Nebraska’s Resident Mountain Lion Population Grows Slightly

January 18, 2013

Nebraska’s Resident Mountain Lion Population Grows Slightly

Nebraska’s resident mountain lion population has grown slightly, staff told the Nebraska Game and Parks Commissioners at their meeting Jan. 18 in Omaha.

Sam Wilson, Game and Parks’ furbearer and carnivore program manager, estimated the reproducing population of mountain lions in the Pine Ridge of northwest Nebraska in 2012 was 22, compared to 19 in 2010. The estimates were derived from studies in which dogs were used to detect mountain lion scat, which were then analyzed through DNA fingerprinting.

The scat detection survey identified the presence of a female mountain lion in the Niobrara River Valley of north-central Nebraska – the first documented female mountain lion outside of the Panhandle. It is not known if this is a resident animal or a disperser that may have moved on to other areas, Wilson said.

In other business, the commissioners approved funding recommendations for the 2013 Recreational Trails Grant Program. They approved $246,000 for a trail bridge renovation by Lancaster County; $239,079 for trail construction by the City of Schuyler; $271,514 for trail construction by the City of Fremont; and $28,000 for purchase of a tractor to perform Cowboy Trail maintenance by Game and Parks.

The commissioners also:

  • approved fisheries regulations regarding aquaculture regulations and nonresident fish dealers and exportation, importation and possession. Fish of the Salmonid family, instead of eggs only, may be imported into research facilities in Nebraska, if approved by the Fisheries Division. This will enable pharmaceutical companies to conduct research on new aquaculture therapeutic drugs and vaccines.
  • approved sport fishing regulations. A change to the daily bag limit of striped bass, white bass and white bass hybrid (wiper) limits anglers fishing inland waters to one fish 16 inches or greater but does not apply to the Missouri River and Lewis and Clark Reservoir.
  • approved four sections of fisheries regulations to change all references of tiger salamanders to barred salamanders.
  • approved wildlife regulations regarding changes in legal take of some species of reptiles and amphibians.
  • approved a memorandum of understanding between Crow Butte Land Company, the Thompson Family, and Game and Parks. As part of the Thompsons’ sale of land to Crow Butte Land Company, the company will donate 40 acres of that land, including mineral rights, to Game and Parks. The donated land will be an addition to Ponderosa Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Dawes County.
  • approved changes in a lease agreement between Game and Parks and the Nebraska Field Trial Association (NFTA) involving a tract of land on Branched Oak Reservoir WMA in Lancaster County. The changes increase the acres leased to the NFTA from three to 17, increase the annual rent from $300 to $400, and extend the lease expiration date from 2025 to 2045. Commissioners also amended the agreement to require the NFTA to provide insurance coverage.
  • removed the “preserve” status of an area of Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area. That fenced preserve had been established to maintain wild game animals and birds indigenous to the state. It had been stocked with American bison and elk. Due to the resurgence of free roaming elk and the increased occurrence of wildlife diseases, the preserve status was removed so that area could be used by the public for other recreational pursuits.

The commissioners also heard an update by the Papio-Missouri Natural Resources District on the Pigeon/Jones Creek Recreation Area near Hubbard in northeast Nebraska. Construction of a dam that will impound a 226-acre lake is underway. The area, which also will include 520 acres of recreation land, may be ready to open in 2015 or 2016.

The commissioners also elected their officers. Norris Marshall of Kearney was elected chairman, Lynn Berggren of Broken Bow vice chairman and Jerrod Burke of Curtis second vice chairman. The offices became effective following the meeting.

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Wisconsin Outdoor Report Update for Dec 21

December 21, 2012

Wisconsin Outdoor Report Update for Dec 21

Snow has fallen across most of Wisconsin and temperatures have dropped. The second snow storm of the season has blanketed the half of the state that did not benefit from the snowfall earlier this month.

So after you are done digging out, put the shovel down and wax the skis, gas up the snowmobile and inspect snowshoe varnish and webbing before heading out to celebrate winter.

Some 16-18 inches of snow has piled up from Madison to Milwaukee and Green Bay, whipped into 3-4 foot drifts by high winds, and there maybe more. A couple inches of snow fell in the western and northwestern parts of the state, including Hudson and Ashland with more falling to the east and, including about six inches parts of Eau Claire County and LaCrosse.

Snowmobilers are reminded by state recreational safety specialists not to trespass on snowmobile trails before they are open. Opening of trails is done by county snowmobile trail coordinators based on recommendations from local snowmobile clubs that maintain the trails. Using the trails before they are open can make conditions more difficult for the volunteers, and can also jeopardize the easements that allow trails to cross private lands.

The return of colder weather during the past week began to form some good northern ice, but extreme caution is advised on all state waters. And beware of snow covering dangerous, thin ice.

Where ice has formed, or is starting to form, DNR officials encourages anglers to check in with local bait shops on conditions before going onto the early ice. And when you go out make sure you have a PFD, ice creepers on your boots, extra gloves, and a spud bar to check the ice while walking.

It is best not to go alone, but if you do, tell someone where you are going, when you will be back and carry a cell phone.

While many wait for the ice, there are still open water anglers having spotty success.

Browns and perch have been hitting in Lake Michigan at Lakeshore State Park on spawn sacks and minnows with some success with spoons and plastic. Sauger and walleyes were being caught on the Mississippi River in Pierce County and fishing was steady in Racine County this week with some browns and pike being caught in the marina area.

Gun deer hunters have one final opportunity this year to harvest a deer in the chronic wasting disease management zone of south central Wisconsin. The season, called the Holiday Hunt, runs Dec. 24 through the end of the ongoing late archery hunt, Jan. 6, 2013.

Hunters can fill unused antlerless tags, unused Gun or Archery Buck Carcass Tags or CWD Deer Carcass Tags. Bonus buck rules apply. Deer can be harvested with the use of any legal firearm, bow or crossbow. Archery hunters must meet legal blaze orange requirements during this open firearm season. This includes the wearing of at least 50 percent blaze orange outer clothing above the waste. The goal of the holiday hunt is to provide additional hunting opportunity as well as herd control.

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Caution Urged on Utah’s Antelope Island Trails

October 31, 2012

Antelope Island State Park hosts the big horn sheep and deer hunts Monday, November 12 through Wednesday, November 21. All trails remain open and accessible but visitors are reminded to be safe and stay on designated trails. For more information call 801-773-2941 or visit

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Deer Hunts Will Limit Access to Some Minnesota State Parks This Fall

September 24, 2012

Deer Hunts Will Limit Access to Some Minnesota State Parks This Fall

DNR advises park visitors to wear blaze orange or bright colors during hunting season

Special resource management deer hunts are scheduled to take place this fall at several Minnesota state parks. Access to parks around the state will vary during the hunts, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Some parks will remain open to all visitors, some will have limited public access and some will be open only to hunters with special permits. The deadlines for youth and adults to apply for a special permit to participate in the hunts – which include regular firearms, muzzleloader and archery options – have passed.

For a list of parks that are open, partially open or closed during the 2012 hunting season, visit ( or call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-5157 or toll-free 888-646-6367, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The DNR advises anyone planning to visit a state park between now and December to look online or call ahead to find out whether a hunt is planned and confirm whether the park will be open. The DNR also advises visitors to parks where hunts are planned to wear blaze orange, even if they will not be hunting. Visitors should check for hunt-related information at the park office when they arrive, look carefully for hunt-related signage and follow instructions.

“The DNR allows these annual resource management hunts as a way to help control the deer population at state parks,” said Ed Quinn, resource management consultant for the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “When there are too many deer in one area it can negatively impact the native plants and animals, and our goal is to ensure healthy natural communities.”

Quinn said the DNR appreciates the patience and understanding of visitors at parks where access will be limited during the hunts.

Parks that will be open only to hunters with special permits (hunt dates in parentheses):

  • Afton State Park                          (Nov. 2-5)
  • Crow Wing State Park                   (Dec. 7-9)
  • Frontenac State Park                    (Nov. 17-19)
  • Great River Bluffs State Park         (Oct. 26-29)
  • Lake Shetek State Park                (Dec. 1-2)
  • Mille Lacs Kathio                          (Nov. 9-11)
  • Rice Lake State Park                    (Dec. 1-2)
  • Sibley State Park                         (Nov. 24-25)
  • St. Croix State Park                     (Nov. 9-12)
  • Wild River State Park                   (Nov. 3-5)
  • William O’Brien State Park            (Nov. 10-11)

Parks where some areas will be open only to hunters with special permits but other areas will remain open to all visitors (hunt dates in parentheses):

  • Banning State Park                       (Oct. 27-28)
  • Big Stone Lake State Park             (Dec. 1-2)
  • Cascade River State Park              (Nov. 3-18)
  • Flandrau State Park                      (Oct. 13-Dec. 31, see “special situations”)
  • Gooseberry Falls State Park            (Nov. 3-18)
  • Savanna Portage State Park           (Oct. 27-28 and Nov. 10-12)
  • Scenic State Park                           (Nov. 3-18)
  • Split Rock Lighthouse State Park      (Nov. 3-18)
  • Tettegouche State Park                   (Oct. 20-21 and Nov. 3-18)

Parks that will remain open to all visitors during special hunts (hunt dates in parentheses) and parks with a portion of land open to hunters during hunting season:

  • Buffalo River State Park                        (Nov. 3-4)
  • Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park         (Nov. 3-5)
  • Glacial Lakes State Park                        (Nov. 8-11)
  • Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area     (Sept. 15-Dec. 31)
  • Hayes Lake State Park                          (Nov. 3-18)
  • Itasca State Park                                  (Oct. 13-14, Nov. 3-11 and Nov. 24-Dec. 9)
  • Judge C.R. Magney State Park               (Nov. 3-18)
  • Lake Bemidji State Park                        (Oct. 13-14 and Nov. 3-6)
  • Lake Bronson State Park                       (Nov. 3-11)
  • Lake Carlos State Park                         (Nov. 3-6)
  • Lake Louise State Park                         (Nov. 10-11)
  • Lake Vermilion State Park                     (Nov. 24-Dec. 9)
  • Maplewood State Park                          (Nov. 3-6)
  • Old Mill State Park                               (Nov. 3-6)
  • Sibley State Park                                 (Oct. 27-28)
  • St. Croix State Park                             (Oct. 27-28; equestrian trails closed in hunt area)
  • Schoolcraft State Park                          (Nov. 3-18)
  • Soudan Underground Mine State Park    (Nov. 24-Dec. 9)
  • Zippel Bay State Park                           (Oct. 13-14 and Nov. 3-18)

Parks that are wholly or partially open to hunting (all seasons) by legislation (plus “special” hunts, where indicated):

  • Big Bog State Recreation Area
  • Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area
  • Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park          (Nov. 3-5)
  • Garden Island State Recreation Area
  • George H. Crosby-Manitou State Park
  • La Salle Lake State Recreation Area (open to hunting during designated seasons for protected species)
  • Split Rock Lighthouse State Park             (Nov. 3-18)
  • Temperance River State Park
  • Tettegouche State Park                           (Oct. 20-21 and Nov. 3-18)

Parks where no hunting will take place:

Bear Head Lake State Park, Beaver Creek Valley State Park, Blue Mounds State Park, Camden State Park, Carley State Park, Charles A. Lindbergh State Park, Father Hennepin State Park, Fort Ridgely State Park, Fort Snelling State Park, Franz Jevne State Park, Glendalough State Park, Grand Portage State Park, Hill Annex Mine State Park, Interstate State Park, Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area, Jay Cooke State Park, John A. Latsch State Park, Kilen Woods State Park, Lac qui Parle State Park, Lake Maria State Park, McCarthy Beach State Park, Minneopa State Park, Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area, Monson Lake State Park, Moose Lake State Park, Myre-Big Island State Park, Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Red River State Recreation Area, Sakatah Lake State Park, Split Rock Creek State Park, Upper Sioux Agency State Park, Whitewater State Park.


  • The city of New Ulm is having an archery deer hunt Oct. 13-Dec. 31. Some of the deer stands are located within Flandrau State Park, but nowhere near trails or public use areas. The park will therefore remain open to all visitors during this time. There is no archery or other hunting anywhere else in the park.
  • Although there is no hunt at Hill Annex Mine State Park, the park is only open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

Details on which areas of each park will be affected by the special deer hunts are included in the “Visitor Alert!” boxes on the individual park Web pages at (

Park-specific information is also is available by calling the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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Michigan DNR Seeks Public Input on Long Range Plans for Pinckney and Waterloo Recreation Areas at Oct. 2 Open House

September 13, 2012

Michigan DNR Seeks Public Input on Long Range Plans for Pinckney and Waterloo Recreation Areas at Oct. 2 Open House

The Department of Natural Resources will host an open house on Tuesday, Oct. 2, to gather public input on the proposed Phase 2 Long Range Action Goal Plans for Pinckney Recreation Area (in Livingston and Washtenaw counties) and Waterloo Recreation Area (in Jackson and Washtenaw counties). The open house is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Gerald Eddy Discovery Center, 17030 Bush Road in Chelsea, Mich.

Pinckney Recreation Area and the adjacent Waterloo Recreation Area combine to provide more than 30,000 acres of public recreational property in Jackson, Livingston and Washtenaw counties. The parks are home to diverse natural and cultural resources.

Waterloo Recreation Area, for example, features more rare animals and plant species and more exemplary natural communities than any other park in the state system. A variety of recreation opportunities are enjoyed in both parks, including modern and rustic camping; many boating and fishing options; and a vast area of public land open to hunting, trapping and other recreation uses. Trail-use activities are especially important in both parks, popular with equestrians, mountain bikers, hikers, runners, walkers and others.

The open house will provide an opportunity for the public to review and comment on specific long-range actions that are recommended for these two parks. The DNR’s planning consultant, Birchler Arroyo Associates, will conduct the open house. DNR staff will also be available to participate in an overview of the planning process and to address questions regarding the park and the planning efforts already under way.

Anyone needing more information about this open house or the proposed plans, or persons needing accommodations to attend this open house, should contact Paul N. Curtis, DNR Park Management Plan administrator, at 517-335-4832 (TTY/TDD711 Michigan Relay Center for the hearing impaired) at least five business days before the open house.

The Recreation Passport is an easy, affordable way for residents to enjoy and support outdoor recreation opportunities in Michigan. By checking “YES” for the $10 Recreation Passport ($5 for motorcycles) when renewing a license plate through the Secretary of State (by mail, kiosk, online at or at branch offices), Michigan motorists get access to state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, non-motorized state trailhead parking and state boat launches. In addition, Recreation Passport holders can experience real savings at businesses and retailers that participate in the Passport Perks discount program. The Recreation Passport is valid until the next license plate renewal date. Nonresidents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) at any state park or recreation area or through the Michigan e-Store at

Learn more about this creative way of sustaining Michigan’s outdoor recreation and natural resources at For information on Passport Perks shopping discounts or how businesses and retailers can enroll in the program, visit

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Newest Refuge for Wildlife, Hunting, Fishing, and Recreation in Midwest Approved

August 29, 2012

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announces that he has authorized the establishment of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge.

Just 50 miles outside of Milwaukee and 60 miles outside of Chicago sits a pristine parcel of land recently approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to be the next wildlife refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge will be officially established once its first piece of land is acquired. On July 10, 2012, the FWS’s director provided written authorization to proceed with the project to acquire 11,200 acres on the border of Illinois and Wisconsin, according to a fact page for the refuge.

Excerpts from the press release by the Department of the Interior announcing the project on August 15 state,

[The refuge] will provide for restoration of wetlands, prairie and oak savanna habitat and provide a home for 109 species of animals and plants that are of concern. The list includes 49 birds, five fishes, five mussels, one amphibian, two reptiles and 47 plants.

The Lost Kame Marsh which will be protected as park of the Hackmatack National Refuge.

The Service will also provide ample environmental education and recreational opportunities for visitors, including the 3.5 million people within 30 miles of the refuge.

“Today’s announcement is really about the power of partnerships,” said Service Director Dan Ashe, who last month authorized the refuge’s boundaries. “After important input from the public, including conservation leaders, hunters and anglers, and members of the local communities, we’re taking an important step forward to protect this key habitat and make the area available for generations to come.”…

As is the case with the 556 national wildlife refuges nationwide, hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, environmental education and interpretation would be priority uses of the refuge.

The actual refuge itself will span 11,200 contiguous acres in the shape of a doughnut. The land in the middle is reserved for farmland. The FWS expects the area to attract more than 200,000 visitors per year.

Below is an image of the proposed location from a presentation on the refuge to the FWS.

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ViewRanger Wins Award for Mapping App for Hikers

March 20, 2012

ViewRanger Wins Award for Mapping App for Hikers

Hikers who have the new Outdoors GPS app from ViewRanger may not have to worry about getting lost on the trail ever again. The app won one of the app industry’s most prestigious awards – an Appy Award.

In the Mapping/Location Based category, ViewRanger beat out apps Scout by Telenav and Companion by Companion HQ for Black Pepper Ltd. The two other finalists’ apps deal with assisting foreign visitors to urban or suburban areas , but ViewRanger’s app is designed for hikers and mountain bikers.

This app allows hikers to share their location in real-time via their phone or on the web, plan a route, geo-tag photos from the trail and share them on Flickr or Picasa.

Original press release issued by Darby Communications on March 20th, 2012

ViewRanger, the award-winning outdoor navigation app, is honored to be the 2012 Appy Award winner for the Mapping/Location Based category. Every year, the most creative and imaginative professionals in the technology field, gather to celebrate the world’s finest Smartphone apps at the annual Appy Awards. The winners of the awards were announced March 19th at a reception in San Francisco hosted by leading online communications firm, MediaPost.

Since its inception, the Appy Awards have been designed to include all devices and platforms and an array of categories such as finance, cooking, medical, and fitness. Each finalist was carefully chosen by an Executive Jury comprised of veterans from three industries: developers, advertising and marketing, and popular technology publications. Among ViewRanger, other 2012 finalists included Mint, HBO, Home Depot and

“We are very pleased to be recognized by the Appy Awards as an outstanding GPS navigation app,” says Ian Pond, Chief Marketing Officer for ViewRanger. “Building on the great response received at the launch of our USA edition, we are confident that this award will continue to make 2012 a successful year for ViewRanger.”

ViewRanger is designed for Outdoor enthusiasts like hikers and mountain bikers and supports all the features expected of a top-end GPS device, including track recording, waypoint navigation, map coordinate entry and GPX file exchange. It also uses the smartphone’s connectivity to support map download on the move, real-time phone-to-phone and phone-to-web location sharing, and wireless synchronization with the web based route planning and social media sharing tools at The USA edition app includes the highest quality topographic mapping information in the United States that can be cached for offline use. The maps are marked with 250,000 miles of public land trails. The app also includes access to downloadable expert guided routes from Menasha Ridge & Wilderness Press. . The ViewRanger USA edition app costs just $7.99 with unlimited map access and expert guided trails cost around $1 per trail to download.

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