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Mixed Forecast for Nebraska Waterfowl

October 12, 2009.

From the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission:

Conditions vary across Nebraska as the opening of waterfowl hunting seasons nears, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Most basins in the Rainwater Basin are dry, but there is abundant water in the Sandhills. Conditions are variable throughout the rest of the state. Water has been pumped into some wetlands, while pumping is scheduled for others.

Hunters should check conditions where they like to hunt before heading out for the opener.

In the southeast, few teal, wood ducks and resident Canada geese have been seen on the Salt Valley lakes and at Schilling Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Teal numbers have fallen at Osage WMA, but there are good numbers of wood ducks on ponds and along the Missouri River.

More wigeon, teal, shovelers, and mallards have been seen in Seward County, with good numbers of ducks on North Lake Basin WMA and some on Shypoke WMA. Jack Sinn Memorial WMA should have waterfowl and good water.

In northeast Nebraska, many of the local ducks seemed to have moved south. There is not much evidence of migration yet, due to unseasonable cool weather and colder weather in the Dakotas. Wet conditions this summer and fall have resulted in plenty of water in wetlands and potholes for waterfowl.

Waterfowl hunting in the northern Panhandle typically is good on Sandhills lakes. Once freeze-up occurs, the birds and hunting shift to the North Platte River.

The opening dates for waterfowl hunting seasons are:

  • Dark Goose – North Central Unit, Oct. 10; East Unit, Platte River Unit, Niobrara Unit, Oct. 24; Panhandle Unit, Nov. 7.
  • Light Goose, regular season – Oct. 10.
  • White-fronted Goose – Oct. 10.
  • Duck (including pintail and canvasback) and Coot – Low Plains Early, Oct. 10; Low Plains Late, Oct. 17; High Plains, Oct. 10.

Hunters of doves, ducks, coot, geese, rail, snipe, or woodcock are reminded that they must have a Harvest Information Program (HIP) number, in addition to the proper hunting permit. Only residents age 15 or less are exempt from the HIP requirement. Go to nehip.com or call toll-free (877) 634-8687 to register.

Permits may be purchased at Commission offices, vendors or at OutdoorNebraska.org.

Attached is a list of wetlands that are being or will be pumped. Also included is the condition of wetlands in early September and in early October.
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