Deer Hunting in Nebraska

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  • B
  • 280,000

    Est. Whitetail Population

  • 130,000

    No. Licenses Sold Annually

  • $62 and up

    Statewide archery or muzzleloader tag is $37. Statewide whitetail buck tag (archery, firearm or muzzleloader) is $88. Restricted statewide buck tag is $128. Statewide buck tag (quota) is $173. Habitat stamp is $25.

    Resident hunting license and deer permit

  • $267 and up

    Statewide archery or muzzleloader tag is $242. Statewide whitetail buck tag (archery, firearm or muzzleloader) is $600. Restricted statewide buck tag is $698. Statewide buck tag (quota) is $798. Habitat stamp is $25.

    Non-resident hunting license and deer permit

  • 199 2/8"

    Taken by Vernon A. Virka in Saunders County in 1983 and ranks 24th all-time.

    Record B&C Typical Stat

  • 229

    Total B&C Typical Entries

  • 284"

    Taken by Wesley A. O’Brien in Richardson County in 2009 and ranks 16th all-time.

    Record B&C Non-Typical Stat

  • 144

    Record B&C Non-Typical Entries

Grant Taylor and his big Nebraska buck. Image courtesy of Grant Taylor

Season Dates (2021):

Bow season runs from September 1 to December 31. Gun season is November 13-21. Muzzleloader season runs December 1-31. Additional antlerless seasons apply in certain areas. These are the dates set when published. Please check the Nebraska Game & Parks website to confirm.

The Grade: B

The Cornhusker State is great for whitetails. The deer herd is plentiful, with the higher densities located in the southeastern part of the state and along major river corridors. Some of the bucks in the state get old, and that’s what it takes to have big deer.

Nebraska is one of few states that publishes detailed data in its annual regulations book. You’ll find a breakdown of each region, total harvest, how many bucks per square mile were killed, and the age class of the bucks taken. All of that is solid info that can help drill down on areas to try.

Despite all of the good, a few things count against it. Nebraska isn’t for those who don’t like having a rifle season during the rut, which has the potential to impact buck age structure. For those who do rifle hunt, tags aren’t easy to obtain, and prices are extremely high. Third, compared with other states, public land is limited here. All said, it gets a B for 2020.

Antler Nation Knowledge:

Nebraska does offer three different deer permits that are limited draw. That process occurs in June, but remaining over-the-counter tags go on sale August 3 at 1 p.m. CST. Many of these tags go quickly. Don’t procrastinate.

As for access, this state is less than 3% public, but some of the public is really good. The Nebraska Game & Parks Commission works with Pheasants Forever, Nebraska Environmental Trust, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Districts, and others to increase public access. It also established the Open Fields and Waters Program (OFW) to open an additional 346,000 acres of private land to hunting. The Passing Along the Heritage Program (PATH) offers limited opportunities as well. And of course, wildlife management areas, some state parks and state recreation areas, Waterfowl Production Areas, Platte River Recreation Access, and other smaller programs increase access too. To view these, Nebraska’s Public Access Atlas is a valuable tool for hunters.

Drilling down on specific locations, eastern Nebraska is the most consistent region for trophy production. Cass, Cedar, Dodge, Douglas, Gage, Jefferson, Johnson, Lancaster, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee, Richardson, Sarpy, Saunders, and Washington counties are among those. A few western and central counties hold their own, too, including Holt, Furnas, Keya Paha, and Lincoln. Counties aside, river corridors generally have the best genetics, habitat, nutrition, deer densities, and biggest bucks.

Nebraska Harvests

  • Cameron Milke

    Richardson, Nebraska

From the Realtree Trophy Den