NORFOLK, NE — Deer, and their hunters, are back.
The nine-day firearm season opened last Saturday and lasts through Sunday, that’s the 12th through the 20th. Nebraska Game and Parks District Manager in the Wildlife Division Tom Welstead says the deer population has rebounded from an EHD disease event in 2012 where 30 to 40 percent of the deer population was lost.
“The deer herd by our harvest numbers show that it’s coming back,” Welstead said. “In some places it may be nearly as high as it was back in 2012.”
Welstead says the Game and Parks let the whitetail population recover naturally. He says it can be difficult managing the deer population.
“We balance those, what the public and the sportsmen want and what landowners can tolerate,” Welstead said. “Sometimes it’s a tough issue to balance it. So that’s why we monitor and regulate our deer permits as much as we can.”
Some permits are sold out for the short firearm season but you can still find a limited amount available, especially for antler-less deer. Welstead says above all, it’s important to be safe and follow all regulations while hunting. Although it may be the opposite to what archers are used to, all deer hunters must wear blaze orange during firearm season.
“On their front, on their back, and on their head, 400 square inches,” Welstead said. “That’s one of the primary things that we emphasize especially, because visibility is very important when you’re out there in the field.”
Welstead says most violations occur when hunters are unsuccessful and get anxious. Hunter trespass is one of the most common violations and can be prevented by getting permission before going onto hunting land.