November hunting season sees big interest, procedure changes

Published: Nov. 14, 2020 at 4:42 PM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Many people are looking to get out of the house and hunting is more popular in Nebraska this year. So far this year, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission reports having issued 7,000 more hunting permits than they did this time last year. Fishing and parks permits are also up.

“We suspect some of it is with the COVID issues with a lot of the other outlets for people to go do things with those being shut down. People are looking to the outdoors as one of the things you can do,” said Luke Meduna, Big Game Program Manager for Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

It is the opening weekend of the November Firearm hunting season and most deer permits are sold out. Hunters will have a different process for checking in their harvest since there are no in-person check in. They have to call or go online to report their animals. Game and Parks said this was a decision to keep their employees safe from the virus but they do miss the interactions.

“Some of it is the tradition of it. We’ve had a lot of hunters disappointed that we’re not having check stations just because everybody likes going and seeing what other people have taken for deer and all that,” Meduna said. “There’s a certain amount of comradery that goes along with these check stations.”

With the big increase in permits, there is a possibility the herd will be smaller for next year. Game and Parks trusts hunters to limit themselves within their permits.

“Hunters tend to regulate themselves more and more,” Meduna said. “Those hunters that are hunting bucks if they’re not seeing a buck of the caliber that they’re wanting to take they’ll tend to pass the younger bucks.”

Meat lockers are expecting to see more business.

“Meat lockers are really busy this year and it’s not really due to the increased number of hunters,” Meduna said. “The initial COVID issues that impacted the processing plant last spring, a lot of the meat lockers on the local small scale meat lockers got booked up.”

Game and Parks hope next year they can get back out there to meet with hunters and hold their annual traditions. There are still a lot of various permits available for hunting and fishing.

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