LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission approved 2021-2022 waterfowl hunting season recommendations at its March 17 meeting in Norfolk.
Among the recommendations was a “two-tier” duck bag limit option a hunter will choose from for the season.
Nationally, duck hunter numbers have fallen nearly 44% since 1990, and Nebraska has lost, on average, 464 duck hunters per year since 1990. A recent survey conducted by Game and Parks; South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks; and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has determined that duck identification skills are a major factor preventing potential hunters from picking up the sport.
Nebraska has been given federal authority to implement an experimental system related to bag limits. The new season options are an effort to make getting into hunting easier for novice duck hunters.
When hunters register for their Harvest Information Program number, they will choose between two options. Tier I is the current traditional six-duck limit with species and sex restrictions. Tier II allows hunters to harvest three ducks of any kind. Once a tier is selected, it may not be changed during the season.
Nebraska is joined by South Dakota, which approved two-tier regulations earlier this month, in the five-year pilot program.
The full approved 2021-2022 waterfowl orders are:
Early Teal – Low Plains: Sept. 4-19; High Plains: Sept. 4-12; Daily bag limit: six; Possession limit: Three times the daily bag limit
Youth Hunt – Zone 1: Oct. 9-10; Zone 2: Oct. 2-3; Zone 3: Oct. 16-17; Zone 4: Oct. 23-24; Daily bag: Tier 1: six ducks, with restrictions; Tier II: three ducks, any species, any sex; Possession limit: Three times the daily bag limit
Duck and Coot – Zone 1: Oct. 16-Dec. 28; Zone 2: Oct. 9-Dec. 21 and Jan. 5-26; Zone 3: Oct. 23-Jan. 4 and Jan. 5-26; Zone 4: Oct. 30-Jan. 11; Daily bag: Tier 1: six ducks, with restrictions; Tier II: three ducks, any species, any sex; Possession limit: Three times the daily bag limit
Dark Goose – Platte River Unit: Oct. 28-Feb. 9; Niobrara Unit: Oct. 28-Feb. 9; North Central Unit: Oct. 11-Jan. 23; Daily bag limit: five; Possession limit: Three times the daily bag limit
White-fronted Goose – Statewide: Oct. 9-Dec. 19 and Jan. 25-Feb. 9; Daily bag limit: two; Possession limit: Three times the daily bag limit
Light Goose Regular Season – Statewide: Oct. 9-Jan. 5 and Jan. 25-Feb. 9; Daily bag limit: 50; Possession limit: none
Light Goose Conservation Order – East Zone: Feb. 10-April 15; West Zone: Feb. 10-April 5; Rainwater Basin Zone: Feb. 10-April 5; Daily bag and possession limits: none
Crow – Statewide: Oct. 15-Dec. 15 and Jan. 13-March 14
Falconry – Concurrent with teal, youth and regular duck season dates, plus, Zone 1: Feb. 25-March 10; Zone 2: Low Plains: Feb. 25-March 10; High Plains: Concurrent with all duck season dates in High Plains Zone; Zone 3: Low Plains: Feb. 25-March 10; High Plains: Concurrent with all duck season dates in High Plains Zone; Zone 4: Feb. 25-March 10
The commissioners also:
• amended Administration Regulations relating to permit fees. The changes include establishing a special season landowner deer permit for residents and nonresidents, establishing fees for big game and paddlefish preference/bonus point purchases in lieu of draw, removing the resident aquatic invasive species registration fee and increasing the boat registration fees, and eliminating the duplicate/replacement fee on all permits except deer, antelope, elk, turkey, mountain lion and paddlefish;
• renamed Looking Glass Creek Wildlife Management Area in Platte County to the Lee Rupp Wildlife Management Area;
• adopted Phase II of the Lake McConaughy/Lake Ogallala Master Plan; and
• adopted fee increases for select state park area activities, lodging and rental facilities.
The commissioners also watched a video presentation on a project in western Nebraska in which 80 antelope were captured and fitted with GPS collars. Researchers will follow the collars to learn about the movement, habitat use and survival of antelope in Nebraska.
They also heard a presentation about aquatic invasive species and the agency’s efforts to combat them.
News Channel Nebraska, represented by reporter Andy Classen, and Farm Focused, represented by owner Ben Evers, presented the commissioners with a $1,500 donation to the Hunters Helping the Hungry Program.