Outdoor NebraskaPublished By Department of Agriculture Bureau of Game and Fish Lincoln NEBR. Vol. I. August, 1928. No. 2
The Angler's SongOf the gallant fisher's life, It is the best of any 'Tis full of pleasure, void of strife, And 'tis beloved by many. Other joys Are but toys; Only this Lawful is; For our skill Breeds no ill, But content and pleasure. -Isaak Walton
OUTDOOR NEBRASKAOFFICIAL BULLETIN NEBRASKA BUREAU GAME AND FISH VOL. I. AUGUST, 1926 NO. 2 CONTENTS Scottsbluff Frontispiece Wild Life Resources and Their Preservation.—By G. E. Condra. - 3 Fish Conservation and Carp Control.—By W. E. O'Brien - 1 Many Trout to Be Raised - 5 Editorial - 6 Nebraska's Newest Recreation Grounds - 8 Nursery Ponds for Trout and Bass Propagation - 9 Uncle Sam Lends Hand to Make Sand Hills Attractive - 10 Departmental Activities - 12 Notes on Fins, Feathers and Furs. - 13
Scotts Bluff, a famous landmark of Western Nebraska.
Wild Life Resources and Their Preservation No. 1 — The Sandhill LakesBy DR. G. E. CONDRA
THe Conservation and Survey Division of the University and state has mapped more than 1000 of Nebraska's sandhill lakes. The Division has studied the chemical composition of the water, also the plant and animal life of the lakes, and secured some data regarding the origin and features of these lakes. The following statement is "based on our investigations.
Origin of Lakes.—There are a number of erroneous assumptions regarding the origin of the sandhill lakes —that the water comes from deep-seated sources or from shallow underflow originating in the mountains. The fact is, most of their water is supplied by local rainfall which is absorbed at once by the sandy soil and loose bedrock, under which are thick impervious layers which prevent the loss of water to deep-seated sources. Much of the rainfall is stored in the ground and not on the surface of the land. The ground is filled1 with water to the level of the lakes. There is a very slow adjustment or underflow of water towards drainage ways. It is being lost to streams and by evaporation.
Although some of the lakes are but temporary ponds above the water table proper, the surface of most of them is the general table of the region, the position of which is regulalated by rainfall, evaporation and drainage. As the water table rises. the lakes deepen and enlarge. As it lowers, the lakes contract and disappear. The lakes do not all rise and fall in the same time throughout the region because of the unevenness of rainfalls and because of difference in the structural, typographic and drainage conditions.
A Sandhill Lake.
Just a few years ago the lakes were greatly enlarged, much to the regret of the ranchmen who wished to use the land for hay production, but to the benefit of many forms of wild life. Now, the lakes are generally lowering. This is the third time of record that marked fluctuations have occurred.
The sandhill lakes are comparatively shallow. They vary much in size and form. Many of them have a seepage border, usually the west or northwest, and are bordered in part by marsh which merges into meadow or hay flat land lying next to the hills.
Cycles of Development.—The lakes pass through stages of development. Some are young or new; others are mature, and some are lowering to a dry bed. There are corresponding stages in the development of the life. Plants occur more or less in belts and borders, represented by zones of prairie, sedges, march plants, and open water vegetation. These belts invade one another as the lakes enlarge and contract. It is the story from the plants of the hay flat to those of a more or less permanent lake and back again through the cycle, which, if not controlled by man, recurs again and again. The plant zones determine in large measure the distribution of animals, such as the microscopic water forms, snails, leeches, frogs, fish, shore birds, etc. New lakes support little life, but the mature ones are teeming with living things of many kinds, each related to the others. The relationship is shown best in the food relations of the plants and animals. First, most of the lake waters are of the right chemical composition to support the lowest forms of plants which become food for microscopic animals. The plants and lowest forms of animals leading up through snails, frogs, leeches, etc., to fish, birds and: animals, to the food and sport of man. Here are some interesting relations which should be understood by the people generally. The problem is to maintain lakes at stages which will best support fish and other animals that are of use to man. It is a matter of economic lake farming.
Control of Lakes —The state has taken steps to control and develop some of the lakes. First, by determining whether or not they should be drained for agricultural purposes, and second, by using artesian water to maintain the necessary depth and stage for fish life especially. These wells hold the lakes to depths that cannot freeze dry in winter and maintain open water in order to prevent the smothering of fish. Although these methods used for fish conservation are of importance, there are other benefits as well.
Many of the lakes are off-again, on-again in their support of plant and animal life. In the decadent stages there is death of everything; in the mature stages is an abundance of fish, birds and animals. The condition relates directly to wild life, and to hunting, fishing and the general economics of the region.(Continued on page 15.)
Fish Conservation and Carp ControlBy W. J. O'BRIEN
DUE to the extremely dry spring and summer, the Nebraska Bureau of Fish and Game has had la crew of four men almost constantly employed "for the past five months, seining, drying up ponds and lake beds and transferring fish to living waters.
Every complaint of ponds or lakes becoming low enough to endanger fish life has been investigated, and wherever it was found necessary fish were seined out and transplanted to live water.
On account of the danger of loss in handling at this season only ponds or lake beds where the fish had commenced to perish were seined. Where it was deemed the fish would survive until September, the work of seining was deferred until the fall months.
Conservation work has been carried on in Cass, Sarpy, Douglas, "Washington, Burt, Cedar, Dakota, Cherry, Morrill, and Scotts Bluffs Counties, and during the period from March 1st to August 1st, more than 300,000 fish have been transferred from drying up pondls to suitable surroundings.
This is a larger number of fish than has been salvaged during any twelve months period during the preceding twenty-five years. Fish salvaged were mainly bullheads, but a considerable number of black bass, croppies, perch, sunfish, catfish and drum fish were transplanted.
Ten car loads of the total number were handled by the fish car, the balance were hauled by trucks to nearby waters. Majors Slough, near Peru, Nemaha County, and Saint Helena lake, near the town of chat name, in Cedar County, furnished the bulk of the fish.
Bullheads and blue gill sunfish comprised most of the catch at Major's lake, while several hundred adult croppie and sunfish, as well as catfish, weighing as high as ten pounds were taken at Saint Helena lake one full carload of adult croppie and catfish were planted in Crystal lake, while nearby ponds and streams were also stocked with fish taken from this lake bed. There is still a large number of small fish that will be transferred later if rains do not again fill up this lake bed.
The Conservation Crew at Work
Five Pound Bass From Champion Lake, Chase County.
Most of the waters seined were barren of black bass. The only point at which any considerable number of black bass were salvaged was at Fair Grounds lake, near Bridgeport, Morrill County. These were moved to a nearby sand pit lake.
In connection with this work I want to thank members of various chapters of the Izaak Walton League over our state, not only for reporting these drying-up ponds and lakes but in many instances furnishing trucks and men to transfer fish at their own expense. Without the co-operation of members of these chapters many of these fish would have perished.
Ever since the Game and Fish Department was created in 1901 spasmodic efforts have been made to remove coarse fish from our waters with varying degrees of success.
This season it was decided to make a real continued effort to get rid of the carp and other coarse fish, and as a result, over 100,000 pounds of carp, buffalo fish, quillbacks, suckers, and gar fish have been seined out and disposed of at from two to five cents per pound. Nearly 70,000 pounds of carp were taken from Moon lake, Brown County; the balance were largely taken from ponds and lakes in connection with the work of game fish conservation. At the request of Walton League chapters at Schuyler, Columbus, Imperial, Champion, Sidney, and other points, carp seining has been done that was not incidental with game fish conservation.
This work has all been done by hatchery employees from the Gretna station and all expense of coarse-fish removal has been defrayed from the sale of coarse fish, as well as part of the game fish conservation work.
More coarse fish have been removed in the past five months than during the twenty-five preceding years. While we will likely never see the time when coarse fish will be entirely eradicated, periodical seining under careful supervision will at least keep the carp and other obnoxious fish under control.
Many Trout To Be Raised At New Hatchery
CONSTRUCTION work on new ponds at the Rock Creek Fish Hatchery is now well under way. It is planned to build a number of ponds for raising trout.
The Rock Creek Hatchery is located near Benkelman, on Rock Creek. Several years ago the Bureau of Fish and Game purchased twenty acres, all of which is fed by a series of the largest and coldest springs in Nebraska. A hatching house, with a capacity for hatching several million trout eggs a year, was built, as well as a residence for a caretaker, barn and other buildings. Several ponds were also built and stocked with trout, and bass
It is the plan of the bureau to make this plant into a trout hatchery. All the natural conditions are ideal for trout propagation, with an abundant supply of clear cold water. It is believed: that this hatchery, when fully developed, will be able to supply all the trout the state will need for some time to come. At the present time more can be hatched than there are nursery ponds to put them in..
(Upper left.) A scene on Rock Creek, Dundy County, where new hatchery is located.
(Upper right.) Hatch house, where 2,000,000 trout eggs can be handled each year.
(Lower.) A nursery pond at the hatchery.
H. P. Runion, who is in charge of the hatchery as well as the one at Benkelman, began experimenting at Rock Creek some fifteen years ago. It was at Rock Creek that one of the first nursery ponds for trout was tried out—probably one of the first nursery ponds in the country. It was found that the water and vegetation was ideal for trout and that fry thrived and grew rapidly. Since that time several ponds have been put into use with excellent results.
Several features at Rock Creek make it exceptionally well suited for use as a fish hatchery. First, there is very little flood water or wash. Most of the water which comes down the canyon is spring water, fed from innumerable springs all the way up the valley. The canyon is short and does not drain a great deal of hill land. For that reason it is comparatively easy to construct ponds. Secondly, there is little expense in getting water and the supply is adequate for all needs.
It is believed that trout, where reared to the fingerling state, will do well in Nebraska streams where there is a gravel bottom and little wash. For that reason the bureau is looking to the future needs of the state and preparing to furnish large numbers of this gamey fish which is so popular with sportsmen.
There are a large number of streams in Nebraska which many sportsmen believe adaptable to trout and it is the plan of the Bureau to try trout in such streams. Wyoming, Montana and Colorado have many fine trout streams. In Nebraska there are similar streams, spring fed and with gravel bottom. While the Nebraska streams may not have as cold water during the hot summer months, nevertheless it is believed that many of the streams, especially in the western and northern part of the state will be cold enough so that trout will thrive. In fact, numerous places in the western and northern part of the state already have fine trout fishing. Rock Creek, in Dundy County, Long Pine Creek, Plum Creek, Snake River in Cherry County, Boardman Creek in Cherry County and several streams and irrigation ditches in the North Platte Valley all offer good trout fishing at the present time.
OUTDOOR NEBRASKAPublished by Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Fish and Game. Editorial Office, State Capitol, Lincoln, Nebraska. FRANK B. O'CONNELL, - Editor. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Adam McMullen Governor H. J. McLaughlin Secretary Frank B. O'Connell Warden Vol. I. Lincoln, August, 1926. No. 2
The response to the first issue of OUTDOOR NEBRASKA was very gratifying. Many letters of congratulation came to hand. The bureau wishes to express its thanks for the fine interest and cooperation in its work
"I never knew what we had in Nebraska until I recently took a trip over the state."
That is what one Nebraskan said upon returning from a vacation trip the other day. Instead of spending a lot of money in going to some distant place he spent his vacation in his own state. And he returned greatly pleased and somewhat surprised.
There are a great many Nebraskans who would be surprised to know what their state really has to offer in the way of recreation and outings. For some reason we have never advertised these things. While other states have whooped to the skies about their climate and scenery and hunting and fishing, Nebraskans have sat by with sealed lips, saying little about their own great outdoors.
Isn't it time we made a survey of Nebraska's "vacation land"—unique in many ways—and then tell our own people and the world about it?
Considerable misunderstanding prevails as to the meaning of the law protecting frogs.
The Nebraska law protects frogs but does not define the kind or qualify their use for bait, probably through an oversight on the part of the legislature.
Inasmuch as the bureau stocks bullfrogs, they should not be used for bait or molested in any way. Game wardens have been instructed to make arrests where bullfrogs are taken or killed but to disregard the use of the small grass frogs when used for bait. Under no circumstances should any kind of frogs be shot or killed for any purpose except bait.
It is quite likely the next session of the legislature will clarify this situation so that the intent of the law will be clear.
The 10-year closed season during which swans may not be hunted anywhere in the United States expires December 7, 1926. This restriction was made under the provisons of article 3 of the treaty between the United States and Great Britain enacted for the protection of birds migrating between the United States and Canada. The Biological Survey of the United States Department of Agriculture, which makes this announcement, says that the federal law to enforce the treaty also prohibits the taking of migratory birds except as permitted by regulations thereunder promulgated by the president. Therefore, even with the end of the 10-year season, it will still be unlawful to kill these birds at any time, until the migratory bird treaty act regulations are amended to allow the "killing of swans" during a stated open season. An exception will be made for scientific purposes, however, under permit of the secretary of agriculture.
"We have before us," says the editor of the American Game Protective Association bulletin, "several game hog photographs sent in by irate members who cry aloud that such things should not be. We agree with them; such things should not be.
"Two of the photographs show gunners surrounded by heaps and piles and loads of dead ducks; another shows festoons of dead ducks and prairie chickens; the fourth shows a gallant group with 14 deer, several of which lack horns and are perilously near to being fawns, and a number of wild turkeys.
"The day is past when bags of this sort reflect any kind of honor as a hunter. In the old days when game was extremely plentiful and men had to rely upon it to feed a settlement ,there might have been some excuse for such wholesale slaughter, but it is not sportsmanship and it could only decently be entered into through necessity. Such OUTDOOR NEBRASKA 7 pictures today disgust all reasonable people and, more than that, they are likely to lead the subjects of the photographs into entanglements with the law.
"The word 'sportsman' today means something. It means more each year. It implies moderation, and not butchery. It means one who loves not just the killing of a large quantity of game, but who thrills to the concentration of keen faculties, the perfect co-ordination of nerve and muscle, and the quick action essential to the taking of game under sportsmanlike conditions. It means one who always has firmly fixed in mind the fact that the game of today is not all his for the taking, but that he must so respect its limitations that the same or even a larger supply may be left for the coming generations."
Greed, waste and a lack of spirit of sportsmanship often is reflected in fishing pictures as well as those taken after the hunt. Few persons, except the subjects themselves, are interested in fish hog pictures. They are not wanted for publication except for the purpose of criticism. Real sportsmen do not pose with an unfair bag of game nor an excessive catch of fish, even though they be within the law.
All the game or fish the law allows is not a credential to good sportsmanship. The spirit as well as the letter of the law should be observed.
There are two kinds of men who hunt game in Nebraska.
The first is the fellow who runs about over the state, leaving gates open, camping around watering holes for stock, dropping matches and leaving litter, never asking permission to enter pastures, never disclosing his identity and offering to make good any damage he may cause. He takes all the game he can get:—often more than he could possibly use—and isn't particularly careful when and how he gets it.
The other fellow carefully plans his trip. He goes to the owner of property where he wishes to hunt, introduces himself, agrees to make good any damage he may cause, promises to shut gates, not to disturb stock at watering holes, clean up camp sites and guard against fire. He never takes more game than he can use probablv sharing with others no matter how poor his luck He hunts strictly according to law and is careful to respect the wishes of others.
Of course the latter class are much in the majority. Yet there are entirely too many of the first class. They are the ones who cause the state and respectable law-abiding citizens so much trouble And thev are the ones who are destroying wholesome sport for real sportsmen.
It is usually the former class who complain about the property owner posting his land. They do not realize that their own behavior is many times the cause of it. Of course there are exceptions in all cases, but usually the man who hunts fairly and honorably and who gets permission from the property owner and who will make good any damage caused and who does not hog game, does not have any great difficulty in finding suitable hunting grounds.
It is simply a case of being fair and respecting the rights of others.
Reduction in bag limits in certain kinds of migratory wild fowl was ordered this spring by the Secretary of Agriculture and approved by the president. The lower bag limits will be effective next fall.
Only 20 Wilson or jacksnipe may be taken in one day instead of 25, as in the past. Under State law, the Nebraska limit is 15.
The daily bag limit of sora was reduced from 50 to 25. On rails and gallinules, except sora, a daily limit of 25 in the aggregate or 15 of any one species was prescribed. Nebraska's limitation these is also 15. The new Federal regulation provides a daily limit of 25 coots, which is the same under the Nebraska law.
The season on black-bellied or golden plover was closed indefinitely by Federal regulation.
The Editor of OUTDOOR NEBRASKA would like to publish some short articles about Nebraska fish and game.
Articles about Nebraska having an historical background are also desired.
If you have seme ideas about fish or game in Nebraska which you feel would' be of interest to readers of this bulletin send them in.
Unfortunately, no funds are available for payment for articles or photographs, but credit for same will be gladly given.
Help us to increase interest in fish and game and Nebraska's splendid outdoors.
Nebraska's Newest Recreation Grounds
THE fourth state recreation grounds was purchased last month by the Nebraska Bureau of Fish and Game.
The new holding is located three miles west of Fremont on the Lincoln Highway. Paved and gravelled roads lead directly to it from Omaha, Fremont, Lincoln and numerous other towns.
The tract contains approximately 165 acres, of which about 100 acres is water. The water is contained in eight sand pits .varying in size from twenty-five to five acres. Most of these pits are twenty to forty feet deep and all of them are fed from seepage water from the Platte River.
The tract was purchased from the Lyman-Richey Sand Co. for $50 per acre. The state will get possession in the spring of 1927, at which time the Lyman-Richey Co. will have completed all gravel operations and will have moved all trackage andi equipment.
It is the plan of the Bureau of Game and Fish to make this holding into a fishing and camping grounds. Development work will be started in the near future. The banks of the pits, which are covered with black soil, or "strippings" as it is called, will be leveled down and used for filling in low ground. Trees will be planted and the ground around the pits parked. Facilities for camping will be provided.
Showing Location and Water Area of the New Holdings
These pits are already available for fishing. The state has been stocking most of them for a number of years and some good catches of bass, sunfish and croppie have been made this summer. Hereafter they will be heavily stocked and built up so that fishing will be available for all anglers who care to try their luck.
One of the Sand Pit Lakes
The purchase of this holding was made through the cooperation of the Fremont chapter of the Izaak Walton League. The league has been interested in saving these pits for public fishing for several years, Arthur Baldwin .president of the Fremont chapter of the league, and C. C. Courtright, state director of the(Continued on page 16.)
A Birds eye View of the Grounds.
Nursery Ponds for Trout and Bass Propagation
ONE of the forward steps in the direction of greater fish production is in the use of the nursery pond system.
In former years the Nebraska Bureau of Fish and game put out into natural waters a large number of trout and bass fry. Shortly after hatching the fish were distributed throughout the state, there being no facilities available for the further holding of such fish. It is estimated that only 5 per cent of such fish ever reached maturity or became available for the angler.
Present plans of the Nebraska Bureau of Fish and Game call for the use of the nursery pond system. Instead of putting the fry into the natural waters, it planned to put them in carefully constructed nurseries where food conditions are good. Here the fry will be held from spring until fall, at which time they will be released into natural waters. But during the summer they will have had an opportunity to grow to the fingerling stage of fish life and will have sufficient size and strength to better care for themselves. Where this is done it is estimated that 50 per cent of the fish planted reach maturity and thereby become available for the angler.
Nebraska is well equipped at present for hatcheries for fish. With the plant at Valentine greatly enlarged and the Rock Creek plant now under construction, the bureau wil be able to hatch large quantities of both trout and bass. The Rock Creek plant alone will be able to hatch something like 2,000,000 trout eggs. At the Valentine plant another million could probably be handled. Gretna can hatch a large number. The Rock Creek plant will have a nursery capacity for something' like 150,000, the Valentine plant a capacity for around 50,000. Therefore, it will be readily seen that the bureau needs more nursery ponds rather than hatcheries in so far as trout is concerned.
The situation regarding bass is somewhat different. Bass cannot be hatched artificially at the state hatcheries as in the case of trout. It is necessary to have ponds for spawning. The Valentine plant is now equipped to hatch and rear something like 400,000 bass a year, Gretna something around 50,000 and Rock Creek and Benkelman around 50,000. If more good I>ass nursery ponds were available, this number could he increased somewhat, because shortly after hatching some of the bass fry could be moved to nursery ponds at places where the bass were later to be released into natural waters. In other words, the hatcheries could hatch more bass in the spawning ponds at the hatcheries if they were sure they could handle the fry and provide enough food for them.
The need of the bureau today is for nursery ponds for both trout and bass near the natural waters where they are to be released. A number of Izaak Walton League are already interested in building these ponds and several have already built them and have the same in operation.
One of the first trout nurseries to be built and stocked is located at Johnstown, Nebraska, on what is known as "Izaak Walton League Farm." It was built by Mr. Stall and other Izaak Walton League members who have been interested in. this system of raising trout. Here a large number of trout are reared to the fingerling stage and then released into the creek nearby. This nursery has already proved that this system greatly increases trout fishing.
The next nursery pond, built by private parties and set aside by the bureau, is located at Tecumseh. It is known as "Izaak Walton League Nursery Pond No. 1." It was constructed during 1925.
Another nursery in operation is located at Seneca. Three or four nursery ponds are in operation on Rock Creek in Dundy County, where Mr. Harry Runion began experimenting with nursery ponds a number of years ago. During the present year nursery ponds for both trout and bass have been constructed by the Schuyler chapter of the Izaak Walton League and the Cozad chapter. Ponds at Page, Chadron, Long Pine, and several other ponds are contemplated.
The Bureau of Fish and Game encourages the building of these nurseries and will at all times be glad to cooperate with anyone interested in the matter. In no case should anyone attempt to build a nursery pond without getting expert advice from the bureau. An experienced fish culturist who has spent a lifetime in the work is available for the asking and will inspect your pond and advise you as to its possibilities. It is best to have this done before any construction work is gotten under way, as it may save considerable money and time. Bass nurseries in particular are hard to find and must be of sufficient size and contain certain vegetation to be of value. Young bass feed on certain insect life which must be available if they are to thrive.
The Johnstown Trout Nursery
"Does a fisherman ever tell the truth?"
"Yes, when he calls another fisherman a liar."
Uncle Sam Lends Hand To Make Sand Hills Attractive
THOUSANDS of years ago, when the forces of nature were at work shifting and gradually shaping features of the Great Plains, large areas of tertiary sandstone were exposed in what is now the Dakotas, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, and other parts of the western plains. As topographic features were slowly evolved, this sandstone, being young and soft, readily yielded to the eroding action of. the elements and was reduced to light, fine-grained sand. Great quantities of the sand thus formed were caught up by the wind and heaped into mounds that finally grew to be large sand dunes extending in long ranges and ridges for many miles over the sandstone beds. Thus were the Sand Hills of Nebraska formed in the days preceding the advent of plants or men.
These Sand Hills are mainly in the northwestern part of Nebraska and occupy an area of approximately 20,000 square miles north of the Platte River and west of the middle line of Holt and Greeley Counties.
The most im portant stream in the Sand Hills is the Loup River, the three forks of which rise in low, swampy flats toward the central portion of the region. The sand banks are cut and the channels veer from side to side along their courses. The streams are shallow and in many places extremely beautiful with their winding channels of clear, swift water and fringes of vegetation.
Few would classify Nebraska among states with lakes, but as a matter of fact there are hundreds of lakes in Nebraska. Many of these are in the Sand Hills. From the top of a certain hill in Cherry County more than twenty may be seen.
In this region thousands of cattle are grazed, and on the large ranches scattered throughout the Sand Hills the prize cattle of the world may be seen.
The region is almost barren of trees. The need of cheaper fuel than coal and cheaper material for building fences, etc., is quite acute and has been a serious factor in retarding the development of the country. Ranchers must travel many miles to purchase these necessary but costly supplies.
With his knowledge of the possibilities of raising forests in the Sand Hill region and thereby creating local supply of fuel and timbers for various purposes, the late Dr .C. E. Bessey, professor of botany at the University of Nebraska, brought about the creation of the Nebraska National Forest by President Roosevelt. There are now two divisions of this forest ,both located in the heart of the Sand Hill region, the Bessey division in Thomas and Blaine Counties, and the Niobrara division in Cherry County. The Bessey nursery on the Middle Loup River near Halsey is operated in connection with the Bessey division. The Morton nursery, on the Niobrara River, 35 miles west of Valentine, is used in growing trees for planting on the Niobrara division. The former nursery is named in honor of the late Dr. C. E. Bessey, the latter in honor of the Hon. J. Sterling Morton, one time governor of Nebraska and originator of Arbor Day.
Nebraska has as small a proportion of forest area as any state in the Union. The natural forests are confined to hardwoods in the eastern portion of the state along streams, and to the pine forests of the northwestern part. The state produces no softwood lumber. While at present lumber is imported from the Northwest, the cheapest supply of of that region will ultimately be exhausted. With the depletion of the timber supplies in the Lake States and the Northwest, the Prairie States will eventually have great difficulty in obtaining lumber. Therefore a supply of fence-post material and lumber for the future is one of the objects of forest planting in the Sand Hills.
It cannot be said that forests are needed in the Sand Hill region to conserve water, since the hills themselves are perfect reservoirs for the streams draining to the east, and water for irrigation is not at present needed. Still, the planting of forests in the Sand Hills will check the wind locally and generally it will aid in preventing the possibility of local encroachment of the sand on the more fertile lands. It will also ameliorate the dryness of the atmosphere, so that these agricultural lands may receive a greater amount of precipitation. Of these influences, the local effects of groves of trees acting as windbreaks will be felt first, and for this reason the planting of trees by local residents is strongly encouraged.
Forests should not only help to make tillable those soils which are already fertile by reducing exposure to wind, but also, if planted on poor soils, should ultimately make them fertile and so change their physical composition that they may be tilled with safety.
The national forests are going a long way to make the Sand Hills of Nebraska attractive. Many people(Continued on page 16.)
While it is common, elementary knowledge to the fisjh culturist, it does not seem to be generally known to the layman that the black bass cannot be artificially propagated. The state and federal bureaus of fish propagation annually receive applications for more young bass for stocking purposes than can be supplied in a generation.
Artificial propagation—the taking of the eggs from live fish and incubating them in hatcheries—has been developed to quite an exact and successful operation in the case of trouts, pike perch, pike and muskellunge, but the basses, crappie and sun fishes cannot be dealt with in the same way, as an expression of their eggs kills the fish and the eggs cannot be successfully handled by hatchery methods.
For this reason, the protection of the bass in its natural spawning places and during breeding period is of the utmost importance. This has been recognized to some extent by delaying opening of the bass fishing season until midsummer in some states, when the so-called nest-building fishes should have finished spawning.
The time of spawning varies , however, to such a great extent on account of weather conditions and varying water temperature that sufficient protection can not be given in this way, and bass propagating stations have been established in numerous states to supplement natural reproduction in lakes and streams.
In these bass hatcheries no attempt is made at artificial propagation, but the wild adult fish are introduced into ponds in equal numbers as to sex, where they are expected to mate and rear their young as in the wild state. The ponds being screened, the young fish are then subject to control and are seined out for distribution and planting.
Owing to the great uncertainty as to results of this method, due to failure to spawn, loss of eggs from streams, floods or cold weather, cannibalism and other obstacles, total or partial failures are common. Even under the most favorable conditions the output of these hatching stations is limited to comparatively small numbers, sufficient only for brood stock in depleted waters. It is impossible to rely solely on this method for maintaining bass fishing.
It has been found that the application of the principle of sanctuary to the conservation of this family of fishes is very effective—in fact it is believed to offer the only certain and permanent way to keep up the supply. This principle has been put into operation in a number of instances with marked results and has been provided for in the law of several states.
Fish nurseries or refuges have been established erabrasing the whole or parts of certain lakes especially well adapted to fish reproduction where fishing is entirely prohibited permanently or during the entire breeding portion of each year, regardless of the legal open season for fishing. Such refuges furnish a certain source of replenishment subject only to natural enemies and the vagaries of weather and other natural conditions. There is no killing of breeding fish on their spawning grounds, however late the spawning may be.
By delaying of the bass fishing season to July 1 in the northern states and establishing numerous fish nurseries of refuges, black bass angling may not only be preserved! but improved. On this point the field superintendent of the New York Conservation Commission says: "Artificial stocking is a mere trifle as compared with the stocking that will be made by natural conditions if efficient protection is afforded the parent bass when they are on the spawning beds."
Recent legislation in New York, delaying opening of bass fishing until July 1, has already borne fruit in a large crop of young small-mouth bass, observed generally by conservation commission agents in bass waters in the Adirondacks and elsewhere.—A. G. P. A. Bulletin.
In a careful census of a tract of 400 acres of uncultivated land in the Walpole, Massachusetts, town Forest and Game Refuge four adult cats and two kittens were found living under thoroughly wild: conditions. It is estimated that in that state, based on careful surveys of several tracts of land used as game refuges where no hunting is allowed, the average population of wild house cats is not less than one for each 100 acres of uncultivated land.
It is evident from these observations that cats breed and multiply in the wild state. Many of those wandering felines have been abandoned when summer homes are closed, or are surplus family cats carried far from home and dropped by the roadside.
These homeless cats seldom or never perish from starvation and few return to civilized life. They live on the country by foraging for small animals and birds and the devastation to small game and song birds chargeable to them is enormous.
Last fall the Massachusetts Fish and Game Protective Association declared relentless war on the stray, wild house cat by distributing large numbers of posters and circulars calling attention to the great destruction of birds and game caused by these wild! animals and asking for cooperation in exterminating them. Householders were also urged to dispose of undesired cats in a human manner instead of turning them loose to seek what they may devour.
A distinction is made between cats which have reverted to the wild state and not domestic cats and the notices contain a warning not to molest the latter, even though they may be found hunting birds in the vicinity of their homes.
A large population of stray cats hunting every day in the year, particularly during the breeding season, cause a tremendous loss of bird life.
The Bureau of Biological Survey has recently reported that the most important, finding during the first six months of the cooperative quail investigation carried on under the auspices in Georgia and Florida showed that from 60 to 75 per cent of all nests and eggs of quail are destroyed by ground vermin and that the most urgently needed help for the quail is a campaign against their natural enemies.
Wet your hands when handling fish that are to be returned to the water.
Anglers should realize that all fish are covered with a slimy substance which when removed, as is the case when handled with, dry hands, causes a parasitic growth to develop which eventually kills the fish.
This warning applies when handling undersize fish or other fish that are to be returned to the water.
Departmental ActivitiesMuskrat Skins, Once 20c Each, Now Make Seal Coats
Fashion's caprice which has transformed the lowly muskrat into the exclusive Hudson seal worn by stylish American women brought Canadian fur producers ten times as mudh for their pelts in 1925 as they received 20 years ago, according to a report issued by the Department of Trade and Commerce.
"Back in 1905 muskrat skins brought 20 cents apiece," says the report. "At the recent Montreal fur auction they sold for an average of $20 apiece because of the unprecedented demand. About 3,000,000 muskrat skins were marketed this winter, bringing a revenue of $6,000,000.
Muskrat farming is growing in popularity throughout Canada on account of the profitable trades in skins. Many areas of marsh and lowlands in the center of thriving communities are being devoted to raising muskrats. The animals are practically under wild conditions and a large part of their sustenance is naturally provided. One ranch in Manitoba of 3,000 acres figures on an annual production of 50,000 skins.
Construction work on a ditch to carry water into Walgreen Lake will soon begin by the Bureau of Fish and Game.
Walgreen Lake is located four miles southeast of Hay Springs. The State of Nebraska owns 120 acres on the lake, which was purchased last year by the Bureau of Fish and Game. It is planned to make this into a state recreation grounds.
Water in a nearby creek is available and by opening a ditch from the lake to the creek, a distance of a half mile, sufficient water can be obtained to keep the lake in good condition.
Within a short time the grounds at Walgreen Lake will be gone over by a landscape artist and plans made for the planting of trees and other vegetation.
Development work at Goose Lake Recreation Grounds has been going along nicely. The land has been fenced, toilets built and wells sunk. Two wells have been sunk in the lake and one well has been put down on the camp site for use of campers.
Mr. E. E. Smith of Clearwater, who has been greatly interested in the developing of Goose Lake and who has cooperated with the bureau in work there, recently measured the water flowing from the new wells.
"The lake is holding its own at present," writes Mr. Smith. "I measured the flow of both the two-inch and five-inch wells recently put down. The smaller one flows 138 gallons per hour while the larger one flows 368. The two flow a total of 8,820 gallons every twenty-four hours."
The conservation crew of the Bureau of Fish and Game have been exceedingly busy this summer. Numerous ponds and lakes throughout Nebraska have dried up owing to the dry spring and it has been necessary to transfer thousands of fish.
A large number of fish were conserved at Peru, Bridgeport, St. Helena, Ashland, Columbus and at other points. Work of this nature is trying, since it has to be accomplished usually during hot weather when it is hard to handle the fish. The fish can be kept in good condition while on the fish car by icing, but when they are transferred to the warm water again the loss is frequently heavy.
Two hundred and nineteen arrests have been made up to the present time during 1926 by the Bureau of Fish and Game. All of these have been for violation of the game laws.
During June and July a large number of arrests were made for illegal fishing. In one Nebraska stream over a hundred illegal devices for taking fish were confiscated and over forty persons arrested.
Game wardens have been busy working on the Platte, Missouri, Elkhorn, Republican, Blue, Loup, Niobrara and Nemaha Rivers, besides a number of smaller streams. A large number of hoop nets, seines and traps were confiscated. Nearly a thousand fish were put back into the water.
Please accept my hearty congratulations upon your first issue of "Outdoor Nebraska." I found it very interesting as well as educational.
I want to assure you that you are taking a great step toward conservation of the wild life in our great state and I will give you all the help and support I can to carry out your plans.A. A. MISEK, Pres. Oak Creek Valley I. W. L. A.
I want to congratulate you on the first issue of OUTDOOR NEBRASKA, which is an official conservation magazine and a dandy at that. I hope you will keep the good work up, since we know from experience that magazines of this character are very educational. We have been publishing the MARYLAND CONSERVATIONIST for several years, and under separate cover I am mailing you the last issue. This magazine is published quarterly.E. LEE LECOMPTE, State Game Warden, State of Maryland.
Notes on Fins, Feathers and Furs
When it comes to a quick fishing trip Messrs. DeLany, Engminger and Dawson, all of North Platte, probably win the honors. They recently flew from North Platte to Hackberry Lake in Cherry County, a distance of 135 miles, and returned with the string shown above. They made the trip in seventy minutes and caught these bass and perch between 10 a. m. and 2.30 p. m.
F. E. Reynolds and E. S. Schofield of Neligh are entering in the bass contest, a fish that weighed six pounds and four ounces, the largest fish caught at Wood Lake this year. They probably weighed near seven pounds when caught as the weight was taken after an eight mile drive in the hot sun.
Their box contained 21 black bass ranging in size from two and a half pounds up, with two over five pounds. They made their catch at the Hamilton place on North Marsh Lake Editor Outdoor Nebraska:
Place the carp on a smooth oak plank, cover with butter, season with salt, pepper, and a little paprika. Bake in a hot oven for an hour, and then throw the carp in the river and eat the plank.—Chicago Tribune.
"Jim claims to have caught a 14-pound trout."
"Why, I didn't know trout grew as large as that."
"They do after you've told the story a few times."
In Siberia the soil freezes to a depth of 65 feet. Think of digging 65 feet for fish worms!
Trout from Rock Creek, Dundy County
"The Dewey and Pelican and many other Sand Hill lakes are all right as far as bass fishing is concerned, but let me tell you that there are lakes in eastern Nebraska not to be frowned upon. Just take a look at the bass in the above picture. To make it interesting, let me say they were all caught in an old Platte River cutoff lake in the northwest corner of Saunders County. It makes one feel good to take bass out of lakes where people claim there aren't any."—A. A. MISEK, Pres. Oak Creek Valley I. W. L. A.
Fishing- is holding up through the hot months in the lakes of north Nebraska and southern South Dakota better than it has for many years. The unusually excellent summer fishing is attributed to the recent heavy rains and some excellent catches are being made despite the fact that the moss is up and the water is filled with moss pollen in some of the quieter bodies of water.
Some excellent bass are being caught on Marsh Lake, Cherry County, the best fishing being in north and middle Marsh. North Marsh is declared by the fishermen to be the best of the group of three joining lakes, collectively known as Marsh Lake. Down at Rat and Beaver Lakes a lot of one and two-pound bass are being taken out, and bluegills are biting as fast as one can bait the hooks.
Not as many bass are being taken from Pelican, one of the Cherry County group of lakes, as last year. The same is true of Big and Little Alkali Lakes. Twenty-one Lake, so named after George Hall's big ranch which borders it and which is located three miles southeast of Marsh Lake club house, has reported some catches of big bass. Perch and bluegill also are biting good at Twenty-one.
The wild duck crop is good on all of the lakes this year and the prairie chicken and grouse crops in north and west Nebraska will be heavier than in years, due to the fact that so far there have been no severe hail storms in the section this year.—From an O'Neil correspondent.
During 1925 hunting, fishing and trapping licenses sold total a little over $150,000. Three neighboring states, Iowa, Colorado, and Kansas, bought something like $2,500 worth of nonresidence licenses.
The licenses sold in the several counties in Nebraska during 1925 are as followsCounty Amount Adams $ 2,139.00 Antelope 2,630.00 Arthur 355.00 Banner 51.00 Blaine 427.00 Boone 1,465.00 Box Butte 1,720.00 Boyd 804.00 Brown 1,942.00 Buffalo 3,513.00 Burt 1,366.00 Butler 1,557.00 Cass 1,952.00 Cedar 888.00 Chase 1,276.00 Cherry 2,453.00 Cheyenne 1,393.00 Clay 1,010.00 Colfax 1,592.00 Cuming, 1,521.00 Custer 2,868.00 Dakota 1,334.00 Dawes 1,301.00 Dawson 1,687.00 Deuel 664.00 Dixon 756.00 Dodge 4,269.00 Douglas 18,628.00 Dundy 966.00 Fillmore 1,085.00 Franklin 1,241.00 Frontier 857.00 Furnas 2,482.00 Gage 2,306.00 Garden 1,297.00 Garfield 651.00 Gosper 187.00 Grant 368.00 Greeley 796.00 Hall 3,785.00 Hamilton 1,179.00 Harlan 1,414.00 Hayes 240.00 Hitchcock 1,168.00 Holt 2,966.00 Hooker 267.00 County Amount Howard 1,413.00 Jefferson 1,346.00 Johnson 542.00 Kearney 515.00 Keith 1,035.00 Keyapaha 350.00 Kimball 545 00 Knox 1,310.00 Lancaster 9,950.30 Lincoln 3,581.00 Logan 302.00 Loup 247.00 HcPherson 234.00 (ladison 3,964.00 Merrick 1,702.00 Morrill 1,734.00 Nance 1,176.00 Nemaha 893.00 Nuckolls 926.00 Otoe 1,331.00 Pawnee 546.00 Perkins 686.00 Phelps 906.00 Pierce 1,424.00 Platte 2,390.00 Polk 1,442.00 Redwillow 1,709.00 Richardson 1,825.00 Rock 754.00 Saline 2,444.00 Sarpy 640.00 Saunders 2,017.00 Scotts Bluff 3,933.00 Seward 2,339.00 Sheridan 2,171.00 Sherman 839.00 Sioux 66.00 Stanton 944.00 Thayer 877.00 Thomas 360.00 Thurston 527.00 Valley 1,586.00 Washington 1,355.00 Wayne 810.00 Webster 1,292.00
Save Some for the Boys
The above photograph shows a nice catch of pickerel taken from Swan Lake (Holt County) by H. C. Shafer of Norfolk. "We got fifteen fish," writes Mr. Shafer. "We were fishing part of a day. All were caught on minnows, though others were getting some on spoons. Tf we could have landed all we got hold of I am sure we would have got the limit. It is certainly real sport to catch these fellows."Fish Culturist Trains 'Em
The ultimate destiny of a normal trout is the creel of the angler.
One hatchery superintendent puts his fish through a course of training in fly catching so as to better fit them to perform for the artificial fly caster after liberation in the wild streams of the Ozarks and, incidentally, to give them a taste of natural food in variation of their diet of liver and mush.
The superintendent of the Bennett Springs, Missouri, state fish hatchery has rigged up some electric lights over his fish ponds, the light bulbs being suspended a very little above the water. This attracts myriads of insects at dusk when the activity of the fish in leaping and catching them is marvelous and attracts hundreds of visitors to witness the exciting sport.
The exercise thus gained by the fish is believed also to contribute to their health and increased growth.
Photographs used in this issue of OUTDOOR NEBRASKA were furnished by:Cover Loren Bunney Frontispiece Loren Bunney Rock Creek Scenes H. P. Runion and Loren Bunney Johnstown Nursery, Sand Hill Scenes Conservation and Survey Division, University of Nebraska.
Fishing pictures by A. Misek, Roy H. Coon, Chas. Walz, Loren Bunney and H. C. Shafer
Wild grapes grow quite generally in Nebraska where there is some brush land or timber. There are early and late varieties. The early grapes are ripe now and are being gathered for jelly and other purposes. The largest amounts are picked by farmers and ranchmen and by those who make their way for a day perhaps to the country and gather the fruit principally from along the public highways.
There are plenty of grapes for all if they are conserved. But some of the methods observed this year are most destructive, and would, if practiced generally, result in the destruction of this fruit. It has been observed that too many people are pulling the vines down in order- to pick the fruit from them, or, even worse, they are cutting the vines and then pulling them to the ground. This is a destructive method. It would be better to use a step ladder for gathering the fruit on bushes and lower trees and then, if the vines have climbed to higher trees, the fruit should be left untouched unless it can be secured by climbing the trees.
There is some question in regard to who owns the grapes on the public highways. Are they public property, or do they belong to the farmers owning the land along the highways? The fruit on the vines supported b,y fences probably belongs to the farmers who own the fences and that which is plainly on the highways may belong to no one in particular. There need be no misunderstanding with the land owners, however, if they are treated courteously. This method, if followed, will result in permission to pick grapes from the private lands. This matter of true sportsmanship should apply to grapes as well as to hunting and fishing.
It is to be hoped that Waltonians and all other good sportsmen of the state will assist in the conservation of wild fruits.Let's begin with the early grapes now being gathered, and become more active with the later grapes of this year.
of Nebraska little realize, or do not realize at all, that there is a national forest in their state. The people in the vicinity of the forest enjoy many visits to it. Annually a picnic is given under the auspices of the Forest Service, which is attended by hundreds of people, some from many miles distant, who come enjoy the outing and interest themselves in the features connected with the problem of afforestation of the Sand Hills. The Forest Service welcomes visitors at any time and the forest o,fficers are glad to explain and point out the problems and practices of afforestation .
The lands included in the Nebraska National Forest have been set aside by state legislation as a game preserve on which all hunting is prohibited. Local forest officers are commissioned deputy state game wardens and assist in enforcing the game laws. There are still some deer in this region and they seek refuge while rearing their fawns in the shelter afforded by the older plantations. Timbered country is the natural haunt of deer, and as afforestation proceeds it is probable that the deer will increase and add much to the attractiveness of the country. Prairie chickens, prairie grouse and quail occur and are becoming more tame on these protected areas. While the killing of game on the Nebraska forest is absolutely prohibited by law, unlimited opportunity is afforded for hunting with the camera.
Many national forests are noted for the beautiful scenery within their boundaries. The policy of the Forest Service is to welcome to its forests tourists seeking recreation. These forests provide wonderful opportunities for the out-of-doors vacations, with fishing, mountain climbing and other sports where one may go and forget the cares of the business world. The Nebraska forest does not boast of lofty peaks nor precipitous canyons, but the Niobrara division offers landscapes which possess much individual charm.
To further determine the possibility of the principal sandhill lakes, to decide which of them should be drained in order that the land be used for agriculture, and to work out a sound policy for their management and utilization will call for much additional investigation; also it will require the intelligent support of those who understand the importance of wild life conservation.
According to Some Fishermen
Nebraska division of the league, gave a great deal of time and assistance to the state authorities in negotiations which were carried on for a period of several months.
It is believed that the Fremont recreation grounds will be very popular with anglers of eastern Nebraska. It is estimated that the grounds are within a week end outing for over 500,000 citizens of the state besides numerous tourists passing through the state on the well-known Lincoln Highway.
According to the newspapers, one of the interesting observations made on the transpolar flight of the Norge was the nonexistence of birds and animals on the polar ice. The last living creatures observed were white fish swimming in a little lead miles from the pack of ice.
It is stated; that the first bird seen after Point Barrow was in sight was a gull. Immediately afterward fox tracks, too, were observed on the ice. The first men observed were Eskimos on the coast between Point Barrow and Wainwright.
The Department of Conservation of the Nebraska Bureau of Fish and Game, under the supervision of W. J. O'Brien, has been exceedingly busy this summer because of the dry spring. Many ponds and river cutoffs have dried up necessitating the removal of thousands of fish.
One of the largest jobs took place at St. Helena Lake in Cedar County, which is going dry. Over 25,000 pounds of game fish were rescued and placed in lakes and streams at Wynot, Hartington, Maskel, Bloomfield and Crystal Lake. The coarse fish were shipped to Omaha and sold.
"We did not know there were so many fish in northeastern Nebraska," writes Chas. A. Walz, president of the I. W. L. at Hartington, who sends in photographs. "These fish have created a great deal of interest and enthusiasm among league members and farmers. We are now interested in the construction of a dam in our creek to furnish more water."
The state conservation crew consists of W. J. O'Brien, superintendent, C. G. Pilfold, foreman, E. J. Pilfold. D. D. Stanbaugh and E. Sanders.
Champion Lake, Chase County
Digest Nebraska Game Laws 1926-27OPEN SEASONS Prairie Chicken Oct. 1-Nov. 1 Geese Sept. 16-Dec. 31 Grouse Oct. 1-Nov. 1 Duck Sept. 16-Dec. 31 Pheasant No open season Brant Sept. 16-Dec. 31 Quail No open season Snipe Sept. 16-Dec. 31 Deer No open season Rail Sept. 16-Nov. 30 Squirrel Sept. 16-Dec. 31 Plover Sept. 16-Dec. 31 BAGS Prairie Chicken, one day 10 possession 10 Grouse, one day 10, possession 10 Pheasant, none Quail, none Deer, none Squirrel, one day 10, possession 20 Goose, one day 10, possession 10 Goose, one day 10, possession 10 Duck, one day 25, possession 50 Brant, one day 10, possession 10 Snipe, one day 15, possession 25 Rail, one day 15, possession 25 Plover, one day 15, possession 25 IT IS UNLAWFUL-- To use a trap, snare or net in taking game birds. To take or destroy nests or eggs of game birds. To hunt or kill game birds one-half hour before sunrise or after sunset. To buy, sell or barter game birds taken within or without the state To offer to buy, sell, or barter game birds taken within or without the state. For any commercial institution, commission house, restaurant or cafe keeper to have in possession any game birds protected by state law, whether killed or taken within or without the state, or lawfully or unlawfully killed.
You'll have to show me where you can get more for fifty cents than at the NEBRASKA STATE FAIR SEPTEMBER 5 to 10, 1926WORLD'S CHAMPION COMING TO STATE FAIR
Lincoln, Nebr.—Victor, the champion draft gelding of the world and his stable mates, composing the Chicago Union Stock Yard's famous six-horse team, will be a leading attraction at the Nebraska State Fair and Exposition here September 5 to 10. These horses will give daily performances of spectacular maneuvers hitched to a three-ton exhibition wagon. Victor is a pure bred Clydesdale gelding, weighs nearly a ton and stands 17-3 hands high. He was awarded his coveted title at the last International Live Stock Exposition, where he proudly posed for the above picture with his sponsor, Miss Mildred Nugent, representing the Union Stock Yard and Transit Company of Chicago.Many New Attractions--All Over Nebraska Prize Winners Grand Night Show This isn't a fish story but the fish will be there to tell their own story. Write the Secretary for any information. ACME PRINTING CO. LINCOLN