Commission adopts changes to wildlife regulations

June 22, 2017 Jerry Kane

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission amended wildlife regulations at its June 22 meeting in Gering.

Following a public hearing, commissioners adopted changes to create regulations for the new Killdeer Wildlife Management Area (WMA) sight-in range in Lancaster County. They also adopted regulations to restrict use of centerfire rifles or handguns on a portion of Bordeaux Creek WMA in Dawes County; due to safety concerns, restrictions had been in place with signage since the fall of 2015.

Administrative changes were made to rules regarding season dates, bag limits, possession limits, open areas and shooting hours for game birds (not including turkey, coots and migratory waterfowl), furbearers, cottontails and squirrels. One public hearing was held for staff recommendations to create commission orders for those rules, and another was held to remove those from regulations. Staff recommendations did not include changes to season dates, bag and possession limits, open areas or shooting hours for upland game at the June 22 meeting. However, changes may be considered in the future.

In other business, commissioners ratified the biennium budget, decreased the cash change fund at Schramm Park State Recreation Area’s Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium, and heard from a private landowner concerning the impacts of increasing elk populations.

Staff also presented commissioners with the following project updates:

— Parks Administrator Jim Swenson talked about expanded activities at state parks and recreation areas across the state.

— Todd Nordeen, a wildlife biologist from Alliance, talked about bighorn sheep research in the Panhandle.

— Communications Administrator Christy Firestone gave an update on outreach efforts to promote outdoor recreation opportunities in Nebraska.

— Amanda Filipi, an education specialist at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center near Gering, reported on current education programs in western Nebraska, especially at Wildcat Hills.

The next meeting is Aug. 17 in North Platte.

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