Outdoor notes: Auxiliary mountain lion season; Hunting trip planners available

LINCOLN, Neb. – Applications for an auxiliary mountain lion hunting season will be accepted by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission from March 1-5.

Up to four permits will be drawn for the auxiliary season in the North Subunit of Nebraska’s Pine Ridge, which is March 15-31. Only hunters who held a North Subunit permit but did not harvest a mountain lion during the earlier North Subunit season may apply.

From 1 p.m. Central Time on March 1 through 11:59 p.m. on March 5, eligible North Subunit permit holders may apply for the auxiliary season permit drawing at outdoornebraska.gov/mountainliondraw. The bag limit for each permit is one mountain lion.

The auxiliary season will close once up to four mountain lions, or two females, are harvested. The number of permits to be drawn will be equal to the auxiliary season’s harvest quota, which cannot exceed four. The quota will be determined following the Feb. 28 close of the North Subunit season.

The North Subunit is the area of the Pine Ridge north of Highway 20 and west of Highway 27. Hunting on public land will not be allowed during the auxiliary season, but dogs may be used. All other mountain lion hunting rules remain the same.

Once open, the status of the season will be posted on Game and Parks’ mountain lion harvest season webpage (outdoornebraska.gov/mountainlionhunting) and 1-800 number that hunters are required to check before hunting mountain lions each day.

No more than eight mountain lions will be harvested in Nebraska this year. Three males and one female lion already have been taken during the South Subunit season in January.

A harvest will allow the mountain lion population to remain resilient and healthy, while halting growth or moderately reducing the population size. This will reduce the population density in the Pine Ridge to one similar to that of other states that allow mountain lion hunting.

To read more mountain lion hunting regulations, go to outdoornebraska.gov/mountainlionhunting.

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Hunting trip planners available on Game and Parks’ website

LINCOLN, Neb. – Start planning a fall hunt today by downloading trip planners at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s website.

These printable, species-specific trip planners – which are available for prairie grouse, quail, pheasant, mule deer and turkey – condense a variety of useful information into two pages.

Regions of the state offering great hunting and public access opportunities are highlighted in the trip planners. They also suggest lodging options, highlight public lands and recommend other outdoor activities to do during your stay. Each trip planner also lists season dates, necessary permits and other important information.

“Nebraska’s diverse landscape offers a wide variety of hunting opportunities throughout the state,” said John Laux, Game and Parks’ upland habitat and access program manager.

Considered the mixed bag capital of the Great Plains, Nebraska truly has something for everyone.

“Our immense mixed-bag opportunities and abundance of publicly accessible lands make us a destination for many hunters each fall,” Laux said. “These trip planners make it more convenient to plan your next memory-making hunt and experience what Nebraska has to offer.”

Download the trip planners at outdoornebraska.gov/tripplanners.

Lincoln firm honored for lake improvements on Platte River State Park

LINCOLN, Neb. – A Lincoln engineering firm has won an award for its work on a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission project at Platte River State Park.

JEO Consulting Group of Lincoln received a Water Resources Merit Award in the annual American Council of Engineering Companies Nebraska (ACEC) awards program for its work on improvements at Jenny Newman Lake.

The Jenny Newman Lake renovation project, which was completed in 2016, remedied a deteriorated principle spillway, improved water quality, enhanced angler access and boat launch capabilities, added Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant walks, and created Crawdad Creek, an interactive series of five ponds that feed the lake.

Improvements were completed in phases. A new pipe was installed offset from the existing pipe to restore the principle spillway at the dam outlet. This allowed the existing pipe to be used to divert excess water during construction. In addition, a two-stage riser was installed to allow water levels to be lowered when needed. Crawdad Creek has an isolation/bypass system to fill and drain pools separately for future maintenance access.

Crawdad Creek was the first feature completed as part of Game and Parks’ Venture Parks Complex, which calls for greatly expanded activities and amenities designed to meet the needs of a new generation of visitors at four parks – Platte River State Park, Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, and Schramm Park State Recreation Area and Louisville State Recreation Area. Funding for the Venture Parks Complex is provided through a public-private partnership, spearheaded through the Game and Parks Foundation and supported by many generous donors.

Crawdad Creek hosts aquatic invertebrates, insects, reptiles and fish. Park naturalists use the ponds and the organisms that call them home in educational activities for park visitors. The scenic, peaceful setting of the creek provides a place of serenity for park visitors, too. The creek’s flowing water also helps maintain suitable oxygen levels within the lake to foster a healthy fishery.

Construction of Crawdad Creek and the renovation of Jenny Newman Lake were made possible by the Cornhusker Motor Club Foundation, Cass County Nebraska Tourism (visitcasscounty.com), National Park Service Land and Water Conservation Fund, Nebraska Game and Parks Foundation, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration Fund and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Angler Access funds.

ACEC is a nonprofit association of 50 consulting engineering firms throughout the state, serving the public and private sectors. Each February, ACEC Nebraska honors outstanding projects and engineers.

Platte River State Park is located 3 miles west of Louisville, Nebraska on Hwy. 66. A valid park entry permit is required for all vehicles entering the park.

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