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Nebraska firearm hunters take 53,641 deer

From the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

-- Hunters harvested 53,641 deer in Nebraska during the recent firearm season, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The harvest total represents a 3 percent decrease from the 2008 harvest of 55,507. A likely reason for the decline is a lagging corn harvest because a wet October provided plenty of cover for deer. That was especially true in eastern Nebraska, where deer harvest totals were down from a year ago.

The following are management district harvest totals, including percentage of change from 2008: Panhandle, 5,904, no change; north-central, 10,057, up 6 percent; northeast, 10,451, down 8 percent; southwest, 5,833, up 5 percent; southeast, 12,350, down 12 percent; and south-central, 9,046, no change.

Deer were checked at stations across the state. The following are totals for deer checked at Commission district offices over the final weekend of the season and for the entire season: Alliance – 133 weekend, 634 total; Bassett – 79 weekend, 532 total; Norfolk – 320 weekend, 1,241 total; North Platte – weekend total unavailable, 633 total; Lincoln – 122 weekend, 450 total; and Kearney – 325 weekend, 1,030 total.

Conservation officers received many complaints over the final weekend. The complaints included hunting without permission, shooting from the road, spotlighting and shooting and dumping deer.

Officers also investigated a number of incidents. In the northwest region, a bull elk was shot and left in a field northwest of Fort Robinson State Park.

Another hunter in the Pine Ridge reported tracking a deer he had shot until he found it being attacked by a mountain lion. The hunter dispatched the deer, scaring off the cat. The hunter left to retrieve field-dressing equipment and returned to find the deer had been partially consumed and covered by debris.

There was a report of a wounded bighorn sheep on Cedar Canyon Wildlife Management Area. The sheep was located alive, but officers could not get close enough to determine if the sheep was shot or injured fighting another sheep.

In the southwest region, an 18-year-old hunter turned himself in to an officer after shooting an elk he had mistaken for a deer. Also, one officer in the region received 38 reports of sick deer.

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