In the Wild with Greg Wagner


 My good friend and avid outdoorsman David Hendee, Outdoor Writer for the Omaha World-Herald newspaper, put together his annual hunting special in today’s edition (Sunday, September 19th edition) of the paper in the sports section. Nicely done, David! Buy a copy at your local newsstand (I’m old-school, I like to have a cup of coffee and read the paper in-hand). 


Of course, you can also view the series of articles that David wrote here at this link, including his byline:    

Here David Hendee and I prepare to judge a wild game cooking competition.

  See you out there, or perhaps at your local coffee shop, reading the paper.



Wait, wait … Nope, it’s not Greg Wagner blogging … It’s Ponca State Park Superintendent Jeff Fields writing about spending a day at the park’s popular Missouri River Outdoor Expo this weekend of Sept. 18th and 19th … Let’s see what he has to say and why we should attend it …    

    Sometime around the beginning of September an internal clock chimes within the hearts and minds of many happy families, staff, volunteers, etc.  – the Missouri River Outdoor Expo at Ponca State Park next to the friendly town of Ponca, NE is almost here again!  I’m not sure what exactly triggers this.   Maybe it’s the slight hint of crimson in the sumac, the cool crisp evenings, the scenic Missouri River at sunrise or sunset,

or the giant heap of papers, sticky notes, clipboards, coffee cups, and half-eaten food on my desk. Maybe it’s the large piles of signs, tents, food, shotgun shells, clay pigeons, bows, arrows, Dutch ovens… that form a tunnel down our office hallway.  Nonetheless, it’s EXPO time!

   To those that have never attended the Missouri River Outdoor Expo, let me walk you through a day at the event.  Upon arrival (get here early by the way because there is way more than you can do in a day), you’ll be directed to a parking area in the back 40.  From this parking lot, a shuttle equipped with genuine bales of hay and a friendly Expo shuttle guide will take you to the site of your first adventure – the Resource and Education Center.

    For starters, at the Resource and Education Center you can see jumping dogs, crawling critters, birds being banded, giant elk antlers, slithering snakes, the camper of your dreams, kids catching trout, wood carvers, and a live bald eagle.  After grabbing a chili dog, nachos, and two ice cream bars, you’ll catch another shuttle to your next adventure – the Riverfront.

   Upon arriving at the Riverfront you’ll be greeted by a potpourri of fragrances including the signature aroma of the Missouri River, wood smoke, funnel cakes, trapping lure, barbecue, fried fish, and mules.  The atmosphere of the Riverfront can best be described as a blend of a county fair, a sport show, a rendezvous,

and a family vacation.  At the Riverfront, you can paddle a kayak,

climb a rock wall, eat a funnel cake, ride in a flat bottom boat, try your hand casting a fly rod, pack a mule, and get licked by puppy. After grabbing a bag of Kettle Korn, it’s time to head to our next adventure – the Shooter’s Village.

   As you sit on the shuttle headed to the Shooter’s Village, you might ask yourself “What is there to do at the Shooter’s Village?”   A better answer to this question might be “What can’t I do the Shooter’s Village”.  You can shoot a bow and arrow,

a clay pigeon with a shotgun, a metal gong with a muzzleloader, a spinning target with a .22, a paper target with a pellet gun, and tin can with a sling shot.   After grabbing a turkey leg and snow cone, unfortunately it’s time to leave. 

   On the way home the family will be talking about their favorite Expo experiences and making plans for future outdoor adventures.  Aside from your excessive food purchases, a cool camouflage Expo cap, and a box of decoys, you’ve pretty much got through the day with your wallet unopened.   The total package value of a day at the Missouri River Outdoor Expo at  Ponca State Park – PRICELESS!!! See you out here, at the expo!!! Click this link for more details about Ponca State Park’s fun Missouri River Outdoor Expo:


So, when is the absolute best time to go hunting or fishing in the fall here in Nebraska? I’ll tell ya’. There’s no debating the answer. It’s when the Nebraska Cornhusker football team is playing a game during the day on television(amid legal shooting hours for game animals/birds). Home games at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln even take more people away from the field or our waters here in Nebraska. 


Now, don’t get me wrong here, I’m just about as big a Big Red fan as they come! 


However, I am not as big a fan as Daryl Bauer in our Fisheries Division is. Check out the fan attire gone overboard. I’m not sitting next to him if he’s wearing those coveralls either! Sorry DB. 


 When asked if a Husker football game ever interferes with major Saturday hunting season openers such as firearm deer, my answer pointedly is “NO!” I’m in the field with my sons, brothers, nephews, cousins, friends, etc. Listen, if I would have forewent time in the field in 2008 during the firearm deer hunting season opener when Nebraska played K-State on Nov. 15th, my young son Noah would not have shot his first deer – this nice whitetail buck. 


See you out there, DVR-ing the game, and not having to contend with many folks in the field or on the water! 

Where is everyone on this WMA marsh? Oh, that's right, it's a Husker game day.

 Go Big Red! Click here for the official Cornhusker football schedule:


Come join Conservation Officer Mike Luben of Colon, NE and myself at a fun-filled deer event on Oct. 2nd in Wahoo. See the post card below. This event is well attended by deer hunters and landowners. Thanks Charlie for inviting us! See you all there and bring your appetites!  


I’ve been working with some folks on the promotion of the National Pheasant Fest event that is coming back to Omaha’s Qwest Center, January 28-30, 2011. Hunters, pheasant lovers, landowners, resource professionals and others – mark your calendars NOW! Remember what fun we had when Pheasant Fest was held here in January of 2005? Boy, I sure do! The event was held at the Qwest Center and included 325 exhibitor booths. This event had a $2.5 million impact on the city of Omaha! Time to prepare and get pumped up for the return of this big shindig in January!

For those of you asking: What exactly is Pheasant Fest? Well, Pheasant Fest is a spectacular trade show that will focus on wildlife conservation, upland game bird hunting, dog training, and wildlife habitat management and restoration.

In connection with the trade show, Pheasants Forever will hold seminars on habitat improvement, pheasant hunting, shooting sports, wild game cooking, dog training, conservation and lots more! Here’s a link to click to get more information:

Hunting dogs are a big part of the National Pheasant Fest.

See you there, at the Qwest Center, January 28-30, 2011. Oh and shhh … Nobody tell my wife, I’ll be talking to the hunting dog experts about buying a new pup …. 



A short note to let you know that we at Game and Parks will be at the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island. The fair runs August 27-September 6. Click this link to the fair’s website: 

Our 20 ft. Game and Parks booth will be in the 4-H/FFA Exhibition Building. We’d love to have you visit us!

I’ve provided a link for a map of the fairgrounds:

Stop by and enter your Nebraska youth 15 and under in a drawing for half-price lifetime hunting and fishing permits for the Husker State.

Get your fall hunting questions answered there, too!

See you out there, at the fair!


Celebrate America’s Great Outdoors and Go Outside at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Blair, NE this weekend of Aug. 14th & 15th at no charge! The free weekend coincides with the Junior Refuge Manager program scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday, August 14th, at 1 p.m. Meet at the DeSoto Visitor Center. Call the refuge for more information, at (712) 642-4121. Enjoy a hike at the refuge this weekend! Maybe I’ll see you out there, along a nature trail!