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Special elk season at capacity; hunters reminded to follow safety tips

Access to land included in the Special Elk Depredation Season area is extremely limited at this time, as landowners in contact with Nebraska Game and Parks Commission have indicated they are at capacity for the number of hunters they can safely allow.

Because the season is for private land only, permits, while unlimited, are restricted by one’s ability to gain access to the 873-square-mile area included in the season.

After last week’s announcement by the Game and Parks about the July season, landowners received an overwhelming number of calls. For that reason, hunters are reminded to gain landowner’s permission for access prior to purchasing a permit for the July season.

Permits are only available for purchase at the Game and Parks office in North Platte. The office will be closed for the July 4 holiday; those who have permission and are w­anting to hunt the holiday weekend should get their permit prior to July 1.

Applications are available at outdoornebraska.gov/depredation or in the office. They can be mailed to Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, 301 E. State Farm Road, North Platte NE 69101-0430.

“We want to thank all the landowners who are allowing permission and all the hunters who have shown their interest in helping with this season,” said Dusty Schelbitzki, depredation program manager. “This is a great collaboration to assist our agency in addressing depredation issues we are challenged with in the identified region.”

Hunters who have gained access for the special season should keep safety a top priority and heed the following tips:

  • Remain in contact with the landowner about where and when you plan to hunt, and respect their wishes.
  • The special elk depredation season unit is in moderate to extreme drought. Avoid parking vehicles in tall vegetation or dry grassy areas and practice other fire safety, such as extinguishing smoking materials.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, including those using the same property as you, such as landowners or other hunters.
  • Keep your firearm’s muzzle pointed in a safe direction, with the safety on and finger off the trigger until ready to fire.
  • Properly identify the target and what lies beyond it before pulling the trigger.
  • Never shoot at sounds or movement.
  • Wear blaze orange. Firearm and muzzleloader elk hunters are required to wear 400 square inches of visible blaze orange on their head, chest and back during the July 1-31 special depredation season. Archery hunters are not required to wear hunter orange, but it is highly recommended.
  • Completely unload firearms before travelling in a vehicle and before crossing obstacles such as barbed-wire fences, creeks or steep embankments.
  • It is unlawful to hunt with a rifle within a 200-yard radius of an inhabited dwelling or livestock feedlot, unless permission is granted by the owner or tenant.
  • Report violations to the Wildlife Crimestopper hotline: 1-800-742-7627.

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