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Commission to Consider Pheasant Plan April 22 at Chadron State Park

LINCOLN – Improving pheasant hunting in Nebraska is the goal of a draft comprehensive pheasant management plan that the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will consider at its April 22 meeting in Chadron.

The objective of the Nebraska Mega Plan for Improving Pheasant Hunting is to produce the best pheasant hunting experiences for the most people over the next five years.

Since the first reports in Nebraska around 1900, pheasants have become a fixture of the state’s agricultural and cultural heritage. Hunting is not only a management tool but a tie that binds family and friends to the outdoor world and a driver of economies in towns large and small. The plan, if approved, would direct active management for pheasants at a greater level never seen in Nebraska.

The plan seeks to increase pheasant abundance, increase hunter access, increase the pool of potential hunters, manage hunter expectations, and improve the funding and policy related to pheasant hunting.

To view a draft of the plan, visit: http://outdoornebraska.gov/pheasantmegaplan/.

The Commission meeting will start at 8 a.m. in the multi-purpose room at Chadron State Park, 15951 U.S. Hwy. 385.

At the meeting, the Commission also will hear public testimony on 2016-2017 big game and waterfowl season recommendations.

Big game season recommendations will include permit quotas, bag limits, unit boundaries and season dates for deer, elk and pronghorn (antelope). Staff recommendations are developed using information from past hunting seasons, public meetings and contacts with constituents throughout the year. Recommendations can be found at: http://outdoornebraska.gov/regulations/.

The Commission will consider season dates for 2016-2017 waterfowl and crow hunting. Staff recommendations for season dates were based on information from a waterfowl hunter survey and recent harvest reports. Recommended dates can be found at: http://outdoornebraska.gov/regulations/. Survey and harvest information can also be viewed at: http://outdoornebraska.gov/waterfowlchecklist/.

Other items on the agenda include:

— a staff report regarding utility terrain vehicles and statutory limits or requirements regarding appropriate use in state park areas;

— an update on mountain lion research;

— a recommendation to acquire 80-plus acres in Dawes County adjacent to Chadron Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and designate it an addition to the WMA;

— a recommendation for the Nebraska Game and Parks Foundation to proceed with the acquisition of the Ardyce Haring Nebraska Prairie Revocable Trust tract in Franklin County;

— one recommendation to increase the cash change fund from $250 to $500 at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area (SRA) to accommodate the new Outdoor Education Shooting Complex, which is scheduled to open this year, and another recommendation to establish fees for the facility; and

— a staff presentation on the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources, which is comprised of national business and conservation leaders. The Blue Ribbon Panel is recommending and pursuing a sustainable funding approach to increase fish and wildlife conservation.

For a complete meeting agenda, visit: http://outdoornebraska.gov/commissioners/.

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at jerry.kane@nebraska.gov or 402-471-5008.

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