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Commissioners approve 2023-2024 waterfowl recommendations

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission approved changes to 2023-2024 waterfowl hunting seasons in Commission Orders at its March 14 meeting in Kearney.

For the 2023-2024 seasons, the Zone 3 and Zone 4 duck seasons will open a week later than last year with Youth Hunt dates the weekend prior. Other season dates are calendar date adjustments.

Waterfowl seasons are set by balancing hunter preferences with migration, hunter harvest, and hunter participation.

The approved 2023-2024 Nebraska waterfowl season dates are:

Early Teal:

Low Plains – Sept. 2-17

High Plains – Sept. 2-10

Daily bag limit – six; Possession limit – 18

Youth Hunt:

Zone 1 – Oct. 7-8

Zone 2 – Sept. 30-Oct. 1

Zone 3 – Oct. 21-22

Zone 4 – Oct. 21-22

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. 14-Dec. 26

Zone 2 – Oct. 7-Dec. 19 and Jan. 10-31 (High Plains)

Zone 3 – Oct. 28-Jan. 9 and Jan. 10-31 (High Plains)

Zone 4 – Oct. 28-Jan. 9

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. 7-Jan. 19

Daily bag limit – five; Possession limit – 15

White-fronted Goose:

Statewide – Oct. 7-Dec. 17 and Jan. 25-Feb. 9

Daily bag limit – two; Possession limit – six

Light Goose Regular Season:

Statewide – Oct. 7-Jan. 3 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. 14-Dec. 14 and Jan. 13-March 14

Daily bag and possession limits – none

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 – High Plains: Concurrent with all duck season dates in High Plains Zone

Zone 4 – Feb. 25-March 10

In addition, commissioners approved changes to boating regulations regarding waters with special restrictions. The changes:

  • Added to the list of 5 mph/no wake lakes the following: Peterson Lake Wildlife Management Area, Brown County; Archway Lakes, Buffalo County; Ballards Marsh WMA, Cherry County; CNPPID Supply Canal, Lincoln, Dawson, Gosper counties; Flanagan Lake, Douglas County; Big Indian 11a, Gage County; Conestoga State Recreation Area, Lancaster County; Duck Creek Recreation Area, Nemaha County; and Portal Recreation Area, Sarpy County.
  • Removed from the list of 5 mph/no wake lakes the following: Gavins Point Dam tailwaters, Cedar County, Midway Canyon Reservoir, Dawson County, Plum Creek Canyon Reservoir, Dawson County, and Sanitary and Improvement District No. 177, Douglas County.
  • Added to the list of no-internal-combustion-motor lakes the following: Keller Park SRA, Brown County; Crystal Cove Lake, Dakota County; Cherry Creek Diversion Pond, Dawes County; Cherry Creek Pond, Dawes County; Grable Ponds, Dawes County; Ice House Ponds, Dawes County; Diamond Lake WMA, Gage County; and Big Elk, Sarpy County.
  • Added to the list of no-motorized-vessel lakes the following: Chester Island WMA, Lincoln County; Midland Lake, Sarpy County; and Shadow Lake, Sarpy County.
  • Removed from the list of no-motorized-vessel lakes the following: Archway Lakes, Buffalo County; and Keller Park SRA, Brown County.
  • Removed from the list of no-vessel lakes the following: Smith Lake-Crescent Lake FWS-NWR, Garden County; Chester Island WMA, Lincoln County; Midland Lake, Sarpy County; and Shadow Lake, Sarpy County.
  • Added Fremont Lakes SRA’s Victory Lake and Lake 10 to the waters where it is unlawful to operate a vessel faster than 5 mph/no wake from sundown to sunrise.
  • Added language back limiting the number of those towed for water sports to one on Fremont Lakes SRA’s Victory Lake and Lake 10 and on Bridgeport SRA Center Lake.
  • Added language back that nonpowered vessels and those powered by outboard electric motors are not allowed to operate on Fremont Lakes SRA’s Victory Lake and Lake 10.
  • Added an exemption to the restrictions for Game and Parks and other government agencies working in their official capacity.

In other business, commissioners:

  • Amended wildlife regulations to allow elk harvested to be checked via telephone or internet instead of delivered to a check station before being processed.
  • Approved the 2023-2025 Nebraska Game and Parks Strategic Plan.
  • Designated the area formerly known as the Fort Kearny Shooting Sports Complex as the Kearney Outdoor Education Complex State Recreation Area, in accordance with statutes, and established fees for activities at the SRA. The center will offer public shooting sports, as well as recreational and educational opportunities to the Kearney area. Staff also discussed upcoming shooting sports projects being designed at Buffalo Bill SRA and Indian Cave State Park.

The commissioners also heard a review of the 2022 big game hunting seasons, learning details of deer, antelope and elk harvest.

Staff previewed several state park events coming up this spring, including living history, outdoor discovery programs, fun runs, wildlife watching, star gazing and educational activities for all ages. Check for more information at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov.

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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