Preliminary deer harvest in Nebraska is 3 percent ahead of last year’s pace. From Sept. 1 through Nov. 30, there were 49,923 deer checked, compared to 48,633 in 2016.
Mule deer buck harvest has increased for the fourth consecutive year, with 8,609 taken, compared to 8,499 in 2016. “This bodes well for Nebraska, as mule deer buck harvest in 2016 was the highest on record,” said Kit Hams, big game program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “The average age of bucks is also very good, with 49 percent of bucks estimated at age 3 or older.”
Whitetail buck harvest is up 4 percent in 2017 with 26,489 adult whitetail bucks harvested compared to 25,314 in 2016. The average age of bucks declined slightly, with 33 percent of whitetail bucks estimated at age 3 or older.
Biologists also collected lymph nodes for chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing from more than 1,200 deer in Panhandle and southwest units. Results should be available by the end of December. Game and Parks will only notify a hunter if his or her deer tested positive for CWD.
Archery and muzzleloader seasons close Dec. 31. The late antlerless season ends Jan. 15.
Hunters are reminded that mule deer does are protected in many management units and public lands across the state. Refer to the 2017 Big Game Guide for details.
Hunters who wish to donate venison can use the Hunters Helping the Hungry and Deer Exchange programs. Go to OutdoorNebraska.org for more details.