Sunday, December 06, 2009

Nebraska: Firearm hunters take 53,641 deer, two report mountain lion encounters

Firearm hunters take 53,641 deer, two report mountain lion encounters

By Nebraska Game and Parks and Record staff

Hunters harvested 53,641 deer in Nebraska during the recent firearm season, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The 10-day season also saw at least two hunters in the Pine Ridge area who had close encounters with mountain lions.

Nebraska Game and Parks district wildlife manager Todd Nordeen told the Associated press that in both cases the mountain lion showed up after the hunter had either wounded or killed the deer.

In one case, the hunter reported tracking a deer he had shot until he found it being attacked by a mountain lion. The hunter dispatched the deer, scaring off the cat and then hunter left to retrieve field-dressing equipment. When he returned, the deer had been partially consumed and the remainder was covered by debris.

The total deer harvest represents a 3-percent decrease from 2008. A likely reason for the decline is a lagging corn harvest due to a wet October that provided plenty of cover for deer. That was especially true in eastern Nebraska, where deer harvest totals were down from a year ago.

The following are management district harvest totals, including percentage of change from 2008: Panhandle, 5,904, no change; north-central, 10,057, up 6 percent; northeast, 10,451, down 8 percent; southwest, 5,833, up 5 percent; southeast, 12,350, down 12 percent; and south-central, 9,046, no change.

Deer were checked at stations across the state.

The following are totals for deer checked at Commission district offices over the final weekend of the season and for the entire season: Alliance – 133 weekend, 634 total; Bassett – 79 weekend, 532 total; Norfolk – 320 weekend, 1,241 total; North Platte – weekend total unavailable, 633 total; Lincoln – 122 weekend, 450 total; and Kearney – 325 weekend, 1,030 total.

Conservation officers received many complaints over the final weekend. The complaints included hunting without permission, shooting from the road, spotlighting, and shooting and dumping deer.

Officers also investigated a number of incidents.

In the northwest region, a bull elk was shot and left in a field northwest of Fort Robinson State Park.

There was a report of a wounded bighorn sheep on Cedar Canyon Wildlife Management Area. The sheep was located alive, but officers could not get close enough to determine if the sheep was shot or injured fighting another sheep.

In the southwest region, an 18-year-old hunter turned himself in to an officer after shooting an elk he had mistaken for a deer. Also, one officer in the region received 38 reports of sick deer.

An officer in the south-central region made a case against five Alabama residents who were renting a home and had permits in their names using Nebraska addresses. The officer confiscated 11 resident permits for deer, turkey and small game. He also seized three deer, including one trophy, and the leg of an alleged doe.

Also, a 17-year-old boy reportedly was shot accidentally in the leg and hand by a hunting companion.


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