LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commissioners approved 2013 big game hunting regulations at their meeting May 24 in Chadron.
The regulations represent a significant reduction of antlerless deer bonus tags in an effort to lower harvest. That reduction in permits reflects a white-tailed deer population that was depleted by a major outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in 2012.
A summary of the 2013 big game changes:
— Remove 30,300 antlerless bonus tags from November Firearm permits.
— Remove antlerless bonus tags from unlimited Archery, Muzzleloader, Youth, Statewide Buck permits.
— Add 600 antlerless-only permits with antlerless-only whitetail bonus tags to Frenchman (400), Pine Ridge (100) and Sandhills (100) units.
— River Antlerless permit quota increased from 4,500 to 5,500.
— Limit Nonresident Statewide Buck permit to one per person.
— Medicine Creek, Red Willow, Enders and Swanson State Recreation Areas/Wildlife Management Areas are closed to use of Season Choice Area permits.
— Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge closed to harvest of antlerless mule deer.
— DeSoto December Muzzleloader season is closed.
— No antlerless mule deer harvest allowed north of U.S. Highway 20 and west of Nebraska Highway 71.
— Boundaries expanded for River Antlerless, Season Choice Area Frenchman West and Season Choice Area Platte North.
— There are 1,152 firearm and muzzleloader permits authorized.
— Add eight either-sex permits in the Box Butte East Unit and four in the Cheyenne Unit.
— Remove six buck-only permits in the Eastern Sandhills Unit and six either-sex permits in the Garden Unit.
— Close the Dismal Late antlerless season.
— Establish a Box Butte West River Late season along Niobrara River with 10 doe/fawn permits.
— There are 327 permits authorized (129 bull and 198 cow).
— Expand elk landowner zones in the Bordeaux Creek and Hat Creek units.
— Add nine cow permits in the Box Elder Unit, six in the Bordeaux Unit and three in the Ash Creek Unit.
— Add three bull permits each in the Boyd and Box Elder units.
— Terminate reciprocal agreement with South Dakota that allows elk hunters in Boyd County, Neb., and Gregory County, S.D., to hunt in adjacent state.
— Add 13 days to the archery bull season by opening on Sept. 15.
— Add 44 days to cow season by opening on Aug. 15 (on private land only).
In other action, commissioners, following a public hearing, did not accept staff recommendations for a mountain lion hunting season and directed wildlife staff to bring new recommendations to the July 26 Commission meeting in Lincoln.
In addition, the commissioners:
— approved fisheries amendments regarding bait collecting and dealer regulations. Individuals may not transport away from the river any baitfish collected on the Missouri River downstream below Gavins Point Dam and all other rivers and streams located east of U.S. Highway 81 from the South Dakota border to York, north of Interstate 80 from York to Lincoln, and east of U.S. Highway 77 from Lincoln to the Kansas border. In addition, bait dealers may not take baitfish from the Missouri River downstream below Gavins Point Dam and all other rivers and streams located east of U.S. Highway 81 from the South Dakota border to York, north of Interstate 80 from York to Lincoln, and east of U.S. Highway 77 from Lincoln to the Kansas border.
— approved funding for the following 2013 Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) apportionment: City of Waverly, Lawson Park improvements, $150,000; Village of Shelton, splash pad, $75,800; City of South Sioux City, Crystal Cove Aquatic and Wildlife Observatory, $59,794; City of Tekamah, North Park playground, $29,500. The LWCF is a federally funded grant program for outdoor recreation projects. All projects must encourage outdoor recreation, and all project sponsors must be political subdivisions. LWCF provides reimbursable matching grants for up to 50 percent of the project costs.
— tabled an interlocal agreement with the City of Gothenburg to rehabilitate the fish community and its supporting habitat at Lake Helen.
— approved an agreement to transfer public use and land management from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Game and Parks for additions to Langdon Bend (112 acres on one tract) and Kansas Bend (119 acres on two tracts) wildlife management areas in Nemaha County.