Every five years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allows states to change the boundaries to their duck zones. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission couples changes to its dark (Canada) goose unit boundaries at the same time.
This is the year to consider changes to duck zone and goose unit boundaries, and Game and Parks is seeking input from waterfowl hunters. Any changes to boundaries will go into effect starting with the 2021-22 season.
Waterfowl hunters can find more information and provide input by visiting OutdoorNebraska.gov/duckgoosezones. Download maps and follow instructions to submit input. Game and Parks will accept input until Nov. 30. Potential changes will be evaluated and additional input will be sought after this initial round.
“Nebraska was one of the first states to employ zones back in the early 1980s,” said Mark Vrtiska, waterfowl program manager for the Game and Parks. “Nebraska is one of those unique states where zones are really important given where our wetland and riverine habitats occur in the state and the different ducks that use those habitats.”
Duck zones and goose units provide an opportunity to better coordinate duck and goose migration patterns in those habitats as well as incorporate hunter preferences with hunting season dates for different areas within a state.“Zones and units may complicate things, but when you have habitats that may freeze up in mid-November in close proximity to those that stay open all winter, there aren’t enough days in the duck or goose season to accommodate all season date preferences, or match duck and goose migration chronology. I don’t think we could live without zones in Nebraska” Vrtiska said.
Vrtiska said hunters providing input on potential changes should attempt to make them along roads or other easily identifiable boundaries, be specific as possible about changes and keep the changes as small as possible to not affect other hunters, and provide input even if you’re satisfied with the current boundaries.
“It is equally important to provide your input if you are satisfied with the current duck zone or goose unit boundaries as much as if you would like to see changes made,” Vrtiska said. “We’ll try and accommodate any changes to the large majority of the hunters in a particular area. I’ve seen in the past where hunters take for granted there won’t be a change, and then someone not far from them proposes one.”
» Youth waterfowl hunting season in Zone 3
» Youth pheasant, quail and partridge hunting seasons open statewide
» Deer hunting workshop, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln
» Duck and coot seasons open in Zone 3
» Camp & Treat, Red Willow SRA, McCook
» Pheasant, quail and partridge hunting seasons open statewide
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. A daytime or cellphone number must be included.