Outdoors: application for a big game draw permit closes on June 24 | Recreation

Sunset paints the sky over Lake McConaughy in a 2015 photo.

Tourism in Nebraska

Residents and non-residents can apply for a Nebraska deer permit with draw status in two mule deer conservation areas through June 24.

As of 2022, the Platte Mule Deer Conservation Area and the Frenchman MDCA are the only deer permits in the drawing. A preference point can be purchased instead of entering the raffle.

Residents and eligible landowners may also apply for a firearm or muzzle-loading antelope permit, and elk applicants may apply for a general elk permit. One antelope preference point and one elk bonus point can be purchased instead of entering the raffle.

Applications must be received by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission by 5 p.m. central time — or by 11:59 p.m. for online applications — on June 24. One application is allowed per person and per species.

Sweepstakes are used to provide equal opportunities for high-demand permits. Residents and non-residents are separated in the drawing, with at least 85% of permits reserved for residents.

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Requests can be made to OutdoorNebraska.org, via the application form in the Big Game Guide 2022, or in person at a games and parks permit office. A list of offices can be found in the Big Game Guide.

Draw results will be available by July 1.

Visit OutdoorNebraska.orgwhich includes a digital version of the Big Game Guide, for more information.

Lake Mac booked for 4th of July

The Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala recreation areas are fully booked July 1-5 for overnight camping, including beach camping.

Overnight visitors interested in visiting the two western Nebraska reservoirs for the upcoming vacation are encouraged to find alternate accommodations. Find local community hotels, rental vacation homes, cabins and private campgrounds at ILoveLakeMac.com. Visitors should check the availability of private accommodations for the night.

Daytime activities, such as fishing, boating, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking, and bird watching remain available with no capacity limit. Learn more about OutdoorNebraska.org/LakeMcConaughy.

Overnight visitors must check in between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. Mountain Time, but are encouraged to check in by 5 p.m. to avoid long lines at entry points.

A park entry permit is required for all vehicles entering recreation areas, including those with advance camping reservations. For faster entry into areas of the park, visitors are encouraged to purchase one in advance online at OutdoorNebraska.org or at a permit seller; find a local supplier at outdoornebraska.org/permitvendors.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission reminds visitors that alcohol and fireworks are prohibited in both areas of the park.

mule deer

Mule deer stand in ponderosa pines near the Snake River in Cherry County in this 2017 photo. Hunters in Nebraska can apply for draw status deer permits in two mule deer conservation areas up to June 24.

NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Parks and Games Commission

Pollinator week starts Monday

Join the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in celebrating our state’s native pollinators — including more than 200 species of butterflies — during Nebraska Pollinator Week June 20-26.

Pollinator Week, in Nebraska and around the world, is an effort to celebrate and raise awareness of pollinators and their conservation. Pollinators, including bees, hummingbirds and butterflies, add more than $217 billion to the global economy through crop pollination. They pollinate more than 180,000 plant species worldwide, including plants that provide food for humans, birds and mammals.

The public is encouraged to participate in virtual and public events in Nebraska. A list of these events is available at nebraskapollinatorweek.org/events.

Game and Parks also hosts the annual Nebraska Pollinator Week Challenge. The event invites participants to submit at least five pollinator observations using the iNaturalist app. Anyone who participates in the challenge can sign up to receive a pollinator prize pack through the Nebraska Pollinator Week website.

Learn more about the Nebraska Pollinator Week Challenge at nebraskapollinatorweek.org/challenge.

Nebraska Pollinator Week is the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s statewide focus on the international Pollinator Week effort hosted by the Pollinator Partnership. Learn more about nebraskapollinatorweek.org.

Cowboy fun in Fort Kearney

Join Fort Kearny State Historic Park for an afternoon of free cowboy fun from 2-4 p.m. June 28 at 1020 V Road, Kearney.

The event will feature Miss V, the traveling cowbelle; Dan Melton, cowboy; Bob Lamberson, storyteller; and Lyle Henderson, former cowboy and owner of the Platte Valley Saddle Shop. Free root beer and sarsaparilla will be served.

Re-enactors will also be at the park to discuss life as a soldier during the fort’s early days, and Fort Hartsuff State Historic Park staff will talk about its role in protecting early pioneers. Vintage firearms from Fort Hartsuff will also be on display.

Miss V will give a musical performance from 3 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. She will join Melton, Lamberson and Henderson, and his wife Lynda, in the field throughout the afternoon, each sharing their unique cowboy stories.

Lyle will talk about his early days as a cowboy in Idaho and the Grand Island area and his connection to his father’s with the Pony Express Association. He and his wife will also showcase their custom saddles.

Miss V will showcase her homemade instruments and share stories from her 14 years of pioneer life on a historic claim in northwest Wyoming. Melton will share stories of growing up on a ranch in southwestern Nebraska owned by his grandfather, helping with cattle and quarter horses. And Palmer-area Lamberson will share stories of the cowboy livelihood.

In addition to the festivities, visitors to the park will be able to explore exhibits and reconstructed buildings, including the stockade, parade grounds, powder magazine and blacksmith/carpenter shop.

The event is free, but a vehicle park entry permit is required. Get one in advance at OutdoorNebraska.org.

Learn more about the park at OutdoorNebraska.org/FortKearny

Grove Trout Station is temporarily closed

The Grove Trout Breeding Station near Royal, Nebraska will be closed to visitors until further notice due to high temperatures expected in the area.

The hot water stresses the trout, which have experienced health problems as the water in the facility has warmed. Warm water contains less oxygen, which is crucial for trout production.

Additional stressors could further compromise fish health, prompting the decision to close tours to this popular Antelope County destination.

“Game and Parks and facility staff would like to thank the public for their cooperation and understanding,” said Greg Anderson, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Fisheries Division Assistant Administrator for Fish Production.

Grove, which produces and stores about 110,000 trout a year, is one of five fish production facilities in the state operated by Game and Parks. Learn more about outdoornebraska.gov/hatcheries.

Game and Parks offers wildlife prevention tools

As the growing season is in full swing, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission reminds landowners that tools and resources are available for those who experience crop and livestock damage from wildlife.

Landowners can contact their nearest Game and Parks District office to discuss options for mitigating damage, such as scaring devices, fencing, damage control permits, or opening land to the public access for hunting. Find a local office at outdoornebraska.gov/locations.

Landowners can also contact a wildlife biologist about their wildlife damage concerns at the outdoornebraska.gov/depredation.

Species that often cause depredation problems include deer, elk, and geese, among others.

Big game populations are best managed by hunting. In 2021 and early 2022, Game and Parks increased tags for deer, antelope and elk, and prioritized antlerless seasons for early and late season elk. Game and Parks continues to address localized depredation issues through targeted efforts.

Game and Parks also continues to offer the Antlerless Hunter Database, which connects hunters who wish to harvest antlerless deer with landowners who are experiencing deer damage issues on their property. Learn more about outdoornebraska.gov/antlerlesshunterdatabase.

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