Outdoor notes: Unlimited quota deer, antelope permits available starting July 10
Hunters may begin purchasing unlimited quota Nebraska deer and antelope permits July 10.
Residents, nonresidents and eligible landowners may purchase permits through the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission starting at 1 p.m. Central time.
Unlimited quota deer permits are resident statewide archery, resident statewide muzzleloader, youth, youth whitetail, nonresident restricted youth, limited landowner and special landowner.
Unlimited quota antelope permits are resident statewide archery and youth archery.
The remaining purchase periods are:
July 11 – Residents may buy any limited quota deer permits.
July 12 – Residents may buy any limited antelope permits.
July 24 – Nonresidents may buy any limited deer permits.
July 25 – Nonresidents may buy any limited antelope permits.
Aug. 7 – Residents and nonresidents may buy any remaining draw unit deer permits.
Aug. 8 – Residents, nonresidents and eligible landowners may buy any remaining draw unit antelope permits.
Aug. 9 – Residents and eligible landowners may buy any remaining draw unit elk permits.
Permits will be available through the close of the hunting season or until the quota sells out.
Purchases may be made online at OutdoorNebraska.gov, in person at a Game and Parks office, or via mail: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, 2200 N. 33rd St., Lincoln, NE, 68503.
For more information on big game hunting and permits, see the 2023 Nebraska Big Game Guide at OutdoorNebraska.gov.
Public encouraged to take part in summer turkey survey
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is inviting the public to participate in its annual summer turkey survey July 1-Aug. 31.
The survey provides useful estimates about annual production by wild turkey hens and how many poults, or young turkeys, survive the summer brood-rearing period. These records and observations inform management decisions regarding wild turkeys, their population size and habitat needs.
During July and August, survey participants are asked to record all turkeys they see. Visit outdoornebraska.gov and search for “turkey brood survey” for instructions and the survey link. The link can be bookmarked on a phone for easy use in the field.
“The results of this survey have been really important in helping us understand our turkey populations,” said Luke Meduna, Game and Parks’ big game program manager. “While we have seen declines in turkey numbers across the state, brood sizes, hen, poult and tom ratios in recent years have remained consistent with historic rates.”
View the 2022 survey results at outdoornebraska.gov; search for “wildlife surveys.”
Fort Kearny SRA will allow fireworks July 4
Only one Nebraska state park area will allow fireworks this Fourth of July. Visitors to Fort Kearny State Recreation Area will be allowed to touch off fireworks on July 4.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission urges guests to be careful when lighting fireworks, which will be allowed from 8 a.m. until midnight.
Due to exceptional drought conditions, Branched Oak, Wagon Train, Memphis and Pawnee SRAs will not permit fireworks as they have in past years.
Signs at Fort Kearny will point the way to designated fireworks sites, and boundaries will be clearly marked.
Use of fireworks elsewhere in state parks areas or at other times is prohibited.
Only fireworks approved for sale in Nebraska by the state fire marshal are permitted, and visitors must pick up expended fireworks and deposit them in appropriate containers. Minor children must be supervised when discharging fireworks. Use, possession and the discharging of fireworks is at the sole risk of the users.
A park entry permit is required for all vehicles entering Fort Kearny SRA.
Nebraska wildlife and land conservation programs get USDA boost
Two Nebraska efforts aimed at grassland and wildlife conservation through conservation assistance for farmers, ranchers and tribes will benefit from a financial boost recently announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The USDA on June 27 announced it would invest at least $500 million over the next five years to wildlife conservation through Working Lands for Wildlife, a model that balances the conservation needs of endangered species with the needs of landowners and their working lands.
Previously only available through USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation assistance programs, Working Lands for Wildlife can now be considered an option for landowners interested in the Conservation Reserve Program through the Farm Service Agency.
Nebraska has two Working Lands focus areas and initiatives, including one in the Sandhills and one in southeast Nebraska, that will receive some of the support prioritized for grasslands and bobwhite quail in the central and eastern United States.
Nebraska’s first Working Lands for Wildlife initiative targets the eastern Sandhills with the goal of managing the land for the benefit of grassland species, such as the greater prairie-chicken and American burying beetle. To date, 90,138 acres have been positively affected through eastern red cedar removal, prescribed fire and grazing practices since the program started in 2017. These management tools will continue to help the lands into the future and prevent invasive species encroachment.
“This initiative has empowered landowners in the eastern Sandhills to manage their land positively for both their operation and for wildlife,” said Jenny Prenosil, Nebraska Game and Parks agriculture program manager.
The southeast Nebraska initiative is a multi-state effort to boost bobwhite quail habitat, including native grasslands and oak savannahs, while keeping acres productive for landowners participating in the program. Started in 2022, 1,386 acres have been enrolled on a variety of agricultural lands.
A variety of partners work together and with landowners on the Nebraska initiatives. They include: Pheasants Forever, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, The Sandhills Task Force, The Nature Conservancy, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Environmental Trust, and National Fish and Wildlife Federation.
To learn whether your land is eligible for Working Lands for Wildlife efforts or other conservation programs, visit OutdoorNebraska.gov and search for “land management.” Or connect to a private lands biologist near you through the Nebraska Game and Parks Conservation Reserve Program webpage.