LINCOLN – As preliminary numbers were posted in late November, the firearm deer harvest was slightly lower than the previous year.
According to a release from the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, statewide harvest is down three percent compared to 2019 for the November firearm season. During the nine-day season, 42,024 deer were harvested, compared to 43,418 in 2019.
While the statewide trend was comparable to previous years, regions of the state varied. Deer harvest in southeast Nebraska was up 7% from 2019, while southwest Nebraska was down 10%. The northwest and northeast districts were down slightly at 2% to 3% each.
Mule deer buck harvest decreased 17%, 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. Antlerless mule deer harvest was down 15%, while antlerless white-tailed deer harvest increased 5% compared to 2019.
One major change for the 2020 November firearm season was the use of Telecheck for all deer harvested. (Archery, muzzleloader and late firearm hunters have used Telecheck for nearly 10 years.) Due to COVID-19-related concerns, Game and Parks did not operate in-person check stations this year.
Game and Park officials plan to return to in-person check stations for the 2021 November firearm season.
The archery season closes December 31 while muzzleloader season is December 1-31. The late antlerless season will run January 1-15, 2021.
Hunters are reminded that mule deer does are protected in many management units and public lands across the state. Refer to the 2020 Big Game Guide for details or view it at OutdoorNebraska.org/guides.
Hunters wishing to donate venison can use the Deer Exchange program. Visit OutdoorNebraska.org for more details.