Firearm Deer Season Opens in Nebraska

Firearm Deer Season Opens in Nebraska

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

LINCOLN, Neb. –-( Deer hunters encountered decent weather overall but were challenged by a large percentage of corn standing in fields during the opening weekend of the firearm season Nov. 14-15, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Expect hunting to improve as the corn harvest, which was set far behind schedule by a wet October, progresses. The state has an ample deer population, including many older bucks.

“We are seeing an older age class of deer being taken in the south-central district,” said Jerry Pecha, District VI law enforcement supervisor. “It appears the 2½-year-old-class buck numbers have been growing in numbers for the past few years. Many of our hunters realize that with the ample numbers of deer we have, they don’t need to shoot the first buck they see and are becoming more selective.”

The most common complaints received by conservation officers over the weekend were hunting without permission and shooting from the road. Officers wrote citations for those violations, as well as others, including: hunting without a permit, spotlighting, hunting in the wrong unit, failure to cancel a permit, harassment of game, taking game in a closed season, no Nebraska Habitat Stamp, no hunter orange, borrowing a permit, and taking antlered deer with an antlerless-only permit.

No hunting accidents were reported.

The firearm deer season closes Nov. 22. The electronic checking system is not available during this season, but the Deer Exchange is available for all deer seasons.

Here is a region-by-region roundup of the opening weekend:

The season opened Saturday with normal hunting pressure. Hunters had good success, with some good bucks taken. Light snow fell periodically throughout the region over the weekend.

Conservation officers in District I seized about a dozen deer. Two Californians were arrested for falsifying permit applications to obtain deer and turkey permits.

There were 262 deer checked at the District I office in Alliance over the weekend and 310 as of midday Monday.

Some officers reported a good number of does taken with season choice permits. Hunters reported seeing good numbers of deer, with most of them passing up deer so they could have a chance to shoot a bigger one.

Hunters are making good use of the Open Fields and Waters lands. Officers reported high activity on most of the areas checked. One area had 11 vehicles parked on it opening morning and another had eight.

There were 19 citations and 13 warnings issued in District III.

There were 470 deer checked at the District III office in Norfolk over the weekend and 544 as of midday Monday. There were 242 deer checked at the District II office in Bassett over the weekend and 296 as of midday Monday.

Several officers indicated there was a large harvest of mule deer and whitetails still were in the corn. One District IV conservation officer checked 16 deer but seized five.

Hunting without a permit was an issue. A person shot a deer without a permit, then said he intended to purchase a permit if he could hit a deer. Another person shot a buck and dumped it in a ravine, stating the deer was not as large as he thought it was when he shot it.

There were 275 deer checked at the District IV office in North Platte over the weekend and 317 as of midday Monday.

Open Fields and Waters Program lands were busy Saturday, with some complaints of hunters driving onto these walk-in-only sites.

There were 149 deer checked at the District V office in Lincoln over the weekend and 182 as of midday Monday.

Hunter success in District VI was down somewhat from last year. Out of 310 hunters checked by mid-afternoon Sunday, officers observed 70 deer in the bag.

The weekend was a memorable for one young hunter, who was checked with his first deer, a 7-by-7 whitetail.

There were 390 deer checked at the District VI office in Kearney over the weekend and 450 as of midday Monday.