US Army Corps of Engineers
Omaha District

Summary of Decisions

Public Comments Received
Lewis & Clark Lake Duck Blind Program

*Please note that these are responses from the public and have been summarized as they have been stated to us during the public comment process. Responses listed below are both from written and those received during the public meeting. Names and personal identifiable information (PII) has been redacted so all responses reported publicly are anonymous. These responses are not the views, opinions or statements of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks, or the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission.

  • Perceived Private “Ownership” of public property :
    • Permanent blind holders demand boat blind hunters leave areas – threatening, arguments, conflicts, etc.
    • Several permanent blind holders “do not come out until just before legal shooting” and drive out people already set up.
    • Permanent blind holders do not want other hunters anywhere near other people – sometimes more than 300-yards, yelling and threatening has occurred.
    • Many areas where permanent blinds exist are never or rarely hunted out of – people do not want to get in a fight and avoid areas completely – leaving areas unused.
    • Guiding / offering blind spot for money or fee.
    • Lots of fighting/arguing and disagreements about the program for private-exclusive use of an area.
    • “Attitude” that blind holder has “private, exclusive use of an area”.
  • Applicants use other family members, neighbors and friends, and others that may not be a duck hunter to apply for limited permits to get a better shot at drawing each year.
    • Several people complain that they have never gotten a blind permit in 10+ years and see the same group of people get blinds each year that use all acquaintances to put in for blind applications.
  • Use of solar lights and other lighting to keep people away when no one is occupying the blind – people claim it is used for “finding their blind” or courtesy to others to know it is a permanent blind.
  • People have been “selling” their blind permit for season to persons that did not draw.
  • “Too many” Nebraska non-resident hunters have increased pressure on the lake – too many people – Nebraska Game & Parks should restrict number like South Dakota does.
  • Decoys are left out overnight and multiple days or all weekend.
  • Permanent blind hunters want the Corps to regulate the 300-yard rule to boat blinds.
  • Boat blind hunters say permanent blinds “hold” all of the “good spots” to hunt from.
  •  “Attitude” that blind holder has “private, exclusive use of an area”.
  • Many people hunt infrequently or do not hunt a certain area of the lake all together to avoid fighting with other people for prime spots.
  • Rules are not followed, and rules are not enforced. USACE Park Rangers and Conservation Officers (Game Wardens) do not enforce rules and regulations like they should.
  • Boat blind hunters cannot see where other permanent blinds are until sunrise – causing conflicts.
  • Many people do not hunt or want to hunt the area – too many conflicts so they leave or never hunt at Lewis and Clark Lake again.
  • Lots of illegal guiding, many guides are rude at boat ramps and on the water.
  • Blinds are important for people with limited mobility and are easier to use than boat blinds.
  • Permanent blinds are a tradition for local residents to use.
  • Permanent blinds can be cheaper to construct – only allowing boat blinds would only allow people with means to duck hunt on the lake.
  • Multiple reports of people stealing decoys, defacing/damaging/vandalizing permanent blinds.
  • Blinds are locked and not accessible to be used – should be allowed to use permanent blind since it is a structure on public property.
  • Permanent blind program gives favoritism to locals – folks from farther away can’t stage and claim spots so when they travel here all the permanent blinds have taken up the “best spots”.
  • Program all together causes more problems and creates confusion which leads to more conflicts between users – going to first come, first serve would allow for more equitable access for all.
  • Park Rangers and Conservation Officers do not enforce rules and laws.
  • Program is working fine as it is – already reduced number of blinds and have not been any issues since. Keep numbers of blinds allowed the same.

 

Public Suggestions to Improve Duck Blind Program

(In order of most suggested to least suggested)

  • Eliminate the program all together – allowing for first-come, first-serve hunting only.
  • Reduce number of Nebraska non-resident waterfowl hunting licenses.
  • Close either Unit 1A or 1B each year and rotate, allowing for permanent blinds in one unit and no permanent blinds in the other unit. Alternate each year between 1A and 1B being closed.
  • Close both Unit 1A and 1B to permanent blinds, only allow permanent blinds in Unit 2.
  • Have Corps of Engineers pick locations for permanent blinds – assign GPS coordinates and post a buoy or post indicating where the blinds may be placed.
  • Post Duck Blind rules at boat ramps around the lake so everyone has access to know the rules.
  • Reduce number of permanent blinds in each unit to half (4) in each unit.
  • Permanent blind hunters shooting time ends at 1 or 2pm to allow for boat blinds and others to use, and pull all decoys.
  • Do not allow more than one person to be on any application, including alternate party – to eliminate people getting a “better shot” at drawing a blind.
  • Require reflective devices or lights to indicate where permanent blinds are located.
  • Game wardens should enforce hunter harassment laws and then there would not be issues with the permanent blinds.
  • Raise the fee from $10 to $50-100 and non-refundable.
  • Have permit holders check in at boat ramp at noon and then be able to go out on duck blind build day.
  • Reduce length of season for permanent blinds – 2 week season only then need to remove permanent blinds.
  • Post contact information for blind permit holders, so others can call them to see if they will be occupying their blind.