Early checked deer numbers down 10 percent statewide

Early checked deer numbers down 10 percent statewide
World-Herald News Service

LINCOLN, Neb. – Preliminary deer check-in numbers indicate that statewide harvest numbers are down approximately 10 percent compared to the 2017 opening weekend of Nebraska’s firearm season.

During this year’s Nov. 10-11 opening weekend, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s northeast district check stations recorded 11 percent fewer deer than last year. The number of checked deer were down 9 percent in the southeast and northwest districts and down 11 percent in the southwest district.

“Many factors can be related to the lower numbers of checked deer,” said Pat Molini, a wildlife assistant administrator for Game and Parks. “There is still corn standing in the fields, and the frigid temperatures and single-digit wind chills made it easier for some to stay home and watch football on Saturday.”

Molini added that colder temperatures allow hunters to hang their deer carcasses longer without the worry of spoilage, delaying check-in until later in the week.

Another factor in the lower numbers of checked deer, Molini said, is that management units such as the Pine Ridge, Blue Northwest and Wahoo had fewer permits available this year.

Some reminders to hunters still in the field until the season closes Nov. 18:

— Make safety your highest priority. Know what your target is and what is behind your target. Be aware of where your weapon’s muzzle is pointed at all times.

— It is illegal to duplicate permits. Only hard copy permits are allowed; no electronic deer permits are allowed.

— All deer harvested during the nine-day firearm season must be checked at a big game check station. This includes deer harvested on archery permits during this time as well. Be sure to notch the carcass tag on your permit immediately upon harvesting a deer.

— Many check-in stations in the northwest and north central are collecting lymph nodes for chronic wasting disease testing. Hunters whose deer test positive for CWD will be notified directly by the Game and Parks. Additionally, test results are posted weekly at OutdoorNebraska.org/CWD.

— In Nebraska, a person must have permission to enter private property.

“Many hunters report high rut activity along with fewer hunters in the field, so those hunters who decided to wait for warmer temperatures may be in luck later in the week,” Molini said.

Many management unit permits are available, as well as some statewide permits. Permits can be purchased at OutdoorNebraska.org.

Some Hunters Helping the Hungry quotas met and fund contributions greatly needed

LINCOLN, Neb. – Cash donations are greatly needed to pay processors taking part in the Hunters Helping the Hungry (HHH) program. Because of critically low cash contributions, several locations no longer can take donated deer and others cannot accept as many as hunters are willing to donate.

The following locations can no longer take donated deer: Bayard, JM Pack; Diller, Diller Locker Company; Franklin, Franklin Locker; Johnson, Pelicans; North Bend, Bob’s Custom Meats; Table Rock, Den’s Country Meats; and Wahoo, Wahoo Locker.

Many other HHH processors have five or fewer spots for donated deer remaining: Blair, KB Quality Meats/Blair Meat Market; Humphrey, Country Butcher and Main Street Market; Oakland, Oakland Meat Processing; Oxford, Oxford Locker; and Elwood, Steakmaster Inc.

“We suggest hunters be prepared with a backup plan to donating a deer harvested during the remainder of the deer hunting seasons,” HHH Coordinator Teresa Lombard said. “A possible backup plan could be the Deer Exchange Program, which helps people exchange contact information between those wanting to receive venison, and hunters who have venison they would like to transfer.”

To make a donation to support the HHH program, visit outdoornebraska.gov/HHH. For information on the Deer Exchange, visit outdoornebraska.gov/deerexchangeprogram.

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