Nebraska Game and Park’s Greg Wagner says turkeys of all subspecies out for taking by hunters

Nebraska Game and Park’s Greg Wagner says turkeys of all subspecies out for taking by hunters
Greg Wagner harvested two turkeys on opening day of archery season. The jake on the left appears to be a Merriam’s with white on the tips of its tail feathers, while the gobbler on the right appears to be an Eastern hybrid. (Courtesy Photo)

Greg Wagner made his second trip to southwest Nebraska to go turkey hunting this spring.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s public information officer found even more birds than last year.

“Lots of birds,’’ he said. “Oh, my gosh. There was a very good crop of jakes and big gobblers.’’

Variety is the draw in Dawson County, where he hunted along the Platte River south of Cozad. There are Merriam’s, Rio Grande and Eastern hybrids in that area.

For the most part, you can tell them apart by the tips of the tail feathers. Merriam’s have a white tip, Rios tend to have more of a dusty bronze and Easterns are called the chocolate toms, because their feathers are more brown at the end.

“You don’t know what subspecies you are going to come across and may have the opportunity to bag,’’ Wagner said.

Wagner has bagged a jake and a tom since archery season opened March 25. Youth season, for those 15 and under, begins April 7. The shotgun season opens statewide April 14.

There are birds in all 93 counties of Nebraska, which ranks among the top 15 states annually in harvest numbers.

Wagner said in talking to hunters and landowners, turkey numbers look outstanding.

“With my experience already from southwest Nebraska, that was right,’’ he said. “Lots of birds, lots of opportunities.’’

Applications for bighorn sheep lottery

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will accept applications for a 2018 bighorn sheep lottery permit beginning April 16.

Only Nebraska residents are eligible. The application period ends Aug. 3, and the permit will be drawn Aug. 16. A $29 nonrefundable fee must accompany each application.

Apply at a Nebraska Game and Parks office or at OutdoorNebraska.org. The 2018 bighorn sheep season is Nov. 27 to Dec. 22.

Lincoln high schoolers set state archery record

Jaci Tubbs and Liberty Sears posted set state records for females in the National Archery in the Schools Program state tournament at Speedway Sporting Village in Lincoln.

Tubbs, of Lincoln North Star, and Sears, from Lincoln East, each scored 288 out of a possible 300 points for the highest scores of the meet.

Tubbs won a shoot-off to take the state title in the high school female division. She finished second in 2016 and 2017.

The overall male high score was 286 by Jose Nevada of Omaha’s Mater Dei Academy.

Calendar

SUNDAY

» Easter Weekend Celebration, Arbor Lodge State Historical Park, Nebraska City

TUESDAY

» Learn to Hunt Spring Turkey workshop, Mid-Plains Community College, North Platte

» Wild Game Processing Clinic, University of Nebraska- Lincoln Animal Science Complex, Lincoln

» Mountain lion public informational meeting, Chadron State College, Chadron

WEDNESDAY

» Mountain lion public informational meeting, Civic Center, Gering

THURSDAY

» Light Goose Conservation Order closes in Rainwater Basin and West zones

FRIDAY

» Statewide crow hunting season closes

SATURDAY

» Spring youth shotgun turkey season opens

» Sharptails and Saddle Tales, Naper

» Hooked for Life Family Fishing, Barnett Park Lake, McCook

» City History Trolley Tour, Arbor Lodge SHP, Nebraska City

» Two-day Platte River Art Show,  Mahoney State Park, Ashland

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