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Deer Hunting in Nebraska

Some simply call it deer season. In Nebraska, we love deer season. From mule deer to whitetail, no matter how you prefer to take your shot, Nebraska has an over-the-counter permit for you. That’s right, no lotteries here, just easy access to public land and thousands of trophy-quality deer. Plus, with $8 youth permits, Nebraska is the perfect place for young hunters. Here in Nebraska, we make it easy to get into the stand. Explore this page and start planning your Nebraska deer hunt.

About deer hunting in Nebraska

Nebraska’s modern deer season began in 1945, with a harvest of 275 mule deer and two whitetail deer from Nebraska National Forest near Halsey. Since then, deer hunting has become a treasured tradition enjoyed by countless hunters, who have harvested more than 2.3 million deer.

Season dates
Archery: Sept. 1, 2021 – Dec. 31, 2021
November firearm: Nov. 13, 2021 – Nov. 21, 2021
Muzzleloader: Dec. 1, 2021 – Dec. 31, 2021
Antlerless Late Season: Jan. 1, 2022 – Jan. 16, 2022
October River Antlerless: Oct. 1, 2021 – Oct. 15, 2021
Late River Antlerless: Jan. 1, 2022 – Jan. 31, 2022
Special Landowner: Nov. 6, 2021 – Nov. 8, 2021

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Purchasing dates
Residents and non-residents can apply for permits in draw units from June 14, 2021 – June 25, 2021.

Remaining permits and permits for non-draw units can be purchased from the first Monday in August (Aug. 2, 2021 at 1 p.m. CST) through the close of season.

Unlimited Permits (Archery, Muzzleloader, Landowner, Statewide Buck permits) can be purchased July 26, 2021 after 1:00 pm CST.

Download step-by-step instructions on the big game draw application and payment process:
How to apply for a big game draw permit PDF
How to pay for an awarded big game draw permit PDF

Units
Find detailed maps of all deer and antelope units, as well as summary regulations on the hunting seasons page.

Information on draw units
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission provides information on the previous year’s draw results.

Check stations

  • Registering your harvest of deer is mandatory in Nebraska and must be completed before the carcass leaves the state.
  • It is unlawful to separate a deer into sections smaller than quarters before completing the check station process. Quartering is defined as four legs, with femur or scapula naturally attached, and loins. The head must accompany the carcass to the check station.
  • Deer harvested during the November firearm season must be delivered to a check in location no later than 1 p.m. on the day following the close of the season. A list of check stations can be found HERE.
  • Deer harvested outside of the November firearm season must be checked via Telecheck within 48 hours of kill and before 1 p.m. on the day following the close of the season.
  • Permit and check station seal number or check station verification number must be retained when transporting all or a portion of the carcass to a point of permanent storage or processing.
  • Hunters must record the seal number and security code on the permit.

Download 2021 deer regulations and check stations

Big Game Check-In (Telecheck)

The Nebraska Telecheck Program allows hunters to check deer or antelope by telephone or online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, other than during the nine-day firearm season.
Learn more and access Telecheck

Special Antlerless Deer Opportunities

Additional hunting opportunities exist for those willing to harvest antlerless deer. A large number of Antlerless Only Season Choice permits are offered in units across the state, allowing for harvest in any open season with the legal weapon for that season. This permit also allows for hunting during the late season firearm period of Jan 1-16, 2022. The River Antlerless Private Land Only permit also allows for hunting and harvest throughout open seasons (with the corresponding legal weapon) and an additional period open to firearm hunting October 1-15 on private land in areas along several river systems in Nebraska. Many units have seen increases in permit quotas with several permit bag limits increasing to include a second bonus antlerless whitetail in response to increasing deer numbers and depredation complaints. Please consult the 2021 Nebraska Big Game Guide pages 13-21 for more details on these permits. As always, Nebraska law requires permission to hunt on private land.

Special antlerless hunting opportunities are offered within Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, Platte River State Park, and Schramm Park State Recreation Area. Archery and muzzleloader seasons are on specific dates in December and January. Please consult the 2021 Nebraska Big Game Guide page 34 for specific dates. Hunters wishing to hunt these seasons must apply during the application period of October 1-31 at one of the parks where the hunts will take place. Successful applicants will be issued a special access permit that allows them to hunt antlerless deer in designated areas of a park for the specified season. Hunters must attend an orientation session in order to receive the access permit. Hunters must also have a valid deer permit for the specific season (Archery, Wahoo SCA or Youth).

Download application

Antlerless Hunter Database

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Antlerless Hunter Database connects hunters who wish to harvest antlerless deer with landowners who are experiencing damage issues from deer on their property. Hunters who wish to be considered for this program may sign up on the program page, and landowners may view a list of hunters interested in harvesting antlerless deer.
Learn more

Management

Careful management the past five years has resulted in stable mule deer herds and slightly increasing whitetail herds.

View 2020 Deer Harvest Report

View 2019 Deer Harvest Report

Where to hunt

Deer can be found in every county in Nebraska. White-tailed deer are now found statewide with higher densities in the east and in riparian corridors. Mule deer occupy the western two-thirds of the state and are the dominant species in 20 counties. Nebraska offers ample opportunity to hunt public land, particularly in the western part of the state. View the Public Access Atlas to view land open to hunting in Nebraska.

Planning your trip

There are some key factors to take into account when planning a trip to hunt Nebraska. To save yourself time and get the most out of your adventure, use our 2021 Mule Deer Trip Planner as a guide.

View 2021 Mule Deer Trip Planner

Those hunting in Nebraska will encounter the state’s famous Midwestern hospitality. Across the state, hunters will find great places to stay, eat and be entertained.  The additional resources below will help you plan your trip.

  • Nebraska’s state parks and recreation areas make for great places for hunters to stay or camp. You can find a cabin or camping spot through our park amenities search.
  • The Nebraska Department of Agriculture maintains a statewide list of outfitters, hunting lodges and other resources for hunters. View the list on the Department of Agriculture website.
  • The Nebraska State Tourism Commission website can help you find hotels, restaurants and interesting attractions throughout the state.

Field Dressing and Processing Tutorials

Check out these helpful video tutorials from Meateater and the Quality Deer Management Association on how to process a deer. Topics include: field dressing, skinning, quartering and deboning your deer.

How to Field Dress a Deer by Meateater
How to Skin a Deer by QDMA
How to Quarter a Deer by QDMA
Deboning a Deer by QDMA

Giving back

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is proud to offer hunters the chance to give back through Hunters Helping the Hungry, a philanthropic program that allows hunters to donate venison to Nebraskans in need.

Deer exchange program

The Deer Exchange, which is available annually from Sept. 1 through March 1, allows hunters and potential venison recipients to join a database and search for other participating parties in their area. Parties will work out the details of the transfer. Venison cannot be sold. Donors and recipients can register online for free.

Learn more or join the deer exchange

Surveys

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission periodically surveys the hunters of Nebraska regarding issues related to wildlife management. Below are results of the most recent surveys.

Nebraska Deer Hunter Survey 2020

More hunting opportunities

Thanks to its diverse habitat, Nebraska is an upland game hunter’s paradise, with a dozen species of birds and small mammals available to hunt. The state also offers the best turkey hunting opportunities in the country; permits are plentiful and turkeys can be found in every county in the state.

big game guide