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View Full Version : anyone hunting mulies in Nebraska?



Ilovethewest
11-22-2013, 03:54 PM
anyone hunting mule deer in Nebraska this fall? how is the population doing in the pine ridge area after the fires? Hunting pressure high this year or down?

Thanks! And good luck to anyone hunting!

tomcat
11-23-2013, 10:42 AM
Headed to the Sand Hills for the muzzleloader hunt. I've talked to some people out there and they say the population is stable and should be ok. This is my 4th trip to the same area. Last year you could tell that EHD had hurt the population, but mostly whitetails. I don't think that continued this year.

Alabama
11-23-2013, 02:47 PM
I'm in Nebraska right now. The numbers in the southern panhandle are way down. EHD affected the mule deer just as much as the whitetails. The whitetail population was decimated by a combo of EHD and blue tongue all in one summer. The NE game and parks commission won't admit that the losses are as severe as they are. I hunt the plains unit and I have seen 0 whitetails and only 30-40% of the numbers of mule deer I usually see (not including last year when this occurred).

trkytrack2
11-23-2013, 03:10 PM
Sorry but I'm skeptical about what your claiming. I lived in Nebraska for many years and the NGP has no reason to withhold any information on the deer population. Deer populations are down all over the west mainly because of the intense drought that has been going on for sometime. EHD has claimed some of the population but not to the extent your claiming. Another factor added to Nebraska recently is the recurrence of the mountain lion in the state added to the coyote predication on the deer. But the NGP lying about the deer population? Just ain't so.

Ilovethewest
11-23-2013, 06:49 PM
so any thoughts on a pine ridge hunt next fall? Crawford/chadron area? I have NF maps and have spent a lot of time on google earth.

any suggestions or just advice would be appreciated.

BJSwart
12-06-2013, 02:01 PM
I was just out in the Chadron and Crawford areas this last week. We seen plenty of deer Mule and White, there just wasn't any size or maturity. They are there and we could have all filled our tags but we didn't find what we wanted. We are going again next year for the muzzle loader season again. Any part of the Pine Ridge unit would be good. We went into the Ft. Robinson areas too glassine on Friday areas 1 and 2 had lots of mule does in there we didn't see any bucks. That is a restricted doe area. Pm me if you want any other information.

tomcat
12-06-2013, 06:44 PM
I just got back from Gordon, NE, not far from Chadron. The deer loss to EHD is at least 90%. I have hunted the area several times in the last few years and always had good luck. There are no deer left to hunt, whitetails or mule deer. Game and Fish are not telling the whole story. Last year they said the population state wide was down 30% and they just reported another loss of 20% for 2013. That means some areas where unaffected, but others have lost all of their deer. Better make sure that you know about the area before you go.

Topgun 30-06
12-06-2013, 07:23 PM
I just got back from Gordon, NE, not far from Chadron. The deer loss to EHD is at least 90%. I have hunted the area several times in the last few years and always had good luck. There are no deer left to hunt, whitetails or mule deer. Game and Fish are not telling the whole story. Last year they said the population state wide was down 30% and they just reported another loss of 20% for 2013. That means some areas where unaffected, but others have lost all of their deer. Better make sure that you know about the area before you go.


That's exactly what happens with EHD and Blue Tongue. One area can have heavy losses while an area not far from it doesn't take a hit to amount to anything. For someone in CO to dispute what a guy saw on the ground in a specific NE area he hunted seems to be wrong IMHO!

Alabama
12-07-2013, 11:00 AM
Sorry but I'm skeptical about what your claiming. I lived in Nebraska for many years and the NGP has no reason to withhold any information on the deer population. Deer populations are down all over the west mainly because of the intense drought that has been going on for sometime. EHD has claimed some of the population but not to the extent your claiming. Another factor added to Nebraska recently is the recurrence of the mountain lion in the state added to the coyote predication on the deer. But the NGP lying about the deer population? Just ain't so.

I understand your skepticism about my claims. When you lived there, their were probably great populations of deer. I have hunted Nebraska in 08, 10, 11, 12 and 2013 and I've seen great numbers of deer. More than I thought were possible. I'm talking scenes like some of the original Monster Bucks video series put out in the late 90s. In those videos there would be 50-100 deer in some of those alfalfa fields of Montana. I never thought I would see anything close to that. I hunted public land the first year and it was just as I expected, you had to walk a lot and really hunt hard just to find deer. I earned my first mule deer buck and I mean EARNED! Over 1 1/2 mile drag out on my own. Nebraska didn't allow quartering deer at that time (changed the next year in 09). I met some great people and became great friends with a nice family and have had great private land to hunt ever since. In 2010 I hunted wheat fields surrounded by rough sandhills pasture land on 3 sides and cornfields on the other. I would see 20-40 mule deer and 10-15 whitetails on these fields daily! It was a deer hunters paradise. In 2011 corn harvest was late and I would see 10-20 mule deer and 5-10 whitetails on these same fields. Deer numbers weren't down, there was just more cover. The private ground I was hunting had an annual harvest of about 30-40 deer and the population was still growing. In 2012 there were noticeably less deer, and the landowner said they had found quite a few mule deer of all age classes dead around their stock tanks. Those same fields I had hunted previously showed about 30 mule deer and 7 whitetails. Only problem was that was in a whole week of hunting. Corn harvest was not late and the deer should have been visible. This year was worse as far as numbers, on a 7 day hunt I saw 0 whitetails not even roadkill. I saw 3-7 mule deer on those fields the days I hunted there but I concentrated on winter pastureland that had not been grazed a few miles away. Overall I would say that mule deer numbers are down 40- 60% on the ranch that I hunt and the surrounding area. 80% or more for the whitetails. There were more deer found dead this summer around stock tanks and even a few antelope were also found dead or dying. The rancher and a local biologist said they had never seen 2 years in a row like this. The numbers affected weren't as great this year but still are bad to an already down population.

While I understand that his trend can be localized, it seems as if it has effected every unit in the state except the Frenchmen unit. If this is the case then it looks like the Ne Game and Parks would not only cut antlerless but regular Nov firearm permits. They have given a 4% loss in the Frenchmen unit to 45% loss in Loup West unit for whitetails. No loss maps or figures for Mule deer except for a 20% success reduction over 3 years ago due to brainworm disease. I talked to 2 biologist and 1 game warden about the losses and they said they are more severe than NE game and parks is saying. They estimated 40-50% mule deer losses and 50-60% whitetail losses for the eastern half of the plains unit (the area that they work).

As for the comment about the NE game and parks not lying about the deer population, take the blinders off. This is a government organization! It is filled with biologist and wardens who love game and would love to see our wildlife populations thrive and hunters have successful seasons. But it is also filled with people who manage budgets and must meet these budgets with mostly higher priced non resident license sales. These are the people who must make decisions based not solely on the benefit of wildlife but must make sure there is enough money to make sure that the biologist and wardens that protect the wildlife are paid. It is unenviable job. When more wardens are needed to protect down populations, biologist are telling you to cut permit numbers. I applaud their efforts of cutting season choice antlerless permits and bonus tags. With that said don't forget the politicians who influence such decisions. They are bombarded with lobbyist of huge farm operations who want deer numbers down because of crop loss but won't let hunters step foot on these same lands. Also vehicle insurance companies lobby in every state for expanded seasons (especially for antlerless) to reduce deer populations so that there are less deer/vehicle collisions and therefore their profits are greater. I agree with coyote predation, it does affect deer populations but there hasn't been an explosion of coyotes to cause losses even close to this. As for mountain lions, they may hurt a Very loacalized population but we are talking about an almost statewide trend.

If you don't think that money influences decisions then think about this. MDCA (mule deer conservation area) no does can be harvested, statewide muzzleloader permits are not valid for mule deer, residents must apply and draw one of the permits that are valid for the unit and can harvest 1 mule deer buck if drawn. They cannot harvest a mule deer buck with the statewide buck tag. Great rules to have a controlled harvest of mule deer and help populations recover. But as a non resident I can harvest a mule deer buck every year with a statewide buck tag in the mule deer conservation area. IT costs $521. I can't do it with a muzzleloader tag $209 or a unit tag $209, but for $521 I can. So I guess non residents with a $521 tag don't hurt the population when they harvest a mule deer.

Ilovethewest
12-07-2013, 12:50 PM
so........I am getting a lot of conflicting info on here! I had planned to call biologists and wardens.....pretty standard for any hunt I plan. But if populations are that bad, then I am nervous. That being said, this year in my Wyoming hunt, I think I put 10-12 miles a day on FOOT.........and while it took that to consistently see deer, I am ok with that. I like walking, and I like the physical challenge. I am not really a "sit and spot" type of guy, while I do do that, I tend to want to see what is over the next hill, so to speak.

I will have 3 full days to rifle hunt....maybe 4 if things work out....and I guess my question is...........is it worth the trip from Wisconsin? my September next fall and October is really booked, so a November hunt is needed. and there are few places I can go that offers a November hunt on public lands with no PP's, on a relatively short hunt. I don't expect trophies. I don't expect to see 75-100 deer a day. If I at least see da decent amount of deer everyday, I am happy.

Here are some of my mulies from Wyoming over the past couple years, all on public DIY. I haven't gotten into the "trophy mulie or bust" mentality as of yet, so smaller bucks will make me happy. I have a pretty good idea where I want to go, I just want some sort of confirmation that I am not wasting time and money hunting somewhere that has zero deer left in it. 731873197320

any advice will be appreciated! I

Ilovethewest
12-07-2013, 04:32 PM
couple more pics just for fun.........any of these bucks would be fair game on a Nebraska hunt for me! 73217322

Ilovethewest
12-07-2013, 04:35 PM
73237324732573267327

a few more for fun

NE69
12-07-2013, 04:53 PM
I live in southwest NE. Frenchman unit. Lots of deer here this year and our trophy size has been improving over the last 20 years. I mostly bowhunt muleys but always have an eye out for whitetails. Never know when the numbers can crash here like the rest of the state but keeping my fingers crossed. Best advice is put in for a permit and check towards the hunt time to see what has happened. I took a lot of video in January of good muleys and plan to again this coming winter. I would be willing to steer you in the right direction around here but it will be private and if you ask right won't have trouble finding a place to hunt. At least for now places can still be found. Getting tougher year by year and I never would have thought that 20 years ago. I try to find the roughest terrain, use my feet, go by myself and have been turned down only a few times.

Alabama
12-07-2013, 10:23 PM
Ilovethewest, sorry for the hijack. I guess I felt like he was calling me a liar. I'm not trying to dissuade you from going on a mule deer hunt. Exactly the opposite is true. It seems EHD and bluetongue has hurt populations statewide with the exception of the Frenchmen unit. It can be extremely severe in one location and almost minimal in another according to the biologists I talked to. I was just saying the unit wide permits need to be cut to protect the places where populations are way down. I just want you to go in with realistic expectations. Extra research I believe needs to be done on the specific area you are planning to hunt and have a backup area at least a few miles away in case of little to no deer sightings. Even with few deer you can have an outstanding hunt in Nebraska. The people are extremely nice and helpful. If you are willing to work hard and hunt all day, a decent buck is not hard to find. On the upside, the quality of bucks this year seemed to be way up. The few mature bucks I saw were more massive than usual. And I saw a giant deer on the 2nd day of my hunt. He was the biggest I've seen in 5 years. Unfortunately he was out of range when I saw him, chasing a doe and I couldn't catch up. I believe the quality is directly related to spring and summer rains but I could be wrong on that. Good Luck either way!

NE69
12-07-2013, 11:10 PM
Our trophy deer have been improving the last 5 years and a lot of it is due to the restriction of Muley tags. At that time Game n parks regulated for quantity and would just keep telling us that Quality bucks wasn't what the average hunter was interested in. 20 years ago I would have to look at 100 does to find 1 forkhorn buck left after the rifle season. Made me sick to see all the 1.5 year old muleys shot every year. Anything 2.5 years old was a trophy and a 3.5 year old muley was 1 in 1000. The past winter almost every herd had 1 or 2 bucks left in Jan. and some were solid 4 points 2.5 and 3.5 years old. Always a few around going in the 170 to 180 range any more.

Ilovethewest
12-09-2013, 09:35 PM
I never looked into the Frenchman unit. I didn't think there was much public land there. I will send you a PM and we can chat.

I am pretty sure I am just going to hunt NE next fall. Been wanting to try it but it never worked out. Good/bad success/no success, I am just going to give it a shot.

should graduate with my new degree in may, then presuming I pass my board exam in July, I will start a new job (if I can land one).......so the only dagger in my plans would be if my new job didn't allow for a hunt in November. But I will cross that bridge later on

good luck to anyone still hunting and feel free to PM me anytime to talk hunting!

Musket Man
12-09-2013, 09:44 PM
Maybe I will be able to draw region C in WY 2nd choice next year if Ilovethewest isnt drawing all the tags 1st choice;)

Ilovethewest
12-13-2013, 02:28 PM
I don't think that will happen musket man. WGFD has been cutting back region C tags, and I think they will continue to do so. I don't think there were any leftover tags last year at all. Not sure if any were given as a 2nd choice unit even. Maybe you can draw 2nd choice.....but I doubt it.

I like hunting Region C in the desert areas. Just wish access wasn't so horrendous. so much public in that area that cant even be hunted without a helicopter or airplane dropping you off!

Once the new year rolls around I plan on calling some local wardens / biologists in Nebraska. I like gathering as much info as I can before I apply for a hunt. My buddy wants me to hunt for elk in an OTC rifle unit in Colorado......but I cant swing it with starting a new career this summer....hopefully....a quick and short hunt in Nebraska is way more doable. a lot closer and cheaper too!

Musket Man
12-14-2013, 01:48 PM
2nd choice was around 1 in 4 odds last year I think. Be interesting to see how it turns out this year.

Topgun 30-06
12-14-2013, 06:18 PM
There were 535 NR tags issued in the random draw for Region C last year and 508 went to first choice applicants, leaving only 27 tags for the 80+ second choice people, so it was a little better than a 25% chance like MM stated in his last post.

blb078
12-14-2013, 06:28 PM
Have a question about WY tags, particularly with Reg C as that is what I too was looking at. I see like Topgun said that 535 tags were issued in the random draw, but what about the 219 in the special price random that didn't go to any 1st, 2nd, 3rd choice, and any that would of been let over from the special PP draw? Are those already counted in the random draw or would those go in the left over list? Basically how does it work for the special tags that don't get issued?

Musket Man
12-14-2013, 06:30 PM
I was in the other 75% of the 2nd choice apps. LOL

Topgun 30-06
12-14-2013, 08:12 PM
Have a question about WY tags, particularly with Reg C as that is what I too was looking at. I see like Topgun said that 535 tags were issued in the random draw, but what about the 219 in the special price random that didn't go to any 1st, 2nd, 3rd choice, and any that would of been let over from the special PP draw? Are those already counted in the random draw or would those go in the left over list? Basically how does it work for the special tags that don't get issued?

***That 535 tag number in the random draw includes all the tags from those other draws that went undersubscribed and went into it as it is the last one held. The only time there are leftover tags that go on sale in July are when every draw is held and there are still more tags left than hunters that applied for them. Currently the maximum number of NR tags that the G&F issues for Region C is 2200. Region and LE unit totals can be found in the G&F Regulations on the website if you click on the deer hunting seasons and then scroll down toward the bottom before the area descriptions are listed.

Ilovethewest
12-15-2013, 09:48 AM
I didn't look into tag allocations that close for region C. I knew there wasn't many tags left after the 1st draw.....but 25% chance isn't too shabby.

Hope it is a good winter. That will help things out a lot. Looking forward to doing my Nebraska research. Too busy until after the holidays. wouldn't mind getting out late-season bowhunting here in Wisconsin one last time. But the public lands I hunt are so devoid of deer due to 10 years of over-harvest from the CWD hysteria. I will probably be wasting my time. But there are a few good bucks around.....so that keeps me wanting to go back and try!

NE69
12-15-2013, 03:33 PM
The absolute best time to hunt Nebraska is to hunt with a bow the week before rifle season. Whitetails are rutting and mule deer are just starting. If I only have one time to hunt here, it will always be that week. Just some info to pass on to anyone thinking of NE next fall. Get the mule deer tag and spend that week here and you won't be disappointed. It's usually the second week of November but check dates each year as rifle always starts on a Saturday usually 3 weeks after pheasant season starts.

Nebraska Outlander
12-31-2013, 09:45 AM
This was my second third year hunting Nebraska after moving here from Iowa. First year I shot a doe with my muzzleloader, second year I shot a doe and a buck (whitetail), and this year I shot my first mulie with my custom built smokeless muzzleloader. Yes there are a lot of people complaining about numbers and yes the numbers are down. Yet do your research and you will find an area that will work for you. Talk to the Game and Parks they will have a good idea where to start. Mule deer are not affected by EHD and Bluetongue as bad as whitetail. I only hunted two days and I saw a lot of mule deer. The western part of the state was not hit as hard as the eastern.

This is what I shot on Dec 10th just under 200 yards. 45 smokless muzzleloader 250 sst 2640fps. Didn't go anywhere but straight down!! ---

http://i159.photobucket.com/albums/t133/cdpurcell/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_20131210_165058776_HDR_zps8fc5e8c2.jpg (http://s159.photobucket.com/user/cdpurcell/media/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_20131210_165058776_HDR_zps8fc5e8c2.jpg.html)

Musket Man
12-31-2013, 07:04 PM
Interesting buck! Looks like his horns come out of his head a bit different then muleys usually do.

In God We Trust
01-01-2014, 05:10 AM
Nice buck, way to get it done on public land out there.

sjsmallfield
01-04-2014, 06:29 PM
That is a cool looking buck. What a funky shape. Congrats!

bigerd
02-04-2014, 01:09 AM
hey Ilovethewest where are you from in wisc. I'm from Adams.Was wondering if you made it out to Nebraska for mulies. I'm trying to make some plans to go on a hunt out west for mulies (really wanted to do elk but don't have that kind of money. Never been out west in my life ,so just to go would be great, if we harvest a deer would be frosting on the cake. I would really like to do archery ,as that is what my boys and I really enjoy doing. Been on some web sites talking about the Chardon area. We enjoy the challenge of getting away from the crowds.Is there ranches in that area that do "trespass fees"and if so how do you get in contact with them?I am not asking to crowd into any ones spots,just would like to get info on where to start.We have been hunting in central wisc. forever and really want to try something different.Hope to hear from you and hope your late season bow hunting was productive.I had a down bow so all I could do was look at pictures from trail cams.

AT Hiker
02-15-2014, 10:23 PM
Anyone ever hunt the Dec muzzy season? Wondering if the mule deer are still rutting and what the hunter pressure is like, public land areas specifically.

Musket Man
02-16-2014, 10:43 AM
I have thought about looking into the Dec ML season a few times but have never hunted it.

Alabama
02-16-2014, 02:13 PM
You might get a 2nd lesser rut for the does that didn't get pregnant the 1st time. The primary rut will be over.