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Geiser: With protocol to protect artifacts, mansion at Buffalo Bill State Historical Park opens up
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Geiser: With protocol to protect artifacts, mansion at Buffalo Bill State Historical Park opens up

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Geiser: With protocol to protect artifacts, mansion at Buffalo Bill State Historical Park opens up

Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park staff members Meghan Manary, left, and Meghan Ward work to label and place historical pieces belonging to the Cody family in displays at the mansion.

The mansion at Buffalo Bill Ranch state historical park is now open to the public. The historic mansion at the ranch had remained closed during the current public health crisis so staff could devise plans to protect important historical resources, which cannot be disinfected the same way as other facilities or items.

Game and Parks staff have developed methods so visitors can still see and enjoy some of the historic facilities while also protecting the historic resources, park staff and the public.

In the mansion, staff have been working on showcasing some of the Cody family’s items that have never been put on display before along with making new labels for all the historic pieces on display at the mansion so visitors can learn the history of each piece. There is now information and pieces of each of Cody’s daughters; Irma and Arta, the men they married and their families.

The mansion is also undergoing a facelift on the outside as scraping and painting has begun this week and ornate woodwork on the outside will be restored to bring the Cody mansion back to its glory days.

Inside Scout’s Rest Ranch Barn, the Daughters of the American Revolution have re-matted, framed and labeled many photos that line the north side of the barn. These photos tell a story of the people that were part of the ranch, friends of Buffalo Bill Cody, and those that helped make Cody’s Wild West Show popular during that era. Staff have also found pieces to display to the public inside the barn that haven’t been there before.

Even if you’ve toured the mansion and barn before, you’ll be able to view new pieces that belonged to the Cody’s and learn more about the Cody family history. More updating and organizing will continue to make the historical park a place for everyone to come visit or revisit.

The log cabin, grounds, and bison at the ranch are also ready for visitors to come enjoy and walk through. It’s also a great place to relax, eat lunch or bird watch.

The ranch will be open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays and will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

The Buffalo Bill Ranch State Recreation Area is also open for camping, fishing, hiking, bird watching and is a great location to launch a tube or kayak down the North Platte River. Dusty Trails, which is on-site at the entrance to the recreation area provides horseback trail rides along with tubes, tanks, kayaks and canoes for floating the river.

Visitors are reminded to recreate responsibly, including wearing a mask in the historic buildings and visitor centers, using hand sanitizer, and refraining from touching items inside the buildings. Guests also should follow state and local health measures, including social distancing, limiting group size and staying home if sick or knowingly exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Park entry permits are required and are available at the mansion or online at

Hunters Helping

the Hungry

Hunters Helping the Hungry is a program that allows hunters to donate whole field-dressed deer at participating processors to be distributed by charitable organizations and food pantries statewide. The program is in dire need of your help for 2020. Without enough cash contributions, the program must limit deer donations and the amount of food provided for those in need of meals in Nebraska.

When you go to the Game and Parks website to buy a permit or park sticker, you will be asked if you would like to donate to Hunters Helping the Hungry. Any amount can be tagged for a donation. If everyone who purchased a hunting or fishing permit or park permit would graciously donate $1, there would be plenty of funding for this program. You don’t need to purchase a permit or be a hunter to give a tax deductible gift. A donation of one dollar provides two people meals; $10 provides 22 meals; $25 provides 56 meals and $50 provides 111 meals to those in need.

Hunters Helping the Hungry program was created by the Nebraska Legislature in April 2012 with passage of LB 928. The program provides pure ground venison to Nebraskans in need. The program is funded entirely by tax deductible donations made by hunters, businesses and individuals. Hunters who offer deer for donation pay no processing fee. Contracted processors prepare and package ground venison from donated deer and charitable organizations pick up and distribute venison to Nebraskans in need.

Over 650,000 meals (¼-pound serving of venison) have been distributed to those in need since the program began in 2012. Help ensure that every deer a hunter wants to donate can be processed and more families get fed. Only program expenses are paid for with your donation, and more than 85% of donations are used for processing deer and packaging the venison. The popularity of the program has caused an increase in total processing costs that has quickly outpaced cash donations to pay for it.

Contributions to fund the program continued to decrease and processor contract quotas reduced. The number of processors decreased to 13 from 21 in 2018 and the pounds of venison distributed decreased by 33% from a year ago. Grants were received from Cabela’s Outdoor Fund ($2,500) and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation ($750) for 2019.

Tax-deductible cash contributions to support the program can be made in two ways:

» Make a contribution online today by selecting the ‘donate’ icon at the bottom of the Game and Parks permits website.

» Write a check made out to Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, with HHH written in the memo field and mail it to Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Attn: Hunters Helping the Hungry, 2200 N. 33rd St, P.O. Box 30370, Lincoln, NE 68503-0370.

Please consider donating to this program. In North Platte, Kelley Custom Pack takes deer to process and the meat is given to the Salvation Army to distribute to those in need right here in our city.

How to donate a deer

Hunters can donate a deer at a contracted processor beginning with the first day of the deer archery season, and ending on the day after the late antlerless deer season ends. However, some contracted processors may only accept deer for a part of this period. Hunters are reminded that any donated deer must be legally harvested with any valid Nebraska deer permit and checked through Telecheck or at a November firearm check station. Hunters may keep the deer head, antlers and cape, but should contact a contracted processor to discuss removal of those portions. The program will not pay for removal. There is no limit to the number of deer a hunter may donate, however the number of deer donated at a processor location may be limited based on the available program funds to pay for the processing.

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