LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commissioners tabled staff recommendations for 2012 waterfowl and crow hunting regulations at their July 27 meeting in Lincoln to accommodate an increase in scaup bag limit.
Staff was notified July 26 – after it had submitted recommendations that included a daily bag limit of three scaup – that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) framework allows a daily bag limit of six scaup.
Commissioners voted to accept regulations and season dates. The dates, along with the addition of an increased scaup bag limit, will be voted on for passage at the Commissioners’ next meeting, Aug. 31 in Broken Bow. Those season dates are:
Early Teal – Low Plains: Sept. 8-23; High Plains: Sept. 8-16
Youth – Zone 1: Oct. 6-7; Zone 2: Sept. 29-30; Zone 3: Oct. 13-14; Zone 4: Sept. 29-30
Ducks and Coots – Zone 1: Oct. 13 – Dec. 25; Zone 2: Oct. 6 – Dec. 18 and Jan. 2-23 (High Plains only); Zone 3: Oct. 20 – Jan. 1 and Jan. 2-23 (High Plains only); Zone 4: Oct. 6 – Dec. 18
Dark Geese – East Unit: Oct. 6-14 and Oct. 27 – Jan. 30; North Central Unit: Oct. 6 – Jan. 18; Platte River Unit: Oct. 27 – Feb. 8; Panhandle Unit: Nov. 10 – Feb. 8; Niobrara Unit: Oct. 27 – Feb. 8
White-Fronted Geese – Oct. 6 – Dec. 14 and Feb. 2-3
Light Geese Regular Season – Oct. 6 – Jan. 4 and Jan. 26 – Feb. 8
Light Geese Conservation Order – Zone 1: Feb. 9 – April 14; Zone 2: Feb. 9-April 1; Zone 3: Feb. 9 – April 14
Crows – Regular Season: Oct. 1-Nov. 15 and Jan. 20-April 6; Special Public Health Hazard Order: Nov. 16-Jan. 19
In other business, Roger Verhulst of Sidney won the Nebraska Super Tag Lottery multi-species permit. “Get out! Yes!” Verhulst responded via phone to Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy, who had just drawn the winning entry. The permit is valid for hunting in 2012 and 2013 and has a bag limit of one elk, one deer, one antelope and two turkeys. The permit allows hunting with any legal weapon in any open hunting unit during the general hunting season for each species. This year’s lottery attracted 1,721 applicants who paid $25 to enter.
— Tabled a recommendation in the wildlife regulations, citing ambiguity, pertaining to the prohibition of alcohol on “lands controlled for public access.”
— Amended the bag limit for a Special Depredation Season deer permit from one deer to one antlerless deer.
— Approved regulations for meat processors who participate in the new Hunters Helping the Hungry program.
— Increased the change fund at Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area (SRA) by $200 to $2,400 to accommodate two new bill changers in shower buildings at Arthur Bay and Lake Ogallala SRA.
— Approved regulations for hunting at Branched Oak SRA, Eugene T. Mahoney State Park (SP), Fort Atkinson State Historical Park, Indian Cave SP, Louisville SRA, Niobrara SP, Platte River SP, Ponca SP and Schramm Park SRA.
— Accepted a gift of 15.14- and 80.35-acre tracts in York County from Ducks Unlimited, designated as additions to Kirkpatrick Basin South Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
— Acquired a 159.87-acre tract in Custer County for wildlife diversity and hunting and designated it Berggren-Young WMA. The project includes a partial donation of appraised value by the previous owner, as well as funds from the Habitat Fund and the USFWS.
— Acquired a 146-acre tract in Stanton County for wildlife diversity and hunting and designated it an addition to Wood Duck WMA. Funds are provided by a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust and the USFWS.
— Transferred back to the Nebraska Department of Roads the 97.49-acre Goldenrod WMA and 22.83-acre Goldeneye WMA. It is anticipated that the South Platte Natural Resources District, which managed the areas by agreement with Game and Parks, will continue to manage these Deuel County tracts as wildlife areas.
Commissioners heard a presentation from Rick Spellman of Omaha regarding his concern about sedimentation along the mouth of the Niobrara River and along the upper Missouri River and upper reaches of Lewis and Clark Reservoir.
Dr. James Ingram of Omaha asked the Commissioners to consider moving some falconry season dates to later in the season. Commissioners are scheduled to consider falconry recommendations Aug. 31.