LINCOLN – The Nov. 12 opener of firearm deer season is approaching and excitement and anticipation are building for Nebraskans.
“Hunting prospects have improved in all management units as herds are mostly recovered from the drought and disease losses of 2012,” says Kit Hams, big game program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “Mule deer in five southern units are at record highs and whitetail are increasing in several units.
“An increase in antlerless permits this fall will limit whitetail growth and provide hunters an opportunity to share their venison with family and friends,” he said.
Among the advantages of deer hunting in Nebraska are ample opportunities on private and public land, and the opportunity for mixed-bag hunts. Fishing trips and state park area visits also can complement deer hunts.
Deer permits are available in most units and may be purchased at OutdoorNebraska.org or at any Game and Parks permitting office. To check the availability of remaining permits, visit the website, click on Buy a Permit, then click Remaining Permits.
OutdoorNebraska.org is an excellent resource for deer hunters. View the 2016 Big Game Hunting Guide and the 2016 Public Access Atlas to plan a hunting trip. Find hunting sites using the site’s interactive maps or find areas to camp and make reservations through the site.
The Open Fields and Waters program offers public walk-in hunting access on private property. Sites are displayed in the 2016 Public Access Atlas. Available public ground includes nearly 250 state-owned wildlife management areas. Hunting is allowed on private property if permission is granted by the owner.
Hunters are reminded that anyone hunting deer with a firearm permit during a firearm season must wear blaze orange. This includes archers hunting during the November firearm season. Anyone using a tree stand should use a safety harness to prevent injury due to a fall.
Game and Parks offers these additional reminders:
— Be sure of your target and make good shots at standing deer. The best shot is made on a broadside or quartering-away deer.
— Have a plan for cleaning, cooling, transporting and processing your deer. Deer may be quartered in the field for easier transport. Punch and notch your permit at time of kill.
— Firearm deer hunters and archers harvesting deer during the November firearm season 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 November firearm season.
— Game and Parks staff at check stations in the Blue Northwest, Blue Southeast and Wahoo units of southeast Nebraska will be taking 700 lymph node samples from deer to test for chronic wasting disease.
— To view a summary of deer regulations and a list of check stations, visit OutdoorNebraska.gov/HuntingSeasons.
— Hunters may donate deer to the Hunters Helping the Hungry (HHH) Program by signing up at OutdoorNebraska.gov/hhh. HHH provides ground venison to Nebraskans in need.
— The Deer Exchange allows hunters to donate whole or processed deer to persons who sign up at OutdoorNebraska.gov/DeerExchangeProgram.
— Call Nebraska Wildlife Crimestoppers toll-free at 800-742-7627 to report game law violations.
The firearm season closes on Nov. 20.