Outdoors notes: Bighorn sheep hikes in Panhandle parks; Walleye tournament planned

Outdoors notes: Bighorn sheep hikes in Panhandle parks; Walleye tournament planned
Two Panhandle parks are offering special opportunities to view the state’s best climbers — bighorn sheep. (World-Herald News Service)

Two Panhandle parks are offering special opportunities to view the state’s best climbers — bighorn sheep.

The hikes, which each begin at 9 a.m., will be Friday at Fort Robinson State Park west of Crawford and Saturday at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center south of Gering.

Participants will gather at the parks and caravan to the sheep’s present range with the aid of Nebraska Game and Parks Commission wildlife technicians who electronically monitor the animals. The Fort Robinson group will start from the shelter at the entrance of the Soldier Creek campground. The Wildcat Hills excursion will start at the Nature Center.

Participants are asked to prepare for up to three miles of hiking with appropriate footwear, sunscreen and water.

Bighorn sheep are native to the sandstone buttes and steep slopes of the Panhandle but faced extinction in the early 20th century because of disease, habitat loss and unregulated hunting. The Commission began reintroduction efforts in the 1980s.

The tours are free but a Nebraska park entry permit is required for vehicles.

Walleye tournament planned

The Nebraska Walleye Association will be holding an open tournament at Harlan County Reservoir near Republican City on July 21 and 22.

The “Best of the Midwest” championship is open to any angler with a cap of 120 on the field. Multiple cash payouts and an automatic bid to the 2019 Cabela’s championship are some of the prizes offered.

For further questions or entry, contact Jason Hettler (308-380-1407) or Bill McGannon (402-270-2430).

Deer permits at Gifford Point

People interested in hunting deer at Gifford Point Wildlife Management Area this fall may apply for access permits Monday through July 30, according to Neal Van Winkle of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Van Winkle, the Gifford Point manager, said 200 authorization permits will be issued to allow deer hunters access to the area. To be eligible to apply, hunters must have at least one of the following valid deer permits: statewide archery, muzzleloader, youth or antlerless only Season Choice Wahoo.

The use of rimfire and centerfire weapons is prohibited at Gifford. Muzzleloaders are not allowed during the November firearm deer season. The access permit allows access to take deer with archery equipment from Sept. 1 through Jan. 15 and with a muzzleloader from Dec. 1 through Jan. 15, as specified by the deer permit. Successful applicants will be issued a combination for the lock to access the gate to the WMA. Only authorized persons will be allowed in the area for scouting and hanging tree stands from Aug. 18 through the end of the deer seasons.

Application forms are available at the Game and Parks offices at Omaha, Lincoln, Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium and Schilling WMA. If more than 200 applications are received, a drawing will be held Aug. 3 at Game and Parks’ Lincoln office.

Turkey survey beginning

Hunters can help the Iowa Department of Natural Resources with its annual population estimates by reporting all the turkeys seen in July and August.

The DNR has mailed survey cards to select turkey hunters who are asked to provide the date and county in which the turkey was seen, if it was an adult female or adult male (males have beards on their breasts), and whether there are young poults (baby turkeys).

There is a link to an online survey and survey card at iowadnr.gov for those who did not receive a card.

Annual population surveys conducted by the DNR are an important component of the species management plans, which includes providing hunting opportunities.

Historian Barnes to speak

Homestead National Monument of America will welcome historian Jeff Barnes for a presentation and book signing Sunday at 2 p.m.

Barnes’ recently published book, 150@150: Nebraska’s Landmark Buildings at the State’s Sesquicentennial, is a celebration of Nebraska in its 150th anniversary of statehood.

Barnes’ book examines the architectural history of Nebraska, including the earliest buildings constructed by newcomers to the territory, its most recognizable landmarks and the newest and most dynamic structures designed by the architectural firms of today.

“We are excited to welcome Barnes to Homestead,” said Mark Engler of the Homestead National Monument of America . “His book examines the history of architecture in Nebraska but also provides a different perspective on how the architecture  can tell the history.”

Homestead National Monument of America is located four miles west of Beatrice and 45 miles south of Lincoln.



» Family Fishing Event, Riverside Discovery Center Pond, Scottsbluff


» Remaining deer, elk and antelope hunting permits may be purchased from 1 p.m. through the end of the seasons

» Calamus Campfire Cooking, Calamus SRA, Burwell

» Application period for Gifford Point Wildlife Management Area special access permits for deer hunting through July 30


» Family Fishing Event, Oak Lake, Lincoln

» Growing Up WILD Educator Workshop, Kearney

» Project WILD and Aquatic WILD Educator Workshop, Kearney


» Family Fishing Event, Lake Halleck, Papillion


» Family Fishing Event, City Park, Holdrege

» S’mores with the Doerrs, Niobrara SP, Niobrara

» Growing Up WILD Educator Workshop, Norfolk

» Project WILD and Aquatic WILD Educator Workshop, Norfolk


» Buffalo Cookout, Niobrara SP, Niobrara

» Youth Shoreline Fishing Tournament, Louisville SRA, Louisville

» Carp-O-Rama, Lake Maloney SRA, North Platte

» Bighorn Sheep Hike, Wildcat Hills SRA, Gering. Also July 21.

» Night Sky Program, Niobrara SP, Niobrara. Also July 21.

» Geocaching, Niobrara SP, Niobrara. Also July 21.