Nebraska deer harvest sets record

Nebraska's November firearm deer harvest set a record this fall, rising 18 percent over last year, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. The 2010 November firearm deer harvest was 63,300, compared to 53,767 in 2009. Most of the increase is from antlerless white-tailed deer harvest, as 21,000 bonus antlerless white-tailed deer tags were added this year. Good weather benefited hunters and farmers as the corn harvest was nearly complete at the start of the November firearm season, compared to 2009 when more than half of the crop was still in the field at the start of the season. Hunters coming to Custer County and surrounding area also found success. At the Broken Bow check station, 1,288 deer were checked, compared to 1,162 last year. Reports from other check stations in the area include: Halsey, 666 (598 last year); Loup City, 554 (475); Sargent, 430 (320); Ord, 674 (563); and Burwell, 709 (648). The following are harvest figures for each region of the state, with the percentage increase from 2009: Panhandle (District I) – 6,580, 9 percent; north-central (District II) – 11,885, 13 percent; northeast (District III) – 13,791, 32 percent; southwest (District IV) – 7,042, 20 percent; southeast (District V) – 13,709, 11 percent; and south-central (District VI) – 10,325, 13 percent. "This is a good step toward our goal of a 25-percent reduction in the deer herd in eastern Nebraska over the next 3 years," said Kit Hams, big game program manager for Game and Parks. "The use of Earn-a-Buck rules on Elkhorn and Wahoo permits and the October firearm antlerless season (3,000 deer harvested) in 2010 have both been successful in increasing doe harvest." Earn-a-Buck rules required hunters to check in an antlerless deer before or at the same time they checked a buck. Assuming normal harvest rates during archery, muzzleloader and January antlerless seasons, hunters should harvest about 90,000 deer in Nebraska for the 2010 seasons, compared to the previous record of 80,400 in 2008 and 78,000 last year. Nebraska has enjoyed excellent deer hunting the past three years, with record harvest numbers and record deer. A state record nontypical white-tailed deer was taken last year in Richardson County. A potential state record typical white-tailed deer was harvested this November north of Seward. Hunters and landowners are invited to attend a public informational meeting to discuss deer issues, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Meetings are scheduled in each Game and Parks district. Game and Parks biologists will explain and take questions on a number of topics, including deer management, deer damage and depredation permits, antlerless harvest, trophy management, and diseases. Antelope and elk issues also may be discussed. The meeting for the north-central (District II) will be Dec. 14 in Broken Bow at the 4-H Building, located at the junction of Nebraska highways 2 and 70, beginning at 7 p.m.