Outdoor notes: Christmas dinner returning to Fort Robinson
Fort Robinson State Park’s historical Christmas dinner is roaring back with a theme from the Roaring ’20s. The dinner is set to return Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. after a two-year hiatus because of COVID concerns.
The event’s theme is that of 100 years prior: 1922, not long after the fort transformed from its original role as a cavalry post for military training to that of a remount depot. In the latter role, which lasted from 1919 into the mid-1940s, the fort prepared horses and mules for the U.S. Army, with upwards to 12,000 of the animals at the base at any given time.
The dinner’s program, annually enhanced by many attendees who dress in period attire to match the theme, includes live music and historical commentary. This will be the 26th year of the event.
Tickets, which usually sell out in short time, become available for in-person purchases at 8 a.m. Nov. 7. They will be sold for $30 each at the park’s headquarters, D&S Market at 195 Main St. in Harrison, and the Visitors Center-Chamber of Commerce at 706 West Third St. in Chadron. There is a limit of four tickets per household.
The meal includes turkey, pork roast, dressing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and much more.
The event’s festive atmosphere will be complemented once again by Christmas lights installed on park buildings with help from businesses and community members. The lights will turn on at 5 p.m. the night of the dinner and will shine each evening through December.
Groups interested in decorating a building at the park may contact the office at 308-665-2900 or [email protected].
Changes on tap for 2022 Special Landowner Deer Season
Landowners interested in the Special Landowner Deer Season, now in its second year, should be aware of three changes beginning in 2022.
This season gives a qualifying landowner a three-day season on his or her property preceding the regular firearm deer season.
The $8 Special Landowner Deer Permit is valid only for the three-day season: Nov. 5-7, 2022. It is not valid for the November firearm season and it is not valid as a Limited Landowner Permit.
The changes for 2022 are:
- The qualifying landowners and immediate family may have up to eight of these permits for $8 each. Last year they could have four permits.
- No more than two permits may be issued to persons age 19 or older and no more than six permits may be issued to persons younger than 19. Last year, no more than two permits could be issued to persons younger than 19.
- The definition of immediate family has been expanded and now includes spouse, child, stepchild, spouse of child or stepchild, grandchild, step grandchild, spouse of grandchild or step grandchild, sibling sharing ownership or spouse of sibling.
The qualifying landowners may designate permits to themselves or immediate family members to hunt on their property only during the Special Landowner Deer Season. A landowner or immediate family member may have no more than one permit per calendar year.
More details about the permit and season:
- The bag limit is one whitetail or mule deer of either sex. The permit counts against the two-buck permit maximum.
- Only weapons legal for archery and firearm seasons may be used.
- Permits are valid only on the land owned or leased by the qualifying landowner that is listed on the permit.
- Residentqualifying landowners must own or lease at least 80 acres of farm or ranch land used for agricultural purpose. No more than one permit can be issued per 80 acres of land owned or leased.
- Nonresidentqualifying landowners must own at least 320 acres of farm or ranch land used for agricultural purpose. Leased land does not qualify. No more than one permit can be issued per 320 acres.
- Land leased for hunting or recreational purposes does not qualify for landowner permits.
- Applications are online at gov/landownerpermits and must be mailed or brought into Game and Parks district offices to complete permit purchases.
- Those holding Limited Landowner or Antlerless Only permits may hunt Nov. 5-7 using archery equipment only; firearms are not permitted.
Game and Parks to have special hours for deer permit sales
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission offices will be open to serve deer hunters seeking permits on two days otherwise closed in November.
Offices in Lincoln, Omaha, Norfolk, North Platte, Alliance, Kearney and Bassett will be open for permit sales from 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 5, the Saturday of the Special Landowner Deer Season.
The same offices will be open for permit sales from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day.
All Game and Parks offices will be closed for customer service Saturday, Nov. 12, the opening day of the November Firearm Deer Season.
Nebraska American Legion donates to all-terrain wheelchair program at Nebraska state parks
LINCOLN – The Nebraska American Legion recently donated $16,055 to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for the purchase of an all-terrain wheelchair for state park visitors.
Game and Parks currently has two of the tracked wheelchairs at Ponca State Park. The chairs provide people the freedom of mobility to hunt, fish, view nature and enjoy the outdoors in all types of terrain.
“This track chair is going to give disabled veterans the kind of mobility and independence they need to go out and enjoy the outdoors,” said Dave Salak, the state adjutant for the Nebraska American Legion, who presented the check to Game and Parks in a recent ceremony. “We are excited to team up with Nebraska Game and Parks in this endeavor.”
Jeff Fields, Game and Parks’ parks administrator, added, “The generous donation from the American Legion will allow the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to purchase one track chair and kickstart momentum for this growing program.”
Game and Parks will continue fundraising efforts for the program, with the goal of having eight track chairs available for use on state park landscapes across the state.
“These units will be available for park events, mentored hunts, shooting ranges and other educational and recreational programming,” Fields said.
Deer hunters reminded to follow four key safety rules
The November firearm deer season is quickly approaching, and hunters are reminded to follow the four primary rules of firearm safety:
- Treat every firearm as if it is loaded;
- Always point the muzzle of your firearm in a safe direction;
- Be sure of your target, what is in front of it, and what is beyond it; and
- Keep your finger outside of the trigger guard until you are ready to fire.
Hunters that follow these four rules greatly reduce the risk of causing a hunting incident. In 2021, Nebraska reported eight incidents, four of which occurred while hunters were pursuing big game.
“The firearm deer season is near and dear to the hearts of many Nebraskans, and anticipation for opening day is building,” said Hunter Nikolai, hunter education coordinator. “Remind those you hunt with, novice to experienced, to always follow the four primary firearm safety rules and make this season memorable for the right reasons.”
Beyond firearm safety, falls from elevated stands are another repeated cause of hunting incidents.
“If you’re hunting from a tree stand or elevated position, always wear a full body harness, and keep your harness connected to the tree or a safety line from the time you leave the ground until you get back to the ground after your hunt,” Nikolai said.
Keep the acronym ABCD in mind before ascending your tree stand:
- Always remove and inspect your equipment before use;
- Buckle your harness securely;
- Connect your harness before your feet leave the ground; and
- Destination – Tell someone your location for each hunt.
Hunters also are reminded of the requirement to wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange material displayed on their head, chest and back during the nine-day November firearm deer season, regardless of hunting with a firearm or archery equipment.
Nebraska’s 2022 firearm deer season is November 12-20. To learn more about hunting in Nebraska, or to purchase your permit, visit OutdoorNebraska.gov.