LINCOLN – Several waterfowl hunting seasons open in Nebraska on Oct. 8, and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission offers the following reminders and resources to make the seasons memorable, successful and safe.
Duck seasons open in zones 2 and 4, and dark goose season opens in the North Central Unit. The statewide light goose and white-fronted goose seasons also open.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2016 waterfowl population status report, the total duck population estimate is 38 percent above the long-term (1955-2015) average. North American mallard numbers are near record highs. The estimated mallard population this year is 51 percent above the long-term average. Other dabbling duck species varied in abundances from 2015, but all except northern pintails were well above their long-term averages.
Game and Parks offers the following reminders and resources to aid hunters this season:
Harvest Information Program (HIP) – This free registration is required of residents age 16 and older and all nonresidents who plan to hunt migratory game birds in Nebraska between Aug. 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017. Register at OutdoorNebraska.gov/HIP or call toll-free at 877-634-8687.
Nebraska Waterfowl Zones Map – This interactive map allows hunters to view zone map boundaries and to zoom in to see details of those boundaries. View it at Maps.OutdoorNebraska.gov/WaterfowlZones.
Checklist – Find additional information about waterfowl hunting, including wetland conditions, at OutdoorNebraska.gov/WaterfowlChecklist.
Public Access Atlas – This atlas details all public hunting lands and private lands open to public walk-in hunting through the Open Fields and Waters Program. View the interactive atlas at OutdoorNebraska.gov/PublicAccessAtlas.
Safety – All hunters should always keep their gun’s muzzle pointed in a safe direction, treat each gun as if it is loaded, and know their target and what is beyond it. In addition, they should bring a first aid kit, food and drinking water for their dog, and check them for thorns, cuts or scratches. Hunters also should tell someone where you are going to hunt and when they expect to return.
Go to OutdoorNebraska.org to purchase the required permits and stamps.