Youth Sportsfest Sept. 14

Bring your family to the Glacial Lakes Youth Sportsfest at the Watertown Trap and Skeet Range on Sept. 14 from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

This event is open to kids ages 8-14 and will feature shotgun, .22, archery and muzzleloader shooting, outdoor games, and clinics for turkey and waterfowl hunting.

Interested families should call 605.882.5200, or stop in to the Watertown regional office by Sept. 6. Pre-registration is required for this event.

This event is sponsored by SDGFP, Dakota Sportsman, Inc, NWTF, Ducks Unlimited, Whitetails Unlimited, Codington County Pro Pheasants, Lake Area Rifle & Pistol Club, Grass Lake Conservation Club, Al & Skip Meisenheimer, and in memory of Chad Lamb & Eric Hopkins.

Nebraska G&P To Offer Women’s Hunter Education Courses

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will offer several hunter education courses across the state specifically for women this fall.

This classes, which are presented as part of the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program, give women the chance to learn the basics of hunter safety and gain hands-on firearm and archery experience in a fun, safe environment among like-minded women. All courses will be led by women who are experienced hunters and certified volunteer hunter education instructors.

Upcoming courses are:

-- Hunter Education Course: Sept. 9, 10, 11, 14 (participants must attend all four days), Schramm Education Center, Louisville

-- Hunter Education Course: Sept. 20-21 (participants must attend both days), American Legion Club, Bassett

-- Hunt Safe Session: Oct. 26, Ponca State Park, Ponca

-- Hunt Safe Session: Oct. 26, Maxwell Gun Club, Maxwell

For more information on each class, or to register, visit OutdoorNebraska.org/BOW.

Neb. Commission Approves 2020 Bighorn Sheep Season

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission approved the authorization of one lottery permit for the 2020 bighorn sheep season when it met Aug. 28 at Fort Robinson State Park.

The Commission also approved a Bighorn Sheep Management Plan that has a goal of establishing a self-sustaining, free-ranging bighorn sheep population in all areas of suitable habitat in Nebraska. There are many challenges facing bighorn sheep, including disease, predation, and habitat loss or fragmentation. In response, the Commission has developed a comprehensive plan to help manage and mitigate these herds and the issues they face.

Upland Bird Opportunities Await Nebraska Hunters This Fall

LINCOLN, Neb. — Another fall of diverse upland bird hunting opportunities awaits Nebraska hunters.

The Southwest and Panhandle regions will provide the best hunting opportunities for pheasants, with more publicly accessible lands – primarily Open Fields and Waters – available in the Southwest, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s 2019 Upland Gamebird Hunting Outlook.

Overwinter survival was relatively high for pheasants this year but the cool, wet conditions that persisted into May and June likely had a negative impact on nesting success. However, habitat conditions have remained good to excellent and brood survival should be relatively high for those that successfully hatched. The statewide pheasant index from the 2019 July Rural Mail Carrier Survey was 14% lower compared to 2018.

The Outlook is based on spring and summer upland game surveys and conditions reported by biologists. Regional habitat trends and weather conditions that could impact populations are considered.

The best quail hunting opportunities will be found in the Republican, Southeast and East Central regions, but hunters should expect to find lower densities compared to recent years. Bobwhites experienced declines in most regions and statewide indices from two surveys were 21-37% lower compared to 2018. However, bobwhites are prolific breeders and have the ability to repopulate areas very quickly where suitable habitat exists.

The Commission reminds hunters that surveys provide a broad assessment of upland game species abundance, and cannot be used to determine game abundance at any particular hunting area.

The hunting season for pheasant, quail and partridge is Oct. 26, 2019 – Jan. 31, 2020. The prairie grouse season is Sept. 1, 2019 – Jan. 31, 2020.

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