Nebraska Deer Population An estimated population of 320,000 deer in 2019. Numbers increasing in 2020, but down in 2022. About 343,000 deer in 2018, 340,000 in 2017, and 315,000 in 2016. Severe drought, aggessive hunting, and a major EHD outbreak in 2012 and 2013 dramatically reduced the population which peaked around 2010. Antlerless deer permits were reduced beginning in 2012 to help the herd recover. An estimated 400,000 deer in 2005.

Nebraska Deer News

Celebrity bowhunting couple sentenced for conspiring to illegally obtain wildlife in Nebraska January 17, 2023 Nebraska, Lincoln Journal Star

... The Bowmars pleaded guilty Oct. 19 in the U.S. District Court of Nebraska to a misdemeanor conspiracy charge. In exchange, four other more serious charges, mostly involving allegations of illegally baited hunting sites, were dropped...

Game and Parks points to widespread drought as factor in decrease of deer harvest numbers December 14, 2022, Nebraska, News Channel Nebraska

... Big Game Program Manager Luke Meduna says ... “Our harvest was down 9% from last year… The main factor in the drop is likely related to the extreme drought felt by much of the state last winter and summer, as some areas went weeks on end without rain or snow..,

November firearm deer harvest: Less than last year December 2, 2022 The North Platte Bulletin

... Considering the increases in antlerless harvest due to depredation complaints over the past few years, it’s not surprising harvest numbers would start trending downward [Luke Meduna, the big game program manager] ...

Deer harvest down compared to last year December 1, 2022 Nebraska, KHGI - Nebraska.TV

... harvest was down 9% during the 2022 nine-day season compared to the 2021 season... Officials said the lowering deer population and diseases likely had an impact ..,

Nebraska November firearm deer harvest lower than last year November 30, 2021 Nebraskaland Magazine

...Mule deer buck harvest decreased 10%, with 4,875 taken, compared to 5,407 in 2021. Whitetail buck harvest was down 12%, with 18,942 taken compared to 21,070 in 2021. Antlerless mule deer harvest was down 12%, while antlerless white-tailed deer harvest increased 1% compared to 2021..,

Nebraska deer season: Three hunters shot in three days November 21, 2022 Lincoln Journal Star

... shot by members of their own hunting parties over the weekend ... So far in 2022, the commission has recorded four hunting accidents total. It counted eight in 2021 and five in 2020 ...

How will the drought impact Nebraska's rifle deer season this year? November 12, 2022

... "We know the drought moves deer around ... In years of drought, we also tend to have more hemorrhagic disease." ... While there may be fewer deer, the quality of deer has continued to be good ..,

Describing the two deer species found in North Dakota November 11, 2022 Grand Forks Herald

... “The whitetail got its name because it has a big white tail ... The mule deer got its name because it has big ears like a mule.” Mule deer largely inhabit western North Dakota but can also be seen in small pockets in the eastern part of the state. White-tailed deer can be found most anywhere...

Special Landowner Deer Season, Nebraska Game and Parks news November 3, 2022 Syracuse Journal-Democrat

... the Special Landowner Deer Season, now in its second year ... gives a qualifying landowner a threeday season on his or her property preceding the regular firearm deer season... The qualifying landowners and immediate family may have up to eight of these permits for $8 each. Last year they could have four permits...

Deer management plan working so well no cull planned for Chadron for now October 22, 2022 Nebraska, Panhandle News Channel

... Arnold admits numbers may also be down because mild winters allowed the deer to remain up in the Pine Ridge....

Public asked to report dead and sick big game October 18, 2022 Nebraska,

... Nebraska wildlife officials say conditions throughout much of the state are suitable for the

spread of deadly viral diseases among big game populations... Epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD, often causes high fever, internal bleeding, swelling, lesions, lethargy, increased heart rate, dehydration, salivation, incoordination and loss of fear of humans ...

Hunter sentenced in federal court for violations in Nebraska September 4, 2022

... for transporting illegally obtained wildlife during a mule deer hunt in Nebraska... a misdemeanor Lacey Act violation to two years of probation with a $5,000 fine and an additional $4,000 in restitution...

Landowners reminded Free-earned Landowner Elk Permit Program available August 30, N ebraskaland Magazine - Nebraska Game and Parks

... The free-earned landowner elk permit was created during the 2021 Legislative Session. The goal is to increase hunting access opportunities and antlerless elk harvest, and to benefit landowners who regularly have elk on their property but can’t always draw a landowner permit...

Game and Parks' solution for elk problems stirs up Nebraska hunters June 25, 2022 Lincoln Journal Star

... a special depredation order for a season July 1-31 on private land ... to relieve problems landowners are having with elk destroying their crops ... Issues brought up by hunters ... include young calves being left orphaned, landowners charging for permits, offering permits to out-of-state resident ...

Commissioners approve mountain lion season for 2023 June 17, 2022, Nebraskaland Magazine

... he harvest objective is to allow the mountain lion population to remain resilient and healthy, while halting growth or moderately reducing the population size. The most recent estimate for the Pine Ridge population from the 2021 genetic survey is 33 mountain lions..,

Wyoming and Nebraska reduce deer tags, but for different reasons -May 5, 2022. KLKN-TV

... Nebraska plans to issue fewer permits ... “On our mule deer and pronghorns, numbers are down a little bit,” Meduna said. “Overall, we’re down a little bit on everything, like whitetails and even elk ..,

Commission approves 2022 big game hunting recommendations April 28, 2022 Nebraskaland Magazine

... Commissioners approved staff recommendations that will help the agency manage big game populations at socially acceptable levels, address declining mule deer populations in some areas of the state, and maintain resident access to hunting permits..,

Florida man must sell Nebraska property after history of hunting violations March 21, 2022 Nebraska, Columbus Telegram

... the Florida ringleader’s unprecedented plea deal last month to stay out of the Morrill County Jail: Yes, he would sell his house and land near Bridgeport; and no, he wouldn’t buy, rent or lease any other property in the county for five years...

November deer harvest down 12% in Nebraska December 10, 2021

... southwest Nebraska was down 13%, the northwestern part of the state saw an 8% decrease and northeast Nebraska decreased 15% ...

So, what is Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease? October 21, 2021 Nebraska, Beatrice Daily Sun

... EHD seems to present and may get worse in northeast Nebraska... Clinical signs in white-tailed deer consist of loss of appetite, weakness, and loss of fear of humans and in late stages, deer barely being able to walk...

Mountain Lions Becoming Normal Presence In Area, Authorities Say October 19, 2021 Nebraska,

... Mountain lions were native to Nebraska but were eliminated by the 1890s, he said in a news release. Nebraska’s first modern confirmation was made in 1991 ... statutes to allow hunting were created in 2012. There are presently breeding populations in three areas in the state: the Pine Ridge, Niobrara River Valley and Wildcat Hills...

2021 Homestead NHP deer count shows high population September 25, 2021 Nebraska, News Channel Nebraska

... Of those 34 deer, 32 were doe and just a pair were bucks. Bolli explained why this may be. “The hunting pressure,” Bolli said. “It’s southeast Nebraska. There’s a lot of deer hunting that goes on and a lot of the hunters target the bucks. It could also be that the bucks were just more secretive.” ...

Fall means more deer on the road: 4 ways time of day, month and year raise your risk of crashes September 22, 2021 Nebraska,

... accidents occur most frequently at dusk and dawn ... the peak number of deer-vehicle accidents occurs in the last week of October and first weeks of November...

Homestead to host deer survey September 17, 2021 Nebraska, Beatrice Daily Sun

... offering the public the opportunity to help conduct a fall deer survey ... a walker or a counter ... [walker[ needed to watch the park’s boundaries and count deer as they exit...

Nebraska sees uptick in blue tongue disease in deer, elk -September 15, 2021 Norfolk Daily News

... “Drought years in particular seem to be harsh with this virus,” ... “We have received a lot of calls, a lot of reports,” ... “In 2012, we had significant losses in white-tailed deer in particular,” Nordeen said. “In some parts of the state, we lost upwards of 50% of the population..,

Tri-state area big game at risk of deadly virus, wildlife officials say SiouxlandProud September 1, 2021 Nebraska, KCAU 9

... Ruden said the number of cases in 2019 was much higher than what Iowa has seen this year, but it is still early in the season, and reports are continuously monitored. EHD that has been reported in Iowa has been in the south and eastern parts of Iowa..,

Public asked to report dead, sick big game August 27, 2021 Nebraska, KLTN

... The latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor dated Aug. 24 shows more than 86 percent of Nebraska ranging from abnormally dry to extreme drought.

Observations of unhealthy big game animals or unexplained deaths should be reported to the nearest Game and Parks office ..,

Big cats have returned: Ravenna woman releases new book about re-emergence of mountain lions May 19, 2021 Nebraska, Grand Island Independent

... lions, also called cougars, were extirpated by about 1900 due to unrestricted hunting and the loss of deer, their main prey. Although there were occasional unverified sightings after 1900, it wasn’t until November 1991 that a young female was killed by a deer hunter in northwest Nebraska..,

Big game hunting recommendations approved April 27, 2021 Nebraska, Norfolk Daily News

...Commissioners approved staff recommendations to increase deer permits and bonus antlerless-only whitetail tags in several management units to stabilize populations..,

Commission to consider deer, antelope and elk hunting recommendations April 15, 2021 Nebraska, Norfolk Daily News

...Staff will recommend deer permit increases and additional bonus antlerless-only whitetail tags in several management units to stabilize populations..,

Nebraska Game and Parks to consider special landowner deer season January 9, 2021

... The season would allow a qualifying landowner as many as four permits to designate themselves or immediate family to hunt on his or her property on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before the opening of the November firearm deer season...

It's hard to determine how many mountain lions there are in western Nebraska January 2, 2021 Nebraska, Scottsbluff Star Herald

... Our first modern confirmation of a mountain lion after about 100 years of absence was in 1991 in Pine Ridge ....The deer population started rebounding by the 1900s ... The estimate for Pine Ridge in northwest Nebraska, Wilson said is 34 animals ..,

Outdoors notes: Nebraska's deer numbers down slightly November 29, 2020

...“Considering the increases in antlerless harvest in the southwest due to depredation complaints over the past few years, it’s not surprising harvest numbers would start trending downward at some point. In contrast, deer numbers in southeast Nebraska have been inching upward in recent years, and we’re seeing that in our harvest.” ..,

Nebraska Game and Parks releases firearm deer season statistics November 24, 2020 Nebraska City News-Press

... During the nine-day season, 42,024 deer were harvested, compared to 43,418 in 2019... Mule deer buck harvest decreased 17 percent, with 5,990 taken, compared to 7,201 in 2019. Whitetail buck harvest was down slightly, with 23,814 taken compared to 24,301 in 2019 ..,

Weather, numbers look good for start of deer season November 14, 2020 Nebraska,

... Hunters will find increased opportunities for antlerless deer in many parts of the state. The same goes for mule deer in southwest Nebraska. "We've increased permits to manage those populations," ..,

Firearm deer opener to bring opportunities November 10, 2020 Nebraska, Norfolk Daily News

... Buck age structure is at or near all-time highs, with 50 percent of mule deer and 40 percent of whitetails aged 3 or older during the 2019 firearm season... “Deer numbers are good across most of the state, and there are plenty of permits available ..,

Deer Check Moves Online Only In 2020 In Light Of Coronavirus Concerns November 7, 2020 Nebraska, Sand Hills Express

... Because of COVID-19 concerns, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will not run check stations this firearm deer season. Instead, all deer will be checked in electronically via Telecheck...

Jewell Park to be closed for deer hunt October 21, 2020 Nebraska,

... This is the 10th consecutive year for this hunt at Jewell Park...

30 plead guilty so far in vast poaching case October 18, 2020 Nebraska,

... More than 100 people from states like New York, Wisconsin, Virginia and Utah paid $2,500 to $7,000 to take aim at big bucks ... using bait, spotlights at night and other illegal tactics to guarantee their success...

Nebraska's wildlife already feeling the heat from climate change September 27, 2020 Lincoln Journal Star

... Droughts are thought to increase the incidence of hemorrhagic disease, which is particularly dangerous to white-tailed deer. In 2012, at least 6,000 deer died from the disease in Nebraska. The deer harvest during the 2012 November gun season fell by 25-30%, ...

2 more fined, sentenced to probation in connection to illegal hunts through Broken Bow outfitter August 29, 2020 Nebraska, Scottsbluff Star Herald

... killed the mule deer, then recovered its skull, antlers and cape, which he took back to Missouri, and abandoned the carcass at the kill site, violating Nebraska law. ... To date, 30 defendants have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced and ordered to pay a total of $353,048 in fines ...

Fort Niobrara Wildlife Refuge to issue special access permits for deer August 16, 2020 Nebraska, North Platte Telegraph

... For the first time, Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge in Cherry County, Nebraska, will conduct a limited draw for all muzzleloader deer hunting in 2020... restricted to primitive weapons only...

Broken Bow big game guiding business and owner pled guilty to Lacey Act Conspiracy Violations July 13, 2020 Nebraska,

... conspirators provided guiding and outfitting services to hunting clients for the unlawful taking of no less than 97 big game animals or wild turkeys in violation of Nebraska State Law including 30 white-tailed deer, 34 mule deer, ...

Nebraska's 2021 mountain lion hunt limited to 4 cougars amid low population estimates June 22, 2020 Omaha World-Herald

... Population estimates indicated that there were 34 mountain lions in the Pine Ridge area from May to June 2019, which was down from 59 in a 2017 estimate ... The Niobrara Valley and Wildcat Hills are also home to mountain lions, but estimates are not kept for those areas..,

Commission approves deer, antelope and elk hunting recommendations May 10, 2020 Nebraska, Nebraska City News Press

... Elk – Bull permits will increase 25% and antlerless permits will increase 40%. The antlerless season will be extended ...

City folk: Ready, aim May 7, 2020 Nebraska City News Press

... unanimously approved a resolution to establish an urban deer management zone in the city. That allows for a controlled hunt ...

Commission to consider deer, antelope and elk hunting recommendations April 28, 2020 Nebraska, Scottsbluff Star Herald

... Many units have seen bag limit and permit quota changes to accomplish management goals and a few units will see a bonus antlerless white-tailed deer added to their regular and season choice permits...

Mountain lions are here, and here to stay March 19, 2020 Nebraska, Beatrice Daily Sun

... The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) has a map showing where mountain lions sightings have been documented in the state... mountain lions need food and deer are one of their main food sources...

Wisconsin man pleads guilty to 6 counts of illegally taking wildlife in Nebraska March 6, 2020 Nebraska, Lincoln Journal Star

... He will face up to a year imprisonment and a $100,000 fine at his sentencing in August... engaged in hunting activities, which included hunting over bait, hunting from a public roadway at night and hunting with prohibited weapons ...

Lawmakers clash over bill that would give some landowners special rifle hunting season for deer January 30, 2020, Nebraska,

... State Sen. Dan Hughes of Venango introduced Legislative Bill 126, which, as amended, would allow qualifying landowners up to four free permits to hunt deer on their property during a five-day period prior to the normal firearm deer hunting season...

Commission reports results of chronic wasting disease tests January 7, 2020 Nebraska, Norfolk Daily News

... Game and Parks conducted chronic wasting disease sampling at deer check stations in northwestern and northeastern Nebraska ... There were 169 positives from 1,803 deer sampled .. during the firearm deer season ..,

Bull elk made Clearwater farm his home for years December 11, 2019 Nebraska, Norfolk Daily News

... a bull elk that showed up in Antelope County during the summer of 2006 when he was about 2½ years old and stayed. “The Elk,” as he was known, spent the rest of his life in this neighborhood ... “Everybody wanted to see him... Even the school bus driver would make a point to go down a different road just to see if they could catch a glimpse of him.” ...

November firearm deer harvest slightly higher than last year December 6, 2019 Nebraska, BUCKMASTERS

... Deer harvest during the 2019 November firearm season in Nebraska is 2% ahead last year ... Mule deer buck harvest decreased 9% ... Whitetail buck harvest is up almost 8% ...

Early checked deer numbers up 8% statewide November 26, 2019 Nebraska, Norfolk Daily News

... “While there is still some corn standing in the fields, the nice weather contributed to lots of hunters getting into the field and harvesting deer.” ...

Preliminary numbers show deer harvest is up this season November 18, 2019 Nebraska,

... after the opening weekend of Nebraska’s firearm deer season show that the statewide harvest is up about 8% compared to 2018...

After elk cause $100K in damage, Nebraska farmer granted rare permit to kill 50, upsetting hunters November 11, 2019 Scottsbluff Star Herald

... only 7% of elk permits were approved this year ... “We issued the 50 this time, because we got a demand from a senator that we needed to respond immediately to really severe damage occurring,’’ ...

With 'excellent' deer numbers in Nebraska, there are also 'great hunting opportunities' November 9, 2019

... Hunters killed about 58,000 deer statewide last year, below the highs of the mid-to-late 2000s. In 2008, the harvest eclipsed 80,000. Meduna expects numbers this year to be comparable to last year, with higher totals in the Frenchman and Loup East deer management units..,

Pine Ridge researchers gain knowledge about the cougar October 29, 2019 Nebraska, Norfolk Daily News

... Along with so many other species, cougars disappeared from Nebraska with Euro-American settlement. Not only did early settlers slay predators at every opportunity, more importantly they killed the predators’ prey. The decimation of deer and other prey species in the late 1800s and early 1900s surely made Nebraska a less desirable place for mountain lions to live..,

Making the Game and Parks Commission more responsive October 17, 2019 Nebraska, McCook Daily Gazette, State Sen. Dan Hughes, Dist. 44 news

... we have made a clear statement that the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission needs to be more responsive to the complaints of landowners who have large herds of big game destroying their crops and pastures...

Division by subtraction: Extinction of large mammal species likely drove survivors apart September 19, 2019 University of Nebraska, Science

... Mammoths toppled trees, compacted soil and, by eating and excreting masses of vegetation, transported nutrients around ecosystems ... The loss of the mammoth effectively doomed the mammoth steppe ... "If you're an open-habitat species [deer] that used to occupy the mammoth steppe ... you might inhabit, say, open grassland areas that are surrounded by forests," ... that meadow is much smaller ...

NGPC reminds public of landowner resources for wildlife damage September 15, 2019 Nebraska, North Platte Telegraph

... The commission is working to increase antlerless deer harvest by 30% in the Frenchman West Unit in southwest Nebraska. To reach this goal, the commission will increase antlerless deer permits by 25% and offer an increased number of damage permits...

Commission approves deer, antelope and elk hunting recommendations May 1, 2019 Nebraska, Rapid City Journal

... Addition of a second antlerless whitetail bonus tag in the Loup East ... due to high densities... Shift of deer permits in Pine Ridge from Any Deer to Any Whitetail in response to public reported and research recorded mule deer deaths over winter and spring...

Nebraska wildlife not severely impacted by floods, blizzard, experts say April 24, 2019 KLKN

... There have been dead deer observed after the blizzard; diet, malnutrition and disease seeming to contribute to the loss, NGPC says. However, good numbers of deer still are being seen in many areas..,

Farmers should be reimbursed for big game crop damage March 28, 2019 Nebraska, McCook Daily Gazette

...this time G&P knows there are several senators who think G&P should be paying for the damages caused by the game they are managing. G&P makes millions of dollars from marketing our game species ...

Wildlife Safari Park in Ashland to open for 2019 season March 30 March 27, 2019 Nebraska, KFXL Fox Nebraska

... Visitors can get an up-close look at deer, Sandhill cranes, trumpeter swans and bison, the largest terrestrial and heaviest land animals in North America...

Nebraska mule deer receive monitoring devices March 8, 2019, 1011now

... a helicopter capture crew caught them ... should contribute broadly to understanding factors that limit mule deer populations across their range ...

Bill moving forward to combine two agencies February 7, 2019 Nebraska, McCook Daily Gazette

... combines the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Nebraska Energy Office (NEO) into one state agency ... There seems to be little regard for the damage caused to landowners by the state’s deer population and by deer hunters themselves...

Bill could give farmers first shot at deer February 2, 2019 Nebraska,

North Platte Telegraph

... would give landowners in Nebraska free firearm permits to hunt deer on their land for seven days before the regular firearm season ... Currently the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission issues landowners permits at a reduced rate ...

New farm bill will boost conservation efforts in Nebraska January 4, 2019 Scottsbluff Star Herald

... increases acreage available for the Conservation Reserve Program to 27 million acres, up from the current 24 million... pays ... for planting perennial cover on environmentally sensitive cropland and is important in protecting habitat for pheasants, quail, deer...

Chronic wasting disease spreads December 27, 2018 Nebraska, North Platte Telegraph

... This year, deer and elk taken from north central and northwest management areas were tested. Eleven percent of the 1,208 deer tested were positive for the disease. However, of the 117 elk tested, only one tested positive and eight were unknown...

CWD detected for first time in deer in Valley, Keya Paha Counties December 17, 2018 Nebraska, Omaha

... chronic wasting disease ... access the positive results posted at 131 positives from 1,208 deer sampled ...

Big game meetings scheduled across Nebraska December 4, 2018 Nebraska, 1011now

... Biologists will explain and take questions on several topics, including deer management, deer damage and depredation permits, antlerless harvest, trophy management and diseases ...

Preliminary deer harvest lower than last year November 27, 2018 Nebraska, Game and Parks News

... Preliminary deer harvest in Nebraska is 5 percent behind last year’s pace. From Sept. 1 through Nov. 26, there were 47,532 deer checked, compared to 49,923 in 2017. Mule deer buck harvest decreased slightly, with 8,575 taken, compared to 8,609 in 2017. This is still the second highest recorded mule deer buck harvest on record bodes well for Nebraska. The average age of bucks is also very good, with 59 percent of bucks estimated at age 3 or older. Whitetail buck harvest is up slightly, with 26,525 adult whitetail bucks harvested compared to 25,489 in 2017. The average age of bucks also increased, with 41 percent of whitetail bucks estimated at age 3 or older..,

Checked Deer Numbers Down November 20, 2018 Nebraska, WNAX

... checked numbers are down 10% ...

Decapitated deer left in Council Bluffs neighborhood: 'We find several a year,' officer says November 14, 2018 Nebraska, Omaha

... The animal was found laying next to a discarded mattress ... it’s not uncommon to find a beheaded buck disposed within city limits during this time of year ...

Hunters check in fewer deer on opening weekend of Nebraska’s firearm season November 13, 2018 Omaha

... statewide harvest numbers are down about 10 percent compared to the 2017 opening weekend of Nebraska’s firearm season...

Amid research indicating deer crossing signs don't work, state officials seek new strategies November 11, 2018 Nebraska, StarHerald

... Nebraska’s deer population hasn’t yet rebounded totally from a disease outbreak in 2011-12. That’s reflected in the deer harvest numbers, which used to number more than 3,000 a year before plunging in 2012..,

Cold weather increases chances hunters, deer cross paths on opening day November 10, 2018 Nebraska, Omaha

... deer numbers look good. Many areas have recovered from the large die-off in 2012 from epizootic hemorrhagic disease... Mule deer prefer more open areas in the western part of the state ..,

Wildlife officials testing harvested deer for chronic wasting disease October 29, 2018 Nebraska, NTV

... CWD was first discovered in Nebraska in 2000 in Kimball County. Since 1997, Game and Parks staff have tested nearly 51,000 deer and found 499 that tested positive. CWD has been found in 40 Nebraska counties ...

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 ...

Three fawns rescued from bottom of a well in Seward July 18, 2018 Nebraska, Omaha

... 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 ...

Big game hunters should be advised of new draw unit permit payment system June 7, 2018 Nebraska, 1011now

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

Ranchers express concerns about mountain lions in the Panhandle at Nebraska Game and Parks meetings April 15, 2018 Wahoo Newspaper

... 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 ..,

Farmer catches mountain lion on trail camera in northeast Nebraska after spotting deer carcass in tree March 20, 2018 Nebraska, Omaha

... 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..,

Officials say mountain lion confirmed in Northeast Nebraska March 16, 2018 Sioux City Journal

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

Effects of environmental and anthropogenic landscape features on mule deer harvest in Nebraska March 3, 2018 PeerJ

... 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...

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,

... 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...

With mountain lion population estimates up, hunting season could return to Nebraska's Pine Ridge January 20, 2018 Omaha World-Herald

... 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..,

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to consider reduced-price permit January 13, 2018 Omaha World-Herald

... 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...

Nebraska Deer News and Information Archive by Topic: Population and Management, Deer in the News, Disease, Suburban, Transportation

Nebraska data: Declining deer populations with drought, hunting pressure, and the effect of disease into 2022, so fewer hunting permits issued. An increase in deer permits for 2021 to stabilize the population in several areas, but drought limited populations. In their 2022 Big Game Management Recommendations the state notes that "Overall, 2021 was a down year for deer harvest, down 12% statewide from 2020. We did have a significant EHD event in the Northern half of the state and panhandle ... Whitetail harvest statewide has largely remained stable for the last 5-7 years. While populations are not at to pre-2012 levels or even mid-2000’s levels... Mule deer harvest has declined from record and near record levels in many western deer management units in recent years ..." [page 31]. Graph below from page 35 of the report.

Nebraska Deer Harvest 1945 to 2021

In 2021, the state reported that "The eastern range of mule deer has receded westward in the last 15 years. We suspect that this is partially due to habitat loss and partially due to impacts of meningeal brain worm (P. tenuis)."

In 2020 "deer numbers are good across most of the state, and there are plenty of permits available." Increased antlerless permits in the southwest appear to have reduced the population. Hunter numbers increased in the 2020. Floods and blizzards in 2018-19 took some toll on deer with the estimated mule deer population falling by 15,000, reducing the population estimate to 320,000 for 2019.

Harvest data and comments for 2016 through 2018 indicate a stable to moderately increasing population with an increase of 20,000 mule deer in 2017 and 2,500 mule deer in 2018 resulting in the estimate of 315,000 in 2016, 340,000 in 2017 and 343,000 for 2018 , including some whitetail increase.

Populations rebounded from the drought and EHD outbreak of 2012 and 2013. By 2018 most areas had recovered. A similar population in 2019. In 2017 whitetail populations were stable and mule deer populations were higher. Reduced whitetail permits and increased mule deer doe permits for 2017. One estimate put the 2017 total population at 70 percent of the 2010 population. The mule deer population trended up for three years into 2016 with reduced hunting pressure. Higher whitetail anterless permits in 2016 to limit growth. A 2016 population estimate of 300,000 whitetails.

Based on reported deer population estimates from 2015 there were 313,000 deer, about 200,000 whitetails and 112,500 mule deer.

Restrictions on anlterless deer permits in 2015 increased the population. The 2014 whitetail deer population was down by about 36 percent from 2011. The 2013 deer population was about the same as in 2003. 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 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).

Restrictions on antlerless permits beginning in 2012 were implemented to increase the population. The population peaked in 2010 . Disease, hunting, and the 2011 flood reduced the number. 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.

The herd was hit hard by epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) and drought in 2012, killing an estimated third of the whitetail population. Half the herd are thought to have died in Dodge and Saunders counties. Aggressive hunting leading up to 2012, with a big increase in the take of whitetail does, also brought the numbers down (see figure of harvest data below). 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.

Population Estimates: An estimate of 300,000 whitetails in 2016. The 2017 total population at 70 percent of the 2010 population. Whitetails estimated to be 265,000 in 2009. A total listed by the state at 300,000 to 350,000 in 2009. One estimate puts the total deer population at 300,000 to 350,000 around 2007, also an estimate of 300,000. A 2005 estimate of 400,000 deer. In 2003 an estimate of at least 50,000 mule deer and 200,000 whitetails, 35,000 and 40,000 mule deer each year during the early 1990s. "whitetail population each fall has been estimated at between 150,000 to 180,000 animals" (undated). A whitetail population estimate of 140,000 in 1990 and a 1991 estimate for all deer of 210,000 in 1991 (p. 2).

More estimates

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease EHD The 2012 outbreak killed more than 100,000 deer in the state, about 30 percent of the deer population. An implied population estimate of more than 333,000 deer for 2012. Another outbreak in 2021.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) The first case in Nebraska was in February, 1998, confirmed by NVSL in 4.5 year old male elk in a north central Nebraska game farm. The affected herd was quarantined The first case in wild deer was during the fall hunt of 2000 located within 3 miles of the Nebraska facility that reported CWD in 4 elk obtained from Montana. A wild deer killed in 2004 near Grand Island and the Platte River represented a significant eastward expansion of the disease. By 2016 the disease had spread to 30 counties. The first positives in southeast Nebraska in early 2017 with 203 positives of 1,807 deer sampled during the 2017 gun season. Into 2018, a total of 499 positives in 40 Nebraska counties. During the 2019 gun season there were 169 positives from 1,803 deer sampled.

History Deer were common to the state prior to the late 1800s but unregulated hunting and agricultural development nearly wiped them out. Deer were nearly extinct in Nebraska by 1900. The Nebraska Game and Fish report for 1901-02 estimated the mule deer population at 50 [page 5]. 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

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. Whitetail densities have been to 30 deer per square mile in some areas.

Cougar ( Mountain Lion) hunting was opened in 2014, with 22 cougars occupying the Pine Ridge area. An estimate for Pine Ridge of 34 in 2020. 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. The 2020 population estimate was lowered and hunting reduced for 2021. A genetic survey of the Pine Ridge population from the 2021 found 33 mountain lions.

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.