Bison (American buffalo), mule deer, white-tailed deer, pronghorn, coyote, beaver, prairie dog, jackrabbit, skunk, and squirrel were found in large numbers by the first settlers. Bison, in particular, were hunted indiscriminately and were eliminated by the 1880s.
Other species have survived and prospered. Pheasant, quail, sharp-tailed grouse, prairie chicken, and wild turkey are also abundant. Wildlife has increased considerably in recent years as conservation practices have been applied to the land and as farmland has been converted to grassland. Many migratory waterfowl, varieties of shorebirds, and the nearly extinct whooping crane use Nebraska waters during the fall and spring migrations. Thousands of sandhill cranes stop along the central Platte River every year during their migration. Crappie, perch, pike, catfish, bullhead, bass, bluegill, and trout abound in Nebraska’s lakes and streams. Fish hatcheries may be found near Benkelman, North Platte, Valentine, and Burwell. "Nebraska" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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