Rick's picks

Outdoors Rick Windham writes about the outdoors from North Platte. He can be reached at RWmedia@atcjet.net

Nebraska’s muzzleloader season is ongoing.

Warmer temperatures this week have made deer move around more, and that’s helped hunters. The last of the standing corn in the region is being harvested (or blown down), and that has deer moving as well. The same seems to be true for turkeys. Hunters are having more success with turkey as well.

I had a discussion with a local hunter and black powder enthusiast recently. He was pondering and asking my opinion on whether there was a need to have a really primitive muzzleloading season is Nebraska.

The current muzzleloading season is called a "primitive" season, but with the advent of contemporary in-line muzzleloading rifles, use of telescopic sights, pelletized powder charges and sabot bullets the only part of the sport that resembles primitive hunting is the fact that you have to put the powder and bullet down the barrel from the muzzle end.

His suggestion was to have a special, purely primitive season, using flintlocks only, granular powder, round ball and patch. I have to admit, I like the romantic notion of a season like this in which to hunt.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is always looking for a way to take a few more deer to manage herd size. This could help. The NGPC is always looking for a way to generate more revenue and another season would require addition permit sales.

I’d be interested in hearing from hunters in the region. Would a flintlock-only primitive season be wanted by hunters? Let me know.

Duck hunting has been the big story this week.

Waterfowl hunters had good success at Sutherland Reservoir earlier this week. I have reports of some good duck hunting along the rivers between Paxton and Ogallala. Hunters report that ducks and geese are using harvested corn fields south and west of North Platte. More birds have begun to use Lake Maloney this week, but the majority of ducks and geese are still in the Dakotas. It is going to take a lot colder weather to push them this way.

Fishing activity is still slow in the region.

Wind, more than cold temperatures, seems to be the biggest factor for keeping anglers off the water.

We had some ice form on area waters last week, but not nearly enough to begin seriously thinking about ice fishing. It takes cold nights with very little wind to make good ice. About four inches of what is called clear or blue ice is the minimum I would attempt to walk out on. With any ice layer, keep in mind that ice seldom freezes uniformly. It may be a foot thick in one location and only a few inches thick a few feet away. Always be suspicious of any ice until you test it for yourself.

Stay safe, stay warm and have a great weekend outdoors!

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