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Waterfowl Recommendations Approved


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LINCOLN, NE – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commissioners approved staff recommendations for 2012 waterfowl, crow and falconry hunting regulations at their Aug. 31 meeting in Broken Bow.

The changes from 2011 are:

– The early teal season opens following Labor Day, approximately one week later than last year. A map of the early teal hunting zones can be found at OutdoorNebraska.org.

– In each zone, the youth season opens one week before the regular duck season.

– The regular duck season has four zones and no split season. Season dates are approximately one week later in parts of the former Low Plains Early and two weeks later along the Platte River in the former Low Plains Late and High Plains units. The bag limit for scaup increases from two to six.

– The dark goose season is five days later in the East Unit, and the season ending date is three days later in the Platte River, Niobrara and Panhandle units.

– The split in the light goose regular season increases from 14 to 21 days and the ending day is three days later.

– The light goose conservation action starts four days later.

– The extended falconry duck season days are moved from September to the end of January and February.

The 2012 season dates are:

Early Teal – Low Plains: Sept. 8-23; High Plains: Sept. 8-16

Youth – Zone 1: Oct. 6-7; Zone 2: Sept. 29-30; Zone 3: Oct. 13-14; Zone 4: Sept. 29-30

Duck and Coot – Zone 1: Oct. 13 – Dec. 25; Zone 2: Oct. 6 – Dec. 18 and Jan. 2-23 (High Plains only); Zone 3: Oct. 20 – Jan. 1 and Jan. 2-23 (High Plains only); Zone 4: Oct. 6 – Dec. 18

Dark Goose – East Unit: Oct. 6-14 and Oct. 27 – Jan. 30; North Central Unit: Oct. 6 – Jan. 18; Platte River Unit: Oct. 27 – Feb. 8; Panhandle Unit: Nov. 10 – Feb. 8; Niobrara Unit: Oct. 27 – Feb. 8

White-Fronted Goose – Oct. 6 – Dec. 14 and Feb. 2-3

Light Goose Regular Season – Oct. 6 – Jan. 4 and Jan. 26 – Feb. 8

Light Goose Conservation Order – Zone 1: Feb. 9 – April 14; Zone 2: Feb. 9-April 1; Zone 3: Feb. 9 – April 14

Crow – Regular Season: Oct. 1-Nov. 15 and Jan. 20-April 6; Special Public Health Hazard Order: Nov. 16-Jan. 19

Falconry – Zone 1: Jan. 25 – Feb. 8; Zone 2 Low Plains: Jan. 25 – Feb. 8, High Plains: concurrent with all duck season dates within High Plains; Zone 3 Low Plains: Jan. 25 – Feb. 8, High Plains: concurrent with all duck season dates within High Plains; Zone 4: Jan. 25 – Feb. 8

In other action, the commissioners approved a utility easement with KBR Rural Public Power District to install electric line service to Beed’s Landing Campground at Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area.

They also:

— approved an operating budget request of $66,168,916 and a capital improvement budget of $9,886,000 for fiscal year 2013-2014, and they approved an operating budget request of $66,505,042 and a capital improvement budget of $7,323,000 for fiscal year 2014-2015. Most of the capital improvement budget is for deferred maintenance items.

— approved fisheries bait collecting and dealer regulation changes. Two sections are amended to make it unlawful for any individual to transport baitfish, or any bait dealer to take baitfish, away from the Missouri River downstream below Gavins Point Dam and all other rivers and streams located east of U.S. Highway 81 from the South Dakota border to York, north of Interstate 80 from York to Lincoln, and east of U.S. Highway 77 from Lincoln to the Kansas border. This will reduce the likelihood that Asian carp and white perch are captured from Missouri River tributaries, used as bait, and spread further.

— approved regulations that would allow qualified Game and Parks employees to lead educational fishing projects under the auspices of a permit.

— approved a new aquatic invasive species section in the fisheries regulations. The section defines aquatic invasive species, authorized inspectors, conveyances, decontamination, equipment, waters of the state and launch areas. It also categorizes aquatic invasive species by level of threat. It establishes regulations regarding possession, importation, export, purchase, sale and transport or release of aquatic invasive species; and it establishes protocols for inspection, decontamination, impoundment, quarantine and contaminated waters.

— tabled sport fishing recommendations until the October meeting. The recommendations will be amended to reflect public comments regarding bag and length limits.

Fisheries division administrator Don Gabelhouse reported to commissioners that the state high school fishing tournament July 28 at Summit Lake drew 16 teams. Each team included two anglers and an adult guide. Participating students were from Blair, Fremont, Gretna, Kearney, Lincoln, Lincoln County, Mead, Millard, Nebraska City, North Platte, Papillion and Roca.

The next meeting is Oct. 26 in North Platte.

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