Waterfowl Blind Chat: Regulation Reminders

December 20, 2017 greg wagner

It’s the holiday season, and it’s filled with many hunting traditions as family and friends get together, especially in waterfowl hunting blinds.

A young woman smiles with excitement during a break in a waterfowl hunt along the Platte River in Butler County, NE. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

For most of us, hunting is about much more than a successful harvest. It’s about spending time afield bonding with family and friends, watching the sunrise over a river wetland on a crisp morning or watching the sunset from a harvested cornfield on a warm, windy evening, plus having exciting stories to tell when you get home!

Canada goose hunters ready themselves for the morning hunt from a pit bland bordering a pumped Platte River wetland in Butler County, NE. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Many hunters I know, including myself, are gonna be concentrating on hunting Canada geese.

A Canada goose prepares to light in a decoy spread in a pumped wetland along the Platte River in Butler County, NE. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

But, there is a lot that goes with waterfowl hunting. Arguably, it is the most difficult of the hunting lifestyles to enter. There are shotguns with plugs, special ammo, dogs, blinds, decoys, calls, camouflage clothing, not to mention the many regulations to know.

A waterfowl hunting dog retrieves a shot Canada goose from the cold waters of a wetland in western Douglas County, NE. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Nebraska Conservation Officer, Rich Berggren of Waterloo, says the best piece of advice he can give a waterfowl hunter is to read the regulations thoroughly. He adds that if a hunter is unsure about something to contact their nearest conservation officer or Game and Parks Commission Office.

“There is no such thing as a dumb question when it comes to waterfowl hunting,” Berggren emphasizes, “only dumb mistakes made by not asking the dumb question.”

That stated, let’s cover some of our general rules and regulations for waterfowl hunting here in the Cornhusker State. These are what I call the “Don’t Forgets” for waterfowling.

Here we go.

Residents of Nebraska 16 years of age and older, and all nonresidents regardless of age, need to have five things in order to be able to hunt ducks and geese here in the Cornhusker State. These must be carried on your person in the field. Make certain they are current. Do you know what they are?

  1. Hunting Permit (signed)
  2. Harvest Information Program (H.I.P.) Number
  3. Habitat Stamp
  4. State Waterfowl Stamp
  5. Federal Waterfowl Stamp (actual stamp signed)

Start the process to acquire these items here

Mobile permit options are available as well.

Please note that those hunters 12 through 29 years of age are required to have a hunter education course completion card or get an Apprentice Hunter Education Exemption Certificate for $5.00.

Among other things that come into play regulation-wise regarding waterfowl hunting is the sole use and possession of nontoxic shot only.

Nontoxic shot shells for Canada goose hunting are displayed. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Additionally, the shotgun plug requirement, exactness of opening and closing times each day for legal shooting hours, the 100-yard rule near houses and feedlots, permission to trail wounded waterfowl onto other property, baiting and electronic call prohibitions, daily bag and possession limits, as well as the transport law as it applies to waterfowl (the head plumage or one fully-feathered wing attached to the body) – all need to be noted.

Your blogger displays a harvested Canada goose on a waterfowl hunt not far from the Platte River in western Douglas County, NE. Photo by Mark Davis.

You can get more details about hunting ducks and geese in Nebraska, including season dates and units/zones for various species, by looking over the current Nebraska waterfowl hunting guide.

By the way, unless it known or has been designated in advance, it is always a good idea to designate a captain of the blind who reinforces regulation information to the other hunters in it. The blind captain is the primary individual who is able to accurately identify various waterfowl species in flight, both target and non-target.

Trumpeter swans are seen here in flight near the Platte River in western Douglas County. They are protected by federal and state laws and may not be shot. Trumpeter swans are twice the size of Canada geese and four times the size of snow geese. Young swans are gray. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska game and Parks Commission.

To see trumpeter swans flying over an eastern Nebraska Canada goose hunting spread, click here:  swanvideo

I wish you the best of waterfowl hunting adventures and memories!

A young woman admires her family waterfowl hunting dog during a break in the Canada goose hunting action along the Platte River in Butler County, NE. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.


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