Nebraska Deer:  An estimated population of 540,000 deer in 2016, up from about 525,000 in 2015 and 490,000 in 2014.  The population is rebounding from the drought and EHD outbreak of 2012 and 2013.  Antlerless deer permits were reduced on whitetails for 2017 to help the herd rebound.  Mule deer populations improved in 2016.  Herd analysis at right.  Historical Nebraska deer harvest data and news archive.

Nebraska Deer News

Commission adopts big game recommendations April 21, 2017 Nebraska, outdoornebraska.gov
...Antlerless-only whitetail permits were reduced in several eastern units.  Permits in southwest units were changed to increase mule deer doe harvest...
     ...taken away 2,900 bonus Antlerless Only Whitetail tags and 500 permits for two antlerless only whitetails. The objective is to decrease the antlerless harvest to increase herds as they rebound from a devastating outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease in 2012...

In Nebraska, tests confirm spread of CWD to Lancaster County March 13, 2017 Outdoor News
... A sick deer in Lancaster County tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), a fatal neurological disease, in early March. This is the first known case of CWD in Lancaster County...

Specially-trained dogs help track recover wounded deer March 3, 2017 Nebraska, McCook Daily Gazette
... Gus may be the only dog in Nebraska officially certified by United Blood Trackers, a New York organization "dedicated to promoting resource conservation through the use of trained tracking dogs in the ethical recovery of wounded big game." ... there doesn't have to be blood for Gus to track the animal....

Homestead to hold winter deer survey at end of month February 3, 2017 Nebraska, Beatrice Daily Sun
... on Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. You are invited to come and help the monument staff count deer! No experience necessary ...

Big-game numbers hit all-time state mark January 27, 2017 Nebraska, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
... A total of 58,126 deer were harvested in 2016, including 11,184 mule deer. Mule deer buck harvest increased 4 percent to 9,257, breaking the previous record set in 2009...

Deer illegally shot in Polk County January 18, 2017 Nebraska, Columbus Telegram
... The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is looking for information regarding the illegal shooting and wanton waste of two deer a few miles northeast of Osceola in Polk County.  In the early morning of Dec. 27 ...

CWD detected in Southeast Nebraska January 15, 2017 Nebraska, Lincoln Journal Star
...Chronic wasting disease has been detected for the first time in deer in Southeast Nebraska ...  753 deer sampled in three deer management units: Wahoo, Blue Northwest and Blue Southeast, the first extensive sampling in those...
    Fatal deer disease found in southeast Nebraska January 14, 2017 NBC Nebraska
... deer killed by hunters in Thayer, Saline, Cass and Polk counties showed evidence of the disease [chronic wasting] ...

... As of Dec. 8  ... Nearly 50,000 deer had been harvested, compared to 45,000 last year and 42,500 in 2013...

Four positives for CWD found in recent testing of deer January 11, 2017 Nebraska, Scottsbluff Star Herald
... The presence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer has been detected for the first time in southeastern Nebraska ... CWD was first discovered in Nebraska in 2000 in Kimball County

Possible deer poaching near Central City January 5, 2016 Nebraska, Grand Island Independent
... round 10:45 a.m. Monday about two deer carcasses found at O Road and Highway 14...

Record pace for mule deer buck harvest December 4, 2016 Nebraska, kwbe
... mule deer harvest is higher and whitetail harvest is lower this year compared to 2015... Whitetail buck harvest (25,300) is down 6 percent from last year ... 

Mule deer buck harvest on record pace December 1, 2016 Nebraska,  Omaha World-Herald
...  as of Dec. 1, has increased for the third consecutive year to 8,486 (up 2 percent from 2015) and is on track to beat the 2008 record of 9,115 adult bucks. Populations continue to grow in response to low mule doe harvest...

20 years of urban deer management December 1, 2016 Nebraska, KETV Omaha
... The trails at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue and Neale Woods in Omaha will be closed until Sunday so hunters can thin the herds of deer ... This is the 20th year ... Preister said the recent decline in deer is due to the flood of 2011, a deer disease outbreak in 2012 and continued hunting efforts...

Deer fence along I-80 is working November 25, 2016 Nebraska, KMTV
... an electrified 8-foot fence was completed on a 4-mile stretch along I-80 ... According to NDOR ever since the deer fence was completed, deer-related incidents involving vehicles declined 80-percent. In 2015, zero related incidents were recorded...

Game and Parks Encourages Safe and Legal Deer Hunting Season November 15, 2016 Nebraska, kwbe
... the deer population has rebounded from an EHD disease event in 2012 where 30 to 40 percent of the deer population was lost... “In some places it may be nearly as high as it was back in 2012.” ...

Bull elk illegally killed, abandoned, Game and Parks says November 15, 2016 Nebraska, Lincoln Journal Star
... The elk, believed to have been killed overnight Saturday, was found southeast of Crawford ...

Firearm deer season starts with few hitches November 14, 2016 Nebraska, Omaha World-Herald
...Commission staff checked in nearly 18,000 deer on opening weekend, representing a 4 percent increase in the northwest district, 3 percent decrease in the southwest and no change in the northeast or southeast... 

Deer hunters should find success November 11, 2016 Nebraska, Columbus Telegram
... Nebraska’s deer herd continues to rebound from the outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease in 2012 and 2013... “We’ve focused on increasing the mule deer herds in recent years as farmers are generally more acceptable of them,” Hams said.  After nearly 8,900 mule deer were harvested in 2015, the record of 9,100 ...

Deer hunting prospects look great for 2016 November 3, 2016 Nebraska, Omaha World-Herald
... herds are mostly recovered from the drought and disease losses of 2012,” says Kit Hams, big game program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “Mule deer in five southern units are at record highs and whitetail are increasing in several units.  “An increase in antlerless permits this fall will limit whitetail growth ...

Omaha World-Herald
...  the 2012 EHD outbreak killed about 100,000 deer across the state ... the population of white-tailed deer has been recovering ... “The herd is about where we want it,” Hams said. “We are increasing antlerless permits to attempt to keep it at that level.” ...

Pick a hunt — outlook good for all October 8, 2016 Nebraska, Omaha World-Herald
... We have about 300,000 whitetail in the state, which is about 4 or 5 whitetail per square mile ...  we’re going to be careful and try to avoid getting back to where the population of whitetail were in 2010, 2011 and 2012. ... Our mule deer herd is probably within 5 percent of the highest numbers we’ve ever had in the state ...

Drivers urged to be on high alert for deer September 19, 2016 Nebraska, Omaha World-Herald
... State Farm said it is estimated there were more than 10,500 deer-vehicle collisions in Nebraska and 32,550 in Iowa between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016...

Public invited to help at Homestead deer count September 17, 2016 Nebraska, Beatrice Daily Sun
... On Saturday, Sept. 24, from 9:30 a.m. – noon, Homestead National Monument of America will participate in National Public Lands Day by offering the public the opportunity to help conduct a fall deer survey...

Pubic Asked to Report Sick or Dead Deer August 25, 2016 Nebraska, magazine.outdoornebraska.gov
... incidences of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) are suspected in Cedar County in northeastern Nebraska, where approximately 15 dead deer have been recently discovered... Deer killed by EHD often are found near water to counteract fever and sometimes show evidence of bleeding from the eyes, nose or mouth...

Aerial survey helps with managing mule deer June 19, 2016 Nebraska, Lincoln Journal Star
... Declining mule deer populations throughout the western United States have been a concern for many state wildlife agencies since the 1990s... In Nebraska, after reaching a record harvest in 2008, mule deer populations have declined..., causes for the mule deer decline are less clear but likely due to a combination of parasites, predation, drought and disease...

Game & Parks fees to increase April 8, 2016 Nebraska, North Platte Bulletin
... Annual hunting permits for residents would increase from $13 to $18 while fishing permits would increase from $17.50 to $24. Deer hunting permits for residents would also increase from $29 to $39...

Nebraska Data: About 540,000 deer in 2016 as populations continue to rebound from the drought and EHD outbreak of 2012 and 2013.  Restrictions on antlerless permits beginning in 2012 were implemented to increase the population.  Mule deer populations in five southern units are at record highs.  GPC has focused on increasing mule deer populatioins, in part because they are more acceptable to farmers.  An increase in antlerless permists in 2016 designed to stabilize the whitetails.  About 525,000 deer in 2015 based on harvest data.  Restrictions on anlterless deer permits in 2015 increased the population from about 490,000 in 2014.  The estimated deer population was down by about 36 percent from 2011, a peak in 2009, but the herd appears to have increased somewhat since 2012.  About 350,000 to 450,000 whitetails in 2014.  An estimated 77,000 mule deer in 2015, but the number of whitetails vs. mule deer is hard to estimate since hunters can take either and harvest data is used for the estimate.  The mule deer population has trended up for three years into 2016 with reduced hunting pressure.
     The herd was hit hard by epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) and drought in 2012, killing an estimated third of the population.  Half the herd are thought to have died in Dodge and Saunders counties.  Aggressive hunting also brought the numbers down.  EHD in 2012 and 2013 took about 60 percent of the deer in the north central area.  A parasitic, meningeal worm, has also reduced deer numbers.  The 2014 harvest was about 50,580 down from the peak of 88,034 in 2010.  Whitetail densities are highest in the eastern part of the state, up to 30 deer per square mile in some areas.
    The Game Commission reduced antlerless deer tags in 2013, an effort to boost the deer population.  Brain worm is blamed for some of the mule deer decline.  Deer permit sales in 2012 declined 13 percent to 122,214. Total deer harvest fell 30 percent to 60,548. (Source).  
     Chronic wasting disease was first discovered in Nebraska in 2000 in Kimball County and by 2016 spread to 30 counties.  
     Mule deer are mostly found in the western half of the state where there are open grasslands, the Sandhills, Panhandle, and southwest.  Whitetails are found more often in the east along rivers and in forested and edge habitat.
   As a result of overhunting and habitat loss, deer were nearly extinct in Nebraska by 1900.  In 1907 deer hunting was prohibited, but the recovery took decades.  The first modern deer season was in 1945 when 275 mule deer and 2 whitetails were taken. The deer population rose from the mid-1990's through 2011 when the Game Commission issued more permits and implemented some Earn-a-Buck programs to encourage shooting does to reduce the population. The drought of 2012 and resulting EHD outbreak which killed thousands of deer was the worst outbreak since the 1970's.  An estimated 50,000 mule deer and 200,000 whitetails in 2003.  More deer history  Big Game History
    Cougar hunting was opened in 2014, about 22 cougars occupy the Pine Ridge area.  Mountain lions were exterminated by the end of the 1800s but are native to the state.
     Wolves, a few.  One killed near Spaulding in 2003. DNA tests showed it came from Minnesota-Michgan-Wisconsin area.  In 1913 one killed near Oconto. 


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