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Outdoors notes: Game and Parks seeks input from duck, goose hunters

Outdoors notes: Game and Parks seeks input from duck, goose hunters

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The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is seeking input on potential changes to duck and goose season dates for the 2021-22 hunting seasons.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved changes to duck zone and goose unit boundaries this fall, and Game and Parks is allowing hunters an opportunity to provide input regarding their preferences related to season dates within the approved units and zones.

Waterfowl hunters who provided an email address when they completed their Harvest Information Program registration between 2017 and 2019 should receive an email invitation to participate in a survey.

Hunters who only provided a postal address will receive a postcard directing them to the online survey.

“It is equally important to provide your input if you are satisfied with the current duck zone or goose unit season dates, or if you would like to see changes made,” said Will Inselman, assistant Wildlife Division administrator for research.

Superior man gets upland slam

Payne Ahrens used his job as a farmhand to his advantage before last month’s upland bird season opener.

While harvesting corn, the Superior man also was scouting for his hunt. That paid off as he became the first hunter to complete the 2020 Nebraska Upland Slam.

The challenge of the upland slam, a partnership among the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever, is to harvest a ring-necked pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, greater prairie chicken and northern bobwhite quail this season.

Those who complete the slam receive an official certificate and pin and are entered into a drawing to win one of several prizes, including a Browning Maxus 12-gauge shotgun. 

Ahrens bagged his pheasant and quail Oct. 31 in Nuckolls County and his greater prairie chicken Sept. 10 in Nuckolls County. He shot his sharp-tailed grouse Sept. 26 in Holt County.

This is the third year of the upland slam but the first year for Ahrens, who had been guiding in Wyoming and South Dakota the past two years. “I finally had more time on my hands and felt like it was a challenge,” he said. “I kind of made it a goal to get it done.”

Before this fall, Ahrens had little experience hunting sharptails and greater prairie chickens. That will change.

“I kind of fell in love with the prairie chicken hunting and the walking for sharptails,” he said. “I’m definitely doing it again.”

The first youth to complete the 2020 Upland Slam was Thayne O’Hare of Cozad. The 11-year-old harvested his pheasant in Custer County, quail and greater prairie chicken in Phelps County and sharp-tailed grouse in Box Butte County.

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