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2009-2010 Fall/Winter Outdoor Nebraska Newspaper

2009-2010 Fall/Winter Outdoor Nebraska Newspaper

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Published by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Fall/Winter 2009
By Jerry Kane
Nebraska likely will top the 2008record harvest of antlerless white-taileddeer when hunters take to the woods in2009.“The deer population in the statehas never been higher,” said Kit Hams,big game program manager for theNebraska Game and Parks Commission.“An expanding white-tailed deer herd,especially in extreme eastern Nebraska,has caused increased complaints of cropdamage.” As a result, 87,000 deer permitsin 2008 had free “bonus” tags thatallowed the harvest of an antlerless white-tailed deer. There are 90,000 bonus tagsavailable in 2009.One of the biggest changes in the2009 deer hunting season is a result of aneed to harvest additional deer in easternNebraska. A new October antlerlessseason has been created for a portionof eastern Nebraska along the Missouriand lower Platte rivers where too fewantlerless whitetails were harvested lastyear. The Commission hopes this seasonwill add 3,000 antlerless whitetails to the2009 harvest.The October antlerless season – Oct.9-11 – is for hunting only within theboundaries of Season Choice Areas18 and 21. Deer may be taken witharchery equipment, muzzleloader, rifle,or crossbow. Hunters may take twoantlerless deer with each permit, andthere will be an unlimited number of permits available. Hunter orange isrequired.Record harvests of mule deer andwhitetails are expected this fall as morepermits are available and herd sizesremain strong in most areas. The harvestof antlerless whitetails may exceed that of whitetail bucks for the first time this fall.
By Doug Carroll
A longer season, includingthe opportunity to huntduring the November firearmdeer season, and the choiceof using a bow or a shotgunto fill their fall permit, are themajor changes greeting turkey hunters in Nebraska in 2009.That adds up to whatcould be a record-settingturkey season.In the past, fall turkey hunters had a fairly narrowtime frame to chase turkeysin Nebraska. They also hadto choose between buying anarchery tag or a shotgun tag.New regulations, however,now allow turkey hunters touse either weapon and huntfrom Sept. 15 – Dec. 31. Thismeans turkeys now can betaken during the Novemberrifle deer season. However,although turkey hunters,like rifle deer hunters, haveto wear at least 400 squareinches of hunter orange ontheir head, chest and back during that time frame andstill cannot legally use a rifleto harvest a turkey.Last fall 11,335 turkey permits were sold and 8,775birds were harvested. Both
By Scott Bonertz
With the rise of Internetmarketing and socialnetworks, the Nebraska Gameand Parks Commission isworking to meet this demand.The Commission hasexpanded its outreach to theonline outdoor community by adding Facebook and Twitteraccounts and two blogs, DarylBauer’s Barbs and Backlashesand In the Wild with GregWagner.“We see this move to socialmedia as a great way to getour message to our audiencein the manner they like best.These sites will supplementthe information we provideat OutdoorNebraska.org,”said Sam Sidner, assistantdirector for marketing at theCommission.The Facebook fan pagewas created to providefans and friends of theCommission a place to postmessages, write reviews,discuss topics and stay up-to-date on Commission newsand events. With Facebook having more than 400,000users in Nebraska, 42 millionin the United States, and morethan 200 million worldwide,the Commission is using thisexposure to aid its mission.Facebook describesitself as, “a social utility thatconnects people with friendsand others who work, study and live around them. Peopleuse Facebook to keep up withfriends, upload an unlimitednumber of photos, share linksand videos, and learn moreabout the people they meet.”To find the fan page onFacebook, log in or join at
NGPC reaching out with social networking
What’s Inside
Page 2
Beyond BOW,
Page 3
State park schedule,
Page 3
Crow hunting,
Page 4
Ice shing,
Page 8
Another record deer season expected in ‘09
A three-day October antlerless deer hunting season is new or 2009. It is restricted to a portion o eastern Nebraska.Deer Exchange returns.
Page 5
Turkey huntersgreeted bylonger season
See Deer, Page 5See Turkey, Page 5See Social, Page 7
   B   O   B   G   R   I   E   R
Outdoor Nebraska
is published by theNebraska Game and Parks CommissionCopyright 2009
Commission Ofces
2200 N. 33rd St. P.O. Box 30370Lincoln, NE 68503-0370(402) 471-0641OutdoorNebraska.org
299 Husker Rd., Box 725Alliance, NE 69301-0725(308) 763-2940
524 Panzer St., Box 508Bassett, NE 68714-0508(402) 684-2921
North Platte
301 E. State Farm Rd.North Platte, NE 69101-0430(308) 535-8025
2201 N. 13th St.Norolk, NE 68701-2267(402) 370-3374
1617 First Ave.Kearney, NE 68847-6057(308) 865-5310
Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium
21502 W. Neb. Hwy. 31Gretna, NE 68028(402) 332-3901
1212 Bob Gibson Blvd.Omaha, NE 68108-2020(402) 595-2144
Chairman: James Ziebarth, WilcoxVice Chairman: Jerrod Burke, Curtis2nd Vice Chairman:Mick Jensen, BlairDr. Mark Pinkerton, WilberRon Stave, WaterlooDr. Kent Forney, LincolnLynn Berggren, Broken BowMark Spurgin, PaxtonRex Fisher, Omaha
Rex Amack 
 Assistant Directors:
Roger KuhnKirk NelsonSam 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 ailiation. I you think youhave been discriminated against in any program, activity or acility or want moreinormation, contact the AirmativeAction Oicer, 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 andConservation, Civil Rights Coordinator,4401 North Fairax 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.
Nebraska has a variety of reservoirsfrom 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 tomake 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 Streams
There is nothing better than exploringcold-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 isexcellent 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 TroutFishing in Nebraska’s Streams brochure,which is available at Commission offices.
Pits and Ponds
Some of the best panfishing and bassfishing 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 overlook the Interstate 80 lakes.Summer fishing patterns on pits andponds gradually will transition into fallpatterns. Generally, as submerged aquatic vegetation 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, Smithwick Rogue). 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 Nebraskathis fall, but they will be some good onesto check. If you need more informationon fishing locations, be sure to check out
(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, colorul all bringshot shing to Nebraska
By Daryl Bauer
Catch-and-release hasbecome a common sport-fishing practice that hasenhanced and maintainedthe quality of fishing in many waters. 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 try to use the heaviest equipmentpossible to land fish quickly.Nets can aid in landingfish. There are many availablethat are made specifically forcatch-and-release angling.These nets do little damageto a fish’s 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 thebank; 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 toolthat 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 trophy catch. Leave fish in the waterwhile readying a cameraand planning the shot; wheneverything is ready, quickly lift the fish and pose forpictures.Hold fish firmly so they can be controlled, but neverinsert fingers into eyes or gillarches. Gripping the lower jaw 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 carefully inserting 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 tosupport their entire weightwithout water’s buoyancy.Never place fish that areto 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 if they can swim. If they cannotmaintain equilibrium, gently hold them upright and allowthem to respire on their own.Do not swish the fish back and 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 for the Fisheries Division.)
Catch-and-Release Basics
When practicing catch-and-release, land the sh as quickly as 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.
Ater removing hook, hold sh upright in water until itcan swim away.
Proper handling key to survival o released fsh
   M   I   C   H   A   E   L   F   O   R   S   B   E   R   G
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 bull’s-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 of one or more outdoor skills.In Nebraska, BOW hadbeen limited to a singlethree-day workshop each fallat the State 4-H Camp nearHalsey. 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 work individually with BeyondBOW 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 asecured hunting location.They don’t 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 mentoredcamps, such as turkey andwaterfowl hunts, follow thesame structure as the deerhunt. Other Beyond BOWworkshops include ice fishing,kayaking, sail boating, tank floats, and Scuba diving. NewBeyond BOW events arescheduled for the upcomingyear.In the fall of 2009, a newprogram called Becoming andOutdoors-Family (BOF) waslaunched 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 variety of 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 event coordinator 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 and January 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,
Hiking and Backpacking: Fall 2010 – Indian Cave StatePark 
Middle Loup River Tank Float: TBA
 Nebraska Game & Parks
Arbor Lodge SHP
Nebraska City (402) 873-7222Sept. 27, Oct 4, Oct. 11,and Oct. 18: living history demonstrations.
Arthur BowringSandhills Ranch SHP
Merriman, (308) 684-3428Dec. 6: Cody Youth Groupundraiser – Christmasat the Bowring; Dec.13: Martin Youth Groupundraiser – Christmasat the Bowring; Dec. 16:Bowring Christmas OpenHouse and viewing o lights.
Bualo Bill Ranch SHP
North Platte(308) 535-8035Open Sept. 8-Oct. 23,Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4p.m.; Dec. 18-22: Christmasat the Cody’s, 5:30-8 p.m.
Chadron SP
Chadron, (308) 432-6167Housekeeping at cabinsare available through mid-November, plus a groupcamp/conerence acility.
Eugene T. Mahoney SP
Ashland, (402) 944-2523 Year-round lodging andrecreation. Restaurant open year-round. Holiday buets: Thanksgiving Day, ChristmasEve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’sDay; Oct. 3-4: AutumnHarvest Art Show; Oct. 3-4:Old West Rib Fest; Oct. 23-25: Holiday Crat Show andOld West Cookout.
Fort Atkinson SHP
Fort Calhoun(402) 468-5611Visitor center open weekends only, 10 a.m.-5p.m., Sept. 12-Oct. 18; livinghistory demonstrations,11 a.m.-5 p.m.: Oct. 3-4;Friends o Fort Atkinsonundraiser (candlelighttour), Nov. 7.
Fort Hartsu SHP
Burwell, (308) 346-4715Sept. 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
Craword, (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 bualo sale; Dec. 5:Historical Christmas Dinner,celebrating 1935.
Indian Cave SP
Shubert, (402) 883-2575Oct 3-4: Black powderdemonstrations; Oct. 9-10,Oct. 16-17 and Oct. 24:Haunted Hollow hayrack rides and Halloweendecorating contest; Oct.10-11: NECTRA Horse TrailRide-Competitive Horse TrailRide.
Ponca SP
Ponca, (402) 755-2284Oct. 10 and Oct. 17:Hallowest; Jan. 1: AnnualChristmas Bird Count.
Fall/Winter State Parks Schedule
Beyond BOW expandsoutdoor opportunities
Program 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 completedin the late summer of 2009.Trail users, including bicyclists,horseback riders, walkers, and crosscountry skiers, can enjoy the scenicpath along the Elkhorn River Valley in northeast Nebraska to the Sandhillsin the north-central part of the state.View the wildlife and watch as landuse changes from the eastern end of the trail to the west.The trail, made of crushed stone,except for concrete sections withintowns, is the country’s longest rail-to-trail conversion and Nebraska’s 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 Cowboy Trail, is the route the railroad took from northeast Nebraska to SouthDakota’s Black Hills, where gold wasdiscovered in 1874.The trail passes through many towns, 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 at
(Jerry Kane is a public informationofficer in the Information and Education Division.)
Cowboy Trail now completerom Norolk to Valentine

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