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Whitetail and Mule Deer Hunting

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Additional Information

Chronic Wasting Disease Info
Draw Units:
Republican Mule Deer, Republican Whitetail and DeSoto December Muzzleloader

Legal description of Deer:
Buck – A deer having at least one antler six inches or more in length.
Antlerless – A deer with no antlers or antlers no more than six inches in length.

Deer Identification Sheet

How Many Deer Permits May I Have?
Hunters may obtain no more than two permits each year that allow them to harvest a buck. There is no limit to the number of antlerless-only permits hunters may have.

Deer Exchange Program
The Deer Exchange is designed to accommodate the additional harvest of deer. Venison donors and willing recipients may contact each other and work out the details of a meat transfer. While the venison may not be sold, recipients may pay for the processing or butchering of the meat. This gives hunters who have filled their freezers an outlet for their excess meat.
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Trophy Deer Management for Landowners
The basic guidelines on how to manage land:
  • Deer need food, cover and protection from overharvest.
  • Secure bedding areas are needed.
  • Most areas have enough food, but if deer have to travel through open areas to get food they are more vulnerable.
  • It is best if bedding and feeding areas are away from roads or have screening cover from roads.
  • Deer need to be age 4 or older before they begin to show their full potentia
The simplest rule for a trophy hunter is:
  • Do not shoot a buck unless it is bigger than the best buck you have harvested so far.
  • Do not shoot a buck unless you are going to have it mounted.
  • Harvest an antlerless deer instead of a little buck.
For many landowners, the rule for their hunters should be:
  • Do not shoot a buck until you have harvested one or more does

Antlerless Deer Management
The deer population is higher than desired in some areas. Season Choice Area (SCA) antlerless-only permits and bonus antlerless-only tags will be used to increase antlerless harvest. Doe harvest is the only method of reducing populations. Avoid buck fawns and consider taking a doe instead of a small buck.

Antlerless Deer Hunter-Landowner Program
This program is designed to:
  • help landowners find hunters who will shoot does
  • help hunters find a place to hunt antlerless deer
  • Hunters may sign up at OutdoorNebraska.org on the Hunting page under the Programs section to harvest antlerless deer. Landowners who need antlerless deer hunters may search the list by county and contact hunters by phone or e-mail.

Antlerless Harvest: Hunter and Landowner Considerations
Some areas of the state have too many deer. Hunters and landowners should work together to manage our deer herds and achieve antlerless harvest goals.

The rules to successfully manage a local deer herd are fairly simple:
  • Landowners should determine if the number of deer is adequate, too high or too low.
  • If too low, restrict antlerless harvest.
  • Too high, increase antlerless harvest.
  • Much too high: recruit hunters who will take multiple antlerless deer.
  • If the problem is too many deer on neighboring property, talk to the neighbor.
  • If you lease your property for hunting, specify the antlerless harvest quota.
  • If your hunters won’t take antlerless deer, find new hunters.
  • Hunters should talk to the landowner and be willing to harvest antlerless deer.
  • Visit the Deer Exchange Web site if you cannot eat all the deer you harvest

Disease Update
 April 2012
Chronic Wasting Disease

Due to a decrease in available funding the Chronic Wasting Disease surveillance conducted during the 2011 firearm deer season concentrated in management units through the center of the state, or along the leading edge of the disease.  In addition, sampling was conducted in the Pine Ridge Unit to determine prevalence (6%).  A total of 1,565 deer was tested, with 26 being confirmed positive.  Counties with new positives included Buffalo, Custer and Holt.  A similar surveillance effort is planned for this year.  A total of 50 deer exhibiting clinical symptoms was submitted to the UNL diagnostic laboratory for CWD testing.  One mule deer from Garden County tested positive. 

This disease continues to slowly spread from west to east across the state and increase in prevalence.  There is nothing to indicate this is likely to change in the foreseeable future. In all likelihood federal funding for surveillance will be gone after this year.  The following map is provided as a summary of the disease’s spread.

Nebraska Domestic Cervid Facilities
The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is responsible for licensing and inspection of domestic cervid facilities.  They have reported a third facility testing positive for CWD.  This latest facility is near Chadron (Rocking Heart Ranch).  The other two are at Oshkosh (Pollard) and Harrison (Edwards).  It is now the intention of the NDA to create management plans for the facilities that test positive for CWD located within the endemic area. These plans will allow them to continue operation.  Plans include indefinite quarantine, restrictions on movement in and out of pens, restrictions on the purchase and sale of animals and additional testing requirements.

CWD in Wisconsin

A CWD positive free ranging deer was discovered in Northwest Wisconsin.  This represents a disturbing leap from their endemic area in Southeast Wisconsin.  The deer was located near Shell Lake.  This location will put the Minnesota DNR on alert due to the proximity with the border.

CWD in Missouri
Three More Cases of Chronic Wasting Disease Found in Free-ranging Deer in Macon County, Missouri

CWD surveillance has confirmed 3 more free ranging deer positives in Macon County, Missouri near the positive captive facility in that area.  This brings the total to 4 in free-ranging deer. 

Meningeal Worm
In 2011 there were 30 sick mule deer with symptoms associated with meningeal worm infection submitted to the UNL Veterinary Diagnostic Center for testing.  A total of 19 was confirmed positive or possibly infected (parasite tracks).  In 2010 there were 36 deer submitted and 17 confirmed positive or possibly infected.  To date, 8 deer have been submitted in 2012 to the UNL diagnostic laboratory for meningeal worm testing, with 4 testing positive.

Deer Lice
In 2011 there were 6 confirmed mule deer mortalities attributed to the foreign chewing louse Bovicola tibialis.  There were 8 confirmed in 2010.  There have been no deer confirmed positive for lice in 2012.  Apparently these foreign lice don’t find Nebraska as hospitable as Oregon or Washington.

Alberta Bighorn Sheep
Protocol provided by USDA-Live Animal Imports required brucellosis testing of the bighorn sheep brought in from Alberta.  Tests were run for Brucella abortus, Brucella melitensis and Brucella ovis.  All 41 bighorn sheep were negative for these species of brucellosis.


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