Preliminary Nebraska deer check-in numbers indicate 2022 statewide harvest is down 9% compared to 2021 for the November firearm season. During the nine-day season, which was Nov. 12-20, 33,866 deer were harvested, compared to 37,053 in 2021.
While the overall statewide trend was down compared to previous years, regions of the state varied. Deer harvest in southeast Nebraska was up 2% from 2021, while southwest Nebraska was down 15%. The northwest district was down 9% and the northeast district was down 9% from 2021.
Mule deer buck harvest decreased 10%, with 4,875 taken, compared to 5,407 in 2021. Whitetail buck harvest was down 12%, with 18,942 taken compared to 21,070 in 2021. Antlerless mule deer harvest was down 12%, while antlerless white-tailed deer harvest increased 1% compared to 2021.
“There are a couple primary factors in the decline in deer harvest,” said Luke Meduna, big game program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “Considering the increases in antlerless harvest due to depredation complaints over the past few years, it’s not surprising harvest numbers would start trending downward at some point with those deer populations declining. We also took a fair number of reports of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease the last two years, particularly in northern Nebraska and that likely had an impact on whitetail populations.”
Archery season closes Dec. 31, while muzzleloader season is Dec. 1-31. The late antlerless season will run Jan. 1-15, while the River Antlerless late season will run Jan. 1-31.
Hunters are reminded that mule deer does are protected in many management units and public lands across the state. Refer to the 2022 Big Game Guide for details or view it at OutdoorNebraska.gov/guides.
Hunters wishing to donate venison can use the Deer Exchange program. Visit OutdoorNebraska.org for more details.