WAHOO – In a couple of days the Nebraska firearm deer season will open across the state and the prospects for hunters look good.
Nebraska Game and Parks big game program manager Kit Hams is confident that hunters across the state will find deer plentiful.
“Hunting prospects have improved in all management units as herds are mostly recovered from the drought and disease losses of 2012,” said Hams. “Mule deer in five southern units are at record highs and whitetail are increasing in several units.”
Hams also noted the increase in antlerless permits handed out this fall and is confident it will lead to a decrease in the number of whitetail deer in eastern Nebraska.
This year’s nine-day firearm season (Nov. 12 - Nov 20) will mark the 71st year hunters will take part in the harvest.
Nebraska’s first modern deer season was held in 1945, with a harvest of 275 mule deer and two white-tailed deer.
Since then, deer hunting has become a treasured tradition in Nebraska, and through careful management deer population and harvest numbers have greatly increased since that first season.
Hams noted that the EHD outbreak and drought dramatically decreased the deer population in 2012, but in the same breath added that the state’s herds have almost completely recovered.
Whitetail and mule deer numbers are increasing and the number of age-3-and-older bucks has risen.
In 2015, mule deer buck harvest increased 18 percent to 8,876 – the fourth highest on record. Whitetail buck harvest in 2015 climbed 14 percent to 28,505.
Permit quotas for antlerless whitetails have risen in 2016.
The archery season will continue through Dec. 31.
The muzzleloader season will run from Dec. 1 – Dec. 31.
A late firearm season for antlerless deer only will open Jan. 1, 2017 and will continue through Jan. 15.
Deer permits are available in most units and can also be purchased online at OutdoorNebraska.org or at any Game and Parks permitting office.
Deer hunters can find area to hunt online by accessing the 2016 Big Game Hunting Guide and the 2016 Public Access Atlas while planning a hunt.
The Open Fields and Water program allows hunters public walk in hunting access on private property. Sites are displayed on the public access atlas.
Available public ground includes 250 state-owned wildlife management areas.
Hunting is allowed on private property only when permission is granted by the owner.
Firearm hunters and archers harvesting deer during the November firearm season must deliver must deliver their deer to a check station no later than 1 p.m. on the day following the close of the season. Telecheck and Internet check of deer is closed during the nine-day firearm season.
The check-in station in Wahoo is located inside the Wahoo Police Department on 605 North Broadway.
The Wahoo station has been selected this year is one of three southeast units that has been chosen to take lymph node samples in an effort to monitor chronic wasting disease.