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Commissioners approve special area regulation changes for WMAs

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission adopted special area regulation changes for wildlife management areas at its meeting Jan. 28 in Lincoln.

The changes concern hunting at Gifford Point WMA in Sarpy County. They include moving the application period for special access permits to hunt deer to Aug. 1-15; moving the permit drawing date, if requests exceed 200, to Aug. 15; requiring email addresses on applications; and clarifying that a buddy request must be made on the same application. Changes were also made to include the use of muzzleloaders during the spring turkey season; bow hunting already is allowed.

Changes also clarify regulations on the Killdeer Lake WMA sight-in range in Lancaster County, including prohibiting the possession of fully automatic and bump-fire firearms, and the use and possession of full metal jacket ammunition, armor-piercing bullets, incendiary ammunition, tracers or incendiary targets.

The regulations include rules for the new Cedar Valley WMA sight-in range in Lincoln County, which is scheduled to open as soon as this summer. This will have a 25-yard handgun range and a 100-yard rifle range.

In other business, the commissioners:

• approved the Berggren Plan 2.0, Nebraska’s updated plan to improve pheasant hunting. The plan will guide Game and Parks’ pheasant management over the next five years.

• renamed Twin Oaks Wildlife Management Area in Johnson County to the James N. Douglas Wildlife Management Area in honor of Game and Parks’ recently retired director.

In addition, the commissioners approved grant awards totaling more than $1.8 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund Stateside Assistance Program for projects in Blair, Lexington, Humphrey, Gothenburg, Papillion and Lincoln.

Commissioners also approved outdoor trail projects for federal funding through the Recreational Trails Program to the Central Platte Natural Resources District, Village of Lindsay, City of Chadron, City of Nebraska City, Game and Parks, and United States Forest Service.

In addition, staff made separate presentations on the Fort Kearny Master Plan and the Dead Timber SRA Redevelopment Plan. Each plan was a collaborative effort with local communities that entail creation of new amenities or the revitalization of existing areas.

Hunter education instructors John Niemoth of Omaha and Robert Sevenker of Ord were recognized for their many contributions to the program over the years and were the first to achieve the honor of Heritage Instructor.

Staff presented a report on chronic wasting disease sampling results taken during the past November firearm deer season. Sampling was conducted in southeastern and south-central Nebraska deer units, with south-central units showing higher rates of CWD. CWD was detected for the first time in Gage, Johnson, Cass and Otoe counties.

Staff also provided an overview of some of the agency’s priority outreach messages for the year.

The commissioners elected their officers for 2022 as follows: Chairman, Pat Berggren, Broken Bow; Vice Chairman, Rick Brandt, Roca; and 2nd Vice Chairman, Doug Zingula, Sidney.

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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