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Nebraska Program Targets Expansion of Hunter, Angler Access

From Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

-- A statewide pilot program to expand hunter and angler access to private land was approved by the Nebraska Game and Parks Board of Commissioners.

The two-year program, to begin in the fall of 2009, was created under the auspices of the Commission's Recruitment, Development and Retention (RDR) plan, which seeks to develop future, current and past hunters and anglers in Nebraska.

The rationale for the pilot program is to attract new or inactive hunters and anglers, especially into entry-level activities with expanding opportunities such as deer and spring turkey hunting.

The program will expand habitat types beyond those enrolled in the current Conservation Reserve Program-Management Access Program (CRP-MAP), the opportunities for different kinds of hunting and fishing on enrolled lands, and the quality of those opportunities. Zones have been created within the state in which the Commission will pay more and expand staff emphasis to attempt to enroll sites closer to population centers and the Platte River.

For hunting, this program is focused on sites that must have a core of mature woodland or quality wetland hunting habitat, which will complement the grassland/upland game focus of existing CRP-MAP.

Woodland habitats are expected to provide quality opportunities for harvest of increasing deer and turkey populations. The program recognizes that many landowners might not enroll their land if they have to give up the nine-day firearm deer hunting season.

Landowners still can enroll acres for a reduced payment if they retain access during the firearm deer hunting season. Those lands still will provide additional acres for archery and muzzleloader deer hunting, as well as turkey and small game hunting.

For fishing, there are payment rates for lakes, ponds, rivers and streams to create expanded opportunities.

The Commission will spend $500,000 to implement the program. To sustain the program, the fee for a Nebraska Habitat Stamp was increased by $4 to $20, and the Nebraska Aquatic Habitat Stamp was increased by $2.50 to $10.

People interested in more information or getting on a contact list should call the district office closest to where the property is located. Office staff will collect site and contact information from you and route to appropriate staff for follow-up.

District office telephone numbers are: Alliance, (308) 763-2940; Bassett, (402) 684-2921; Norfolk, (402) 370-3374; North Platte, (308) 535-8025; Lincoln, (402) 471-5597; Kearney, (308) 865-5310; and Omaha, (402) 595-2144.

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