Nebraska GPC Approves Low Cost Youth Permits

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There has been a national trend of declining participation in hunting for years. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission took a step Thursday to attract more young big game hunters.

The Board of Commissioners approved youth deer, turkey and antelope permits that cost $5 each. The board held its regular meeting at Pheasant Bonanza, northwest of Tekamah

The current prices for selected permits are, excluding agent fees: resident deer ($29), nonresident deer ($208), resident antelope ($29), nonresident antelope ($149.50), resident turkey ($23), and nonresident turkey ($90). All hunters, including youth, pay those prices. Now, youth under age 16 may purchase those permits for $5 each.

Other permits were created and fees amended by the board.

In an effort to raise funds that will do such things as acquire land, support public access programs and improve habitat, the board raised the cost of an annual Nebraska Habitat Stamp by $4 to $20. It also raised the annual Nebraska Aquatic Habitat Stamp by $2.50 to $10.

New permits that were created include nonresident paddlefish, nonresident combination hunt/fish permit, lifetime fur harvest, nonresident elk, and nonresident landowner elk.

The board also raised the cost of a lifetime habitat stamp by $80 to $400 and created agent fees of $1 (purchased through Commission) and $2 (purchased through an agent other than Commission) for most hunting, fishing and fur harvest permits.

Changes to the 2010 fishing and turkey hunting regulations also were approved.

Changes to turkey regulations include a spring turkey permit that may be used in either the shotgun or archery season. In the past, spring turkey hunters were required to purchase either a shotgun permit or archery permit to hunt with those respective weapons during designated seasons.

The board made the following changes to other wildlife regulations:

  • -- Suspended the bighorn sheep harvest in 2010. A pneumonia outbreak has reduced the population of the Fort Robinson herd, where sheep are hunted.
  • -- A limited landowner applicant may be a spouse or child of the owner or leaseholder of qualifying land or a sibling sharing ownership of the qualifying land. The spouse or child need not be residing in the same household of the owner or leaseholder.
  • -- Added landowner bull elk to the list of permit applicants who receive preference points if denied a permit and who lose all preference points if granted a permit. It also removes language that states all preference points will be lost if a person does not apply at least once for five consecutive years.
  • -- Removed all restrictions on draw weight and draw length of archery equipment used to take deer, antelope, turkey, elk, and bighorn sheep.
  • -- Removed all restrictions on how long deer, antelope, turkey, elk, and bighorn sheep meat may be possessed.
  • -- Added a regulation that archers hunting deer, antelope, elk, or bighorn sheep are not required to wear hunter orange during the firearm seasons for antelope, elk or bighorn sheep.
  • -- Removed all restrictions on how long game birds or game animals may be possessed and added language that states that it is unlawful to possess more than a possession limit of game birds or game animals.

The board also:

  • -- Entered into an agreement with the Platte River Basin Environments (PRBE) to provide public access and conservation management on two tracts of land in the Wildcat Hills. The Carter Canyon Ranch Tract (7,870 acres) and the Montz Point Tract (1,430 acres) are owned by PRBE.
  • -- Amended a lease with the Bureau of Reclamation to include a mitigation tract in Webster County in which the Commission will provide public access and conservation management. The 475-acre tract will be designated as Guide Rock Diversion Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
  • -- Acquired a 13.31-acre tract of land at U.S. Highway 77 and Bluff Road in Lancaster County. It will be used to consolidate Commission operations and maintenance staff and replace sites that are being leased.
  • -- Acquired a 156-acre tract of land in Stanton County that will be an extension of Wood Duck WMA.