By Governor Pete Ricketts
October 20, 2015
The Governor’s official photo is available here.
It’s fall in Nebraska. The green of the grass and fields has begun to change into a multitude of colors. Harvest is in full swing as our farmers reap the fruits of their labors. The school year is well underway. Fall in Nebraska also presents numerous opportunities to hunt and fish in the great outdoors. From the Native Americans who roamed the prairies and the pioneers seeking a brighter future to present day sportsmen and sportswomen, our state’s abundant and diverse hunting and fishing opportunities have helped our state thrive and grow through the years.
Hunting and fishing have a major impact on our state, fueling the economies of both small and large communities. Every year, thousands flock to every corner of our state to utilize public access lands, state-leased properties, or private property as they pursue the game of their choice. During these trips, sportsmen invest in our communities as they stop for breakfast at a local cafe, purchase fuel for their truck, or pay for lodging along the way. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission estimates the annual economic impact of hunting in Nebraska at $848 million and the total yearly impact of hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, and state parks at $2.4 billion.
For Nebraskans, access to great opportunities to hunt and fish are not just a matter of economic development – these activities are important to our individual quality of life. They provide a way for us to enjoy our beautiful state with our friends, family, and loved ones. As a hunter, I really enjoy pheasant season. A couple years ago, I took my son Roscoe hunting for the first time. It was an opportunity for me to pass along the tradition of hunting to the next generation while spending time with my son. This year pheasant season opens October 31st, and I am looking forward to joining fellow Nebraskans as we continue the annual tradition of the Governor’s Pheasant Hunt in Beatrice in a couple weeks.
If you are not a seasoned hunter or have not picked up a fishing pole in a few years, there are still many opportunities that will allow you to enjoy the outdoors this fall. The brand new Danish Alps Recreation Area near Hubbard in Northeast Nebraska is not only great for fishing, but it also offers camping facilities and is popular for wildlife viewing. In the Panhandle, the Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area near Gering is building a family-friendly shooting complex which allows new hunters to develop shooting sports skills using either firearms or archery.
These are just a couple of examples of the many opportunities waiting for you to explore and enjoy. I hope you take advantage of the great outdoor activities and traditions by visiting a state park with your family or hunting and fishing with friends. To get started, you can find all the information you need about these opportunities and permits to participate in these activities at OutdoorNebraska.ne.gov. As always, you are also welcome to contact my office with your questions at any time by writing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 402-471-2244.