Another fall of diverse upland bird hunting opportunities awaits Nebraska hunters.
The Southwest and Panhandle regions will provide the best hunting opportunities for pheasants, with more publicly accessible lands available in the Southwest, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s 2019 Upland Gamebird Hunting Outlook.
Overwinter survival was relatively high for pheasants this year, but the cool, wet conditions that persisted into May and June likely had a negative impact on nesting success. The statewide pheasant index from the 2019 July Rural Mail Carrier Survey was 14% lower compared with 2018.
The best quail hunting opportunities will be found in the Republican, Southeast and East Central regions, but hunters should expect to find lower densities compared with recent years.
The highest densities of prairie grouse are found in the Sandhills region. Spring elk counts were generally lower compared with recent years, but hunters should still find good grouse numbers and plenty of cover to walk this fall.
Take someone fishing
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission encourages people to take someone fishing for the chance to win a new boat. Steve Loyd did, and he earned a kayak.
The Tamarack Angler Kayak, donated by the Nebraska Fish and Game Association, was a prize in Game and Parks’ Take ‘Em Fishing Challenge, which ends Sept. 15.
“It was an amazing trip with my grandson, Noah,” said Loyd, who lives south of Plattsmouth.
The Take ’Em Fishing Challenge encourages anglers to go fishing with someone who either has never fished or who hasn’t fished in years. Anglers who take a photo of themselves taking someone fishing can enter an online drawing for dozens of prizes.
The drawing for the grand prize, a Bass Tracker Classic fishing boat, will take place in mid-September.
Helping the hungry
Hunters may begin donating deer to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program beginning Sunday at 11 processor locations around the state. Two additional processors will accept deer for the program starting Nov. 1 and Nov. 16.
Hunters pay no processing costs for deer accepted by processors for this donation-driven program.
The participating meat processors include:
Amherst: Belschner Custom Meats; Bayard: JM Pack (starting Nov. 1); Elwood: SteakMaster; Humphrey: Country Butcher (starting Nov. 16); Johnson: Pelican’s Meat Processing; Lindsay: Melcher’s Locker; North Bend: Bob’s Custom Meats; North Platte: Kelley’s Custom Pack; Oakland: Oakland Meat Processing Plant; Omaha: B.I.G. Meats; Orleans: Harlan County Meat Processors; Table Rock: Den’s Country Meats; Ulysses: The Butchery.
Learn to hunt workshops
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will host Learn to Hunt workshops this fall to help individuals prepare for upcoming hunting seasons.
Sept. 17: Introduction to hunting, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln
Sept. 26: Deer hunting, Lincoln Park Fire Station, Hastings
Oct. 1: Waterfowl, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln
Oct. 8: Upland bird hunting, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln
Oct. 22: Deer hunting, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln
Dec. 3: Predator hunting, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln
» Hunting seasons open for cottontail, jackrabbit, dove, snipe, grouse, rail, raccoon and opossum
» Archery, River Antlerless Private Land Only, Antlerless Only Season Choice, Whitetail Statewide Buck, Youth, and Landowner deer hunting seasons open
» Archery bull elk season opens
» Living history, Fort Atkinson State Historical Park (SHP), Fort Calhoun
» End of Summer Bash, Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area (SRA), Crofton
» Sidewalk Chalk with Emerald Ash borer/Pollinator Program, Niobrara State Park (SP), Niobrara
» Critter Corner, Danish Alps SRA, Hubbard
» Nebraska Reptiles, Lake McConaughy SRA, Ogallala
Living history, Fort Kearny SHP, Kearney
» Nebraska State Fair, Grand Island
» Early teal hunting starts in High Plains Zone
» Early teal hunting starts in Low Plains Zone
» Hooked for Life, Barnet Park Lake, McCook
» 7th Annual Night Owl Run/Walk, Niobrara SP, Niobrara
» The Night Sky, Ash Hollow SHP, Lewellen
» September Songbird Search, Lake Ogallala SRA, Ogallala
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 email@example.com. A daytime or cellphone number must be included.
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Name: Cade Atkinson, Gothenburg, Nebraska
Species: Mule deer Where: Southwest of Gothenburg
Size: 5x5 Noteworthy: It was the 11-year-old’s second deer, which he took with the help of his dad, Brent Atkinson. Cade was able to take the buck down with one shot at 130 yards.
Name: Chris Taylor, Fremont. Species: Largemouth bass. Where: Private lake in Fremont. Size: 21 inches. Noteworthy: The 10-year-old caught the Master Angler fish using purple spinner bait.
Name: Tom Boyer, Omaha, with grandfather Jeff Carney Species: Blue catfish Where: Sandpit Lake near Ashland, Nebraska Size: 45 inches Noteworthy: This isn’t the first big catfish Tom has caught, but he earned his first Master Angler certificate. In the past, the 7-year-old wasn’t able to reel the fish all the way in on his own. This time he did, although he did take three rest breaks.
Name: Dylan Clark, Omaha. Species: Spoonbill. Where: Lake of the Ozarks with grandpa Butch Clark and friend Brian Hinenan. Size: 52 pounds. Noteworthy: This was Dylan’s biggest catch ever.
Name: Bob Story, at left, Central City Species: Channel catfish Where: Loup Canal in Platte County Size: 26.5 pounds Noteworthy: The 75-year-old landed the fish with some help from friends. Despite a severe fish kill a few years ago and March flood damage in the upper canal in March, the fishing in the lower half has been good this summer.
Name: Maezlyn Witherbee-Alef, Bennington Species: White crappie Where: Lake near Plattsmouth Size: ¾ of a pound Noteworthy: It was the 4-year-old’s first crappie. She is pictured with her grandfather, Mark Witherbee.
Name: Nate Ruffino. Species: Muskie. Where: Eagle Lake Sportsmen’s Lodge in Ontario, Canada. Size: 40 pounds, 50 inches. Noteworthy: Ruffino was casting on the dock when a 25-inch northen pike hit his bait. While reaching for his net the muskie came out and grabbed the pike. It took three people to net the fish and hoist him into the boat. Nate was fishing with his father, Tom Ruffino, and friends Frank and Andy Tworek, Ron Schmidt and Frank Mason.
Name: Hunter Redfern, Elkhorn.
Where: Stanton, Nebraska.
Noteworthy: The 9-year-old was hunting with his dad, John, at his Gram’s farm when he shot this cottontail rabbit. It was Hunter’s first animal harvested with a .22 rifle.
Name: Claudia Riggert, Pierce, Nebraska.
Where: Pierce County. Size: 4x4.
Noteworthy: The 11-year-old killed her first deer from 217 yards with her .243.
Name: L.D. “Spike” Gross, Fremont.
Species: King salmon.
Where: Lake Michigan out of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
Size: 28½ pounds.
Noteworthy: The fish was caught on flash bait from the deck of the Top Banana, a charter boat. The captain was Patrick Vesser.
Name: Jay Wiederholt, with children Mara and Max.
Species: Largemouth bass.
Where: Neighborhood pond in Sedalia, Missouri.
Noteworthy: Jay is a dedicated golfer. His brother-in-law, Bob, offered to take him fishing via golf cart. Several bass were caught and released.
Name: Bill Henk, Omaha
Species: White-tailed deer
Where: North of Loup River in Howard County
Size: 11x8 points. Brow tines 9 inches
Noteworthy: Henk said this is his biggest trophy. It appeared out of a tree-lined draw just 15 minutes after he got in his stand at 2 p.m. He shot it from 150 yards.
Name: John Beeson, Omaha Species: Deer Where: Otoe County southwest of Palmyra Size: 4x4 Noteworthy: The UNK senior killed the deer with one shot from 80 yards with a Savage .270 rifle. It’s the third deer of his hunting career.
Name: Dean Cowles
Species: Tiger trout
Where: Two Rivers
Noteworthy: The 93-year-old has caught virtually all varieties of trout over the years but never the hybrid tiger trout. It was a goal of his before he quit fishing. He caught two that day.
Name: Derek Rutherford, Omaha.
Where: Private lake near Valley.
Size: 16 inches.
Noteworthy: After several nibbles and lots of patience, Derek landed the biggest fish he’s ever caught. It was released.
Name: Emmett Golda, La Vista
Species: Bass Size: 3 pounds
Where: Halleck Lake in Papillion
Noteworthy: Moments after dropping his line in the water, the 3-year-old needed a little assistance from grandpa Keith Bonner to reel in this fish caught with a bait worm. It was his first time fishing. His parents are Luke and Kay Golda.
Name: Klaus Brotzki, Omaha.
Species: Largemouth bass
Where: Private lake in north central Missouri.
Size: 6 pounds, 9 ounces
Noteworthy: It was caught in 12 feet of water using a chartreuse and white chatterbait. It was weighed and released.
Name: Grant Ryan, 10
Species: Blue Catfish
Where: Saunders County sandpit lake
Size: 44 inches long
Noteworthy: The fish qualifies for Nebraska Game and Parks' Master Angler recognition. This is the second big catfish Grant has caught with his grandfather, Jeff Carney. Once the fish was released, he turned to his dad, Ben, and said: "This never gets old!"
Name: Samuel Baumert
Species: 15½-inch crappie
Location: Near Schuyler.
Note: The 6-year-old caught the Master Angler fish on an outing with his family. He used a minnow as bait.
Name: Bridget White, Springfield, Nebraska
Where: Off the coast of Cancun in the Caribbean
Size: 6 pounds
Noteworthy: Bridget and Phil White caught six trigger fish and one white and one red snapper while out on a fishing charter.
Name: Ben Zupan, Elkhorn
Species: Bluegill and crappie
Where: Lake Wanahoo
Size: Around 10 inches
Ben Zupan also was on his first ice fishing outing, a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission event at Lake Wanahoo. Game and Parks provided gear and bait and even drilled the holes. The 16-year-old caught 15 fish, and grandpa Patrick McPherson caught four.
“Over the last 12 years I’ve enjoyed teaching him how to fish,’’ McPherson said. “He’s become an extremely good fisherman who loves the outdoors and can’t wait to go fishing. And, he’s a better and smarter fisherman than his grandpa. Don’t tell him that.”
Name: Jamison Childers, Omaha
What: Largemouth bass
Where: Douglas County private pond
Size: 17 inches
It was priceless, Paul Childers said, to see the smile on grandson Jamison’s face when he pulled in his prize on the youngster’s first ice fishing trip.
“Seeing him sitting in his chair and all of a sudden hearing, ‘Papa, I got one.’ All I did was put a few fingers underneath the pole and he reeled them in,’’ Childers said.
The 6-year-old caught a 17-inch and a 19-inch bass on a private pond in Douglas County. Childers caught a 21-incher.
Name: Jace Sheppard
This past July, the 8-year-old caught a pike at Lake of the Woods in Canada.
Name: Becky Connolly with guide Dean Roy, who is holding the fish. Husband Dan is to the left.
Where: Lake of the Woods
Size: 47-¼ inches, about 37 pounds
Noteworthy: The fish was caught on a jig and nightcrawler while fishing for walleye with a 6-pound line and a light-action rod. It was released unharmed.
Name: Don Paltani and grandson Wyatt, Bellevue
Species: Whitetail buck
Where: Cass County
Noteworthy: Paltani said it was a proud moment. Wyatt helped out with everything in taking care of the deer. “It is a moment to not be forgotten,” Paltani said. “We look forward to more proud moments like this one when Wyatt comes of age to hunt.”
Name: Clay Gathye, Gretna, and grandpa Larry Gathye, Omaha
Species: Mule deer
Where: Pine Ridge in western Nebraska
Noteworthy: The 10-year-old shot his first deer on opening day using his grandpa’s .308 rifle.
Name: Charlie Loofe, Elkhorn
Where: Buckskin Lake near Newcastle, Nebraska
Size: 20 inches
Noteworthy: The 10-year old was fishing with grandfather Mike Loofe of Wakefield.
Name: Michael Marcuzzo, Omaha
Species: Flathead catfish
Where: Omaha park
Size: 25 pounds, 39 inches
Noteworthy: Marcuzzo was fishing with a friend at a local park when he caught this master angler with a bluegill. The fish was released.
Name: Truman Stickland, Red Oak, Iowa
Where: Viking Lake in southwest Iowa
Size: 10 inches
Noteworthy: Truman and brother Bennett caught some small fish, then Truman reeled in this one. Mom wasn’t impressed, but Truman insisted he take it home. They then checked with Todd Carrick of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, who said it was a master angler catch.
Name: Jeff Schindler, Valley
Where: Homer, Alaska
Size: 45 pounds
Noteworthy: Jeff was fishing with dad Ron and brothers Brad and Rod. As he was reeling in a rock fish, this monster latched on. The quick-thinking captain gaffed it before it let go. Both fish were landed in the boat.
Name: Jack Taylor, Bellevue
Species: Largemouth bass
Where: Private pond in Sarpy County
Size: More than 3 pounds
Noteworthy: He was fishing with his father, Aaron Taylor, and Jerry Lovell.
Name: Doug Mellema, Kansas City, Missouri
Species: Largemouth bass
Where: Smithville Lake, Missouri
Size: 5 pounds
Noteworthy: The fish was caught on the second cast of the morning, using a Rapala Fat Rap, firetiger color. It was netted by Doug’s father, Warren Mellema of Omaha.
Name: Dean Cowles, Plattsmouth
Where: Two Rivers
Size: 14 pounds
Noteworthy: Dean, 92, was fishing for trout when he caught this koi.
Name: Davis Koile, Valley
Size: 21 inches
Noteworthy: The 7-year-old used a green pumpkin worm with a chartreuse tip rigged wacky style on a drop shot rig. The fish, which weighed 4 pounds, 3 ounces, was his first master angler bass. This catch made him “want to get even bigger ones.”
Name: Andrue Hackendahl, Elkhorn
Species: Redear sunfish
Where: Lawrence Youngman Lake
Size: Just over 10 inches
Noteworthy: The 9-year-old thought another little fish was stealing his night crawler. It was released.
Name: Ainsley Anderson, Omaha
Where: Lake Pokegama in Minnesota
Size: 29 inches
Noteworthy: The 11-year-old used a Silver Wally Diver to catch the 9-pound fish, which was her second master angler walleye.
Name: Hayden Anibal, Bennington
Where: Sandpit lake near Schuyler
Size: 16 inches
Noteworthy: The 11-year-old used a night crawler to nab her master angler fish.
Name: Emma Anibal, Bennington
Species: Largemouth bass
Where: Sandpit lake near Schuyler
Size: 18 1⁄2 inches
Noteworthy: The 12-year-old used a night crawler to catch the bass.
Name: Carter Cushing, Gretna
Species: Channel catfish
Where: Platte River
Size: 20 pounds
Noteworthy: The 14-year-old was fishing with his family, including sister Avery. The catfish put up a good fight and was released.
Name: Erik Hultquist, Omaha
Species: Brown trout
Where: Fraser River, Tabernash, Colorado
Size: 22 inches
Noteworthy: The 14-year-old was fly-fishing for the first time on a river.
Name: Gary Jacobsen, Omaha
Species: King salmon
Where: Kenai River in Alaska
Size: 50 pounds
Noteworthy: He was fishing with son Chris of Tekamah, Rick Beane of Minnesota and Dan and Eric Jensen of Kenai.
Name: Frankie Jordan, Omaha
Species: Largemouth bass
Where: East Silent Lake, Minnesota
Size: 4 1⁄2 pounds, 19 inches
Name: Mitch Stanley, Elkhorn
Species: Smallmouth bass
Where: Boy Lake, Longville, Minnesota
Size: 5-1⁄4 pounds, 21-1⁄2 inches long
Noteworthy: Mitch was fishing with his grandfather, Gary Lortz. He caught the master angler fish with a leech. The fish was released.
Name: John Swinarski, Omaha Species: Whitetail deer Where: Sarpy County Size: 7-pointer Noteworthy: Swinarski wants to thank the farmers and landowners who allow hunters on their land. “Really appreciate it,’’ he said. “We are always looking for more hunting land.’’
Names: Cooper and R.J. Hladik, Sedalia, Missouri
Species: Largemouth bass Where: neighborhood pond in Sedalia
Noteworthy: The boys also caught dozens of scrappy bluegills that were about 10 inches. They used hot dog bites and worms to catch green sunfish, too. All were released.
Couy, Reece and Nick French with a 113 1/4 pound blue catfish. It was 5-foot-1 inches tall with a girth of 3 feet 11 inches.
Name: Doug Finnicum, Omaha Species: Largemouth bass
Where: Douglas County private lake Size: 4 to 6 pounds
Noteworthy: It was his largest bass from this lake.
Name: John Schulte, Omaha Species: Pheasant Where: Public land near Columbus Noteworthy: The 13-year-old used his 20 gauge shotgun to kill his first rooster during the youth pheasant opener. He was hunting with springers Ruby, who flushed the wild rooster out of a plum thicket, and Camo, who retrieved it.
Drake Clements got a 16-point buck on the first day of the firearm deer season. It was the 11-year-old’s first buck.
Name: Kevin Marr, Omaha Species: Wiper Where: Lake Manawa
Size: About 8 pounds, 3⁄4 inches Noteworthy: Marr fishes at the lake every Monday. This time it was cold and windy, but he persevered on the fourth cast. It took about 17 minutes to bring the fish in.
Name: Michael Bebout Species:Whitetail deer Where: Johnson County by Sterling on his grandmother’s land. Size: 5x5 Noteworthy:Michael shot this 3 1/2 year old deer at 160 yards with a Browning .270. It is his biggest buck so far. This buck was so well hidden in the timber that, after shot, they walked within 2 foot of the deer and couldn’t see him. Michael found him.