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    #16
    There are no new updates on LB126 and LB127. There has been some recent discussion.

    The North Platte Telegram recently reported that Senator Hughes stated "“every hunting group in the world” came out in opposition." Sen. Hughes stated that the NGPC has not offered much discussion on the bill.
    https://www.nptelegraph.com/news/loc...b568d8c2d.html

    The McCook Gazette quoted Senator Hughes as saying, "I have no illusions that either of these bills (LB126 & LB127) will pass as written, but this will be a good starting point to begin the discussions with Game and Parks about how they intend to manage the wildlife populations, especially in southwest Nebraska."

    https://www.mccookgazette.com/story/2582871.html

    It's surprising to me that NGPC has not been more involved as claimed by Sen. Hughes. From everything I have seen, the NGPC will see the largest impact from this bill if it's passed.

    I am sympathetic to the farmers who suffer damages caused by deer, but doesn't the NGPC offer depredation permits for the landowners who truly have a need? Its my opinion that focus should be laid on improving the depredation system to help out the farmers rather than taking the route of a new law such as written in LB126.

    Comment


      #17
      It is my opinion that had this been access for youth only it would have had more appeal for everyone.

      Comment


        #18
        A committee hearing on LB 126 was held Jan. 23 at the State Capitol in Lincoln. Sen. Dan Hughes, who introduced the bill, said “every hunting group in the world” came out in opposition. Hughes, of Venango, represents District 44 in southwest Nebraska.
        Morrill County landowner Jeff Metz is among those who support the proposal.

        “I like it. We’re feeding them (the deer) all year around,” he said, adding that “landowners should have the availability to take the first pick,”

        Currently the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission issues landowners permits at a reduced rate for hunting during the regular season. The permits are offered for hunting deer, antelope and turkeys.
        In order to qualify for the special early permits, landowners must make at least 50 percent of their land available to any deer hunter with a valid permit during the regular firearm hunting season. The location of that land would be published on the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission website.

        According to a an NGPC website there are 800,000 acres of public lands across the state — about 1.6 percent of the state’s total land area — so it is primarily private landowners who are providing the forage to support the large deer population.
        “I appreciate the (regular) landowner permits being available,” Metz said, but “I really like the idea of letting the landowner hunt for a week prior to the opening of rifle season.”
        That would help to make up for the losses that deer cause for farmers and ranchers. According to northamericanwhitetail.com, a single deer will eat about 2,555 pounds of food every year.
        “Landowners are feeding the wildlife and receiving hardly any benefits,” Hughes said.
        After property taxes, Hughes said, deer are the biggest concern he hears from constituents.
        He raises wheat and has a cow/calf ranching operation. They graze on the wheat over winter, but the bigger concern is the damage they cause by “laying down and pawing around,” exposing bare soil that can blow away in strong winds that come through the area.
        As the wheat crop grows taller, deer run through it and “they try to hide in it.” He said they sometimes make trails through a corn field like cow trails across a pasture. They can reduce yields of alfalfa substantially.
        “My neighbor’s got some irrigated alfalfa and they’re grazing on that all the time,” Metz said. “There might be 50 to 60 deer feeding on that for three months” out of the year.
        LB 126 “is telling landowners, ‘you’ve got more at stake’” than other hunters, Metz said.
        Deer were on people’s minds when Metz’s state senator, Steve Erdman, attended a Farm Bureau meeting in his district in the fall. Erdman, of Bayard, represents District 47, which comprises the southwest half of the Panhandle, except Scotts Bluff County.
        He said he had planned to introduce a bill to address the concerns, then learned that Hughes had something similar in mind.
        “Let’s do one (bill),” he said he told Hughes. “You do it and I’ll support you.”
        “I’ve gotten as much email on this as on any other bill this session,” Erdman said.
        Hughes said, “We would prefer that Game and Parks (proposes) changes” on its own, but “that’s not likely.” He added, “I’ve met with them several times (and) they have always been unyielding.”
        NGPC does not have a comment on the proposed legislation, said Jane Gustafson, assistant administrator in the NGPC communications division. “Where it’s at in the (legislative) process, we don’t comment at this point in time,” she said.
        The Nebraska Bowhunters Association, which officially opposes LB 126, listed a number of concerns on its Facebook page. Among other things, the organization objects to the increased overlap between archery and firearm deer seasons. It says the bill would reduce archers’ prime hunting time and increase concerns about their safety. In 2018, deer archery season was Sept. 1 to Dec. 31 and firearm season was Nov. 10-18.
        The alert raises concerns that there could be a significant shift from paid landowner permits to free permits, with a loss of funding to NGPC. That would reduce the number of certified permits that would be counted, they say, and could affect federal funding to the commission.
        They note that the bill does not require landowners to identify other lands that they own and would hunt on themselves with the special permits. This could cause enforcement problems for NGPC, they say, and increased opportunities for fraud by hunters. The landowner permits currently issued by NGPC require that the land to be hunted on be specified on the permit application.
        If LB 126 passes, another bill, LB 127, would specify who could receive the free early hunting permits. As introduced, the bill states that qualifying individuals would include the applicant landowner and his or her spouse, and their siblings who share in ownership of the land. They would also include children and grandchildren of the landowner and of the landowner’s spouse along with spouses of the children and grandchildren. The Nebraska Bowhunters said the expanded definition of family members could cause problems with verification and enforcement.
        LB 126 appears to limit the number of permits for an operation to four. However, the Bowhunters Association offers its own interpretation, saying it would mean a total of 16 permits.
        Hughes is chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, where the bill is being considered before possible advancement to the full Legislature. He acknowledged that there are concerns about the wording of the bill, but “those are issues that can certainly be worked out.” Regarding amendments, he said, “I will be talking to Game and Parks.”
        Metz said, “This bill would be a great gesture” that would tell landowners, “We appreciate what you’re doing. You harvest your deer first. You guys are a priority.”

        Comment


          #19
          Originally posted by Elkslayer53 View Post


          “My neighbor’s got some irrigated alfalfa and they’re grazing on that all the time,” Metz said. “There might be 50 to 60 deer feeding on that for three months” out of the year.

          I used to hunt a similar situation around Red Cloud many years ago. My father, brother and friend hunted the landowner's alfalfa with the understanding we would only take does while his lease hunters were after the bucks. We all got along and spoke daily about what we saw that day and where. We stayed out of the lease hunters ways. The four of us taking does on average shot 20 a year for 5 years. Then he retired and sold the farm to a grandson. Now, none of us hunt the property because he wanted it all for his own hunting desires. Which is fine, but last I heard he had received depredation permits a couple of times now since we last hunted it over 10 years ago. That's what gripes me.

          They don't need an earlier season. And, they IMO don't need the depredation tags. Incent them to open it up to the hunters again somehow. Or only allow the depredation tags to be a 1:1 for allowing hunter and thinning the heard.

          Comment


            #20
            The response I received from Dan Hughes is troubling to me. It gives you an idea of how he views hunters. See below.


            Thank you for sharing your opinions with me. The purpose of this bill was to try and give a very small amount of compensation to landowners for the expense of feeding the herds of deer, and other game animals as well, all year long. It costs the landowners of the state approximately $60,000,000.00 per year in lost crop production just to feed the deer herd. These bills are not just for the Republican River Basin landowners but for every landowner in the state. I am not surprised several landowners have closed their land to hunting because of the disregard of property rights and disrespect by hunters over the years. I am not sure if either of these bills will get any traction in committee or on the floor of the entire legislature but it has been a good discussion about how much game animals are costing the landowners in the state of Nebraska. Respectfully, Dan

            Comment


              #21
              This bill reeks of big landowners lining the pockets of some state senators.

              Comment


                #22
                I don't mind the intentions of the bill. In a state where the NGPC is trying to manage game on land they don't control, it only makes sense to try and do something for those who are feeding/maintaining the animals. Hunters complain all the time about access and how land gets leased. Now you know why. Landowners are tired of maintaining game all year long to only see higher taxes from the state. I am sure that the NBA folks were in a tizzy over someone else getting to hunt the best time of the year with them, it never ends with that group. I'd say that we all should be thinking of doing more for the landowners.

                Comment


                  #23
                  Why don’t we do more to open up lands owned by companies like Lyman Ritchie sand and gravel, Ash Grove and others that own large swaths of land the act as sanctuaries for deer. I know there are some areas that are now open through the Platte River Recovery but it is extremely limited. Some of these properties have high deer populations that are also destroying crops on neighboring farmland and no amount of permits or special circumstances will decrease populations as long as we have these large unhunted sanctuaries.

                  Comment


                  • 10_point_buck
                    10_point_buck commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Lyman Ritchie doesn’t even let employees into their pits to fish, too much theft and vandalism in years past. No way they are going to open them up.

                  #24
                  Originally posted by Lenny View Post
                  Why don’t we do more to open up lands owned by companies like Lyman Ritchie sand and gravel, Ash Grove and others that own large swaths of land the act as sanctuaries for deer.
                  I don't agree we should work on getting companies to open land for hunting. Especially since theres people working there, heavy equipment, fuel tanks, chemical tanks/containers and other hazards. This would be an awful idea.
                  Fishing is a dream so I dream often

                  Comment


                  • Lenny
                    Lenny commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Ashgrove owns almost 3000 acres in one area on the Platte River you’re telling me they couldn’t possibly set aside a couple small areas to be use for herd control. And that’s just one company what about all the other companies that own large properties on the Platte River these large sanctuaries are the real problem.

                  • 10_point_buck
                    10_point_buck commented
                    Editing a comment
                    What incentive do they have to do it? Again, they own the land and have no reason to be told how to run their business or control their property. People, our state is privately owned, not going to change

                  • Lenny
                    Lenny commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Fine then just just throw the idea away. No use in trying to find solutions to the problem. Not suggesting anyone be forced to open private property to unlimited access. But companies could certainly be approached and given some guidance about reducing their deer numbers. They could open portions to the youth mentor program. They could allow antlerless only archery hunts on weekends only.

                    To immediately just dismiss the idea without any actual thought or discussion based solely on past events will always lead to a dead end.

                  #25
                  Lenny, I think you have a good idea. I do think you have to offer the company or landowner a cherry to get them to participate. People seem to be up in arms over a couple free permits. If I put 1/2 of my 1500 acres up for hunting I would only want one permit the public would get access to 750 acres for less than $20.00. Honestly, do hunters really think that we are going to convince landowners that they've a deer problem and we great heroic hunters are the only answer to the problem. Seems pretty naive. I know LB126 isn't setup for this but could you imagine how much hunting ground this would open if 20 or 30 landowners would participate per county.

                  Comment


                    #26
                    Roughly 800,000 public land acres in Nebraska. Average farm size 1000 acres. Take 50% of 30 farms per county. 500x30x93=1.395 million acres. I know that this not how it would work and completely wishful thinking but holy crap sports fans if this was even remotely possible that would be awesome.

                    Comment


                    • 10_point_buck
                      10_point_buck commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Unless there is huntable habitat, not going to really make a difference at all.

                    #27
                    Imagine this scenario. Landowners finally get tired of everything and anything and group together and shut off all access unless they are paid. Free access gone....then what? Why not incentivize a deal for landowners and maybe they cooperate more with the needs of hunters who don’t own land?





                    Comment


                    • scotcl
                      scotcl commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Do the landowners even know about OFW would be a good question?

                      Just going off of numbers based on comments above....800,000 public acres is about 1.6% of the land in Nebraska...means there is 49,000,000 acres of privately owned ground. Mr Hughes noted in his response this is in regards to an approximate loss of $60,000,000 in crops a year...or $1.22 per acre of the 49,000,000 privately acres. Even if you cut that down to say 25% (12,250,000 acres) of land that has habitat supporting the deer near cropland, the loss is $4.90 per acre. Now, how much of that $60,000,000 in crop loss is only deer vs. squirrels, raccoons, turkey, pheasant, quail, elk, etc...

                      Back to the OFW program...in 2017 landowners received between $0.50 and $15 per acre based on habitat type and location. If that farmer with 1000 acres is willing to open up half of his land for some free permits because he lost potentially $4,900 in crop loss due to deer, why not throw the OFW incentives at them and collect the potential $7,500 (500 acres x $15/acre) to $15,000 (1000 acres x $15/acre) instead?

                      The incentives are there. Maybe they need to be better - I don't know.

                    • Lucky13
                      Lucky13 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      scotcl- my understanding is that there is WAY more demand from landowners to enroll in OFW than there are funds to pay for these acres. As a result, the NGPC has to turn down a lot of potential land owners. However, I also believe that there are many who do not know about the program.

                    • 10_point_buck
                      10_point_buck commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Go around the state and survey pasture and grassland and see what taxes are per acre. On my own land it is about $12 per acre in central Nebraska. Multiply that by 1,000 acres and you can see how quickly even OFW payments will eat that up and then some. It is easier to lease the land and still control who is on the land. Owning property is not cheap. Taxes, insurance, upkeep etc all cost money and they never go down. I don’t have the answer, but landowners need help and taken care of if anyone expects improvement, IMO

                    #28
                    This bill sounds like a game warden's nightmare.

                    Comment


                      #29
                      Where have I heard this song and dance before? Landowners claim to have a wildlife problem and hunters claim to have a solution. Seems like all people have to do is shake hands and the problem takes care of itself. Why do we need to legislate a problem that really shouldn’t be a problem?

                      I understand where leasing becomes a viable alternative to help farmers recoup loss caused by wildlife. However it does nothing to reduce , manage or eliminate the problem to begin with.

                      Lawmakers need to understand that landowners ( at least claim) to want relief. They want less taxes or they want more revenue to offset those taxes. This bill does neither and has been clearly created by special interest. I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Tax relief for farmers who open up their lands for RECREATIONAL use. Hunting ,hiking, fishing , just to name a few. The money spent from those that can now participate will help offset the tax cuts. The more land you open up to more uses the deeper the cuts. If you can’t figure out how to manage that then have landowners enroll in a program where they set the price for the permit ( up to a point) to hunt their land. For example would a max of $500.00 dollars for a permit to hunt deer during any season be too much? Would a land owner like to let 10 hunters on and make 5K? Wow, landowners get to make money on licenses , save money on crop damage. Hunters have an additional choice that does not exist today.

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