a …

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Winter Wildlife Tracking

By Monica Macoubrie, Wildlife Education Specialist Winter is normally a time for hibernation. Sleeping five to sometimes nine months out of the year, animals will lay coiled up and cozy in an underground burrow, a pile of leaves or, as humans do, under a heated blanket in our beds. The negative temperatures, face-stinging wind, and feet and feet of shoveled snow could make anyone want to hibernate all season long in their heated homes. However, winter is a fabulous time …

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