The peak season for boating usually begins with the Memorial Day weekend when many boats hit the water for the first time of the year.

Susan Stocker, boating law administrator and education coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, is encouraging boaters to spend a few minutes looking over their boats to help avoid problems later on the ramp or water.

“As part of their preparation, boaters should go through their vessel as well as their safety equipment to make sure everything is in proper working condition before heading to the water, including brushing up on safe boating practices,” Stocker said.

Bird banding workshop

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever recently hosted more than 50 participants and families at Heron Haven in Omaha for a Grassland Bird Banding Workshop.

Those in attendance watched certified bird bander Rick Schmid age and band birds. Participants were then able to assist in releasing banded birds and had the opportunity to bird watch on attached trails.

The workshop was held in conjunction with Heron Haven’s Second Saturday event, with a presentation given by the Audubon Society and additional activities including making bird feeders and dissecting owl pellets.

The Grassland Bird Banding Workshop was also part of the state’s efforts to celebrate Migratory Bird Month.

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Parks are reopening

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has reopened all or portions of several state park areas that were temporarily closed after sustaining damage during March’s historic flood.

The flood damaged roads, campgrounds, electrical hookups, boat ramp and docks, buildings and other structures. Parks staff and volunteers worked quickly to clear debris, repair damaged infrastructure and ensure public safety. Even so, access to some areas and services may be limited in certain locations.

The following park areas are open, with some limitations.

Dead Timber State Recreation Area: Open for day use only. Campgrounds are closed. Kayaking restricted until water testing completed.

Louisville State Recreation Area: Open for day use and walk-in camping. Electrical service is in the process of being restored to campgrounds. Swimming, paddle boarding and kayaking restricted.

Niobrara State Park: Open but only accessible by certain routes, including Nebraska Highway 12. Trail ride and swimming pool activity schedules may be limited this season.

Willow Creek State Recreation Area: Open for day use and walk-in camping. Swimming, water skiing and kayaking restricted.

Schramm Park State Recreation Area: Canoe and kayak access temporarily closed.

Pelican Point State Recreation Area: Boat docks are not accessible because of high water.

Indian Cave State Park: Park is open but boat ramp remains closed.

New process for permits

Eligible landowners may apply for one 2019 Nebraska elk hunting permit during the May 20 through June 7 application period.

To download an application form, regulations and hunting unit descriptions, visit

Big game hunters should be aware of a new process for awarding draw permits starting this year.

Applicants for deer, antelope and elk draw permits who supply valid email addresses will be notified when the draw is complete. Applicants not providing valid email addresses will be responsible for monitoring their status online at

Awarded permits not paid for by July 19 will result in applicants losing preference points and forfeiting the permit. Any forfeited draw permits will be sold over the counter on a first-come basis beginning Aug. 5.

In addition to the landowner elk application period, other key dates are:

June 10-28: Application period for general elk, antelope and deer draw units.

July 5: Results of the elk drawing will be available on or before this date.

July 19: Successful applicants will have until July 19 to complete the purchase of their awarded permits. Awarded but unpaid permits will result in applicants losing preference or bonus points and forfeiting the permit. Any forfeited draw permits will be sold over the counter on a first-come basis.

Aug. 5 through the close of hunting seasons: Remaining permits will go on sale online or at Game and Parks permitting offices Aug. 5.

Applications may be made at, via application form, or in person at a Game and Parks permitting office.



» Eligible landowners may apply for one elk permit until June 7


» Beyond Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Shotgun Class, Roger G. Sykes Outdoor Heritage Education Complex, Platte River SP, Louisville. Also May 29


» Take Aim at Summer Open House, Roger G. Sykes Outdoor Heritage Education Complex, Platte River SP, Louisville

» Vintage Flag Collection, Arbor Lodge SHP, Nebraska City


» Early-Bird Bird Watching, Niobrara SP, Niobrara

» Migratory Bird Day, Indian Cave SP, Shubert

» Nebraska Humanities Program: George Drouillard, Niobrara SP, Niobrara

» Migratory Bird Day Celebration, Lewis and Clark SRA, Crofton

» Sidewalk Chalk Art and Bird Program, Niobrara SP, Niobrara

To share your trophy picture or calendar item, send it to Outdoor Sports, World-Herald Sports Dept., 1314 Douglas St., Suite 700, Omaha, NE 68102 or email the photo and details to A daytime or cellphone number must be included.

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