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Family Camp Set for Sept. 23-24 at Ashland


Join the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for a Becoming an Outdoors-Family Camp at Ashland’s Camp Carol Joy Holling Sept. 23-24.

The camp is designed for families that are new and novice campers who are looking to get started camping but need a bit of encouragement. Families will enjoy the outdoors while fishing, hiking, bird watching, cooking outdoors, shooting, kayaking and much more. They will learn about nature, wildlife, aquatic life and the flora and fauna of the Platte Valley.

For more information and to register, visit outdoornebraska.org/BOF.

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Early Spring is the Time to Fish for Northern Pike


Early spring is a great time to fish for northern pike, and Nebraska offers several great places to do so, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. 

Northern pike are best suited for colder environments; they are one of the first species to spawn in the spring. Spawning is currently underway, which means pike are coming up into the shallows to spawn on rooted vegetation. During and immediately after spawning, pike can be easily caught by working the shallows with various baits. That is the time when a pike’s metabolism rate is ready for it to start feeding.  

Most of the state’s best pike waters are located in north central and northwestern Nebraska; however, eastern Nebraska anglers have an excellent location at Lake Wanahoo in Saunders County to catch and release pike into the 40-inch range.

Sandhills lakes cannot be beat, for anglers wanting to experience true pike waters. The Valentine National Wildlife Refuge lakes in Cherry County are excellent, with the best pike opportunities at Dewey, Pelican and Hackberry lakes. The best reservoirs in the state for pike are Box Butte in Dawes County and Merritt in Cherry County, as they have excellent numbers with a variety of sizes.

Check the 2017 Nebraska Fishing Guide, as these water bodies have different harvest regulations. Purchase a fishing permit at OutdoorNebraska.org.

Nebraska the Best for Turkey Hunting


Nebraska offers the best turkey hunting opportunities in the entire country. It’s not just that Nebraska’s got an awful lot of turkeys – including the highly sought-after Merriam’s – though it certainly does. Nebraska also offers plentiful and affordable permits, long seasons, great public access and $5 permits for youth.

Visit our website to learn why Nebraska is quickly becoming the best destination for turkey hunting in the United States.

Game and Parks Surveying Deer Hunters


The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is conducting a survey of Nebraska deer hunters Dec. 14 – Jan. 22, 2016. This survey is conducted every five years and is designed to gather hunter information about experiences, attitudes and opinions related to the 2015 deer season.

The public’s input is important to Game and Parks and is another way in which hunters can participate in Nebraska’s deer management program. Hunters are the primary tool used to manage the state’s deer herd. It is important that the public’s opinions are considered in setting future deer season regulations.

To access the survey, visit: http://bit.ly/NGPC-DeerHunterSurvey.

Moose Sighted in North Platte


Nebraska Game and Parks Commission officials confirmed a weekend sighting of a moose within the city limits of North Platte.

The moose had been in the area for about a month before being spotted in town on Dec. 13, according to officials. Game and Parks biologists are communicating with local law enforcement about the moose’s whereabouts. If the opportunity presents itself, officials will attempt to direct the moose out of town.

Officials stress that people should not approach the moose to take pictures or attempt to feed it as they have been known to become aggressive toward people and pets.

Aggressive moose often show a variety of signs, including pinned back or flattened ears with hair raised around the neck and back. Other signs are a lowered head, stomping feet and teeth clicking or licking of its lips. In the case of a moose charging, people are encouraged to run and not stand their ground.

Outdoor October Calendar


The following is a listing of Nebraska Game and Parks Commission events and important dates in October:

Oct. 1 – Crow hunting season opens statewide

Oct. 1-31 – Paddlefish snagging season

Oct. 2-4 – Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshop, Nebraska National Forest, Halsey

Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23 – Explore Archery, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln, 4:30 p.m., 402-471-6141

Oct. 3 – Cowboy Trail dedication, Rushville American Legion Club, 206 Sprague St., 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 3 – Dark goose hunting season opens in North Central Unit

Oct. 3 – Light goose hunting regular season opens

Oct. 3 – White-fronted goose hunting season opens

Oct. 3 – Duck and coot hunting seasons open in Zones 2 and 4

Oct. 3-4 – Youth waterfowl hunting season in Zone 1

Oct. 3-4 – Living History Weekend, Fort Atkinson State Historical Park (SHP), Fort Calhoun, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 402-468-5611

Oct. 3-4 – Historic Firearms Display, Fort Hartsuff SHP, Burwell, 308-346-4715

Oct. 3-4, 23-24 – Pioneer Longrifle Rendezvous, Indian Cave State Park (SP), Shubert, 402-883-2575

Oct. 3-5 – Autumn Harvest Art Show, Eugene T. Mahoney SP, Ashland, 402-944-2523

Oct. 4 – Muzzleloader antelope hunting season closes

Oct. 4 – Shootout at Salt Creek, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln, 10 a.m., 402-471-6141

Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25 – Living History, Arbor Lodge SHP, Nebraska City, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 402-873-7222

Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27 – Best Shots Rifle Marksmanship for ages 10-16, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln, 6 p.m., 402-471-6141

Oct. 6, 20 – Ladies Day at the Range, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln, 6:30-8 p.m., 402-471-5662

Oct. 8, 15, 22, 29 – .22 Pistol League, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln, 7 p.m., 402-471-6141

Oct. 9 – Trick or Treat at the Town, Indian Cave SP, Shubert, 7-9 p.m., 402-883-2575

Oct. 9-18 – German Short Hair Dog Trials, Fort Robinson SP, Crawford, 308-665-2900

Oct. 10 – Howl in the Hills Night Hike, Wildcat Hills Nature Center, Gering, 7 p.m., 308-436-3777

Oct. 10 – Duck and coot hunting seasons open in Zone 1

Oct. 10-11, 17-18, 24-25 – Hunter Sight-In Weekend, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., noon-6 p.m., 402-471-6141

Oct. 10, 17 – Hallowfest, Ponca SP, Ponca, 7-10 p.m., 402-755-2284

Oct. 10, 17, 24 – Halloween Decorating and Costume Contests, Indian Cave SP, Shubert, 402-883-2575

Oct. 10, 16, 17, 22, 24 – Haunted Hollow Hayrack Rides, Indian Cave SP, Shubert, 7-9:30 p.m., 402-883-2575

Oct. 10-25 – Firearm antelope hunting season

Oct. 11 – Family Rendezvous, Platte River SP, Louisville, 402-234-2217

Oct. 12 – Columbus Day, Game and Parks offices closed; Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center is open

Oct. 12, 19, 26 – First Steps Pistol, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln, 6:30 p.m., 402-471-6141

Oct. 15 – Introduction to trapping workshop, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln, 6 p.m., 402-471-6141

Oct. 17 – Living History, Rock Creek Station SHP, Fairbury, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., 402-729-5777

Oct. 17 – Pumpkin Carvers, Calamus State Recreation Area (SRA), Burwell, 308-346-5666

Oct. 17-18 – Youth waterfowl hunting season in Zone 3

Oct. 21 – Upland game hunting workshop, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln, 6 p.m., 402-471-6141

Oct. 22 – Waterfowl hunting workshop, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln, 6 p.m., 402-471-6141

Oct. 22-24, 29-30 – Haunted Barn, Buffalo Bill Ranch SHP, North Platte, 6 p.m., 308-535-8035

Oct. 22, 29 – Explore Archery, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln, 4:30 p.m., 402-471-6141

Oct. 23 – Nebraska Game and Parks Board of Commissioners meeting, Fairbury

Oct. 24 – Duck and coot hunting seasons open in Zone 3

Oct. 24-25 – DeSoto October muzzleloader deer season

Oct. 24-25 – Youth pheasant, quail and partridge hunting season

Oct. 25 – Archery and firearm bull elk hunting seasons close

Oct. 25 – Private land and public land antlerless elk hunting seasons close

Oct. 27 – Deer hunting workshop, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln, 6 p.m., 402-471-6141

Oct. 28 – Deer hunting workshop, Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium, Gretna, 6 p.m., 402-471-6144

Oct. 28 – Dark goose hunting season opens in East, Platte River, Panhandle and Niobrara Units

Oct. 29 – Deer hunting workshop, Chadron State College, Chadron, 6 p.m., 402-471-5662

Oct. 30 – Deer hunting workshop, NGPC District Office, North Platte, 6 p.m., 402-471-5662

Oct. 30 – Dove (all species) hunting season closes

Oct. 31 – Eurasian collared-dove only hunting season opens

Oct. 31 – Pheasant, quail and partridge hunting seasons open

Oct. 31 – Raccoon and Virginia opossum hunting seasons close

Oct. 31 – Bullfrog season closes

Contact Game and Parks at 402-471-0641 or visit OutdoorNebraska.org for more information. Visit HuntSafeNebraska.org for a list of hunter education classes and BoatSafeNebraska.org for a list of boating safety classes.

Repaving at Indian Cave State Park Continues


LINCOLN – The repaving of roads within Indian Cave State Park in southeast Nebraska continues. The road to Hackberry Hollow Campground has been finished.

Currently, work is being done to the road to the Ash Grove Campground, the Cave road, and the boat ramp road. There is no access to the boat ramp at this time; however there is river access at nearby Brownville.

Over Labor Day weekend, the Cave road will be temporarily open to allow access to the Cave.  After Labor Day weekend, the road will be closed to continue with asphalt placement.

Work will be continued through the rest of this year and into 2016. The completion date of the Cave road is unknown at this time, but it is a priority to have this completed.

The one-way loop will be open during Indian Cave’s Haunted Hollow Hayrack rides in October.

For more information, contact the park at 402-883-2575 or email at ngpc.indian.cave@nebraska.gov. Indian Cave is located 2 miles north and 5 east of Shubert in Nemaha and Richardson counties.

This project is administered by the Nebraska Department of Roads through the State of Nebraska Recreation Road Program.

Celebrate the Legacy of Lewis and Clark at Ponca State Park


It’s been more than 200 years since Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Discovery camped along the Missouri River not far from the current site of Ponca State Park.  Celebrate their history with Missouri River canoeing, period games, crafts and more during Lewis and Clark Heritage Day on Saturday, Aug. 22 at Ponca State Park. More information is available online.

Pheasant Hunting Opportunities Expected to Improve


LINCOLN – Nebraska pheasant hunting opportunities in 2015 should be better than last year, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Upland Game Hunting Outlook.

Mild winter conditions and timely spring rains have resulted in increases in pheasant abundance statewide. Spring rains also resulted in abundant cover, with Game and Parks staff reporting excellent habitat conditions across the state.

The outlook is based on spring and summer upland game surveys, and conditions reported by biologists. Regional weather events that could impact populations are considered.

Surveys indicated that pheasant abundance was higher in all regions of the state compared to 2014. The southwest and Panhandle regions should offer the best hunting opportunities this year, but better opportunities should be available statewide. With the lush vegetation comes an abundance of insects for chicks to eat. Reports from several regions indicate plentiful grasshoppers this year.

Quail abundance continued its ascent from lows resulting from the drought of 2012-2013 and the severe winter of 2009-2010. Surveys indicated increases in abundance compared to 2014 across almost all of the quail’s range. Habitat conditions were excellent for production and brood-rearing across the state. The southeast and south central parts of the state should offer the best opportunities this year, but there will be good opportunities throughout quail range.

Habitat conditions for grouse were excellent this year, particularly in the Sandhills, and surveys indicated increased abundance in most regions compared to 2014. Abundance was highest in the central part of the state.

Cottontail abundance appears to have increased significantly across the state, particularly in the southeast and central regions. Staff also report observing multitudes of young rabbits.

To view the full report, visit OutdoorNebraska.org, and then search for 2015 Upland Game Hunting Outlook.


New Features Coming to the Nebraska State Fair


The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is gearing up for this year’s Nebraska State Fair. We’ve added several exciting new features this year including an outdoor meandering steam, which runs along the edge of the outdoor playground just outside the Nebraska Building. The seven-foot-wide stream stretches 115 feet and features waterfalls, stonework and landscaping inspired by the Niobrara River valley and constructed by Greenworks of Grand Island. Visitors are invited to grab a seat, relax and enjoy the scenery.

Also new is a multi-screen exhibit detailing the reintroduction of bighorn sheep in Nebraska. The exhibit showcases how the sheep were captured and released into Nebraska and allows guests to follow the path of a migrating bighorn using data collected from a GPS radio collar. Additionally, a NEBRASKAland Magazine photo display will feature prints of wildlife, landscapes and beautiful scenes from outdoor Nebraska.

These features are in addition to the archery and airgun ranges, aquarium, kids’ games and outdoor playground that made last year’s exhibit a big success. For more information on our fair exhibit, visit our website.

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