Early checked deer numbers down 10 percent statewide

LINCOLN, Neb. – Preliminary deer check-in numbers indicate that statewide harvest numbers are down approximately 10 percent compared to the 2017 opening weekend of Nebraska’s firearm season.

During this year’s Nov. 10-11 opening weekend, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s northeast district check stations recorded 11 percent fewer deer than last year. The number of checked deer were down 9 percent in the southeast and northwest districts and down 11 percent in the southwest district.

“Many factors can be related to the lower numbers of checked deer,” said Pat Molini, a wildlife assistant administrator for Game and Parks. “There is still corn standing in the fields, and the frigid temperatures and single-digit wind chills made it easier for some to stay home and watch football on Saturday.”

Molini added that colder temperatures allow hunters to hang their deer carcasses longer without the worry of spoilage, delaying check-in until later in the week.

Another factor in the lower numbers of checked deer, Molini said, is that management units such as the Pine Ridge, Blue Northwest and Wahoo had fewer permits available this year.

— All deer harvested during the nine-day firearm season must be checked at a big game check station. This includes deer harvested on archery permits during this time as well. Be sure to notch the carcass tag on your permit immediately upon harvesting a deer.

— Many check-in stations in the northwest and north central are collecting lymph nodes for chronic wasting disease testing. Hunters whose deer test positive for CWD will be notified directly by the Game and Parks. Additionally, test results are posted weekly at OutdoorNebraska.org/CWD.

— In Nebraska, a person must have permission to enter private property.

“Many hunters report high rut activity along with fewer hunters in the field, so those hunters who decided to wait for warmer temperatures may be in luck later in the week,” Molini said.

Many management unit permits are available, as well as some statewide permits. Permits can be purchased at OutdoorNebraska.org.

According to Angie Moore, 216 deer were checked in at Tornado Alley in Arapahoe this season.

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