LINCOLN — Rainwater Basin wetlands observed during an aerial survey Aug. 29 are mostly full of water due to above-normal rainfall, so little pumping is planned, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Wetland conditions also are good throughout most of the rest of the state, resulting in excellent habitat for waterfowl and creating good opportunities for waterfowl hunters.

Because of the rainfall, some parking lots and roads are in poor condition and some of the areas are heavily vegetated, which can make hunting access difficult, so it is recommended to check the areas you plan to hunt before the season opener.

Waterfowl hunting in Nebraska begins with early teal season Sept. 7-15 in the High Plains Zone and Sept. 7-22 in the Low Plains Zone. That also kicks off the new Nebraska Duck Slam challenge, which encourages waterfowlers to harvest four species in the state. More information is available at OutdoorNebraska.org/DuckSlam.

In addition to providing places to hunt waterfowl, wetlands are pumped when needed to provide habitat for migrating waterfowl and other water birds, and to provide areas for people to observe wildlife.

To view the Aug. 29 report on wetland conditions and pumping plans, go to OutdoorNebraska.gov/waterfowlchecklist, where updates will be posted regularly throughout the duck seasons.

Visit OutdoorNebraska.org for more information on waterfowl hunting and to purchase permits and stamps and register for the Harvest Information Program.

In other news

It’s a magical time of year, really. As daylight wanes, the temperature begins to drop, frost appears on the pumpkin, leaves turn color and start toppling to the ground, and experienced bowhunters know the deer rut is beginning.

Jared Buskirk of Lincoln surveys his handiwork while setting up a campsite at Branched Oak State Recreation Area on Sept. 27. Buskirk and Emily Case of Norfolk went camping together to enjoy the cooler autumnal weather and views.

LINCOLN — Busy schedules around the holidays can make it easy to forget to purchase Nebraska Game and Parks Commission permits for the new year.

LINCOLN — The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is offering special antlerless deer hunting opportunities within Eugene T. Mahoney and Platte River State Parks (SP), as well as Schramm Park State Recreation Area (SRA).