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Mule deer buck harvest on record pace

LINCOLN – Nebraska mule deer buck harvest is on a pace to set a record this year.

Mule deer buck harvest, as of Dec. 1, has increased for the third consecutive year to 8,486 (up 2 percent from 2015) and is on track to beat the 2008 record of 9,115 adult bucks. Populations continue to grow in response to low mule doe harvest.

Overall, mule deer harvest is higher and whitetail harvest is lower, so far this year, compared with 2015.

As of Dec. 1, 48,612 deer have been harvested in the state, compared to 49,100 in 2015, 45,000 in 2014, and 42,000 in 2013.

Whitetail buck harvest (25,300) is down 6 percent from last year and is expected to reach 27,000 by the end the season.

“Above-normal temperatures likely reduced daytime movement of deer and negatively affected harvest,” said Kit Hams, big game program manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “Bucks have accumulated fat reserves and winter coats in preparation for breeding season and winter. Warm weather causes deer to become nocturnal to avoid heat stress.”

Hunters likely will harvest 60,000 deer this year, compared to 58,671 taken in 2015 and 48,000 taken in 2013.

Archery, Muzzleloader, Youth, River Antlerless and Season Choice antlerless permits remain throughout the state. They may be purchased at Game and Parks permitting offices or at OutdoorNebraska.org.

Archery and muzzleloader seasons close Dec. 31. The late antlerless season ends Jan. 15.

Hunters are reminded that mule deer does are protected in many management units and public lands across the state. Refer to the 2016 Big Game Guide for details.

Hunters who wish to donate venison can use the Hunters Helping the Hungry and Deer Exchange programs. Go to OutdoorNebraska.org for more details.

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at jerry.kane@nebraska.gov or 402-471-5008.

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