Nebraska – From a Deer Hunter’s POV

Posted: 08/23/2012 in Archery, Hunting, Legal, News, Regulations
Tags: , , , ,

This is an ongoing series looking at each state from the point of view of a nonresident hunter trying to find information about deer hunting, the basic explanation is HERE.

Nebraska

Is the information easy to find?

The Nebraska Game and Parks Hunting Regulations web page was at the top of the search results.

Grade: A

Website: is it easy to use and understand?

Several of the web pages would not load and returned server errors, which is unfortunate, however the Big Game Guide PDF has most if not all of the information needed to plan a hunt, including types of tags available, the price of the tags, the bag limit and the seasons.  Both of the server errors were on the How to Hunt page, with the How to Bowhunt and How to Hunt with a Firearm returning server errors.  There is also a single page PDF titled “Nebraska Hunter Requirements” that is difficult to read even at 150% magnification.

Grade: C

Does the state hold a lottery system for non-residents or are over the counter licenses available?

The Nebraska Permits Page is straightforward, with prices and notes regarding any special circumstances for that species. Based on the information on that page, nonresident deer permits are available without the uncertainty of a drawing. There are some hunting areas that require a drawing, however that is location specific, not residency based. The ambiguity of the licensing system, mostly due to contradictory or unclear information, is discussed below.

Grade: B

How much does it cost to hunt, and is there a short term license available?

There do not appear to be short term licenses available for deer hunting.  The Hunting Guide PDF (page 20) details the various licenses, however the chart on the Permits page and the detailed hunting license information has a discrepancy: there is no listing on the Permit Page chart for an ‘archery’ specific tag, while there is clearly a separate entry for it on the details page along with muzzleloader and firearm.

Archery – Valid statewide. Bag limit: one deer of either sex and one antlerless whitetail.
Resident — $30
Nonresident — $209(Big Game Guide, page 21)

It is possible that the $209.00 is for a combination firearm, muzzleloader and archery permit, and that the explanation on page 21 is just overly worded.  The nonresident section is very confusing, particularly these entries:

Nonresident Statewide Buck – Valid in nine-day November firearm season.
Bag limit: one buck.
Nonresident — $521

Whitetail Statewide Buck – Valid statewide Sept. 15-Dec. 31 for archery, muzzleloader
and November firearm season with weapon legal for each season. Bag limit: one
whitetail buck and one antlerless whitetail.
Resident — $73.50
Nonresident — $521

November Firearm – Valid in specific units during November firearm season. Bag
limit: varies by sex and species. See map on page 33.
Resident — $30
Nonresident — $209

It would seem that anyone with a tiny bit of common sense would automatically choose “Whitetail Statewide Buck,” as it’s listed at the same exact price as “Nonresident Statewide Buck” but has an additional deer included in it.  Regardless of which permit is chosen, there is an automatic $20.00 habitat stamp required of all hunters, resident or nonresident.  It is also unclear whether nonresidents need to purchase an $81.00 general hunting permit, though the ‘Huntguide’ PDF states on page 6:

• All nonresidents, regardless of age, who hunt for or possess any mammal or bird,
must have a Nebraska hunting permit.

These prices are quite high compared to other states, and the lack of clarity in the regulations would merit calling or writing the agency for a full explanation before making a decision.

Grade: D

Are the hunting seasons easy to find and laid out in a logical manner?

The Nebraska Game and Parks ‘Whitetail and Mule Deer Hunting‘ page is easy to read and user friendly.

Grade: A

Is public hunting available, if so, are the rules different? If the rules are different, are they easy to understand?

The Where to Hunt page has all of the information and maps available for a first time, nonresident hunter, including mobile apps, GPS, Google Earth, and other information.  The page also references the “Hunting Guide” PDF for additional details, however instead of opening the PDF version, this link takes you right back to the ‘Guides and Regulations‘ home page. From that page, a link to the Nebraska Public Access Atlas provides an interactive map with surveyor or engineer quality grid maps of the state.  The list of public hunting lands starts on page 24 of the Huntguide PDF, with no specific additional regulations listed per area.  This is a poorly thought out and executed method of conveying information to Nebraska’s hunters.

Grade: C

Are there major issues in hunting this state as a non-resident?

Chronic Wasting Disease has been found in deer in Nebraska, as listed on this page:

In the wild, CWD has been found in both mule deer and white-tailed deer. Free-roaming deer from Kimball, Cheyenne, Scottsbluff, Morrill, Banner, Box Butte, Dawes, Sheridan, Arthur, Hall, Keith, Red Willow and Sioux Counties have tested positive for the disease.

Other than taking the usual precautions in an area that may have wildlife infected with Chronic Wasting Disease, no other issues seem to prevent nonresidents from enjoying Nebraska.

Grade: B

Summary: Final Grade B-

The information is all available, but like many states, Nebraska relies heavily on PDF files rather than spelling out the information first time hunters need within the web pages directly.  It should not be difficult to have a nonresident section that states “Nonresidents must purchase the following licenses to hunt (species) in this state” with a checklist.  The cost is also quite high for a low bag limit, with contradictory and what seems to be overlapping licenses.  Add the server errors on several of the early pages, and this system seems to be in a state of transition, either between two administrators, or several web authors with contradictory ideas on how to present the information.

States Completed: AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelaware

FloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndiana, IowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMaryland

MassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouri, Montana

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