2009-2010 fall/winter outdoor nebraska newspaper

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  • 8/8/2019 2009-2010 Fall/Winter Outdoor Nebraska Newspaper


  • 8/8/2019 2009-2010 Fall/Winter Outdoor Nebraska Newspaper


    Outdoor Nebraskais published by the

    Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

    Copyright 2009

    Commission Ofces

    Headquarters2200 N. 33rd St.

    P.O. Box 30370

    Lincoln, NE 68503-0370(402) 471-0641


    Alliance299 Husker Rd., Box 725Alliance, NE 69301-0725

    (308) 763-2940

    Bassett524 Panzer St., Box 508Bassett, NE 68714-0508

    (402) 684-2921

    North Platte301 E. State Farm Rd.

    North Platte, NE 69101-0430(308) 535-8025

    Norolk2201 N. 13th St.

    Norolk, NE 68701-2267(402) 370-3374

    Kearney1617 First Ave.

    Kearney, NE 68847-6057(308) 865-5310

    Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium21502 W. Neb. Hwy. 31

    Gretna, NE 68028(402) 332-3901

    Omaha1212 Bob Gibson Blvd.

    Omaha, NE 68108-2020(402) 595-2144



    James Ziebarth, Wilcox

    Vice Chairman:Jerrod Burke, Curtis

    2nd Vice Chairman:Mick Jensen, Blair

    Dr. Mark Pinkerton, Wilber

    Ron Stave, Waterloo

    Dr. Kent Forney, Lincoln

    Lynn Berggren, Broken Bow

    Mark Spurgin, Paxton

    Rex Fisher, Omaha

    Director: Rex Amack

    Assistant Directors:

    Roger Kuhn

    Kirk Nelson

    Sam Sidner


    Administrator, Informationand Education: Doug Bauch

    Editing and Design:Jerry Kane

    Outdoor Nebraska

    Vol. 18, No. 2

    Under ederal and/or state law,

    discrimination is prohibited on the basiso race, color, religion, age, gender,

    marital status, national origin, disability

    or political ailiation. I you think you

    have been discriminated against in anyprogram, activity or acility or want more

    inormation, contact the Airmative

    Action Oicer, Nebraska Game andParks Commission, Lincoln, NE, 402-

    471-0641; the Equal Opportunity

    Commission, Lincoln, NE, (402)

    471-2024, TTY / TDD (402) 471-4693.USFWS, Division o Bird Habitat and

    Conservation, Civil Rights Coordinator,

    4401 North Fairax Drive, MBSP 4020,

    Arlington, Virginia 22203.

    Printed on recycled paper with soy ink by

    Jacob North Companies, Lincoln, NE.

    Page 2 Outdoor Nebraska

    By Daryl Bauer

    Fall is a wonderful time of the yearto fish. There is a lot less activity onthe water, the weather and scenery arebeautiful and the fish are biting. Hereare some waters where you could plan tocatch fish this fall.

    ReservoirsNebraska has a variety of reservoirs

    from one end of the state to the other.Fall fishing on these reservoirs can be achallenge as those waters typically havean abundance of baitfish such as gizzardshad or alewives in the fall and winter.

    Even with plenty of natural prey to

    make fishing more challenging, fish arefeeding. Look for masses of baitfish inshallow water and bays in early fall andthen on sharp drop-offs adjacent to deepwater in late fall walleyes, white bass,wipers, and other predators will not befar behind. Crankbaits, jigs, swimbaits,bladebaits, and a variety of spoons allcatch fish from reservoirs in the fall.

    Cold-water StreamsThere is nothing better than exploring

    cold-water trout streams in autumn,when there are fewer bugs and brush tofight through. Water levels may be a bitlower, but usually the water quality is

    excellent and at times you can spot thetrout. The fall colors will be no morespectacular than the trout that inhabitthose streams. With spawning activitiesoccurring or soon to occur, the trout willbe beautiful.

    Drifting nymphs or terrestrial patternswith a fly rod will catch fall trout, aswell as small spinners and crankbaits orlivebaits fished with spinning tackle.

    For more information, read the Trout

    Fishing in Nebraskas Streams brochure,which is available at Commission offices.

    Pits and PondsSome of the best panfishing and bass

    fishing in Nebraska is found on pitsand ponds. Many of them are privately-owned and require permission to fish,but many of these fisheries are open forpublic access. State recreation areas suchas Louisville, Fremont, Fort Kearny, andBridgeport have a number of pits that areopen for public access. Do not overlookthe Interstate 80 lakes.

    Summer fishing patterns on pits and

    ponds gradually will transition into fallpatterns. Generally, as submerged aquaticvegetation begins to die back in the fall,fish in pits and ponds will move towarddeeper water and weed edges.

    A favorite of fall tactics for big bassin these waters is to fish a suspending

    jerk bait (such as Husky Jerk, SmithwickRogue). Crank those baits down to theirrunning depth and then slow down andoccasionally pause and jerk the bait. Thelater in the fall and colder the water, theslower the bait needs to be fished.

    Those are not the only waters that willbe productive fishing spots in Nebraska

    this fall, but they will be some good onesto check. If you need more informationon fishing locations, be sure to check outOutdoorNebraska.org.

    (Daryl Bauer is the outreach programmanager for the Fisheries Division.)

    Anglers spend a all day at Long PineCreek State Recreation Area in north-central Nebraska.

    Cool, colorul all bringshot shing to Nebraska

    By Daryl Bauer

    Catch-and-release hasbecome a common sport-fishing practice that hasenhanced and maintained

    the quality of fishing in manywaters. However, the benefitsof catch-and-release anglingcan be realized only if fishsurvive following release.

    A successful release beginsas soon as a fish is hooked.Fish should be landed asquickly as possible, handledas little as possible andreturned to the water as soonas possible. At times, ultra-light lines and equipmentwill be necessary to get fishto bite, but anglers should tryto use the heaviest equipment

    possible to land fish quickly.Nets can aid in landing

    fish. There are many availablethat are made specifically forcatch-and-release angling.These nets do little damageto a fishs fins and slime coat.The fish can be left in thenet, in the water, while hooksare removed. If fish have tobe removed from the water,never lay them directly on thebottom of a boat or on the

    bank; use a wetted rubber mator a wetted towel to reducedamage to the slime coat.

    Every angler should havepliers, hook-out tools andforceps for removing hooks.Jaw-spreaders are another tool

    that can be useful for openingthe jaws of large predatorfish for hook removal. Side-cutting pliers should be usedto cut hooks, if necessary.Hook-removal tools shouldbe within reach at all timesso that no time is wastedremoving hooks.

    Cameras should be at theready for pictures of a trophycatch. Leave fish in the waterwhile readying a camera

    and planning the shot; wheneverything is ready, quicklylift the fish and pose forpictures.

    Hold fish firmly so theycan be controlled, but neverinsert fingers into eyes or gill

    arches. Gripping the lowerjaw is a convenient way tohold species such as bass andcrappie that do not have sharpteeth. For other species, a firmgrip behind the head is anoption; just make sure not tosqueeze the fish too hard.

    Some large fish may besafely handled by carefullyinserting fingers justinside a gill cover. Avoidgill filaments and arches.

    When out of the water, fishshould be supported in ahorizontal orientation asmuch as possible becausetheir anatomy is not made to

    support their entire weightwithout waters buoyancy.Never place fish that are

    to be released on stringers orin fish baskets. Livewells onboats can keep fish alive, butif they are to be released, thatshould be done quickly.

    Once fish are returnedto the water, watch to see ifthey can swim. If they cannotmaintain equilibrium, gentlyhold them upright and allowthem to respire on their own.

    Do not swish the fish backand forth through the water.

    Fish gills extract oxygen fromthe water when it passes intothe mouth, over the gills andout through the gill covers;swishing fish through thewater will not help themextract oxygen and may harmgill tissues. Hold fish uprightuntil they can swim away.

    (Daryl Bauer is theoutreach program manager forthe Fisheries Division.)

    Catch-and-Release BasicsWhen practicing catch-and-release, land the sh as quicklyas possible, handle it as little as possible and release it assoon as possible. Here are other tips:

    Keep sh in water, i possible, while removing hook. Keep hook-removal tools within reach at all times.

    Have camera ready to take quick photo.

    Hold sh rmly and horizontally; do not squeeze.

    Ater removing hook, hold sh upright in water until itcan swim away.

    Proper handling key to survival o released fsh


  • 8/8/2019 2009-2010 Fall/Winter Outdoor Nebraska Newspaper


    Fall/Winter 2009 Page 3

    By Julia Plugge

    The results are in: Womenare having fun outdoors.

    Whether it is tying fly-fishing flies, hunting deer,scoring a bulls-eye on thearchery target, campingacross Nebraska, kayaking,or preparing the perfectDutch oven meal, womanare breaking the traditionalbarriers and becoming skilledin the outdoors.

    The Becoming anOutdoors-Woman (BOW)program educates at theentry level. It providesencouragement and hands-oninstruction in a comfortableatmosphere. BOW workshopsare intended primarily fornovices who want a taste ofone or more outdoor skills.

    In Nebraska, BOW hadbeen limited to a singlethree-day workshop each fallat the State 4-H Camp near

    Halsey. As a result of the highdemand, an additional BOWnow is offered in the spring atPonca State Park (SP).

    Beyond BOW is anextension of the BOWprogram. Beyond BOWis a series of single-topicworkshops that allows womenwho participated in BOWto take the next step andpursue an activity at a higherskill level and build self-confidence.

    Outdoor experts workindividually with Beyond

    BOW participants at a morein-depth and advanced level.Beyond BOW workshopstypically last one or two daysand are offered at variouslocations across the state,depending on requirementsfor the topic. The hands-onexperience also is a chance forwomen to enjoy camaraderiewith like-minded individuals.

    One such activity is adeer hunt, in which a woman,dressed in orange with a deerpermit secured in a pocket,goes with her mentor to a

    secured hunting location.They dont go huntingunprepared, however. Beforethe hunt, they learn safety,rifle handling and sighting,scouting, shot placement, andother necessary skills.

    The objective of thesementored hunts, and allBeyond BOW workshops, isfor the participants to leavebetter equipped to becomeinvolved in the outdoors withtheir families and friends.They also may leave with theirproud accomplishment of

    harvesting game.Other mentored

    camps, such as turkey andwaterfowl hunts, follow thesame structure as the deerhunt. Other Beyond BOWworkshops include ice fishing,kayaking, sail boating, tankfloats, and Scuba diving. NewBeyond BOW events arescheduled for the upcomingyear.

    In the fall of 2009, a newprogram called Becoming andOutdoors-Family (BOF) was

    launched at Ponca SP and theEastern Nebraska 4-H Centernear Gretna. The purpose is tohave the entire family togetherenjoying the outdoors. Skillstaught are related to a varietyof outdoor sports, such asfishing, camping, kayaking,archery, hunting, and hiking.

    For more information onBOW, Beyond BOW or BOF,go to NebraskaBOW.com.

    (Julia Plugge is the eventcoordinator in the Informationand Education Division.)

    Upcoming Beyond BOW Events Cooking Like a Wild Woman: Nov. 7, 2009 TBA

    Scuba Diving: Nov. 8, 2009 Lincoln

    Central Nebraska Deer Hunt: December 2009 andJanuary 2010 TBA

    Saline County Antlerless Deer Camp: Jan. 8-10, 2010

    Fly-Fishing: April 2010 Keller Park State RecreationArea

    Harlan County Spring Turkey Camp: May 6-10, 2010

    Hiking and Backpacking: Fall 2010 Indian Cave StatePark

    Middle Loup River Tank Float: TBA

    Nebraska Game & ParksF O U N D A T I O N

    Arbor Lodge SHP

    Nebraska City

    (402) 873-7222

    Sept. 27, Oct 4, Oct. 11,and Oct. 18: living history


    Arthur Bowring

    Sandhills Ranch SHP

    Merriman, (308) 684-3428

    Dec. 6: Cody Youth Groupundraiser Christmasat the Bowring; Dec.13: Martin Youth Groupundraiser Christmasat the Bowring; Dec. 16:Bowring Christmas OpenHouse and viewing o lights.

    Bualo Bill Ranch SHP

    North Platte(308) 535-8035

    Open Sept. 8-Oct. 23,Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4p.m.; Dec. 18-22: Christmasat the Codys, 5:30-8 p.m.

    Chadron SP

    Chadron, (308) 432-6167

    Housekeeping at cabinsare available through mid-November, plus a groupcamp/conerence acility.

    Eugene T. Mahoney SP

    Ashland, (402) 944-2523Year-round lodging andrecreation. Restaurant open

    year-round. Holiday buets:Thanksgiving Day, ChristmasEve, Christmas Day, New

    Years Eve, and New YearsDay; Oct. 3-4: AutumnHarvest Art Show; Oct. 3-4:Old West Rib Fest; Oct. 23-25: Holiday Crat Show andOld West Cookout.

    Fort Atkinson SHP

    Fort Calhoun

    (402) 468-5611

    Visitor center openweekends only, 10 a.m.-5

    p.m., Sept. 12-Oct. 18; livinghistory demonstrations,11 a.m.-5 p.m.: Oct. 3-4;Friends o Fort Atkinsonundraiser (candlelighttour), Nov. 7.

    Fort Hartsu SHP

    Burwell, (308) 346-4715

    Sept. 9-27: buildings open,8 a.m.-8 p.m., seven daysa week and ofce andbuildings open, 9 a.m.-5p.m., Monday-Friday.

    Fort Robinson SP

    Craword, (308) 665-2900Museums, restoredbuildings, modern andprimitive camping, cabinand lodging acilitiesavailable through mid-November. Sept. 27-Oct.3: Elderhostel; Nov. 2:

    Tickets go on sale at 8 a.m.or Historical ChristmasDinner; Nov. 22: longhornand bualo sale; Dec. 5:Historical Christmas Dinner,celebrating 1935.

    Indian Cave SP

    Shubert, (402) 883-2575

    Oct 3-4: Black powderdemonstrations; Oct. 9-10,Oct. 16-17 and Oct. 24:Haunted Hollow hayrackrides and Halloweendecorating contest; Oct.10-11: NECTRA Horse TrailRide-Competitive Horse TrailRide.

    Ponca SP

    Ponca, (402) 755-2284

    Oct. 10 and Oct. 17:Hallowest; Jan. 1: AnnualChristmas Bird Count.

    Fall/Winter State Parks Schedule Beyond BOW expandsoutdoor opportunitiesProgram lets womenwhet appetite formore outdoor skills

    By Jerry Kane

    It has been decades since trainscarried passengers from Norfolk toValentine. Those trains are gonenow, but the route remains as arecreational trail.

    The Cowboy Trail now connectsthe two towns, giving users 195continuous miles of trail to enjoy. Thefinal section of the trail was completed

    in the late summer of 2009.Trail users, including bicyclists,horseback riders, walkers, and crosscountry skiers, can enjoy the scenicpath along the Elkhorn River Valleyin northeast Nebraska to the Sandhillsin the north-central part of the state.View the wildlife and watch as landuse changes from the eastern end ofthe trail to the west.

    The trail, made of crushed stone,except for concrete sections withintowns, is the countrys longest rail-to-

    trail conversion and Nebraskas firststate recreational trail.

    The right-of-way was accepted asa donation from the Rails to TrailsConservancy in 1994. The historicChicago and Northwestern Railroadright-of-way, now the CowboyTrail, is the route the railroad tookfrom northeast Nebraska to SouthDakotas Black Hills, where gold was

    discovered in 1874.The trail passes through manytowns, linking users with a seriesof services and amenities, fromgroceries, to bike repair, to campingand lodging. Many of the towns havemuseums, as well as annual events.

    A web page with a list of amenitiesin towns along the trail is located atOutdoorNebraska.org.

    (Jerry Kane is a public informationofficer in the Information andEducation Division.)

    Cowboy Trail now completerom Norolk to Valentine

  • 8/8/2019 2009-2010 Fall/Winter Outdoor Nebraska Newspaper


    Page 4 Outdoor Nebraska

    By Aaron Hershberger

    From the dogs tail, youcould tell the bird wasnt faraway. The grip on the worn20-gauge pump gun tighteneda bit. Everything was still,except for the determinedmovement of the dog and theheartbeat of the hunter. Thenit all exploded. There werewings, feathers and the blurof a bird ascending from thegrass.

    Many upland huntersremember their firstencounter with a ring-neckedrooster or covey of bobwhitequail. Those hunters likelyhad a hunting partner thatwas a bit more experienced,giving helpful advice andguidance. The fellow hunterprobably was a family memberor friend whose friendshipgrew as their time in the fieldtogether increased.

    Experienced hunters cando the same thing this fall fornovices they know. Nebraska

    has a youth-only pheasant,quail and partridge huntingseason Oct. 24-25. Theseason, open to hunters age15 and younger, is held the

    weekend before the openerof the regular pheasant,quail and partridge season.With reduced competitionfrom other hunters, moretime to spend outdoors andan increase in upland birdnumbers in most of the state,there is no better time to takeadvantage of the opportunity.

    Here are some tips tomake the best of the youthseason:

    Deinition o Success

    Success is more than justbirds in the bag. Have fun,be safe and your trip will besuccessful.

    Start Early The fun can

    start well before the actualhunt. Involve a young hunterin all aspects of the hunt,including preparation. Spendtime at the range burningpowder and breaking some

    blue rock. Exercise the dogwhile working on basiccommands. Do some scoutingto find the best spots and planyour hunt.

    Hunters Pace Remember this hunt is for theyounger hunter. Dependingon abilities, this may meanshort trips are best. Short legsand thick grass can be tough;take a break when your huntertires. Concentrate on feeding

    areas where cover isnt verythick. Remember to bringplenty of food and drink. Besure to not set expectationstoo high for the young hunter.

    Be a Mentor Thedifference between a guideand mentor is the outcome

    and the bond created. Amentor should instill theethics, responsibility, safety,and skills needed to become asuccessful hunter. Mentors donot have to be great hunters,

    just willing to be a good rolemodel and teacher. The bestteachers encourage as theyinstruct.

    Dont Forget the Camera

    Regardless of the birds inthe bag, the memories you

    will harvest will be limitless.Take a camera along to recordthe excitement.

    (Aaron Hershberger is anoutdoor education specialist inthe Information and EducationDivision.)

    Youth Pheasant SeasonDates: Oct. 24-25

    Open to: ages 15 and younger

    Hunter Education: proo o completion required or ages12-15 or this season

    Hunting Permit and Habitat Stamp: required ornonresidents only

    Daily Bag Limit: 2 rooster pheasants, 2 quail and 2partridge

    Possession Limit: 4 o each

    More Inormation: OutdoorNebraska.org

    By Scott Bonertz

    A crow will test the skills of anyNebraska wingshooter. An argumentcould be made that no other typeof varmint hunting requires such adiverse set of skills. Hunters mustuse camouflage, blinds, calling, decoyplacement, and wingshooting for asuccessful crow hunt.

    Crows are native to Nebraska, butthey flourished after the landscapeshifted to more cropland. Crows wereattacked for many years by huntersand farmers because, when gathered

    in large flocks, they were seen as apotential health hazard and causedextensive crop damage. They werehunted, poisoned and trapped in greatnumbers, with a bounty placed oncrows in some areas.

    This changed in 1972 whenthe Migratory Bird Treaty Act wasamended to protect crows. Today,except under special circumstances,federal laws restrict crow huntingseasons to no more than 124 days, andno hunting may occur during the peakcrow nesting season.

    EquipmentMost hunters already have the

    equipment needed to be successfulcrow hunters. A 12-gauge shotgunis the most effective and widely usedweapon, but a 20 gauge will work. Aquality load of Nos. 7 or 8 will besufficient to take a crow, especially ifdecoying. Some hunters choose to usea rifle and scope in case the birds willnot come in close.

    Hunters serious about crowhunting will want to use decoys,including several crow decoys andan owl decoy. The owl decoy will be

    used to simulate a fight because of thespecial hatred that crows have towardthe owl.

    There are two ways to call crows:hand and electronic. Crows respondwell to hand calls, but they are a littlemore work than electronic calls. Theelectronic call can be efficient and havebecome smaller and more affordable.An electronic call also allows you to dothings that you cannot do with a handcall.

    Many hunters use them in tandemto trick these wary birds. Keep in mindthat an electronic caller used at toohigh of a volume may spook up-closebirds.

    ConditionsCrows may be hunted in almost

    any type of weather a hunter can

    tolerate. Be careful on extremely sunnydays as crows have great eyesight, socamouflage is important.

    Blinds may be built fromsurrounding vegetation, hay bales orother types of materials. Commercialblinds work well. You cannot be toocamouflaged when hunting crows.

    LocationsThe great thing about crows is they

    are easily seen and heard. Do somescouting to determine where crowsroost and where they feed.

    TechniquesOnce you have located a murder of

    crows, there are two strategies typicallyused to hunt them: the fly-way and thehit-and-run.

    The fly-way technique is setting upa call stand on either side of the crowsflyway between feeding areas and theroost. This can be done either in themorning on the way out to feed or inthe evening on the way back to theroost. Hunters should look for stagingareas where crows will rest along theroute. These areas often offer the bestshooting. Decoys and camouflage areneeded for these setups.

    The hit-and-run technique maybe used when hunting unfamiliarterritory. Hunters may travel throughan area looking for feeding or calling

    crows and attempt to place a stand inthat area. This type of hunting usuallyinvolves using fighting or distresscalling to entice the crows to respond.This is the most flexible technique, butmany times the clever crows will learnand leave the area resulting in onlya few birds being taken. It is OK toskip the decoys in this setup, but fullcamouflage is needed.

    (Scott Bonertz is the publicinformation manager in theInformation and Education Division.)

    First pheasant hunt may harvest memories to last lietime

    Outsmarting crows no simple taskHunters will use alltheir skills to tangle

    with these natives

    Crow Hunting Seasons

    Regular Season: Oct. 1-Nov. 15and Jan. 20-April 6, 2010

    Hunting area: statewide

    Public Health Hazard Season:Nov. 16-Jan. 19, 2010

    Hunting area: Bualo, Phelps,Harlan, Franklin, Kearney, andDawson counties

    Bag Limit: none

    Possession Limit: none

    Permits: All hunters, exceptresidents under age 16, musthave a Nebraska hunting permit.Habitat stamp is not required.

  • 8/8/2019 2009-2010 Fall/Winter Outdoor Nebraska Newspaper


    Fall/Winter 2009 Page 5

    The average age of whitetail bucks is expected toincrease for the fourth straight year.

    Concern about the age of bucks in somecentral Nebraska hunting units led theCommission to reduce the number of either-sexpermits in some of those firearm deer units. This

    is aimed at increasing the average age of muledeer and whitetail bucks.In an effort to improve the age structure and

    population of mule deer bucks in three units insouth-central and southwest Nebraska, statewidebuck permits will not be valid for mule deerbucks south of Interstate 80. This is expected toreduce the harvest of mule deer bucks by about250.

    Other deer regulation changes for 2009 are: The number of either-sex hunting permits

    decreased by 1,200. The number of season choice antlerless

    hunting permits increased by 1,800. The number of bonus tags for antlerless

    whitetail hunting permits increased by 3,300.

    (Jerry Kane is a public information officer inthe Information and Education Division.)

    2009 Nebraska Hunting SeasonsWaterowl

    Dark GooseEast Oct. 24 - Jan. 27Platte River Oct. 24 - Feb. 5Niobrara Oct. 24 - Feb. 5North Central Oct. 10 - Jan. 22Panhandle Nov. 7 - Feb. 5

    Light GooseRegular Season:

    Oct. 10 - Jan. 8, Jan. 23 - Feb. 5Conservation Action: Zone 1 Feb. 6 - April 18

    Zone 2 Feb. 6 - April 1Zone 3 Feb. 6 - April 18

    White-ronted Goose Oct. 10 - Dec. 20Duck, Coot, Pintail, and Canvasback

    Low Plains Early Oct. 10 - Dec. 20, Dec. 26-27Low Plains Late Oct. 17-18, Oct. 24 - Jan. 3High Plains Oct. 10 - Jan. 13

    Early Canada Goose Sept. 5-13Early Teal

    High Plains Sept. 5-13Low Plains Sept. 5-20

    Youth Waterowl Sept. 26-27

    FalconryExtended Season: Low Plains Sept. 1-30

    High Plains Sept. 5-13Regular Season: Low Plains Early Oct. 10-Dec. 20, Dec. 26-27

    Low Plains Late Oct. 17-18, Oct. 24 - Jan. 3High Plains Oct. 10 - Jan. 13

    Big Game

    Antelope archery Aug. 20 - Nov. 13, Nov. 23 - Dec. 31Antelope muzzleloader Sept. 19 - Oct. 4Antelope rearm Oct. 10-25Deer archery Sept. 15 - Nov. 13, Nov. 23 - Dec. 31Deer rearm Nov. 14-22Deer muzzleloader Dec. 1-31Deer landowner Sept. 15 - Jan. 15Deer youth Sept. 15 - Jan. 15Deer season choice Sept. 15 - Jan. 15Deer October antlerless Oct. 9-11Deer late antlerless Jan. 1-15Elk Boyd Unit Aug. 15 - Nov. 13, Nov. 23 - Dec. 31Elk bull Sept. 26 - Oct. 25Elk antlerless Sept. 26 - Oct. 25, Dec. 1-21Bighorn sheep Dec. 1-22

    Turkey Sept. 15 - Dec. 31

    Small Game

    Squirrel Aug. 1 - Jan. 31Cottontail Sept. 1 - Feb. 28

    Jackrabbit Sept. 1 - Feb. 28Dove Sept. 1 - Oct. 30Snipe Sept. 1 - Dec. 16Virginia and Sora Rail Sept. 1 - Nov. 9Grouse Sept. 12 - Dec. 31

    Woodcock Sept. 19 - Nov. 2 Youth Pheasant Oct. 24-25 Youth Quail, Youth Partridge Oct. 24-25Pheasant Oct. 31 - Jan. 31Quail Oct. 31 - Jan. 31Partridge Oct. 31 - Jan. 31Crow Oct. 1 - Nov. 15, Jan. 20 - April 6Crow public health hazard Nov. 16 - Jan. 19


    Raccoon, Opossum Sept. 1 - Oct. 31 Hunt OnlyMuskrat and Beaver Nov. 1 - March 31 Trap OnlyRaccoon, Opossum, Nov. 1 - Feb. 28 Hunt and TrapLong-tailed Weasel, Mink,Red Fox, Gray Fox, BadgerBobcat Dec. 1 - Feb. 28 Hunt and TrapStriped Skunk Year-round Hunt and Trap

    By Jerry Kane

    Hunters embraced theconcept of sharing venison

    with other Nebraskans lastyear in the first year of theDeer Exchange program. Theprogram is back in 2009.

    The Deer Exchange isa program of the NebraskaGame and Parks Commissionthat brings together hunters(venison donors) who havedeer or deer meat they arewilling to give away, andcitizens (venison recipients)who want to receive it.

    We would like to increasethe number of deer donatedin 2009, as we had many

    people who wished to receivedeer in 2008 that did not getone, said Kit Hams, big gameprogram manager with the

    Commission.Hunters have not only

    an ample deer population

    available but more huntingopportunities in 2009.

    A record deer harvestof more than 80,000 deer isexpected this year, Hamssaid. We will issue nearly90,000 bonus antlerless tags inan effort to thin the whitetailpopulation, especially ineastern Nebraska.

    The Deer Exchange isdesigned to accommodatethe additional harvest of deer.Hunters who have filled theirfreezers may still bag a deerand have somewhere to take it.

    The Deer Exchangeis available Sept. 1, 2009,through March 1, 2010.Donors and recipients

    register for free at ngpc.state.ne.us/hunting/programs/

    deerexchange/. They search

    a database for participants intheir area, then make contactby telephone to set up thetransfer of deer meat. Deermeat may not be sold.

    The recipient may acceptfield dressed deer, skinnedand boned deer, or wrappedand frozen deer meat. Thedonor is responsible forproperly field dressingand checking the deer at acheck station before transferThe Commission is notresponsible for the quality ofthe meat.

    (Jerry Kane is a publicinformation officer in theInformation and EducationDivision.)

    numbers are expected to increase dramaticallythis year due to the large population of birdsand the liberalized season.

    Fall turkey population numbers should beoutstanding, according to Kit Hams, big gameprogram manager for the Nebraska Game andParks Commission.

    We have a record adult population andgood spring weather resulted in big increasesin the Summer Rural Mail Carrier Survey, hesaid. The summer survey results were up 40percent from 2008 and up 230 percent from2002. The Panhandle and central Nebraskaregions increased the most, but all regionsshowed an increase in turkey numbers. Ingeneral, the number of birds should be the bestweve ever seen in most areas.

    Fall turkey permits allow the harvest oftwo birds of either sex and are valid statewide.Nebraska turkey permits costs $24 for

    residents, $91 for nonresidents, and up to twofall permits per hunter can be purchased onlineor at any Commission office. Shooting hoursare 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.

    For more information about turkeyhunting regulations in Nebraska, go toOutdoorNebraska.orgor pick up a copy of the2009 Spring and Fall Turkey Hunting Seasonsbrochure, available at Commission offices andpermit vendors across the state.

    (Doug Carroll is the editor ofNEBRASKAland Magazine.)

    Many Nebraska hunterswill have the option ofchecking their harvested deerelectronically this fall.

    A new, free service willallow hunters to checktheir deer from the field orat home, by telephone orInternet. Electronic checkingwill be available during all

    deer seasons except theNovember firearm season.Check stations remainavailable for all deer seasons,as in the past.

    To check deerelectronically, hunters mayeither go to NEdeercheck.com or call toll-free (800)405-7700 at any time.

    Deer may be checked electronically

    TurkeyContinued rom Page 1

    DeerContinued rom Page 1

    Deer Exchange returns in 09to help hungry Nebraskans

    Other Big Game NotesAntelope

    Permit quotas are increased.

    The age structure o bucks continuesto improve, with 91 percent oharvested bucks in 2008 age 2 yearsor older.

    There are 510 rearm andmuzzleloader permits authorized, an

    increase o 65 rom 2008. A new Eastern Sandhills unit is


    Nebraskas elk population is growingand was expected to reach 2,000 in2009.

    In 2008, 91 percent o harvestedbulls had at least six points on oneantler, and the average beam lengtho those antlers was 47 inches.

    The Ash Creek, Hat Creek, BordeauxCreek, and North Platte River unitsare expanded.

    There are 85 bull and 147 antlerless

    elk permits authorized, an increaseo 12 bull and six antlerless permits.

    The daily bag limit during the all huntingseason is two turkeys per permit.


  • 8/8/2019 2009-2010 Fall/Winter Outdoor Nebraska Newspaper


    Page 6 Outdoor Nebraska

    By Jef Rawlinson

    Predator calling can be one of themost exciting hunts in Nebraska. Thethrill of not knowing when, where or

    if a predator will appear brings manyhunters to the field each year. Suchhunting offers nearly year-roundenjoyment.

    The ApproachMore important than learning to

    call is learning about the predatoryou are pursuing. The best caller inan area void of predators will becomefrustrated quickly.

    Coyotes, for example, can befound in open grasslands in centraland western Nebraska, as well as theheavily wooded Missouri River Valleyin eastern Nebraska, where their

    habitat overlaps with other predators,such as bobcats.

    Coyotes are territorial, but theirranges overlap. Scouting for sign,such as scat, tracks and howls, willgive the caller much more confidencein an area. Areas with brush piles,wood piles and cover for prey speciesto hide in will be inhabited by coyotesand other predators.

    To fool a coyote you must fool itsnose and eyes. Camouflage clothingand sitting still will fool the eyes, butthe nose is a bit more difficult. Acoyotes sense of smell is roughly 100times greater than that of a human.

    The only way to fool the nose is tohunt downwind or facing a crosswind.The crosswind is important becausecoyotes often will circle around thecaller on their approach to pick up thescent.

    Stuff a handful of cattail seed intoa film canister and use this to checkthe wind. The fluff will tell you winddirection and is more reliable thanpowders. Skunk scent works well asa cover scent when placed in filmcanisters with cotton balls.

    The CallCalling predators can be as

    easy as sounding like somethingin distress. Common prey animalsinclude rabbits, squirrels and birds,but anything giving a distress cry willget their attention. During breedingseason in February and March using receptive female howls ordominant male howls will attractcoyotes.

    Hand calls give you a lot of

    flexibility, are portable, create uniquesounds and are fun to use. Theopen reed call is a favorite, but theclosed reed call is much easier forbeginners to use. Electronic calls canbe devastating, but in heavily calledareas, predators hear some of thesame sounds over and over. Usingelectronic calls by changing sounds orusing multiple sounds can improvesuccess.

    A typical calling sequence startswith a 20-second howl or harsh cryof the prey species you are imitating.Wait one minute, then mix screamsand cries for 30-45 seconds. Waitagain, then repeat. A little practicewill result in the ability to call withlittle movement and effectively mimicprey animals in distress.

    Once you defeat their nose,eyes and ears, the rest is up to you.Close-range work is the realm of the12-gauge shotgun using 3-3 inch BBor T shot in tightly-choked barrels.Long range work is best left to riflesin the 22-caliber range. Archery isthe greatest challenge, using the samesetup you would for deer.

    Predators are a healthy part ofany ecosystem. Removing themgenerally does not result in significantincreases in game animal populations.However, like many species, a healthybalance is good and generally theirnumbers provide a surplus for thehunter to harvest each year. They dooffer a challenging sport for many andtheir furs offer a fantastic prize foryour efforts.

    (Jeff Rawlinson is an assistantadministrator in the Information andEducation Division.)

    By Scott Bonertz

    Hunting waterfowl during themigration may be the best time of yearto hunt, but it also is when colder waterand tougher boating conditions canturn a routine waterfowl hunt into anemergency.

    Hunters and anglers make up one-third of all boating fatalities. HerbAngell, boating law administratorfor the Nebraska Game and ParksCommission, attributes this towaterfowl hunters thinking of

    themselves as hunters, not boaters.Many hunters believe that lifejackets are uncomfortable and toobulky, so they dont wear them, Angellsaid. Many of these fatalities mighthave been avoided by simply wearing alife jacket.

    Angell says there is no excuse forany waterfowl hunter to not wear alife jacket while on board a boat near,in or floating on bodies of water.Todays manufacturers make life

    jackets in camouflage patterns anddesign them for functionality andsafety. If a hunter is concerned about alife jacket restricting movement at the

    most inopportune time, he may wantto consider wearing a float coat. Afloat coat is a life jacket designed forwaterfowl hunters and can replace aregular hunting coat. Hunters also mayopt for inflatable suspender-style vestsor inflatable belt packs.

    Angell encourages waterfowlhunters to follow these other boatingsafety tips:

    Hunters must follow all boatingrules, which include havingrequired safety equipment and life

    jackets aboard at all times. Check the capacity plate of the

    boat and make sure to properlyload the boat. Pay particularattention to the weight of theoccupants, as well as the weightof hunting dogs, decoys andother gear. Make sure the boat isproperly balanced.

    To set out decoys, simply tossthem overboard. Recoveringdecoys is best done using a longpole with a hook that will deterpersons from leaning over the sideof a boat and possibly causing it to

    capsize. Firearms should be properly

    secured and kept unloaded whilebeing transported in a boat.

    Never stand in an unsecured boatto shoot.

    Hunters should be dressed forthe water temperatures, not airtemperatures, to avoid the risks ofhypothermia if they fall into thewater.

    Tell a person of responsibility yourhunting and float plans, includingthe names of all persons in yourhunting party, the type of boatand its registration number, the

    location and time of the hunt,and when you expect to return.This information will aid rescuepersonnel if things go wrong.

    Be sure the boat is in goodworking condition, with enoughgas for the trip to prevent youfrom being stranded.

    Be ready to handle emergencies,including obtaining help whenneeded and rendering assistance toothers who may need it.

    (Scott Bonertz is the publicinformation manager in theInformation and Education Division.)

    Saety while onwater crucial or

    waterowl hunters

    Calling all

    coyote hunters

    Coyotes can beound in open

    grasslandsin central

    and westernNebraska, aswell as the

    heavily woodedMissouri

    River Valleyin easternNebraska.

    Fooling warypredator partof thrill of hunt


  • 8/8/2019 2009-2010 Fall/Winter Outdoor Nebraska Newspaper


    Fall/Winter 2009 Page 7

    By Jerry Kane

    The Nebraska Game and ParksCommission will begin selling itspermits electronically Nov. 1, 2009, thedate 2010 permits may be sold.

    Hunting and fishing permits andstate conservation stamps no longerwill be sold from permit books. Theexceptions will continue to be theannual park and duplicate annual parkpermits: and, on a limited basis, thedaily park permits. Adhesive-backedpark permits still will be provided atthe time of sale or mailed, if purchasedonline. Other limited exceptions toelectronic permitting include specialpermits that require review, such asfur buyer, taxidermist and commercialfishing.

    Some permits have been soldelectronically for nearly a decade,

    while others were hand-writtenpermits issued from a permit book.

    Electronic permittingmeans customers may go toOutdoorNebraska.orgto buy andprint out a permit at any time. By

    visiting any Commission permittingoffice or participating permit vendor,customers can accomplish the samething. A paper permit still will beprovided, and the transaction detailswill be automatically recorded

    electronically.The number of participating permit

    vendors likely will change, so peoplewho have purchased permits from thesame vendor for years are encouragedto contact their nearest vendor to

    ensure they still are participating andconverted to the new system.

    Some benefits of the system are: A single purchase of a stamp

    ensures the stamp will be displayedon any other permits purchased the

    remainder of the calendar year. Lost or damaged permits can

    be replaced at any time fromanywhere.

    Landowners need to enter legaldescriptions only once and update

    only as needed. Multiple online purchases can be

    made for multiple individuals witha single transaction.The Commission has been

    selling some deer and turkey permitselectronically since 2001. Huntingand fishing permits, as well as habitatand aquatic habitat stamps, weresold electronically the following year.In 2008, 63 percent of all huntingand fishing permits were processedelectronically.

    Electronic permitting not onlyeliminates the need for permit booksto be reviewed manually to confirmquantities sold, it also captures datafor analysis of permit buyers toassist in improving opportunities.E-mail addresses of permit buyersare collected, as a customer option,

    and used for Commission surveys,notifications and deliveries.

    (Jerry Kane is a public informationofficer in the Information andEducation Division.)

    All-electronic permitting set or 2010 permits

    Facebook.com and search forNebraska Game and Parks

    Commission.Twitter is a socialnetworking and micro-blogging service that enablesits users to send and readother users updates, knownas tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140characters in length. Updatesare displayed on the usersprofile page and delivered toother users who have signedup to receive them. Senderscan restrict delivery to thosein their circle of friends.

    The Commission

    uses Twitter to enhancethe customers outdoorexperiences, make them morerelevant and more valuable byproviding fishing and huntingreports, organizational newsand blog updates. To followthe Commission on Twitter,go to https://twitter.com/NEGameandParks/ or follow@NEGameandParks.

    To further engage theoutdoor community, the

    Commission created the blogs.Fisheries Outreach ProgramManager Daryl Bauer andPublic Information OfficerGreg Wagner are sharinganswers, solving problemsand building relationships one

    blog post at a time.Daryl Bauers Barbs and

    Backlashes blog takes readerson a regular joy ride throughthe fishing mind of theman known and respectedthroughout the state. Daryluses this outlet to share hisfishing knowledge with thepublic. Check it out, and letDaryl know what you thinkat http://barbsandbacklashes.wordpress.com.

    You also can tag alongwith Greg Wagners outdoor

    adventures at In the Wild withGreg Wagner. Wags shareshis knowledge of the outdoorsand encourages readers toget out into the wild andenjoy what Nebraska has tooffer. Check it out at http://inthewildwithwags.wordpress.com.

    (Scott Bonertz is the publicinformation manager in theInformation and EducationDivision.)

    SocialContinued rom Page 1

    Look or the screenshots above to nd the blogs o Daryl Bauer,top, and Greg Wagner at OutdoorNebraska.org.

    This image is a screenshot or the Commissions online permitting page. It maybe ound at OutdoorNebraska.org.

    By Jerry Kane

    Visitors to Ponca StatePark (SP) can experience afeature unique to Nebraskasstate park system

    environment-friendly cabins.Two energy-efficientgreen cabins werecompleted in 2009. Theyare designed to highlight

    various environment-friendlyconstruction options nowavailable to builders. Theunits, each equipped with twobedrooms, modern kitchenand bath, living room, anddining area, are rented forovernight stays at the park.

    Now park visitors canenjoy the scenic beauty ofthe park that overlooks

    the Missouri River, takeadvantage of a range ofoutdoor activities and learnconcepts of sustainable living(a lifestyle that seeks to reducea persons use of naturalresources), recycling andenergy efficiency.

    Through their stays in thecabins, visitors may adoptsustainable-living practicesin their homes and supportconservation of energy andnatural resources. Interpretive

    signs in each cabin highlightgreen building practices andsustainable-living concepts.

    The most unique featureof these cabins is the walls.They were built with prairiehay bales, which produce ahigh insulation R-value. Other

    green elements in the cabinsinclude recycled buildingmaterials, geothermal heating/cooling, lighting, and wastewater treatment.

    The green cabinscomplement otherenvironment-friendlypractices at Ponca SP,including recycling, wetlandwastewater treatment system,composting, native plantlandscaping practices, habitatrestoration, and diverseconservation educationprograms.

    A four-bedroom greencabin will be built. The greencabins are the latest additionto Poncas expanded lodging.Two mini-lodges, which

    are open year-round, werecompleted in 2008. The parkhas many other cabins.

    (Jerry Kane is a publicinformation officer in theInformation and EducationDivision.)

    Ponca oers energy-efcient cabins

    The above sign is an exampleo signage around the cabinsthat explains energy-efcientpractices used.


  • 8/8/2019 2009-2010 Fall/Winter Outdoor Nebraska Newspaper


    Page 8 Outdoor Nebraska

    Ice Fishing EssentialsA guide to equipment, clothing and helpful tips for fun on ice

    By Daryl BauerIce ishing can be a great way to beat cabin

    ever and it can be one o the best times o theyear to catch ish. However, to take advantageo ice ishing opportunities some gear isessential to make the experience comortableand productive.


    There are a number o(1) pac bootsavailable that have removable liners andare rated or temperatures well below zero.Spend as much moneyas you can aord ona good pair o bootsbecause you will bestanding on the ice.

    There are a variety ohats that will keep yourhead and ears warm;consider a (2) ur hat nothing beats ur or

    warmth and style.

    The key to staying warmis layering. Begin with a base layer o silk orsynthetic underwear and add layers.

    Wool garments provide excellent insulationand will maintain warmth even whendamp.

    Outer layers can include sweat shirts andjackets covered by heavy parkas, bibs orcoveralls.

    Carry at least a couple pairs o gloves or (3)mittens.

    Remove layers during periods o activityto avoid sweating and add layers back onduring periods o inactivity.


    The best tool or checking ice thicknessis an ice chisel or (4) spud barthat canbe used to strike the ice and evaluate iceconditions.

    Commercial or homemade (5) ice picksshould be worn around your neck in case

    the worst happens and youneed something to grip theice and pull yoursel out othe water.

    Try(6) ice creepersorice cleats. They are greator keeping you on youreet.

    Wearing a (7) liejacketis a good idea untilyou are sure the ice is sae.

    All ice anglers shouldhave a long piece o rope in case oemergency.

    Ice Holes

    A spud bar can be used to make holesin the ice, but(8) ice augers make the

    job easier. Hand augers are relativelyinexpensive and would be the bestinvestment or beginning ice anglers. Themost important thing about ice augers is tokeep the blades sharp. Purchase an extraset o blades to ensure you have at least

    one set o sharp blades on every trip.

    Once a person is ready to make a greaterinvestment in ice shing equipment, gas-powered augers make the job even easier.

    An (9) ice skimmeris essential orscooping ice chunks rom holes.

    Rods and Reels, Hooks and Bait

    Beginners can use their open-water shingrods and reels.Specialized, shorter, (10) icefshing rods that allow anglers to sit closerto their ice holes while they are shing.

    There are a variety o ice shing rods on themarket, or anglers can manuacture theirown using broken open-water rods.

    Think small and light or most ice shingtackle. Fish metabolism rates are slowerduring the winter so light lines withrelatively small (11) hooks, jigsorspoonstipped with wax worms or maggots are thebest ice shing tools or most species osh.

    Borrow a childs(12) sledto haul yourequipment onto the ice.

    Use heavier lines and larger baits or pike

    and other large predator sh.

    Bauers BlogRead more about Nebraska shing in DarylBauers Barbs and Backlashes blog at http://barbsandbacklashes.wordpress.com.














    Any nice largemouth bass caughtthrough the ice is sure to bring a smile.