Nebraska Deer:  An estimated population of 540,000 deer in 2016, up from about 525,000 in 2015 and 490,000 in 2014.  In 2017 whitetail populations are stable and mule deer populations are higher.  The population is rebounding from the drought and EHD outbreak of 2012 and 2013.  The population peaked in 2010 at about 800,000.  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

State checking elk carcasses for chronic wasting disease September 8, 2018 Nebraska, Washington Times
...  staffers at check stations will be asking hunters to allow removal of lymph nodes from elk carcasses ...

... deer’s cries of distress ... Three fawns, thought to be only about a week old, had fallen into an old well that sits on the property of a neighbor...  neighbor, who lay on his belly and scooped them out ...

... Starting this year, fees of $5.50 for antelope, $7 for deer and $10 for elk are due at the time of application...

... the Pine Ridge ... natural habitat to the lions...  the population of deer in the area is low. Deer make up 75-80 percent of the mountain lions diets.  “Our biggest concern is there’s nothing for them to eat and they’re going to start eating on our livestock heavier ...

Mountain lions calling Pine Ridge home again March 28, 2018 Nebraska, Bloomer Advance
... One of the last reliable reports of mountain lion in Nebraska occurred in 1903 near Crawford ... The first confirmed report of a cougar in modern times came in 1991, when tracks and a deer kill were discovered in Dawes County and a female was killed in Sioux County..,

Game and Parks talks mountain lions March 22, 2018 Nebraska, North Platte Telegraph
... settlers eliminated mountain lions, turkeys and most of the deer from the state by the 1890s. The first confirmed sighting in modern times was in the Pine Ridge in 1991.  The majority of the land in Nebraska is not suitable for establishment of mountain lion populations ..,

... Bones of a white-tailed deer lay scattered under a large cottonwood tree ... Looking up ... the bony carcass of a deer stashed on a branch about 7 feet off the ground..,

... confirmation of a mountain lion Thursday in Thurston County, Nebraska...  a deer that was killed was indicative of mountain lion actions..,

... We found that forest habitat, riparian habitat, road density, time
integrated NDVI, and terrain roughness influence mule deer harvest in Nebraska.
According to our model, mule deer show a significant preference for less forested, more rugged terrain (often rangelands), that are less fragmented and developed, based on harvest density...

In February of 2018 biologists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission captured mule deer as part of a collaborative research project on population dynamics and behavior in southwest Nebraska. The broad goal of the study is to understand the factors limiting mule deer populations in the state. To accomplish this, the research team captured female deer to deploy tracking devices to study mortality, reproduction, movements, and habitat use. - February 20, 2018


Sampling of deer results in 203 positives for chronic wasting disease February 5, 2018 Nebraska, The Best Mix 105.5
... chronic wasting disease in deer has been detected for the first time in the southwestern Nebraska counties ...  203 positives from 1,807 deer sampled ... CWD was first discovered in Nebraska in 2000 in Kimball County..,

A different deer hunt, shed February 4, 2018 Nebraska, Lincoln Journal Star
... time to hunt for shed deer antlers.  Beginning in late December and continuing through April, white-tailed and mule deer shed their antlers for regrowth purposes in Nebraska. Many deer drop their antlers in February and March...

Panhandle reports increased deer harvest January 24, 2018 Nebraska, magazine.outdoornebraska.gov
... a 3.3 percent increase. The Panhandle’s overall number of harvested deer consists of 4,717 mule deer and 3,355 whitetails... The populations have improved from 2012 when drought and disease took a toll...

... an estimated 59 adult and kitten mountain lions in the rugged Pine Ridge in northwest Nebraska last May and June ... population ranged from 22 to 33 when Nebraska held its inaugural mountain lion hunting season in 2014...  their return to the state was confirmed in 1991..,

... This permit would have lower fees than the statewide buck-any deer permit because the restricted permit hunting area would exclude some areas for mule deer harvest... fees would be $125 for residents and $695 for nonresidents...

Big game meetings set across state December 21, 2017 Nebraska, Blair Enterprise Publishing
... This fall's preliminary deer harvest was 3 percent higher than last year. From Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, 49,923 deer were checked in Nebraska, compared to 48,633 in 2016..,

Wildlife, nature under attack December 17,2017 December Nebraska, Lincoln Journal Star
... Nebraska Game & Parks’ glowing propaganda wants you to believe all is fine, but they have done very little since 2012 to stop the critical decline of deer...

Nebraska Game & Parks wants input on big game issues December 14, 2017 Nebraska Radio Network
... Meetings begin next week and run through January 11. All meetings begin at 7 p.m...

Preliminary deer harvest increased than final 12 months December 7, 2017 Nebraska, Los Porcos
...  49,923 deer checked, in comparison with 48,633 in 2016...

Great Plains Deer Herd Update 2017 December 6, 2017 Nebraska, Game & Fish
... Mule deer are most sought after, and they are at an all-time high in the state... Whitetail deer numbers are still down somewhat from their all-time highs of a few years ago..,

Preliminary deer harvest higher than last year December 1, 2017 Nebraska, NTV
... 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...

Deer Hunting, mule deer numbers are higher November 7, 2017 Nebraska NTV
... Deer numbers this year are higher for mule deer and about the same for the whitetails. 2016 saw a record harvest of mule deer, just over nine thousand two hundred fifty (9257) and the outlook is for a modest increase this season ..,

Deer hunting prospects looking good for 2017 November 1, 2017 Nebraska, NTV
...   deer populations for 2017 are higher for mule deer and about the same for whitetails. Favorable habitat and weather conditions this past year should provide for good fawn production..,

Hunting season is underway, deer-vehicle collisions October 31, 2017 Nebraska, NTV
... Two reasons for increased vehicle deer collisions this time of year is that harvest activity and the deer breeding season has the animals more on the move. Be more wary at low light or dark hours...

Climate change would have icy impact on state's economy October 10, 2017 Nebraska, Grand Island Independent
...  the drought of 2012 in Nebraska ...  the state’s white-tail deer population was devastated by epizootic hemorrhagic disease that killed more than 100,000 deer in the state. HD intensified that year because the dry weather eliminated a lot of waterholes for the deer ..,


Summer breeding time for White-Tailed deer June 20, 2017 Nebraska, Fremont Tribune
... In 2010, deer experienced a peak herd. “The population is 70 percent of when we had high numbers... Disease and hunter harvest have cut down those numbers.”  The large floods in 2011 changed the number of deer in the area ..,

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.  In 2017 whitetail populations are stable and mule deer populations are higher.  Restrictions on antlerless permits beginning in 2012 were implemented to increase the population.  The population peaked in 2010 at about 800,000.  Disease, hunting, and the 2011 flood have reduced the number.  Mule deer populations in five southern units are at record highs.  GPC has focused on increasing mule deer populations, in part because they are more acceptable to farmers.  An increase in antlerless permits in 2016 designed to stabilize the whitetails.   Mule deer are mostly in the higher, drier western counties and whitetails dominate in the east.
     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 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; 203 positives of 1,807 deer sampled during the 2017 gun season. 
     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.
     History  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 ( Mountain Lion) hunting was opened in 2014, with 22 cougars occupying the Pine Ridge area.  Mountain lions were hunted to extinction in the 1800's with the last confirmed sighting in 1903 but are native to the state, returning around 1991.  In 2017 an estimated 59 lions.  Sightings.
     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. 



Nebraska Deer