Outdoor notes: Firearm deer season opens Nov. 16
LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska’s firearm deer season is Nov. 16-24, giving individuals an opportunity to share a hunt with family or friends.
“We should have another great firearm deer season in Nebraska,” said Luke Meduna, big game program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “With plenty of permits available and excellent deer numbers, there are great hunting opportunities for all ages. Go out with your friends and family and stay safe.”
The Commission has the following reminders for deer hunters:
-- Permits still are available for several deer management units. Buy them at OutdoorNebraska.gov.
-- Cash donations to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program are encouraged so it can continue to feed Nebraskans in need by providing them with venison donated by deer hunters. To make a cash donation, visit Outdoornebraska.gov/hhh.
-- Ahead of the harvest, hunters should locate a check station near their location. Firearm deer hunters and archers harvesting deer during the November firearm season must deliver their deer to a check station no later than 1 p.m. on the day following the close of the season. To find a list and map of check stations visit Outdoornebraska.gov/deer.
-- Lymph node samples to be tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD) will be collected from select harvested mule deer at check stations in the Pine Ridge and Plains management units, and from whitetails in the Missouri, Loup East, Calamus East and Elkhorn units. Learn more about CWD at OutdoorNebraska.gov/cwd.
-- Nebraskans who want to donate or receive harvested deer can participate in the Deer Exchange, which is designed to accommodate the additional harvest of deer. It brings together hunters who have a surplus of deer with recipients willing to accept the deer meat. To join, visit OutdoorNebraska.gov/deerexchangeprogram.
-- Hunters should keep safety the top priority in the field by always keeping their rifle muzzle pointed in a safe direction, with safety on, and finger off the trigger, until they are ready to fire. They also should identify their target and what lies beyond it before firing. In addition, all deer hunters are required to wear 400 square inches of blaze orange on their head, chest and back during the November firearm season, regardless if they are hunting with a firearm or archery tackle.
-- Hunters also are reminded that permission is required to hunt on private land. Those who have permission to hunt should show the landowner and land respect.
-- The 2019-2020 Public Access Atlas identifies and consolidates the nearly 1 million acres of publicly accessible lands that benefit Nebraska’s hunters, trappers and anglers. Printed copies are available where permits are sold; it also is available online at OutdoorNebraska.org/PublicAccessAtlas.
-- The season also is an opportunity to take a new or lapsed hunter afield as part of the Take ‘Em Hunting challenge. For more information, visit OutdoorNebraska.org/TakeEmHunting.
Game and Parks to sample deer for CWD in six units during 2019 firearm season
LINCOLN, Neb. – Samples to be tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD) will be collected at check stations in northeast, central and northwest Nebraska during the November firearm deer hunting season.
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission staff will collect lymph nodes from select harvested deer during the Nov. 16-24 season from the Pine Ridge, Plains, Missouri, Elkhorn, Loup East and Calamus East units. Additionally, Game and Parks will accept voluntary samples from any hunter who harvests an elk in 2019.
The goal of this sampling effort is to assess the spread and prevalence of CWD through periodic testing in each region of the state, which will help biologists determine the spread and occurrence of the disease. Game and Parks rotates sampling of management units around the state, sampling each every 3-5 years.
Other hunters outside of the sampling area may have their deer tested for CWD, for a fee, by the Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Lincoln.
Although present in Colorado and Wyoming for several decades, CWD was first discovered in Nebraska in 2000 in Kimball County. Since 1997, Game and Parks staff have tested nearly 52,000 deer and found 630 that tested positive. CWD has been found in 42 Nebraska counties, but no population declines attributable to the disease have yet been detected.
CWD is prion disease that attacks the brain of infected deer and elk, eventually causing emaciation, erratic behavior, neurological irregularities and ultimately death. While CWD has not been shown to infect humans, hunters should exercise caution when handling and processing deer, consider testing their deer if taken from a known CWD area and avoid consuming animals that test positive or look sick. Livestock and other animals outside the deer family do not appear susceptible to CWD.
Hunters can help prevent the spread of CWD by using proper carcass disposal methods. CWD prions, the infectious proteins that transmit the disease, can remain viable for months or even years in the soil. Hunters can find recommendations on handling and processing of deer and elk at cwd-info.org/recommendations-for-hunters.
Learn more about CWD in Nebraska at OutdoorNebraska.org/cwd.
Firearm deer season hunters reminded to locate check stations
LINCOLN, Neb. – Those who plan to hunt the November firearm deer season are reminded to locate a check station ahead of their hunt. There have been several changes to the list of available check stations since last season.
Firearm deer hunters and archers harvesting deer during the Nov. 16-24 firearm season must deliver their deer to a check station no later than 1 p.m. on the day following the close of the season.
The following are changes to the list of check stations, by region:
Southwest District – Added to the list: McCook Police Department. Removed from the list: Venango, Tin Cup Diner.
Northwest District – Added to the list: Lewellen, DP’s Service Station; Chadron, Ace Hardware.
Southeast District – Added to the list: Falls City, F&F Firearms, LLC.; Roca, On the Way Bait & Tackle. Removed from the list: Waterloo, Travis’ Merchant of Venice; Panama, Panama Locker.
To find a complete list of available check stations, as well as a map, visit Outdoornebraska.gov/deer. More information on checking deer also is available there in the 2019 Big Game Guide.
Game and Parks reminds pet owners to be vigilant against coyotes
LINCOLN, Neb. – Owners of small pets are reminded to be vigilant to protect them from possible coyote encounters.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission suggests people should haze coyotes away whenever possible to keep them wild and afraid of humans. The following steps will help keep pets safe:
-- Do not approach or feed a coyote or other wildlife.
-- Do not leave pet food outside.
-- Keep pets on a leash, and do not let them roam at night.
-- Keep an eye on your pet and keep it close, even if just letting it out into the yard for a few minutes.
-- In the rare instance that a coyote acts aggressively, get inside a building or vehicle, if possible.
-- If a coyote attacks, lift pets or children and fight back with sticks, rocks, or any other object while you back away.
Most interactions that people experience with coyotes are interactions between coyotes and dogs due to the territorial nature of both animals. Coyote attacks on people are very rare; coyotes typically avoid people.
Coyotes are common throughout Nebraska, including some areas of cities where there is habitat, such as creek bottoms, green space with tall grass, and agricultural fields.
People who observe a coyote showing no fear of humans or have had a pet attacked by a coyote should call Game and Parks at 402-471-0641.
For more information, visit nebraskawildliferehab.org/wildlife-help/nuisance-wildlife-issues/coyotes.html.
Landowners planning prescribed burns encouraged to put in firebreaks this fall
LINCOLN, Neb. – Now is a good time to put in firebreaks to be used during prescribed burns, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
“We want landowners to conduct their prescribed fires in a safe manner, so getting your firebreaks in place in the fall, ahead of any burns in the spring or in the non-growing season, is the best practice,” said Scott Luedtke, Game and Parks’ Habitat Partners Section southeast district manager. “Late season haying is a good idea so that you have good, safe firebreaks to use when you’re ready to fire off your field.”
With firebreaks in place, landowners can prepare for burns to manage red cedar populations. The non-growing season is an ideal time for this, Luedtke said, because of reduced moisture content.
By conducting prescribed burns to control red cedar, landowners can help stop its spread, which is regarded as the largest conservation challenge in the Great Plains and Nebraska Sandhills. Once a rare and well-liked species, red cedar has spread exponentially in Nebraska, and scientists now recognize it as the number one threat to Nebraska’s rangelands, despite its status as a native species.
Effects of red cedar invasion include collapses in native biodiversity; increased risk to endangered species; inability to control wildfires; decline of water resources; increased allergens; and surprising negative impacts on public school funding. In addition, studies have documented that livestock production decreases by 75 percent or more in areas where red cedar has taken over.
Further information about red cedar in Nebraska is available from the University of Nebraska at cedarliteracy.unl.edu. To inquire about conducting a prescribed burn on your land, contact your local Game and Parks district office.
Vintage clothing exhibit ‘Enchant’ on display at Ash Hollow SHP
LINCOLN, Neb. – Each Saturday and Sunday in November, guests at Ash Hollow State Historical Park can view a high-end vintage clothing exhibit, “Enchant,” featuring handmade beadwork and embroidery.
The clothing line extends from the 1880s to the 1980s and is an interactive, hands-on presentation that invites guests to touch and feel the craftsmanship of the garment.
“Garden County has a long standing tradition of dressmaking and dressmakers,” Park Superintendent Tamara Cooper said. “Many of the items and dresses were collected locally by women who have since passed on.”
The exhibit is open each Saturday and Sunday in November from noon to 5 p.m. The cost is $5 per person. On Dec. 1, the event will wrap up with an open house from 4-7 p.m. and a style show where some of the dresses will be modeled. Finger hors d'oeuvres and drinks will be provided.
A park entry permit is required. For more information, contact the park office at 308-778-5651.
Officers searching for man after boat capsizes
LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska Game and Parks Commission conservation officers are searching for a man who fell out of a boat on Sherman County Reservoir on Nov. 8.
Two men on a duck hunt were traveling across the lake in a boat when it capsized, throwing both into the water. One man swam to a nearby cabin and called for help. Officers are searching for the other man, whose named has not been released, pending notification of family.
An investigation of the incident is ongoing.
Safety should be top priority for firearm deer hunters
LINCOLN, Neb. – The November firearm deer season is one of the most anticipated times of the year for Nebraska hunters. Remaining safe during the Nov. 16-24 season should be their top priority.
“While hunting remains one of the safest activities, there are always a few key things to consider while afield,” Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Hunter Education Coordinator Jackson Ellis said.
-- Always keep the rifle muzzle pointed in a safe direction, with safety on, and finger off the trigger until ready to fire.
-- Properly identify the target and what lies beyond it before pulling the trigger; never shoot at sounds or movement.
-- Wear your blaze orange. All deer hunters are required to wear 400 square inches of blaze orange visible on their head, chest, and back during the nine-day November firearm season, regardless if hunting with a firearm or archery equipment.
-- Unload firearms before travelling in a motorized vehicle and before crossing obstacles such as fences, creeks, or steep embankments.
-- When hunting from a tree stand or elevated platform, always maintain three points of contact when ascending or descending, pull your firearm or bow up to you with a haul line, and wear a Fall Arrest System (safety harness.)
“The tradition of deer hunting in Nebraska continues to be a fun, safe activity with great opportunities at finding success in all corners of the state,” Ellis said. “Have fun out there, good luck, and hunt safe!”
Remember Pearl Harbor at Fort Atkinson SHP
LINCOLN, Neb. – Visitors to Fort Atkinson State Historical Park can see a special “Remember Pearl Harbor!” exhibit Dec. 4-8.
The exhibit, which includes a documentary video, can be viewed from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Visitor Center. Admittance to the Visitor Center is $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 3-12. Contact the park for more information at 402-468-5611.
Fort Atkinson is located seven blocks east of U.S. Highway 75 near Fort Calhoun. A park entry permit is required.