From the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
-- More deer hunters will be required to earn their buck this fall.
The Game and Parks Board of Commissioners adopted expanded Earn-a-Buck restrictions, along with other 2011 big game (deer, antelope and elk) regulations, at their meeting May 27.
Earn-a-Buck was created in 2010 for the Elkhorn and Wahoo firearm units to help control the white-tailed deer population in eastern Nebraska. The Earn-a-Buck restriction requires hunters to check in a doe before or at the same time they check in a buck - earning a buck by first shooting a doe. It helped. Hunters harvested a record number of antlerless white-tailed deer throughout the state last year.
This year, Earn-a-Buck is expanded to include the Missouri, Blue Northwest and Blue Southeast units.
Another change this year limits the number of permits a person may have that allow mule deer harvest in the Mule Deer Conservation Area to one.
Other deer regulation changes include limiting Youth Deer permits to one per person, creating a Youth Whitetail permit, increasing bonus antlerless whitetail tags in the Loup East and Calamus East units by 3,100, and restricting antlerless mule deer harvest on public lands in the Pine Ridge Unit.
To accommodate the increasing elk population, the board voted to expand landowner zones in the Hat Creek, Bordeaux and North Platte River units. An additional 15 bull and six antlerless tags are authorized for elk hunting this fall.
Three additional late season antelope units were created in the North Sioux, Dismal and Box Butte East units, with 138 doe/fawn permits, due to increasing populations and increasing landowner complaints. The Box Butte Unit was split into East and West units to better manage the population. A statewide youth archery antelope permit is created for residents and nonresidents age 12 to 15.
Dates for 2011 big game seasons:
Antelope: Archery - Aug. 20-Dec. 31; Muzzleloader - Sept. 17-Oct. 2; October Firearm - Oct. 8-23; October Late Firearm - Oct. 8-Nov. 11; and December Late Firearm - Dec. 1-Jan. 31.
Elk: Bull - Sept. 24-Oct. 23; Antlerless - Sept. 24-Oct. 23 and Dec. 1-21; Boyd - Aug. 15-Nov. 11 and Nov. 21-Dec. 31.
Deer: Archery - Sept. 15-Dec. 31; Muzzleloader - Dec. 1-31; Season Choice - archery, Sept. 15-Jan. 18; muzzleloader, Dec. 1-31; firearm, Nov. 12-20 and Dec. 26- Jan. 18. Youth and Landowner - archery, Sept. 15-Dec. 31; muzzleloader, Dec. 1-31; firearm, Nov. 12-20; archery or firearm, Dec. 26-Jan. 18 (no bucks taken in January); November Firearm - Nov. 12-20; Earn-a-Buck - Nov. 12-22; Mule Deer Conservation Area - Sept. 15-Dec. 31 (weapons legal for archery, muzzleloader and firearm); October Antlerless - Oct. 1-10; DeSoto Muzzleloader - Oct. 1-2, Oct. 15-16, Dec. 10-11, and Jan. 7-8; Boyer Chute Muzzleloader - Oct. 22-23, Nov. 5-6 and Dec. 17-18.
Bighorn Sheep: Nov. 29-Dec. 22.