Nebraska is halfway through its deer hunting seasons and harvest numbers are outpacing permit sales.
Through Saturday, Nov. 19, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) sold 123,499 deer permits.
Patrick Cole, NGPC budget and fiscal administrator, says that compares to 126,000 through end of November 2015.
“We’re about 3,000 down, but there are still some days left here,” Cole tells Nebraska Radio Network. “People will be starting to get back into archery.”
While permit sales are lagging, Cole says the harvest has been great, so far.
“According to our biologists doing the deer check station, and they don’t have all the numbers in yet from the rifle season, but it looks like it’s going to be a record harvest compared to last year,” Cole says.
Archery season continues through the end of the year, while the muzzleloader seasons runs during December.
A late firearm antlerless only season runs January 1-15, 2017.
The state’s deer population seems to have bounced back from the 2012 drought and a deadly disease, known as EHD, that year.
“We’re not to 2011 levels, but we’re as high as we’ve been prior to that,” Cole says.
That money from hunting permits goes into the Game Cash Fund to pay for such things as research, habitat restoration, biologists, and law enforcement.
“Dollar-wise, it’s about $5.6 million,” Cole explains. “The deer permits are probably our largest, single revenue source on the game side.”