Bald Eagle Awareness Days Events: Feb. 22-23

PIERRE — Bald Eagle Awareness Days celebrates its 27th year of entertainment and education by emphasizing the need for conservation and appreciation of bald eagles and other birds of prey. Interested persons will have several free events to choose from to learn more about birds of prey.

On Friday, Feb. 22, The Outdoor Campus-East in Sioux Falls will have an open house and program beginning at 5 p.m. CST featuring live birds of prey presented by educators from The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota. To register, please visit outdoorcampus.org or call 605.362.2777.

On Saturday, Feb. 23, educators from The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota will present programs featuring live birds of prey at the Pierre Ramkota in Theatre II, in conjunction with the KCCR Farm, Home and Sports Show. Programs begin at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. CST.

In addition, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks’ (GFP) Outdoor Campus-West in Rapid City will host a raptor-themed open house on Saturday, Feb. 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. MST with a presentation by the Black Hills Raptor Center at 1 p.m. No registration is required.

The annual event is a joint effort sponsored by conservation and outdoor recreation organizations, and merchants and conservation agencies to increase public involvement and awareness about bald eagles and other birds of prey. All ages are encouraged to attend.

Bighorn Sheep Captured In Panhandle

CHADRON, Neb. — Bighorn sheep in the Panhandle are sporting some new hardware this week thanks to the work of a helicopter capture crew, wildlife professionals and volunteers.

South Dakota State University joined the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in capturing and processing a total of 48 sheep Monday and Tuesday -- 22 in the Wildcat Hills near McGrew and 26 at three locations in the Pine Ridge near Chadron and Crawford.

Wildlife professionals have ramped up monitoring efforts in recent years to combat disease issues with Nebraska’s bighorn sheep, the most notable malady being Mycoplasma pneumonia. In addition to the sheep captured, processed and released, seven chronically ill ewes from the Pine Ridge were taken to South Dakota State University in Brookings for additional study.

The sheep that were released received new tracking collars and ear tags, in addition to undergoing a series of tissue samples and vaccinations. The ewes were not only fitted with new collars and tags, but also with vaginal implant transmitters. The latter devices, which have been used the past two years in the Pine Ridge, will help study lamb mortality.

The sheep were processed by a team of about 50 people, consisting of personnel from the Commission, South Dakota State University, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, the Lincoln Zoo, private veterinarians and the Alliance Animal Clinic. Chadron State College students also joined the effort in the Pine Ridge. Funding and support for the project has come through Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid grants, the Nebraska Big Game Society and local Wild Sheep Foundation chapters.

The helicopter crew has been contracted to stay in the Cornhusker State through the remainder of the week to capture mule deer for a study led by the University of Nebraska. Weather permitting, those captures will take place in the Frenchman deer management unit in southwestern Nebraska and the Pine Ridge unit of the northwest through the weekend. Locals may notice low-level helicopter activity and increased deer movement in those areas.

Learn To Hunt Spring Turkey Workshops Scheduled

LINCOLN, Neb. — Prepare for the upcoming hunting season by attending one of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Learn to Hunt Spring Turkey workshops.

The events are designed for individuals with limited experience and are ideal for those wanting to expand into turkey hunting. Topics will include strategies, equipment, biology and much more to increase a hunter’s confidence and success.

The workshop schedule is:

March 2 – Holdrege, YMCA of the Prairie, 1415 Broadway St., 1-3 p.m.

March 26 – Lincoln, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, 4703 N. 44th St., 6-8:30 p.m.

March 28 – Louisville, Platte River State Park, 14421 346th St., 6-8:30 p.m.

March 28 – Hastings, Lincoln Park Fire Station, 1145 S. Hastings Ave., 6:30-8:30 p.m.

In addition, a turkey calling clinic will be held April 9 at the Outdoor Education Center in Lincoln from 6-8:30 p.m. Participants are encouraged to bring their own calls as instructors will help them get the most turkey out of their calls and discuss the strategies in using them.

Space is limited. Register at OutdoorNebraska.com/Workshops. A registration fee may apply.

Sample Wine, Cheese, Venison At BOW/NWTF Event

LINCOLN, Neb. — Women are invited to spend an afternoon sampling wine, cheese and venison at the Vineyards and Venison event March 3 at Ashland.

This event for ages 21 and above is at Cellar 426 Wines and Vines, 1402 Dennis Dean Road, from 2 to 4 p.m. The cost is $25.

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman and the National Wild Turkey Federation Women in the Outdoors are hosting the event, which also teaches participants how to make charcuterie boards. Register at nwtf.org/events.

Contact Micaela Rahe at mrahe@nwtf.net or 402-471-2517 for more information.

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