From the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
-- Large numbers of permits remain available for Nebraska’s firearm season Nov. 14-22. A new access program is available, opening thousands of acres to walk-in hunting, and a popular program that allows deer meat to be distributed to those who want it is in its second year.
One major change affects deer hunters. A new regulation allows turkey hunting during that season. Like the deer hunters, those turkey hunters must wear hunter orange.
The following are key reminders concerning the season:
Checking – Deer must be checked at manual check stations. Electronic checking is not available for the firearm season.
Deer Exchange – Hunters may take advantage of this program and provide deer meat to anyone willing to accept it. Donors and recipients of meat may register for free at ngpc.state.ne.us/hunting/programs/deerexchange/. They search a database for participants in their area, and then make contact by telephone to set up the transfer of meat.
Open Fields and Waters Program – More than 36,000 acres of private land in the first year of this pilot program are available for public walk-in hunting access. Check the 2009 Public Access Atlas for tracts in each county.
Remaining Permits – As of Nov. 4, the remaining firearm deer permits, by unit and quantity, are: Buffalo Whitetail, 511; Calamus East, 590; Calamus West, 899; Frenchman Whitetail, 806; Keya Paha, 1,331; Loup West, 576; Pine Ridge, 1,303; Plains, 731; Platte, 100; Platte Whitetail, 1,090; Sandhills, 1,092; and Upper Platte, 651. The list of remaining permits may be found at OutdoorNebraska.org. Click on Licenses and Fees, then Purchase a Permit, then Remaining Permits.
Purchasing Permits – They may be purchased at Commission permitting offices and at OutdoorNebraska.org. A habitat stamp is required of all deer hunters, except residents age 15 or younger.
Safe hunting during deer season is no accident
Hunter Education Coordinator Mike Streeter has the following tips for safely handling firearms during the firearm deer season:
-- Treat every gun with the respect due a loaded gun.
-- Control the direction of the muzzle at all times.
-- Be sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions.
-- Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
-- Unload guns when not in use. Have the action open and the chamber empty, except when actually hunting. Transport guns in cases, or secure storage racks in vehicles. Handle a gun by the stock, not the barrel.
-- Never point a gun at anything you do not want to shoot.
-- Never climb over or under a fence, into or out of a tree or jump a ditch with a loaded gun.
-- Never shoot at a flat, hard surface or water.
-- Store guns and ammunition under lock and key.
The safe use of tree stands also is crucial for a successful hunt.
"A recent survey revealed that nearly 40 percent of deer hunters will fall from their stand or tree some time in their life, and 70 percent of falls occur while hunters either are climbing or descending a tree or entering or leaving the stand," Streeter said.
He has the following tips for tree stands:
-- Use a full-body harness when using a tree stand, including ascending, descending and occupying the stand.
-- Only use equipment that is in good condition.
-- Avoid hunting from heights above 15 feet.
-- Maintain a short tether between yourself and the tree. Allow only enough slack for you to turn and shoot. The tether should be tight when you are seated on your stand.
-- Use a haul line to raise and lower your equipment.
-- Never use a homemade tree stand.
-- Attach yourself to the tree starting when you are on the ground.
Hunters Reminded of Common Complaints
The most common complaints received by the Law Enforcement Division during the November firearm deer hunting season are
-- Hunting Without Permission – Anyone hunting on private land must first obtain permission from the landowner.
-- Shooting from the Road – No one may shoot from the road or right-of-way (ditch), whether in a vehicle or not.
Other issues hunters should be aware of are
-- Hunter Orange – Anyone hunting deer or turkey during the November firearm deer season must display 400 square inches of hunter orange on his or her head, chest and back. This includes all turkey hunters regardless of weapon.
-- Accompaniment – When hunting during the November firearm deer season, the following must be accompanied by a licensed person age 19 or older:
-- Deer hunters age 15 or younger.
-- Youth age 11 and younger hunting turkey with a firearm.
-- Hunters holding an Apprentice Hunter Education Exemption Certificate.