Outdoor notes: Commission to consider recommendation for mountain lion season

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will consider a staff recommendation to approve a proposed 2020 mountain lion season when it meets June 21 in Alma.

The meeting will begin at 8 a.m. at Alma Country Club, 102 Dick Brown Memorial Drive. A public hearing on the mountain lion recommendation will begin at 9:30 a.m.

The proposed season would provide a harvest opportunity for up to eight mountain lions in two sub-units within the Pine Ridge of northwestern Nebraska. The proposed season would allow the population to remain resilient and healthy, while halting growth or moderately reducing the population size. This would initiate a reduction of the population density in the Pine Ridge to one similar to that of other western states that allow mountain lion hunting.

For more information on mountain lions in Nebraska, visit outdoornebraska.gov/mountainlions.

In other business, the Commission will consider staff recommendations to:

— amend regulations regarding practice and procedures for public hearings;

— amend regulations to clarify the process and requirements in applying for limited landowner permits to hunt antelope, deer or turkey; clarify language to allow antelope hunters to carry a centerfire rifle or handgun while hunting the doe/fawn late season; and clarify the application process and compliance for landowners obtaining a damage control permit for deer, antelope, elk or game birds;

— amend regulations regarding check-in requirements for earn-a-buck unit deer, and clarify the definitions of “buck” and “antlerless” deer;

— approve the acquisition of approximately, 1,520 acres in Sioux County adjacent to Peterson Wildlife Management Area and designate it an addition to the area;

Also on the agenda is a public hearing for input regarding the listing and delisting of state threatened and endangered species in Commission District 5, which is southwestern Nebraska.

The Commission also will hear a request to ratify the agency’s biennium budget for fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

The meeting also will include presentations on the agency’s new Natural Playscapes Guide and Women in the Outdoors. In addition, there will be reports on pheasant research and water issues.

A complete meeting agenda is available at outdoornebraska.gov/commissioners.

Public advised to avoid area of Elkhorn River in Dodge County

LINCOLN, Neb. – The public is advised to avoid an area of the Elkhorn River in Dodge County where natural gas pipelines have become exposed after recent flooding.

Northern Natural Gas will be replacing the pipelines, so the public is advised to avoid the river north of Highway 91 and south of County Road J through June 25.

Northern says that neither the pipeline nor efforts to replace it pose a risk to public health and safety. However, any boating, river recreation or vehicular or foot traffic near the site could pose a safety risk to pipeline works and the public.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission recommends boaters, paddlers and tubers stay off all rivers in eastern Nebraska, which still are swollen from spring flooding.

In addition to higher level and faster speeds, these river bottoms have changed since the March flooding and continue to change. Submerged hazards and debris in rivers and under bridges continue to present safety risks.

Also, the U.S. Coast Guard says the Missouri River now is open to all commercial and recreational vessel traffic from Napoleon, Missouri to just north of Sioux City, Iowa. A no-wake zone has been established around Plattsmouth and Sioux City.

The Coast Guard says the Missouri is at moderate or major flood level, and it does not recommend boating in these conditions. It says boating can hamper efforts where communities still are fighting floods.

For more on boating in Nebraska, visit outdoornebraska.gov/boating/.