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Nebraska considers big game regulation changes

From the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

-- The Nebraska Game and Parks Board of Commissioners will consider amendments to big game hunting regulations for 2010 at its regular meeting March 19.

The 2009 harvest of white-tailed deer in Nebraska fell short of expectations. The 2010 recommendations take that information into account, as well as opinions of hunters, landowners, biologists and the public.

The Commission seeks a higher harvest of white-tailed deer, especially in eastern Nebraska, and a further restriction of mule deer harvest in southwest and south-central Nebraska.

Among the recommendations:

*  Expanding the October Antlerless season—The three-day season of 2009 would be lengthened to 11 days this year. The hunting area included two eastern management units last year but would include 60 percent of the state in 2010. An unlimited number of permits will be on sale for $10, $54 for nonresidents.

*  Earn-a-Buck—This new tool would require hunters with Elkhorn and Wahoo unit November firearm permits to check in a doe before or at the same time as they check in a buck as a means of increasing doe harvest.

*  Mule Deer Conservation Area—The area is comprised of the Buffalo, Frenchman, Republican, and Platte units. The only hunters who would be able to harvest a mule deer buck would be youth, landowners and those with the new Buffalo, Platte, Frenchman or Republican mule deer buck permits. These permits allow harvest in archery, muzzleloader and November firearms seasons. Restricted statewide buck, archery and muzzleloader permits would not be valid for mule deer bucks in the Mule Deer Conservation Area.

Among the deer recommendations are proposals:  

*  Making an additional 45,000 antlerless permits and bonus tags available statewide

*  Allowing archery equipment as legal weapons on firearm permits in November and January

*  Establishing a statewide whitetail buck permit valid in archery, muzzleloader and November firearm seasons

*  Establishing five new Season Choice Areas within existing areas

*  expanding the late antlerless rifle season from 15 to 24 days

Big game recommendations also include making more antelope and elk permits available. The board meets in Commission headquarters in Lincoln at 8 a.m. March 19.

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