Outdoor notes: Brainard meeting will discuss formation of prescribed burn association

LINCOLN, Neb. – Pheasants Forever and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will host a meeting Feb. 19 to discuss the formation of a prescribed burn association covering Butler and Saunders counties.

The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Oak Creek Sporting Club southeast of Brainard.

With the increase in demand and need for prescribed burning to improve wildlife habitat, increase pasture forage value, restore native woodlands, control eastern red cedars, and reduce the overall impacts of potential wildfires, this meeting will outline ways landowners can organize a prescribed burn association to conduct burns using the neighbors-helping-neighbors concept. This partnership between Pheasants Forever, Game and Parks and the Nebraska Environmental Trust will break down limitations to prescribed burning.

The formation of a landowner-based prescribed burn association would offer landowners new opportunities to improve their CRP, rangeland, woodlands and wetlands through the use of safe and effective prescribed burning. Through the burn association, landowners would have access to resources such as equipment, manpower, expertise and support from resource professionals. Prescribed burn training would be offered for all of those who join.

Contact Jake Koenig at 402-689-3242 for more information.

Game and Parks’ Omaha Service Center reopens

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Omaha Service Center reopened Feb. 14, more than six months after being closed due to a nearby fire.

The service center at 8495 Frederick St. suffered extensive smoke and soot damage and had to be renovated after a business located in the same shopping center caught fire July 23, 2018.

Game and Parks customers again can visit the service center to buy permits, ask questions or pick up informational brochures. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but closed on state-observed holidays.

Game and Parks to conduct three hunter surveys in coming weeks

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will conduct several hunter surveys in the coming weeks to estimate harvest for various game species, determine hunter participation and satisfaction, and obtain hunter opinions.

The first survey is the annual Hunter Success Survey, which is sent to all small game hunt permit buyers who provided an email address to Game and Parks at the time of purchase. Hunters who did not receive the invitation to participate in their email inbox can visit outdoornebraska.gov/huntersuccesssurvey if they wish to participate in this survey.

Hunters will be asked questions related to their 2018 upland and small game, and waterfowl hunting activity and experiences. It is important that hunters who were not successful complete the survey as well, to improve the accuracy of the harvest estimates.

The second survey is the fall 2018 turkey hunter survey, which will be sent to all permitees who provided an email address at the time of purchase. The survey also will be available on Game and Parks’ website at outdoornebraska.gov/turkeyhuntersurvey for those fall turkey hunters who do not receive an invitation.

In addition, waterfowl hunters may receive a postcard invitation to participate in a survey regarding their preferences and satisfaction from their 2018/19 waterfowl hunting season. The survey is being conducted in cooperation between Game and Parks, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the Central Flyway.

Hunters are encouraged to keep a look out for survey invitations in their inbox or junk mail over the next few weeks and to carefully read the invitation to determine which survey they are being asked to complete. Game and Parks is grateful to all hunters and sportspersons who take the time to help them determine harvest so they can use the information to inform management decisions.

Danish Alps SRA reports large area of thin ice

LINCOLN, Neb. – Due to recent fluctuations in temperatures, Danish Alps State Recreation Area in Dakota County has a large area of very thin ice that nearly divides the lake in half.

Until about a week ago, there was a large area of open water associated with a pressure ridge. Recent cold temperatures have refrozen this area, resulting in ice less than an inch thick.

Anglers coming to the lake for the first time must use extreme caution when going onto the ice. Signs with maps showing approximate area of thin ice have been on posted at key ice entry points and parking lots. Anglers are urged to study these maps prior to going out on the ice. Other portions of the lake currently have suitable ice conditions for fishing.

The minimum ice thickness for supporting one person is at least 4 inches of clear, solid ice. Anglers should use a spud bar to check the ice while working their way out to a fishing spot.

Call 402-755-2284 for more information. A park entry permit is required. Visit OutdoorNebraska.org to purchase fishing permits and learn more about fishing in Nebraska.

Witness spring migration wonders at Ponca State Park’s Marsh Madness

LINCOLN, Neb. – Experience the height of spring migration during Marsh Madness at Ponca State Park (SP).

Located on the Missouri River, Ponca SP presents a significant flyway for migratory birds, and has been recognized by the National Audubon Society as an “Important Bird Area.” Common springtime sightings include pintail courtship displays and whirlwinds of snow geese, white-fronted geese, wood ducks and other species.

Visitors may view the birds during guided Avian Adventure Blind Viewing Sessions or on unguided tours. The sunrise and sunset waterfowl blind viewings are scheduled each Saturday from Feb. 23 through March 16. Space is limited; please call Ponca SP to reserve your spot. Lodging is also available at a 30 percent discount.

For additional information, contact the park at 402-755-2284 or visit the Ponca State Park Facebook page. A park permit is required for each vehicle entering the park.

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman firearm cleaning workshop cancelled

LINCOLN, Neb. – A Becoming an Outdoors-Woman firearm cleaning workshop scheduled for Feb. 17 at the Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center has been cancelled.

Organizers cancelled the class, scheduled for 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Outdoor Education Center, 4703 N. 44th St., in Lincoln, because of low sign-up and a forecast of poor weather.

The class will not be rescheduled. A list of other upcoming Becoming an Outdoors-Woman events is available online at OutdoorNebraska.org/BOW.