Morning Outdoor Files - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Morning Outdoor Files

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One of the biggest outdoor news stories of last year was the drought and a disease called EHD (epizootic hemorrhagic disease) that greatly impacted deer and it impacted the harvest numbers from the past deer season. Those total figures from Kit Hams, Big Game Program manager:

Big Game Program manager Kit Hams said, "We harvested about 9,000 mule deer and about 50,000 whitetail deer, total harvest at 60,000, and that's a lot of deer. But it was a lot less than were being harvested the last few years -- down about 25,000 from where we had been."

Deer were the cause of a lot of crop depredation complaints by some landowners, so in a sense the tragedy that afflicted deer had an upside.

Hams said, "We'd been issuing 120,000 bonus antlerless tags on top of 140,000 permits, and hunters were actually tired of shooting antlerless deer. They wouldn't shoot enough anymore for whatever reason, too many in the freezer already, whatever, but yeah this helped us out. We needed it.

In time, those deer herd numbers will rebound but in the short term, deer permit numbers will be down.

"This fall there will be primarily a lot less antlerless permits," said Hams, "upwards of 82,000 to 85.000 less bonus antlerless tags."

"They'll come off most of the statewide permits and many of the November firearm permits -- they'll be taken off those too -- but there will still be well over 100,000 permits available for hunters so there will be a lot of opportunity just like there has always been," added Hams.

Game and Parks will stock rainbow around the state soon -- to see if the lake near you has been stocked, go to http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/fishing/guides/fishguide/FGstocking.asp.

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