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Wildlife related articles and blogs from the staff of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Nov 5 – #HelpMeHunt LIVE Twitter Chat

OFW enrollments have opened more than 276,000 acres of private land including 400 acres of open waters and 41 miles of river to public hunting and fishing. Photo by Colby Kerber/NGPC.

It’s prime time for hunting in Nebraska and next Wednesday, November 5, over the lunch hour you will have the chance pick the brains of NGPC Hunting Outreach Specialists Jeff Rawlinson and Aaron “Hershy” Hershberger.  Hit them up for tips, tricks and thoughts regarding the upcoming November deer, waterfowl, upland bird or other hunting season. You can be part of the live Twitter Chat (12 noon – 1:00 p.m. CST) by tweeting questions to @NEGameandParks using  #HelpMeHunt.  If you are ... Read More »

Hunting the Three-toed Woodpecker in the Pine Ridge

American Three-toed Woodpecker

Last weekend, Melissa Panella, a fellow NGPC biologist, and I took the long drive from Lincoln to East Ash Creek Canyon in the Pine Ridge, southeast of Chadron.  We were on a mission to find an American Three-toed Woodpecker.  This species is a major rarity for Nebraska and major rarities are always a source of excitement.  We hiked through the canyon for a mile or two and, as though we had inside information, we found the bird!  We were afforded some great views, ... Read More »

A Sandhills Mixed Bag

A great mixed bag opportunity in central Nebraska

I can still remember my fist trip to the incredible Nebraska Sandhills with a shotgun in hand.  It was nearly 25 years ago and it literally changed my life. The Nebraska Sandhills are home to many species of game birds including the northern zone of our ducks coming from the Dakotas into the central part of the state as well as my favorite game bird of all time, Sharp-tailed grouse.   There is no better place to chase this bird ... Read More »

What Does the Buck Say?

1280px-White-tailed_deer

A year or so ago there was this song/music video that enjoyed some popularity.  It was something about “What Does the Fox Say?” I guess I am getting old and apparently ain’t too hip on my pop culture, because I did not get it. I found something similar on the internet, a spoof, “What Does the Buck Say?”  I can relate to it a little more. Now, before someone complains, I am not condoning the unsafe practices that might be ... Read More »

Let the Bird Season Begin

The Pheasant Crew

As I pointed out in a 2012 Blog,  tomorrow (10/25) marks the beginning of a new year for many upland bird hunters.  And according to the 2014 Upland Game Outlook we can expect to do a bit better than last year, especially with quail.  I hope this an upward trend that continues for some time – suitable habitat and weather being the limiting factors – and know I am not alone. I am a bird hunter, with a slight bias ... Read More »

Smoky Gray Photos

Scott Justice of Chadron harvested this turkey of the erythristic, or red, color phase. (Submitted photo)

“Smoky gray” isn’t often a quality we photographers seek in images, but it’s a different story when it comes to turkeys. I was pleased to receive a few photos of smoky gray phase wild turkeys after requesting them in a post last week. While most of the responses I received were from northwestern Nebraska, it appears some really unique birds, ranging from all white plumage to a colorful mix, are seen on occasion throughout the state. The most eye-catching of ... Read More »

Panhandle Passages: The Great White Turkey

Wild turkeys, one of which is likely a "smoky gray" phase bird, walk through grass in the Nebraska National Forest. (Photo by Justin Haag)

As I was driving through the Nebraska National Forest southeast of Chadron on Thursday, a pleasant surprise greeted me as I rounded a bend in the road. Discovering a flock of wild turkeys is certainly no cause for amazement these days but one bird predominantly covered by white feathers stood out among the group. The big bird didn’t give me much time to get a photo before it disappeared over the horizon, but you should be able to see that ... Read More »

Please report Whooping Crane sightings

Whooping Crane identification

With four Whooping Cranes already in Texas and four more recently reported along the Platte River, it is time to remind folks to be on the lookout for Whooping Cranes in Nebraska.  Over the next several weeks the rest of the population of Whooping Cranes in the Central Flyway is expected to migrate through Nebraska.  The Nongame Bird Program leads our agency’s efforts to track these birds as they move through the state, but we rely on a great deal of ... Read More »

Bald Birds

Photo by Steve Zechmann

Northern cardinals are familiar birds found throughout most of Nebraska. But sometimes familiar species can become unfamiliar by exhibiting an odd plumage. Sometimes an explanation for such an aberration is well-known and readily available. Other times an explanation is more elusive. The entirely bald head exhibited by this northern cardinal is unusual, but not unprecedented. Birds similar to this have been observed throughout the species’ range. However, why a cardinal would lose essentially all of its head feathers at one ... Read More »

An Old Coot Trick

Spread of Coot

It happens just about every year.  The ducks that are around have been around for a while and they seem to have it all figured out.  They not only avoid your decoys, many disappear during shooting hours and those that stick around land on the wrong side of the pond. Some call it the October Lull.  But all of us wildfowlers grumble bad words as we watch our lonely dekes bobbing in the water. We try our best to derive ... Read More »