Julie Geiser Outdoor Columnist/NGPC
The Nebraska State Fair begins today on Grand Island and ends on September 2. You won’t want to miss the Nebraska Park and Game Commission Outdoor Gathering exhibit at the Nebraska Building.
The Nebraska State Fair is a longstanding Nebraska tradition that the Nebraska Parks and Games Commission has been a part of for decades.
The Game and Parks Outdoor Encounter exhibit draws crowds each year who come to see our 6,000-gallon aquarium filled with fish found in Nebraska waters along with a huge diorama of the Niobrara River Valley, including a 12-foot waterfall with an interactive current flowing from it.
An information booth is available with Game and Parks staff to help answer any questions and there are plenty of hands-on, interactive and educational activities for all ages, including the indoor archery and BB range.
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A beautifully landscaped outdoor area with park benches, a pollinator garden, and a gazebo will provide a great place to lounge while kids play on the king-of-the-hill mound, slide down the dirt slide, climb the spider web larger than life. or crawl through prairie dog tunnels.
A meandering creek, mock campsite, and beautifully landscaped grounds give fairgoers a place to explore with hands-on activities.
Visitors can enjoy the sky fort designed for children and adults of all ages to learn about nature and outdoor recreation using educational and interpretive signage throughout the fort. For more information, visit outdoornebraska.gov/statefair.
Open season begins
Several hunting seasons will begin and hunters hope to return to the field.
Seasons opening September 1 include Squirrel, Cottontail, Hare, Pigeon, Godwit, Virginia Sora Rail, Grouse, Raccoon, Virginia Opossum, and Bow Deer Season . Early teal season opens September 3.
Information on hunting seasons can be found in Game and Parks hunting guides available at the Game and Parks office, online at outdoornebraska.org, or at local sporting goods stores.
Don’t forget to pick up a copy of the “2022 Public Access Atlas” showing all walk-in public areas available to hunt statewide.
If you plan to hunt migratory birds such as pigeons, ducks, coots, geese, rails, snipes, or woodcocks, you will need a Harvest Information Program number. HIP numbers are easy to register online, 24 hours a day at outdoornebraska.org/HIP.
Pigeon season includes the taking of mourning, white-winged, and Eurasian collared doves during the pigeon season, which begins on September 1 and ends on October 30.
Hunters can hunt Eurasian Collared Pigeons and White-winged Pigeons during the regular pigeon season. However, the bag limit of 15 pigeons per day per hunter is a combined species limit. The 45 pigeon possession limit also includes a combination of all three pigeon species.
Shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset and pigeons must be shot in flight. Hunters who find a pigeon leg band should contact the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s banding office at reportband.gov.
deer hunting lottery
Hunters can enter a lottery to access the Platte River Recreational Access Lands in the Central Platte River Valley.
Fifty-one hunters will be chosen from a random drawing in early September and will be allowed to hunt deer on designated PRRA lands from November 16-20.
Applications are limited to one per person and will be accepted by mail or drop box at the Game and Parks service center in Kearney until August 31 at 5 p.m. drawn.
Lottery winners will be notified by September 20. Hunters must obtain the appropriate deer permit and habitat stamp.
PRRA lands are closed to all access from October 9 to November 15. For more information or a map showing available areas, visit platteaccess.org, call 308-865-5338, or email [email protected].
PRRA lands are lands purchased by the Platte River Restoration Implementation Program for the restoration and maintenance of whooping crane, little tern, and piping plover habitat in the central valley of the Platte River. The program allows limited access to these properties when access will not disturb these species. More information about the program can be found at platteriverprogram.org/good-neighbors.