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. Careful management the past five years has resulted in stable mule deer herds and slightly increasing whitetail herds. Season recommendations for 2020 will allow a harvest of approximately 11,000 mule deer and 50,000 whitetail deer. Population goals in 2020 are for slight increases in eastern whitetail herds, a continued reduction in southwestern mule deer herds and continued pressure on whitetails along river corridors. Biologists will collect lymph nodes for CWD testing from deer taken in six Panhandle and Southeast deer units.
Season choice antlerless:
Sept. 1, 2020 – Dec. 31, 2020
Nov. 14, 2020 – Nov. 22, 2020
Dec. 1, 2020 – Dec. 31, 2020
Sept. 1, 2020 – Jan. 15, 2021
Residents and non-residents can apply for permits in draw units from June 8, 2020 – June 26, 2020. Remaining permits and permits for non-draw units an be purchased from the first Monday in August (Aug. 3, 2020) through the close of season.
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
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.
All deer harvested, including during the November firearm season, must checked via Telecheck.
Physical check stations are not operating in 2020 because of COVID-19 concerns.
• Deer harvested must be checked via Telecheck within 48 hours of kill, but no later than 1 p.m. on the day after the close of the season for which the permit was valid.
• Deer harvested must be checked in before leaving the state.
• Each permit holder is responsible for registering his or her own deer.
• The permit holder must record the seal number on the permit of any deer checked via Telecheck. That number and permit must be retained while transporting the deer
to a point of permanent storage or processing.
• Deer may be checked online or by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call the phone number on the permit or visit OutdoorNebraska.gov/telecheck/.
All deer harvested outside the November firearm season must be checked via Telecheck.
Manual check stations will only be available for the November firearm season.
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.
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.
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 1-15, 2021. 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 2020 Nebraska Big Game Guide pages 13-20 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 2020 Nebraska Big Game Guide page 33 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).
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.
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.
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 2020 Mule Deer Trip Planner as a guide.View 2020 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.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is proud to offer hunters the chance to give back through Hunters Helping the Hungry, philanthropic program that allows hunters to donate venison to Nebraskans in need.
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.