Archive for the ‘ Family Outdoors ’ Category

Grouse Nirvana

After  a long week hosting the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Conservation Ed Training Academy I took the weekend to head out west with my father-in-law to chase grouse.  We had a blast!  I think grouse hunting is just plain awesome and truly enjoy chasing these psychotic sandhill chickens.  You will walk a ton (like I need that kind of impact to my cholesterol level) but in some of the best scenery in the state.  Grouse can pop up at any time and give you little warning but when their numbers are large it is a blast (yes pun intended). 

Grouse can be a challenge for some and generally we have luck when the weather gets a bit cold and they tend to huddle up on the protected side of hills from the wind.  On warmer days, the shady side of hills is best.  They are not like pheasant and do not care for thick cover grass but rather favor more choppy sand hills with mixed grasses that have been thinned a bit by grazing.  Give it a trip or two and you’ll get the hang of it. 

We also enjoyed a bit of waterfowl in the sandhill potholes and of course had no intention of going through an entire pheasant opener without chasing them too!  Life is good!

Get Em’ Out There

Rawly

Last night of camp with a tired old dog (the lab was tired too)!

Did I mention I like a BIG fire?

Finally a critter he was familiar with

Every morning was a gift!

Not a lot of trees in them there hills...

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Nebraska Pheasant Outlook

I have heard a lot of discussion lately on the outlook for pheasants in Nebraska this year.  Much of the state will be similar to last year with the hot spot likely in southwest Nebraska.  Several things are impacting our numbers right now.  First, the winter we survived was an unusually tough one with cold temps and prolonged deep snow.  That was hard for most wildlife to survive and undoubtedly had an impact on pheasants.  They can scratch through some snow but not several feet!  Second, we had a really cool and wet spring/early summer which likely did not help pheasant recruitment this year.  Such weather impacts insect populations and is not ideal for young chicks.

My suggestion is to understand these impacts and enjoy the season.  In areas of quality habitat, you will find birds and your dog will be thrilled.  In areas of poor habitat,  hunting may be more difficult.  The key in all this is having quality habitat for pheasants to survive weather outbreaks such as our last winter and spring.  The Commission and Pheasants Forever have been working with landowners for several years now to enhance pheasant habitat and the benefits of such efforts are starting to pay off.   More and more landowners are changing practices to benefit pheasants and we hope such efforts will continue. 

Don’t get discourage as the birds are out there.  Find good habitat and you will find roosters.  Enjoy each outing with friends and dogs and appreciate the birds that they bring to you.

Get Em’ Out There

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What its all about!

Outdoors-Woman By Choice

Dutch oven cooking...my favorite session! Don't know what was in the pots but it was sure good!

Peering over the steering wheel of my truck, I could see not just one but several of them as they made their way toward the lodge.  They looked determined to accomplish and in remarkably good spirit.  There must have been nearly 100 of them.  They were all demanding the same thing…acceptance into a male dominated sport!  I could not be more impressed with the 2010 graduating class of the Nebraska Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program we recently held  at the State 4H Camp at the Bessey Division of the Halsey National Forest.  These gals were as determined as any guy to learn to hunt, fish, shoot, hike, kayak,  camp, learn outdoor survival techniques, cooking in the outdoors and so much more!  These women are not intimidated and refuse to let the best life has to offer pass them by simply because dad never took them hunting or such.  They have my utmost respect!

For those women looking for further opportunities in outdoor programs, we are offering a number of Beyond BOW programs that include kayaking, deer and turkey hunting, fishing, camping, and much more.  For more information go to www.nebraskabow.com and let the good life begin!

Get Em’ Out There

Rawly

Hershy discusses the finer points of tree stand safety

Educator Christy Christiansen shows the ladies how important a fall restraint harness is when hunting from a tree stand

Where You Been?

I would  like to say that ever since the hunting seasons opened,  Hershy and I have been in the field but that just wouldn’t be completely true.  Sure we have had a few outings to the field (most recent was a grouse hunt while out west) but most of our September – October to  date has been working.   One such effort was our new Family Outdoor Adventure Camp. 

This new program found us at Camp Kateri with around 45 participants for a weekend of kayaking, fishing, camping and shooting sports.  We hosted the program to get more families to take the outdoor plunge and become outdoor families.  We had a great time and I think the families learned a lot.  It is really rewarding to watch kids shoot their first gun, bow or catch their first fish.  Getting Mom and Dad to participate is definitely a step toward making good stewards of our natural  resources!  We are definitely planning to  host this one again. 

Are they enjoying the outdoors or what?

Water mayhem?

The families really enjoyed learning how to shoot clays and many were interested in doing this more oftern....as a family!

Get Em’ Out There

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Win A Free Upland Bird Hunt

Nebraska was one of  only a few states to pioneer a new marketing effort designed to get us dads with kids of hunting age to take them out this fall.  The add campaign is pretty cool as was run in our latest version of NEBRASKAland along with multiple other publications, news paper, etc.  Let me know if you see it.  The campaign directs dads to www.outdoornebraska.org/youth where they can learn how easy it is in Nebraska to get kids into the field this fall.  They can also sign up to win one of several upland bird hunts in Nebraska thanks to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.  I highly encourage all hunters to look at the site, register and then take a youth hunting.  With the recent $5 youth deer and turkey tags available, along with quality youth only upland game seasons, it has never been easier to take your kids hunting!

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Family Outdoor Adventure Camp

Hershy and I will be hosting a family outdoor adventure camp for families in eastern Nebraska September 25-26 in cooperation with Camp Kateri just south of York, NE.  The camp will allow families to participate in fun outdoor programs including fishing, kayaking, shotgunning, archery, air guns, camping and outdoor cooking.  Families of up to six are just $99 and we have room for two more families in the camp.  To register just follow the link below and send in the form with your hard earned cash.  I guarantee you will enjoy the weekend!

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Missouri River Outdoor Expo

Folks if you have made the short drive to Ponca State Park in northeast Nebraska for the Fall Expo you really owe it to yourself and family to get up there.  The largest Expo in Nebraska (and maybe the midwest) Ponca has something for everyone…from shooting rifle, shotgun,  muzzleloaders, archery, big game rifles, kayaking, Missouri River boat rides, fishing, bow fishing, camping, tree stand safety, outdoor villages, crafts, games, wildlife activities…you just can’t go wrong this weekend at Ponca. 

Jeff Fields and the team at Ponca have done an outstanding job, along with all the volunteers that make this huge program such a success.  And of course, just visiting Ponca State Park in the fall is a treat in itself.  The attitude amongst all the staff and volunteers just seems to foster a fun and exciting time for all who are fortunate enough to participate in this grand event.  Don’t miss out!  The Expo will run Saturday through Sunday this weekend only.  We’ll see you out there!

Get Em’ Out There

Rawly

Shooting is a big part of the Ponca Expo and is a lot of fun for anyone!