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Firearm Deer Season: Enjoying the Experience

Nebraska’s most popular hunt is the 9-day firearm deer season (Nov. 14 through Nov. 22).

This is one of the absolute best times of year to be outside and participate in it with the deer rut happening.

My lovely wife of more than 33 years, Polly Wagner, says that everything comes to a grinding halt in the Wagner family with the opening of “rifle deer season.” It’s a wonderful event, though. For many of us in the hunting lifestyle, the firearm deer season is a time-honored tradition as ingrained as Husker football. I can still remember as a child tagging along with my dad in pursuit of that elusive trophy white-tailed deer buck and the excitement in the house on the night before opening day. None of us ever slept much.

To me, personally, the firearm deer season means many things.

It means passing on the heritage that my dad gave me, and his father gave him. It means spending time with younger family members and coaching their hunts (it’s so much fun to be a coach for a new hunter and be part of our new Take ‘Em Hunting challenge). Remember to stick to COVID-19 prevention guidelines unless these folks live in your same household.

Your blogger continues to share his outdoor knowledge with younger family members like University of Nebraska-Omaha student and second cousin, Trystan Whitted of Gretna, NE during the 2019 Nebraska firearm deer hunting season. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The firearm deer hunting season means reconnecting with other family members and friends, too, in a socially distant way.

My brother, Steve Wagner of Gretna, NE, one of the best deer hunters I know. Each firearm deer hunting season, I look forward to hunting with him. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The firearm deer hunting season means reinforcing relationships with neighboring relatives and farmers.

Another top notch deer hunter is my cousin, Mark Hintz of Gretna, NE, on his farm in rural southeast Nebraska. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The firearm deer hunting season also means relishing the landscape on my Aunt Norma’s and my friend Rob’s southeast Nebraska farms where my ancestors settled and more than likely hunted white-tailed deer for food some 154 years ago.

Part of the old  farm place photographed during a recent firearm deer hunting season in southeast Nebraska. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

It means taking pleasure in the peace and serenity of the countryside. It means just listening to the wind gently blow through the trees and the trickle of water glide over the leaves and rocks in the creek.

The view from a ground blind set up over a creek bottom amid the woodlands of a farm in southeast Nebraska during a late afternoon firearm deer hunting season session. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

It means delighting in every bit of nature and agriculture, including hiking through fields and noting wildlife tracks in the snow or mud on the way to the deer stand.

A coyote track is noted in the snow on the way to the firearm deer hunting stand on our southeastern Nebraska family farm. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Of course, it means a bonus if I’m able to get a deer or two and have family, friends and neighbors enjoy some fresh, lean, free-ranging, local meat at the dinner table.

This is a mature white-tailed deer buck I harvested in CRP grassland habitat during a recent Nebraska firearm deer hunting season. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

And, it means witnessing those incredible Nebraska sunrises and sunsets. Ah, those picturesque Nebraska sunrises and sunsets …

Approaching sunrise in a ground blind on a southeast Nebraska farm on the opening morning of a recent firearm deer hunting season. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

I want you to keep in mind that we at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission are here to assist you with planning your firearm deer hunt and starting a tradition with your own family or friend network. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Deer can be found in all 93 Nebraska counties. Various public lands are available to hunt. State park areas are open and make for great base camps. And you’ll be glad to hear that different permit options remain available for the firearm deer season.

For those with hunts already set, there is a change this year regarding how we have to check our deer during the November firearm season because of COVID-19 concerns. We must use the Telecheck system. See information about that on your permit or by going here.

Visit OutdoorNebraska.gov for  more deer hunting information, to purchase deer permits and habitat stamps and to enter our Take ‘Em Hunting Challenge.

I wish you a good, safe firearm deer hunt this year. Don’t forget, it’s about enjoying the experience.

My youngest son, Noah Wagner, with his first deer, a white-tailed deer spike buck, taken from the family farm during a Nebraska firearm deer hunting season some years ago. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

About greg wagner

A native of Gretna, NE, a graduate of Gretna High School and Bellevue University, Greg Wagner currently serves as the Public Information Officer and Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Service Center in Omaha. On a weekly basis, Wagner can be heard on a number of radio stations, seen on local television in Omaha, and on social media channels, creatively conveying natural resource conservation messages as well as promoting outdoor activities and destinations in Nebraska. Wagner, whose career at Game and Parks began in 1979, walks, talks, lives, breathes and blogs about Nebraska’s outdoors. He grew up in rural Gretna, building forts in the woods, hunting, fishing, collecting leaves, and generally thriving on constant outdoor activity. One of the primary goals of his blog is to get people, especially young ones, to have fun and spend time outside!

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