In the Wild with Greg Wagner


This is a must-try, healthy, tasty recipe for those of you who have or will have ground venison in the frig or freezer this fall or winter. It’s actually a healthy twist on an older recipe in my file. Even non-hunters and non-wild game meat eaters visiting the Wagner abode have thoroughly enjoyed this recipe! It serves eight people. Bon appetite! See you out there, grill-side! By the way, if you would like to receive or donate some venison, don’t forget about our Nebraska Deer Exchange Program here:

Recipe Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup fat-free mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 3 tablespoons fat-free, plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds ground venison
  • 8 whole wheat or multi-grain hamburger buns, split
  • 8 slices reduced-fat or low-fat Pepper Jack cheese

Recipe Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lime juice, mustard and lime peel; cover and refrigerate until serving.
  2. In a bowl, combine the onions, yogurt, jalapeno, salt and pepper. Crumble meat over mixture and mix well. Shape into eight patties. Grill until meat is no longer pink. Serve on buns; top with cheese and mayonnaise mixture … Mmmm!


I just had to share these spectacular storm photos provided by my friend Farmer Jack in Johnson County with all of you. These photos were shot on Father’s Day from his farm northeast of Elk Creek, NE. Farmer Jack tells me that these are looking west out over Elk Creek. The Nebraska outdoor scene is very much about experiencing dynamic weather-related events (safely, I might add). I always appreciate the wide-open sky here in the Cornhusker State, how about you? Enjoy the photos and thanks much Farmer Jack! See you out there, always toting a camera on your outdoor adventures!


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:


I have a recipe to share with you for incredible, easy-to-make, healthy pancakes in your camp, cabin or at home. It involves the use of orange juice and whole wheat flour (you know, I’m trying to eat healthier foods these days)! Below is the recipe. Savor the bites! MMM GOOD! See you out there! 

2 eggs or 3 egg whites
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. orange juice
2 tbsp. chopped walnuts (opt.)

Beat eggs and oil together. Sift together the dry ingredients and add them to the eggs. Gradually add orange juice. Fry on a medium hot griddle. Serve with fresh fruit.



Fall is just around the corner and there’s no doubt that now is the time to start catching big fish as they search for meals to build up fat reserves for fall and winter. Click this link to read Game and Parks Fishing Guru Daryl Bauer’s blog about fall fishing: 

Just moments ago, we certified a nice bluegill for a rod and reel Master Angler Award here at the Omaha Office of Game and Parks. The 10 1/4-inch, 1 lbs. bluegill was caught on a red worm by Kenneth Anderson of Omaha in Prairie View Lake near Bennington this morning. Here’s a pic for ya’.

Congrats Kenneth! See you out there anglers, targeting big fish and taking a kid fishing!


Whether you’re planning a picnic at a state park, a family get-together or a football tailgate party, you definitely have to try this fabulous, easy recipe for pulled pork. It comes to us via the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Big Game Program Manager and Iron-clad Chef – Kit Hams. Kit knows how to cook! Thanks buddy!

Boston butt roast is preferred.

Trim off fat.
Use a dry rub over outside.
A mix of: Garlic salt, Seasoned Salt, Black pepper, Chili powder, Red pepper flakes, and sometimes brown sugar is what I prefer. You can really use anything you like.

Sear meat on all sides in oven (400 degrees), frying pan or on grill.
Wrap meat in double layer of heavy foil.
Place in oven or on grill at 300-325 degrees for about 3-3-1/2 hours.
Use an oven thermometer in a grill
When temperature hits 185 – 190 degrees it is done.
The bone should pull out easily, and the meat should shred with a fork.

Nice thing about this meat is it is difficult to over cook or dry out.
Serve as is or on a sandwich with or without BBQ sauce.

Enjoy! See you out there with an open invitation to sample YOUR pulled pork, of course, HA! GW.


With scrimmages happening this week, the opening of the high school and college football season is right around the corner. Some teams have to travel good distances for games this fall such as Bellevue West High heading to Kearney and Papillion-La Vista High venturing to North Platte. Even Class B’s Ralston Rams here in the Omaha-Metro have to make the 2-hour jaunt to Beatrice to play the Orangemen August 27th.

So, football fans may want to think about going early and enjoying a nearby Nebraska state parkland, even spending the night in one. Take the Ralston Rams faithful. They could leave early on Friday, August 27th and enjoy a nice picnic lunch and maybe even wet a fishing line at Rockford Lake State Recreation Area just outside of Beatrice well before the 7 p.m. kickoff.

On the college football scene, Doane College fans in Crete have to make the 3-hour trip to play Morningside in Sioux City, IA at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 4th. They should definitely think about trying to reserve a couple of nights in one of the newer cabins or parking their RV overnight at Ponca State Park near Ponca, NE just to the northwest of Sioux City.

Here’s a link to our state park page for information on all of our parklands:

See you out there, enjoying a state parkland before or after the game!