Wetland conditions fairly poor across parts of state

Nebraska City News-Press

Wetland water conditions throughout much of the state are currently fairly poor, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, so hunters should be prepared to scout ahead of teal season. Some wetland pumping is planned ahead of the teal opener.

The conditions recently were observed by biologists on the ground. To view the Aug. 25 report on wetland conditions and pumping plans, go to OutdoorNebraska.gov/waterfowlchecklist, where updates will be posted regularly throughout the duck seasons.

Waterfowl hunting in Nebraska begins with early teal season Sept. 4-12 in the High Plains Zone and Sept. 4-19 in the Low Plains Zone. See an interactive zone map at maps.outdoornebraska.gov/WaterfowlZones.

In addition to providing places to hunt waterfowl, wetlands are pumped when needed to provide habitat for migrating waterfowl and other water birds, and to provide areas for people to observe wildlife.

Visit OutdoorNebraska.org for more information on waterfowl hunting or to purchase permits and stamps and register for the Harvest Information Program.

Special Landowner Deer Season coming this fall

 Starting this fall, a new Special Landowner Deer Season gives a qualifying landowner a three-day season on their own property preceding the regular firearm deer season.

The $8 Special Landowner Deer Permit is valid only for the three-day season: Nov. 6-8, 2021. It is not valid for the November firearm season and it may not be used as a Limited Landowner Permit.

A landowner may not apply for or purchase more than one Special Landowner Deer Permit per calendar year.

The qualifying landowner may buy up to four of these permits to designate themselves or immediate family to hunt on his or her property on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before the opening of the November firearm deer season, and no more than two permits can be issued to persons older than age 19 and two permits to persons younger than 19.

More details about the permit and season:

• The bag limit is one whitetail or mule deer of either sex. The permit counts against the two-buck permit maximum.

• Only weapons legal for archery and firearm seasons may be used.

• Permits are valid only on the land owned or leased by the qualifying landowner that is listed on the permit.

• Resident qualifying landowners must own or lease at least 80 acres of farm or ranch land used for agricultural purpose. No more than one permit can be issued per 80 acres of land owned or leased.

• Nonresident qualifying landowners must own at least 320 acres of farm or ranch land used for agricultural purpose. Leased land does not qualify. No more than one permit can be issued per 320 acres.

• Land leased for hunting or recreational purposes does not qualify for landowner permits.

• Applications are online at OutdoorNebraska.gov/landownerpermits and must be mailed or brought into Nebraska Game and Parks Commission district offices to complete permit purchases.

• Those holding Limited Landowner or Antlerless Only permits may hunt Nov. 6-8 using archery equipment only; firearms are not permitted.

The Special Landowner Deer Season was created by the passage of LB 126 in the Nebraska Legislature’s 2020 session.

For more information, visit OutdoorNebraska.org or read the Nebraska Big Game Guide at OutdoorNebraska.gov/Guides.

Duck Slam returns to challenge hunters

You love it: being in the blind, setting up the spread, turning a flock, watching them cup, taking the shot and seeing a great retrieve. Duck hunting is time well spent.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Ducks Unlimited are proud to bring back the popular Nebraska Duck Slam, a challenge for duck hunters to take advantage of Nebraska’s great duck hunting opportunities.

The Duck Slam challenges hunters to harvest a teal (blue-winged or green-winged) of either sex, as well as drakes of three other species: an American wigeon, a mallard and a northern pintail. All ducks must be harvested in Nebraska, and hunters must upload a photo of each harvest at OutdoorNebraska.org/DuckSlam.

Those who successfully complete the slam will receive an official certificate, a Duck Slam pin and Central Flyway bragging rights. Additionally, all hunters who complete the Slam during the 2021-2022 season will be registered to win one of several great prizes generously donated by Ducks Unlimited. A drawing for the grand prize, a Special Edition Ducks Unlimited Franchi Elite 20-gauge shotgun, will take place next February.

The Duck Slam officially opens on Sept. 4, the first day of early teal season, and runs through Jan. 26, 2022, when duck and coot season ends in zones 2 and 3. Season dates vary by species and zones.

Hunters can find detailed season dates and a link to the Small Game and Waterfowl Guide at OutdoorNebraska.org/DuckSlam. Hunters can view land open to public hunting in our Public Access Atlas at OutdoorNebraska.gov/PublicAccessAtlas.

Upland Slam starts tomorrow

Hunters again are challenged to go afield with family and friends this fall to complete the Nebraska Upland Slam by harvesting all four of Nebraska’s primary upland game bird species.

The challenge of the Upland Slam, a partnership among the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Pheasants Forever, Inc., and Quail Forever, is to harvest a ring-necked pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, greater prairie-chicken and northern bobwhite quail in Nebraska this season.

Successful hunters upload a photo of each harvested bird through an online platform and provide details about their hunt. Those who complete the Slam will receive an official certificate and pin and be entered into a drawing to win one of several grand prizes, including a Dickinson Arms Hunter Light 28-gauge over/under shotgun.

Nebraska is renowned as a mixed-bag hunting destination and is a great place to pursue a variety of bird species across diverse habitats. “Participation in Nebraska’s Upland Slam has increased in recent years and this has been a great way to promote what our state has to offer in terms of upland hunting opportunities,” said John Laux, Game and Parks’ upland habitat and access program manager.

All participants who submit at least one harvest to the Nebraska Upland Slam will be automatically entered into monthly drawings for prizes sponsored by Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. Prizes include Scheels Gift Cards, hunting vests, Yeti Cups, wall art, memberships to the two conservation groups and more.

Resident hunters 15 or younger are encouraged to participate in the slam to be entered into a separate drawing for a resident youth lifetime hunt permit. Additionally, upon the fourth and final bird submission, hunters can acknowledge their hunting dog’s achievement by uploading a photo of their dog afield to receive an official Top Dog tag and certificate.

The first three seasons of the Upland Slam were a great success, with more than 850 hunters participating, and more than 330 first-time harvests (first time in someone’s lifetime to harvest that species).

Hunters can begin working on their 2021-2022 Slam on Sept. 1, when the seasons for sharp-tailed grouse and greater prairie-chicken open. The seasons for pheasant and bobwhite begin Oct. 30. The seasons for all four species close Jan. 31, 2022.

Visit OutdoorNebraska.org/UplandSlam for more information, official rules and entry details.