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How To Hunt Nebraska’s Wild Turkeys in Winter

I truly love wild turkeys and it’s no secret that I am a hardcore wild turkey hunter. I hunt wild turkeys in spring, fall and yes, in winter. I believe hunting the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) in the various seasons makes you a better, more knowledgeable, well-rounded turkey hunter because you gain intimate knowledge of the bird’s behavior. I know what you’re thinking. What kind of crazed hunter sets up for wild turkeys in the frigid, snow-covered landscape of a Nebraska December …

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The Clearwater Elk – A Follow-up

It was a bit quieter in farm country southwest of Clearwater this fall. Missing was the occasional bugle of a bull elk that showed up in Antelope County during the summer of 2006 when he was about 2 1/2 years old and stayed. “The Elk,” as he was known, spent the rest of his life in this neighborhood, leaving only when he headed 13 miles south to winter on the edge of the Sandhills in northeastern Wheeler County. The elk …

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Citizen Science

Making their own discoveries. Jessica Gieseke is a bumble bee-catching machine. She picks her way through a clump of goldenrod buzzing with flies and soldier beetles and spots her target. In one swift, graceful movement, Gieseke slides a vial along a stem, tips a bumble bee inside and caps the vial. The vial joins 25 others in her cooler packed with ice cubes. The ice chills the bees, rendering them sleepy and nearly immobile – a perfect photography subject. One …

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Ol’ Rough-legs

The rough-legged hawk may not stand out among raptors in looks, but it lives an interesting life. Perhaps you have seen this species along the road lately, but given its somewhat unassuming appearance, have not given it much thought. The rough-legged hawk, with its mottled brown plumage, blends in well with our landscape during the winter months. The rough-legged hawk is one of those species that logs many miles a couple of times annually. Those fence posts and utility poles …

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Turtles: Slowing Down for Winter

Some of Nebraska’s most common wildlife have the most magnificent survival abilities. A blast of below-zero temperatures got me thinking about a species I often catch sight of while casting a fishing rod over the soft water, but is nowhere to be seen around my holes in the ice. Painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) basking on a partially submerged log is a familiar scene at ponds throughout Nebraska, and much of the United States for that matter, during summer months. It …

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Eastern Redcedar Threatens Bird Habitats

Eastern redcedar invasion is the single largest threat to native grasslands across the Midwest, including the biologically unique Sandhills of Nebraska. This hardy, fast-growing species has long been appreciated for its use as an effective shelterbelt or natural snowfence; wildlife management agencies, including the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, have planted eastern redcedar to provide habitat and winter cover for wildlife. In retrospect, that wasn’t such a good idea. Eastern redcedar grows quickly and is extremely adaptable to a wide …

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Extremely Grateful

The season for gratitude and reflection is upon us. Thanksgiving week is when we remind our families and friends how much they mean to us and express our sincere appreciation for what positive things we have been given in life. While you are considering what you are thankful for, don’t forget nature. During the nine days of the recent firearm deer hunting season here in Cornhusker State, I selected fourteen elements to be extremely grateful for while I was in the …

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Firearm Deer Season: Extending the Legacy, Enjoying the Experience and Making Memories

Nebraska’s most popular hunt, the 9-day firearm deer season (Nov. 16 through Nov. 24) is in full swing. This is one of the absolute best times of year to be outside with the deer rut happening. My lovely wife of more than 32 years, Polly Wagner, says that everything comes to a grinding halt in the Wagner family with the opening of deer season. It’s a wonderful event, though. For many of us in the hunting lifestyle, the firearm deer …

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Lake Minatare opening to birdwatchers Dec. 7

MINATARE, Neb. — The public will have a special opportunity for viewing birds during an event at Lake Minatare State Recreation Area on Saturday, Dec. 7. The day marks the only opportunity for the public to access the 2,158-acre reservoir on the North Platte National Wildlife Refuge for its annual closure between Oct. 15 and Jan. 14. Birdwatchers who want to participate may arrive at Scout’s Rest Cabin at the lake’s northwest corner any time from 10 a.m. to noon …

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How To Best Photograph A Hunter With Their Harvested Deer

You are a deer hunter and you’re mentoring a new, young hunter in the field. The young deer hunter has just successfully shot their first deer. Congratulations! Knuckle bumps and high fives! Now, the opportunity is there for you to photographically capture the moment with the young hunter and their deer for all your friends and family to see and to upload a pic to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s website for the new Take ‘Em Hunting challenge and …

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