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From the pages of NEBRASKAland Magazine.

Why I Hunt

Steve O’Hare and Eric Fowler spending one of many fall mornings hunting geese.  
Eric Fowler/NEBRASKAland Magazine

I like to hunt. I really like to hunt. A lot. You could say it’s who I am. Why? The normal clichéd answers might be that I enjoy the recreation, exercise, spending time with friends and family, the taste of game meat, or even that I’m satisfying primordial urges. All of these are important, but what I enjoy most is that hunting melts the stress of everyday life from my body. When I hunt, whether I’m sitting in the whitetail ... Read More »

Panhandle Passages: One for the Snakes

The snake uses its forked tongue, which many snake-haters find disturbing, to sense chemicals in the air and gain clues of the presence of predators and prey. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)

After visiting with a Chadron community service organization last week, I wrapped up the presentation with a slideshow of wildlife photos from western Nebraska and moved on to questions. One question kind of caught me off-guard. A friend in the audience asked why I hadn’t included any photos of snakes. I didn’t even realize that I had not given any time to reptiles, but he was right. I was certainly guilty of favoring other classes above reptiles. Mammals, birds, amphibians ... Read More »

Bird Banding Coming to Chadron State Park, Wildcat Hills

Melanie Mancuso of the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory examines a red crossbill that was captured at a bird banding station at the Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area in August 2013. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)

The public is invited to get up-close and personal with bird populations at two parks in the Nebraska Panhandle this fall. During the coming month, banding stations will be operating at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area near Gering and Chadron State Park near Chadron. The public is invited to join the bird-banders during two special sessions, Saturday, Aug. 30, at Chadron and Saturday, Sept. 13, at Wildcat Hills. Attendees of the informational sessions will watch as biologists retrieve birds from ... Read More »

NEBRASKAland Summer Residency Program

Painted turtle

This summer, Lexi Christensen, a student at John Brown University in northwest Arkansas, became NEBRASKAland Magazine’s first summer photography resident. During this time, she continued her development as a photographer by shooting various assignments for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, receiving critiques of her work throughout, researching story topics, and uploading her files into NEBRASKAland’s cloud-based storage system. You can see some of her work below. NEBRASKAland is already planning next summer’s residency. If you know any college students ... Read More »

Dog Days of Fishing

Jeff Kurrus/NEBRASKAland Magazine

Every year I hear and read accounts of anglers who think that August is a slow time for fishing. It’s hot, the dog days of summer are upon us, and in most cases, there are more than enough groceries for fish to help themselves too. Fish can be lethargic, seem to disappear, and not be interested in being caught at all. While part of that is true, not all of it is. It’s true, in lots of cases this year, that ... Read More »

Footsteps Through McKelvie

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A lot of people can tell you about the beauty of the Sandhills from the road, the forever green dunes rolling by at sixty five miles an hour. Or they can wax poetic from the seat of a canoe or tube—the slow meander of sandy bluffs and horizontal cedar trees. To many Nebraskans, the Sandhills are its scenic secret, an entire ecology different from anything else in the world.  But the very thing that makes them so beautiful also makes ... Read More »

Where the Carp Goes

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An extraordinary aspect to wildlife management these days is the extent to which technology is being used to learn more about animals. It seems telemetry, the process of using tracking devices attached to the animals to collect data, is increasingly being used to monitor a variety of species. In my time with the Game and Parks Commission, I’ve photographed researchers putting collars on animals as big as elk and as small as burrowing owls. I even read an article not ... Read More »

Turning Ten: The Missouri River Outdoor Expo

Jon Farrar/NEBRASKAland Magazine

More than 52,000 visitors in two days. Nearly 1,000 volunteers. Over 100 hands-on exhibits. Sixteen trolleys. Three locations in one park. Two world-record holders. One decade. As the Missouri River Outdoor Expo reaches a number of milestones, perhaps the most notable is the countless memories created each year at Ponca State Park. Located along the Missouri River near Ponca, the park transforms into a busy city – Nebraska’s fourth largest during the event – accommodating thousands of outdoor enthusiasts of ... Read More »

Wild Gooseberries and Currants

Gerry Steinauer/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

When I was a kid, my uncle Bill once picked a pail of wild gooseberries from woods in Pawnee County. Clueless what to do with them, he gave them to my mother. She baked them into what was probably a very good gooseberry pie, but I did not care for it. It was too tart for my tastes. Of all the possible gifts our candy store-owning uncle might furnish – he brought bitter fruit.  My next encounter with gooseberry pie ... Read More »

Buffalo Bill Ranch SHP and SRA

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Trail Rides are a new addition to Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park (SHP) and State Recreational Area (SRA) this year. The rides, provided by Dusty Trails LLC, take visitors through the SRA traveling along the scenic North Platte River. The hour-long rides are a great way to show visitors the beautiful area, some wildlife including deer, turkeys and many bird and plant species. Jason Tonsfeldt, Superintendent of Buffalo Bill Ranch SHP and SRA is pleased with the amount of ... Read More »