Matt Zvolanek of Ogallala went on a “pretty good little hunt” with his friend and friend’s father in the Sandhills recently. The regular duck opener has become a bit of a tradition for the three.
That hunt also allowed Zvolanek to become the first hunter to complete a 2020 Nebraska Duck Slam.
The slam challenges hunters to harvest a teal (blue-winged or green-winged) of either sex, as well as drakes of three other species: an American wigeon, a mallard and a northern pintail.
Zvolanek shot a teal on Sept. 7 on public land in Cherry County. Then on Oct. 3, the duck season opener, he harvested an American wigeon, mallard and northern pintail on private land in Sheridan County to finish off the slam.
Despite having hunting the area before, Zvolanek didn’t take for granted he could shoot the three remaining species he needed for the slam.
“I wasn’t really expecting to do it, but I’m glad I did,” he said. “There’s a variety of birds in the Sandhills. I knew all the species of birds were up in that area.”
As the first to complete the challenge, Zvolanek will receive some hunting gear courtesy of Ducks Unlimited.
Zvolanek, 28, has been shooting ducks for at least 16 years. He completed last year’s Duck Slam in December. He is still trying to finish off his Trout and Upland slams.
All ducks taken in the Duck Slam must be harvested in Nebraska, and hunters must upload a photo of each harvest at OutdoorNebraska.org/DuckSlam.
Those who successfully complete the slam will receive an official certificate, a Nebraska Duck Slam pin, four tasty meals and Central Flyway bragging rights. Additionally, all hunters who complete the slam during the 2020-2021 season will be registered to win one of several prizes donated by Ducks Unlimited. A drawing for the grand prize, Special Edition Ducks Unlimited Winchester SX 4 12-gauge shotgun, will take place Feb. 20, 2021, at the Ducks Unlimited State Banquet.
For more information, go to OutdoorNebraska.org.