Make sure you offer a congratulations to Travis VanHouten, Bryan Spilinek and Keith Kendrick the next time you see them.

The Washington County hunters from Blair, Arlington and Fort Calhoun, respectively, were recently three of just 122 folks who completed the Nebraska Upland Slam. They harvested the state's four primary upland game bird species in a single hunting season. That's a ring-necked pheasant, a northern bobwhite quail, a sharp-tailed grouse and a greater prairie-chicken each.

The Slam is in its second year and orchestrated by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever. Ten states worth of hunters completed the hunting challenge this season, but 107 of the 122 hunters to finish were from Nebraska, according to a Game and Parks release.

VanHouten, Spilinek and Kendrick received an official certificate and pin for their efforts, and were entered into a end-of-year grand prize drawing from Pheasants Forever. Jeff Duffey of Minden, Lance Goings of Cherokee, Iowa, and Benjamin Esker of Effinghma, Illinois, won those drawings and the prizes, which included Duffey's new Browning Silver 12-gauge semiautomatic shotgun.

I should also make note that Kurt Doyle of Fort Calhoun completed the 2018 Upland Slam as well. A delayed congrats to him, too.

DeSoto Refuge to host turkey hunts

I've got one more outdoors note to pass along.

The DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge across the river is set to host three notable turkey hunts this spring.

The public archery hunt will take place April 15 through May 17. A Refuge Hunting Regulations permit is required, but you can easily pick one of those up at the DeSoto Visitor Center.

In addition, turkey bowhunters must be properly licensed, and follow state and federal rules.

DeSoto's youth shotgun turkey hunt will be April 11-12. Interested youngsters can apply for the hunt by writing a letter with their name, address and telephone number in it. It must also include the name of the person who'll bring the youth hunting and that person's cellphone number.

I copy and pasted this next part directly from the DeSoto release: “Applications should be sent to DeSoto Refuge, 1434 316th Lane, Missouri Valley, IA 51555. A random drawing for the limited slots will be done on March 13th.”

Last but not least, a shotgun turkey hunt for mobility impaired hunters will take place April 18-19 at the refuge. Interested folks should call 712-388-4803 to inquire.

For more information on all things DeSoto, go online to fws.gov/refuge/desoto/.

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