Located along the Missouri River, this predominately wetland area in Saline County offers outdoor fun, including waterfowl and deer hunting, wildlife viewing, and mushroom hunting.
Grand Pass Conservation Area offers excellent recreational opportunities in March. The area provides outstanding snow goose hunting prospects during the Light Goose Conservation Order from Feb. 7 through April 30. Hunters should note there are designated refuge pools where hunting is not allowed. Peak numbers of snow geese typically arrive on the area during the last week of February through the first week of March.
Wildlife viewing is also popular during this time of year. After duck season through Oct. 14, the area opens to the general public for drives on designated roads through the wetland complex.
After Canada goose season, the refuge gates are opened to allow access for viewing. From the comfort of a vehicle, visitors can view many species of ducks, geese, and large numbers of bald eagles.
The area also has an observation tower that is open to the public all year. The tower is located on the southeast portion of the area and allows users to enjoy vistas of the east refuge pools and Teteseau Lake, a remnant oxbow of the Missouri River. Sightseers may also see our resident sandhill cranes, which tend to reside on this portion of the area.
The 5,301-acre area is best known for its waterfowl hunting opportunities in the fall. The area has a diversity of wetland habitats, such as emergent marsh, moist soil, and agricultural crop units. Approximately 3,800 acres are managed with a variety of techniques to create optimal habitat for migratory birds and resident wetland species. Water is pumped into the area during the fall and winter months to coincide with waterfowl migration and to provide new food resources on a daily basis. Hunting is allocated through a daily managed waterfowl drawing, and the area has one ADA-accessible blind. Approximately 800 acres of bottomland forest also sit along 6 miles of Missouri River frontage on the area and provide excellent deer hunting opportunities.
The lure of morel mushrooms in the spring attracts hundreds of visitors to the area each year. A study conducted to assess recreational activities on the Missouri River found mushroom hunting to be the second most popular activity on the area, just behind waterfowl hunting. Bank fishing the Missouri River at the fishing access points and small game hunting in designated nonpool units are also enjoyed on the area.
—Robert Henry, area manager Grand Pass Conservation Area
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