LINCOLN – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission made changes to the 2015 big game regulations March 20 at a meeting in Lexington.
Most significant of the big game changes is an increase in the River Antlerless Unit deer permit quota from 7,000 to 12,000. This is expected to maintain hunting pressure on white-tailed deer in prime habitat on private land, where high deer herd numbers can develop the fastest. The permit allows for the harvest of two antlerless white-tailed deer with weapons legal for each season. The unit comprises land along many of Nebraska’s major rivers.
Other changes to deer regulations are:
— Frenchman Unit: 100 Mule Deer Conservation Area permits added; 400 Antlerless Only Season Choice permits removed; 100 Antlerless Only Season Choice Frenchman West permits added.
— Keya Paha Unit: 250 permits added; antlerless whitetail bonus tag added to permit.
— Loup East Unit: antlerless whitetail bonus tag added to permit; 250 Antlerless Only Season Choice permits added.
— Loup West: 150 Antlerless Only Season Choice Whitetail permits added.
— Missouri Unit: 750 Antlerless Only Season Choice permits added; antlerless whitetail bonus tag added to Antlerless Only Season Choice permit.
— Republican Unit: antlerless whitetail bonus tag removed from Antlerless Only Season Choice permit.
— Sandhills Unit: 500 permits removed; no antlerless mule deer harvest allowed; all Antlerless Only Season Choice permits removed.
— DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge: a December late season with 100 antlerless permits is added.
— The Nonresident Restricted Statewide Buck permit is reinstated.
— Additional deer hunting dates are added at Garden County, DeSoto and Boyer Chute refuges.
Changes to antelope regulations are:
— Box Butte East Unit: 10 late-season permits are added.
— Cheyenne Unit: Four permits are added.
— Eastern Sandhills Unit: Four permits are removed.
Changes to elk regulations are:
— Box Elder Unit: Three bull and six cow permits are added.
— North Platte River Unit: Three bull permits are added.
— Niobrara River Unit: Six cow permits are added.
— Hat Creek Unit: Three bull and six cow permits are removed.
In addition, another regulation change creates a system of preference points for draw unit deer permit applicants.
In other business, the Commission:
— passed a regulation that allows turkey tags to be cancelled by use of mobile devices;
— created a cash change fund of $300 for Danish Alps State Recreation Area (SRA);
— increased the cash change fund from $300 to $500 at Calamus SRA;
— approved a renewed lease with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for the management of the Salt Valley Lakes;
— approved a recommendation to apply with the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission for limited beverage service within the restaurant at Fort Robinson State Park;
— approved the acquisition of 96.6 acres in Buffalo County from the Platte River Recovery and Implementation Program (PRRIP) as an addition to Bassway Strip Wildlife Management Area (WMA), and, as partial compensation for the addition, trading the 51-acre Blue Hole East WMA in Buffalo County to the PRRIP.
The next Commission meeting will be May 15 in Ogallala.