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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 breeding period called “rut” happening.

My lovely wife of well over 30 years, Polly Wagner, says that everything comes to a grinding halt in the Wagner family with the “rifle deer season.” It’s a terrific 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 any night before we hunted. None of us ever slept much.

To me, personally, the firearm deer season means many wonderful 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 directed health measures/prevention guidelines unless these folks live in your same household).

Your blogger has continued 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. Uncle Mark is taking you this year. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

It 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 sure enjoy hunting and spending much time with him, especially with our “talks at the trucks” before and after our hunting sessions in the field. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

It 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. I really like the quiet chats we have on the long walks to our stands and blinds.  Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

It 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 on my aunt’s farm 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 our neighbor Rob’s  farm in southeast Nebraska during a late afternoon firearm deer hunting season session. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

It means enhancing an appreciation for the deer resource and all wildlife.

A yearling white-tailed deer buck grazes in a grassy CRP field of our neighbor Rob’s farm during the 2020 Nebraska firearm deer hunting season in rural southeast Nebraska. Our neighbors are awesome! Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

It means delighting in every bit of nature and agriculture, including hiking through fields and savoring  the small features such as 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 during a past year’s hunt on our southeastern Nebraska family farm. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

It means acquiring bonus protein 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.

Success on the opening day of the 2020 Nebraska firearm deer hunting season in rural southeast Nebraska for your blogger. I am thankful for the deer harvest! 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 …

Nearing sunrise on the opening morning of the 2020 Nebraska firearm deer hunting season as seen from an elevated blind on a southeast Nebraska farm. 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 your firearm deer hunt and answer any questions you may have about it. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

For those with hunts already underway or 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.

The scenic view from behind a ground blind overlooking a meadow where deer travel in the hills of my aunt’s southeast Nebraska farm. 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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