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Hunting in Nebraska: 5 Animals Designated Nongame, Endangered, Threatened, and Protected Species

By    |   Wednesday, 27 May 2015 10:03 AM

According to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, over 450 species of mammals, amphibians, birds, and reptiles are considered nongame and are not for hunting.

This designation means that these animals are not hunted. In some cases, this protection is put in place because the animals are already endangered, and in others because their population numbers are in decline.

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Here are just a few of the many animals protected by Nebraska law.

1. Southern Flying Squirrel
The southern flying squirrel makes its home in deciduous forests. There used to be a number of these forests throughout the state of Nebraska, but over time they have receded to just the southeastern corner of the state as the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission reports.

Though the southern flying squirrel is considered threatened in Nebraska and is fully protected there, it is frequently spotted in many eastern states.

2. River Otter
River otters were native to Nebraska and used to be an integral and frequent part of the state’s ecosystem. However, early hunters and trappers interested in their pelts hunted them out of the state by about 1904.

The Commission reports that there were a few otter sightings over the next 75 years, but these were probably otters just traveling through. River otters are considered endangered in Nebraska and are fully protected.

3. Black-Footed Ferret
According to the Commission, the black-footed ferret has been thought of as the most endangered North American mammal for years. Populations decreased significantly when settlers came to the plains and destroyed many habitats of prairie dogs, the ferrets’ main food source.

In Nebraska, the last confirmed black-footed ferret sighting was in 1949, but many unconfirmed sightings have been reported since.

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4. Mountain Plover
While the mountain plover has been sighted in 23 states, Canada, and Mexico since 1837, as the Commission reports, its numbers have dwindled significantly since 1900. At this time, there was a great market for the birds in California, but as early as 1914, the species was in trouble.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1916 outlawed the hunting of mountain plovers, but their numbers continued to drop. The mountain plover is considered threatened in Nebraska.

5. Whooping Crane

While the Whooping Crane is not native to Nebraska, it passes through the state during its migration. Whooping Cranes, the tallest North American bird according to the Commission, were almost extinct in the 1940s when only 15-20 were living in the wild.

Several different factors accounted for the birds’ decline, but the greatest was illegal hunting and poaching. Habitat protection and preservation is an integral part of trying to keep the Whooping Crane in existence, and the birds are considered endangered in Nebraska and throughout the prairielands of the United States.

This article is for information only. Please check current regulations before hunting.

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According to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, over 450 species of mammals, amphibians, birds, and reptiles are considered nongame and are not for hunting.
hunting in nebraska, animals, designated, protected species
Wednesday, 27 May 2015 10:03 AM
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