This page includes information about hunting access for those who wish to hunt in the state of Nebraska. Through various partnerships, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is able to offer hunting access on some private land, as well as on designated public lands. For information on season dates and regulations for specific zones and units, visit our guides page. Additionally, more information about special regulations for each property may be found in the Small Game Guide, which is also available on the guides page.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has joined Pheasants Forever, Inc. (PF), the Nebraska Environmental Trust, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resource Districts (NRDs), hunters, anglers, landowners, private organizations and government agencies, to deliver an access program designed to enhance wildlife habitat and increase hunting, fishing and trapping opportunities throughout the state. This Public Access Atlas identifies and consolidates these access areas on public and private lands into one easy-to-read atlas specifically for hunters, trappers and anglers.
This material is based upon work supported by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Department of Agriculture, under grant #69-3A75-16-512. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Visit our GIS map portal to view our growing collection of interactive maps. Useful maps for hunters include public hunting areas, the Public Access Atlas, big game check stations, state parks and recreation areas, waterfowl zones and more. These mobile responsive maps also allow users to zoom into boundaries and easily view details while in the field (with adequate cellular reception).
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Most hunting and trapping in Nebraska takes place on private land where trespassing is prohibited by law. Hunters and trappers must get permission before hunting or trapping on private land. The exception is land enrolled in open access programs. Open access land is compiled in the Public Access Atlas.
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The Open Fields and Waters program seeks to increase hunter and angler participation in Nebraska. This program provides financial incentives for allowing public access and the opportunity for private landowners to work with Game and Parks biologists to improve wildlife habitat. These programs have opened more than 276,000 acres of private land including 424 acres of open waters and 41 miles of river to public hunting and fishing in Nebraska.
By purchasing a habitat stamp and a hunting, fishing or fur harvest permit, you are contributing to this program. Funding for OFW comes from multiple sources, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentives Program,” habitat stamp sales and the Pittman-Robertson Act (funding derived from a tax on firearms and ammunition that is distributed to states based on a state’s land area and quantity of hunting licenses sold). In addition, conservation groups such as National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants/Quail Forever and others contribute funds to the program.
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The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission pumps some wetlands across the state to improve hunting conditions, provide habitat for migrating waterfowl and the other water birds, provide areas for people to observe wildlife and to spread out the distribution of migrating birds and reduce the possibility of disease outbreaks. Learn more
Wildlife Management Areas (WMA)
Nebraska’s state wildlife management areas are managed by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Wildlife Division for the enhancement of wildlife habitat and for public hunting, trapping and fishing. However, they are open to many other activities, including hiking, bird watching, nature study and primitive camping. Maps of WMAs may be found in the Public Access Atlas.
Hunters and anglers pay the entire bill for the acquisition, development and maintenance of these areas through the purchase of hunting, trapping and fishing permits, Habitat Stamps and through excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment. Access to these lands is free, and no entry permit is necessary. However, to protect these areas and their many assets, there are certain rules that all must abide by. The Hunting Guide lists most general regulations that apply to public use of these wildlife areas. However, this is just a synopsis. Special regulations apply on some areas, like Clear Creek WMA, Sacramento-Wilcox WMA and others. For answers to specific questions, please contact your local Game and Parks Commission office.
State Parks and State Recreation Areas (SRA)
Portions of some state parks and recreation areas are open to hunting from the first Tuesday following Labor Day through the end of the spring turkey hunting season, unless restricted. Special regulations apply; contact the Commission’s Parks Division for details. A park entry permit is required for each vehicle entering the park. Portions of three state historical parks — Fort Atkinson, Ash Hollow and Rock Creek Station — are open to hunting, as well. Hunting is prohibited within 100 yards of any public use facility or activity area, including picnic areas, campgrounds, private cabins, concession areas, boat ramps and parking lots.
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These federal lands are located primarily in the rainwater basin wetlands of south-central Nebraska and are purchased with Federal Duck stamp revenue. They are open to hunting and other public recreation, but camping is prohibited. Special regulations may apply. More information on these areas may be found in the Public Access Atlas.
Learn more via the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website
These are federally managed lands; special regulations may apply. Most national wildlife refuges managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are open to hunting, unless otherwise posted. Check with those agencies for special regulations. Travel restrictions on U.S. Forest Service land can be found on the USDA website.
Learn more via the USDA website
Natural Resources Districts (NRDs)
These are local government entities. Special regulations may apply. Some NRD-owned lands are managed by the NRDs, and some are managed by Nebraska Game and Parks as WMAs. Some NRD lands are included in the Hunting Guide, but others may not be open for hunting. Contact the nearest NRD office for information on NRD lands near you.
Learn more via the Nebraska NRD website
The PATH program provides Nebraska youth and their mentors access to hunt on private lands and selected public lands. Only youth under the age of 18 may hunt on this land. The mentor is there to help the youth and ensure a safe hunting experience. PATH is made possible by a partnership between the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, National Wild Turkey Federation, National Shooting Sports Foundation and Nebraska landowners.
The Platte River Recovery Implementation Program (PRRIP) has opened up some land along the Platte River to limited public access. Activities allowed vary by site and a permission slip is needed for daily use. Applications for a chance to hunt Plate River Recreation Areas (PRRA) land during November rifle deer seasons will be accepted during the month of September.