Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy draws the winning entry in the Nebraska Super Tag Lottery at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commissioners' meeting July 27 in Lincoln. Roger Verhulst of Sidney won the two-year permit, which has a bag limit of one elk, one deer, one antelope and two turkeys.
LINCOLN, Neb. - The Nebraska Game and Parks Commissioners tabled staff recommendations for 2012 waterfowl and crow hunting regulations at their July 27 meeting in Lincoln to accommodate an increase in scaup bag limit.
Staff was notified July 26 - after it had submitted recommendations that included a daily bag limit of three scaup - that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) framework allows a daily bag limit of six scaup.
Commissioners voted to accept regulations and season dates. The dates, along with the addition of an increased scaup bag limit, will be voted on for passage at the Commissioners' next meeting, Aug. 31 in Broken Bow. Those 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
Ducks and Coots - 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 Geese - 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 Geese - Oct. 6 - Dec. 14 and Feb. 2-3
Light Geese Regular Season - Oct. 6 - Jan. 4 and Jan. 26 - Feb. 8
Light Geese Conservation Order - Zone 1: Feb. 9 - April 14; Zone 2: Feb. 9-April 1; Zone 3: Feb. 9 - April 14
Crows - Regular Season: Oct. 1-Nov. 15 and Jan. 20-April 6; Special Public Health Hazard Order: Nov. 16-Jan. 19
In other business, Roger Verhulst of Sidney won the Nebraska Super Tag Lottery multi-species permit. "Get out! Yes!" Verhulst responded via phone to Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy, who had just drawn the winning entry. The permit is valid for hunting in 2012 and 2013 and has a bag limit of one elk, one deer, one antelope and two turkeys. The permit allows hunting with any legal weapon in any open hunting unit during the general hunting season for each species. This year's lottery attracted 1,721 applicants who paid $25 to enter.
-- Tabled a recommendation in the wildlife regulations, citing ambiguity, pertaining to the prohibition of alcohol on "lands controlled for public access."
-- Amended the bag limit for a Special Depredation Season deer permit from one deer to one antlerless deer.
-- Approved regulations for meat processors who participate in the new Hunters Helping the Hungry program.
-- Increased the change fund at Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area (SRA) by $200 to $2,400 to accommodate two new bill changers in shower buildings at Arthur Bay and Lake Ogallala SRA.
-- Approved regulations for hunting at Branched Oak SRA, Eugene T. Mahoney State Park (SP), Fort Atkinson State Historical Park, Indian Cave SP, Louisville SRA, Niobrara SP, Platte River SP, Ponca SP and Schramm Park SRA.
-- Accepted a gift of 15.14- and 80.35-acre tracts in York County from Ducks Unlimited, designated as additions to Kirkpatrick Basin South Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
-- Acquired a 159.87-acre tract in Custer County for wildlife diversity and hunting and designated it Berggren-Young WMA. The project includes a partial donation of appraised value by the previous owner, as well as funds from the Habitat Fund and the USFWS.
-- Acquired a 146-acre tract in Stanton County for wildlife diversity and hunting and designated it an addition to Wood Duck WMA. Funds are provided by a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust and the USFWS.
-- Transferred back to the Nebraska Department of Roads the 97.49-acre Goldenrod WMA and 22.83-acre Goldeneye WMA. It is anticipated that the South Platte Natural Resources District, which managed the areas by agreement with Game and Parks, will continue to manage these Deuel County tracts as wildlife areas.
Commissioners heard a presentation from Rick Spellman of Omaha regarding his concern about sedimentation along the mouth of the Niobrara River and along the upper Missouri River and upper reaches of Lewis and Clark Reservoir.
Dr. James Ingram of Omaha asked the Commissioners to consider moving some falconry season dates to later in the season. Commissioners are scheduled to consider falconry recommendations Aug. 31.
Hunting in Park Areas Approved
LINCOLN, Neb. - Regulations for hunting in designated zones of state park areas for the 2012-2013 seasons has been approved by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. The park areas, which will be posted with signage, and approved hunts are:
Branched Oak State Recreation Area (SRA) - Archery deer, Nov. 19 - Dec. 31; muzzleloader deer, Dec. 1-31; all legal weapons for deer, Jan. 1 - 18, 2013; archery fall turkey, Nov. 1 - Jan. 31, 2013; archery spring turkey, March 25 - April 30, 2013.
Eugene T. Mahoney State Park (SP) - Organized archery and muzzleloader deer hunts on select dates within periods of Nov. 26 - Dec. 20 and Jan. 7 - 17, 2013.
Fort Atkinson State Historical Park - Archery deer, Antlerless Only Season Choice Wahoo Unit, Oct. 20 - Jan. 18, 2013 (holders of proper firearm permits may hunt Nov. 10 - 18 with legal bow and arrow, spear or crossbow only and must wear hunter orange).
Indian Cave SP- The following hunts will be permitted on the East Addition Nov. 1 through close of the season, with no permanent blinds allowed: duck, Zone 3; light goose; dark goose, East Unit.
The following hunts will be permitted in designated zones: archery fall turkey, Nov. 1 - Jan. 31, 2013; archery deer, Nov. 1 - Dec. 31 (holders of proper firearm permits may hunt Nov. 10 - 18 with legal bow and arrow, spear or crossbow only and must wear hunter orange); Blue Southeast Antlerless Only Season Choice deer, Dec. 26 - Jan. 18, 2013 (no centerfire rifles).
Louisville SRA - Mentored youth goose hunts on select dates from Oct. 8 through close of season.
Niobrara SP -Archery antlerless deer, Nov. 19 - Dec. 31.
Platte River SP - Organized archery and muzzleloader deer hunts on select dates within periods of Nov. 26 - Dec. 20 and Jan. 7 - 17, 2013.
Ponca SP - The following hunts will be permitted on the North Bottom: waterfowl (no permanent blinds), dove, rabbit, squirrel, pheasant, quail, youth pheasant and quail, fall turkey, archery deer, firearm deer, muzzleloader deer, River Antlerless deer (no centerfire rifles), Antlerless Only Season Choice Missouri deer (no centerfire rifles).
The following hunts will be permitted on the South Bottom: youth pheasant and quail, waterfowl (no permanent blinds), archery deer; archery fall turkey, Nov. 1 - Jan. 31, 2013.
The following hunts will be permitted at designated zones: archery deer, Nov. 1 - Jan. 18, 2013; through close of season; archery fall turkey, Nov. 1 - Jan. 31, 2013; mentored youth muzzleloader deer hunt, Dec. 8-9.
Schramm Park SRA - Organized archery deer hunts on select dates within periods of Nov. 26 - Dec. 13 and Jan. 7 - 17, 2013.
Viral Disease Killing Deer Along Platte River
LINCOLN, Neb. - A viral disease is killing deer along the Platte River and possibly over a much wider area, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. There have been reports of dead deer in and near the river in eastern Nebraska.
Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) is a hemorrhagic disease caused by a virus. EHD is similar to bluetongue, another viral disease that can affect deer. It spreads from deer to deer by the bite of a small insect known as a midge. The disease quickly kills the deer through hemorrhaging within the body. A high fever may result, causing the deer to seek water to cool off. Dead deer usually are found in or near water. Deer may show bleeding from body openings, although they usually are in good body condition because of the quickness of the disease. EHD is not a threat to humans.
Game and Parks is interested in determining the extent of the disease and its possible effects on the deer population. The public should report any deer deaths that may be attributed to this disease to their nearest Game and Parks office: Alliance, 308-763-2940; North Platte, 308-535-8025; Kearney, 308-865-5310; Bassett, 402-684-2921; Norfolk, 402-370-3374; and Lincoln, 402-471-0641.
Broken Bow Man Convicted of Game Violations
LINCOLN, Neb. - Jacob Hueftle, 22, of Broken Bow, pled guilty in federal court on April 4 to two counts of interstate transportation of illegally killed deer.
Following an investigation in which Hueftle and nine others committed scores of game violations, he made a plea agreement and paid a $10,000 fine and forfeited two firearms. Hueftle also was given five years federal probation, which bans him from hunting, fishing or trapping, or being in the company of anyone hunting, fishing or trapping in the United States.
Hueftle and nine others - five from Nebraska and two each from Kansas and Texas - paid a total of $28,796 in fines and restitution in state and federal courts stemming from this investigation, which discovered violations that spanned 1½ years. All of the violations took place in Kansas and Nebraska.
The investigation began in December 2009 when Kansas game wardens served search warrants on several residences in Hays, Kan., after obtaining information of trophy deer being poached. Nebraska conservation officers joined the investigation once it was learned that several suspects were Nebraskans. Two video cameras, a computer, cell phones, several rifles, a bow and five large whitetail racks were seized. Interviews of the suspects revealed that the deer were killed at night using spotlights and firearms. Two deer were illegally tagged with archery permits and transported by Hueftle to Nebraska in violation of the federal Lacey Act.
Hours of video and photos were seized and analyzed, revealing countless game violations. Three large mule deer bucks were taken illegally in Nebraska and two of them were transported to Texas. Other violations observed in the videos involved additional deer, waterfowl, turkeys, pheasants, raccoons, nongame birds, baiting, spotlighting, wanton waste, hunting from vehicles, over-bagging and permit violations.
A United States Fish and Wildlife Service special agent became involved with the Lacey Act violations and helped see the case to completion.
Other individuals involved and fines and restitution paid:
Cody Von Lintel, Kansas, $2,025; Jared Bebb, Kansas, $525; Jeffery Hubl, Lawrence, Neb., $525; John Zutavern, Broken Bow, Neb., $2,525; Chelsey Jones, Eddyville, Neb., $1,198.
Two Nebraska minors paid $750 and $4,000, respectively. Two Texas minors paid $2,525 and $4,525, respectively.
To report game violations, call Nebraska Wildlife Crimestoppers at 1-800-742-7627. Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.