Nebraska offers an abundance of game and wildlife, making it a top destination for hunting enthusiasts in the USA. Before embarking on your hunting adventure, it’s essential to understand the state’s hunting regulations to ensure a safe and lawful experience. The Nebraska Department of Fish and Wildlife defines the hunting seasons and bag limits for each species, but hunters must also adhere to federal, state, municipal, and private landowner regulations.
Firearm Hunting Regulations
Possession of Hunting Firearms in Vehicles
In Nebraska, it is illegal to possess loaded firearms in vehicles, whether they are hunting firearms or not. The state only allows registered handguns and revolvers to be carried in vehicles.
Use of Rifles and Handguns for Hunting
Nebraska does not permit the use of rifles, revolvers, and handguns with a .22 or larger ammunition for hunting. Additionally, hunting with rifles or handguns is prohibited in areas leased or permitted for hunting by the state. Exceptions are made for hunting crows.
Hunting with Shotguns
Shotguns that fire more than two shots are not allowed for hunting in land leased or owned by the state, or areas that require a hunting permit. Private landowners also prohibit shotguns. Waterfowl hunting in Nebraska is restricted to shotguns with lead shots.
Bag Limit Regulation
Hunters must observe bag limits, which include daily, possession in storage, and season bag limits. The daily bag limit refers to the number of game species a hunter can take in a day, from 12 am to 12 am the next day. The possession in storage limit is for non-migratory wildlife and game species, and the season bag limit is the maximum number of wildlife and game that can be taken during the open season.
Bow Hunting Regulations
Before hunting small games with a bow and arrow in Nebraska, hunters must complete a bowhunter education course.
Lawful Bow and Arrows
Only certain bows and arrows are accepted in Nebraska for hunting. For turkey and deer hunting, the bow must be long, possess compound bows, recurved, and have a draw weight of at least 40 pounds. Mechanical strings are allowed, but coating projectiles with chemicals, poison, or drugs is prohibited.
Crossbows are legal for hunting various games in Nebraska but must have a draw weight of at least 125 pounds and an efficient automated safety device.
Possession of Firearms for Bowhunting
Having a firearm while bow hunting is prohibited in Nebraska.
Hunter Harassment Law
Nebraska has strict laws to protect hunting activities from harassment. Individuals should not interfere with legal hunting practices or disturb the behavioral pattern of wildlife. This includes driving wildlife to disturb hunting activities, impeding hunters, or disturbing the environment of hunting properties.
Nebraska Hunting License Permits and Tags
Resident Hunting License
Residents aged 16 and above can purchase a resident hunting license for $52.66.
Non-Residents Hunting License Nebraska
Non-residents aged 16 and above can obtain a non-resident hunting license for $183.60.
Junior Hunting License
Both residents and non-residents aged 16 and above can purchase a junior hunting license for $14.04.
One-Day Non-Resident Hunting License
Non-residents can obtain a one-day non-resident hunting license for $25.10, allowing them to hunt migratory game birds in Nebraska.
Two-Day Non-Resident Hunting License
Non-residents can also get a two-day non-resident hunting license for $52.66, which permits the hunting of migratory game birds and small game.
Disabled Veteran Reduced Free Hunting License
Honorably discharged veterans with a 50% service-connected disability can apply for this reduced-fee hunting license, costing $7.98.
Recovering Serviced Member Reduced Free Hunting License
Recovering service members can purchase this license for $7.98, while recovering from treatment or illness acquired while on duty.
Duplicate Hunting License
A duplicate license is available for $7.98 to those who lost their original license.
Hunting Tags in Nebraska
Hunters can obtain specific tags for bear, elk, pronghorn antelope, and bighorn sheep, among others. Certain tags may require drawing applications.
Nebraska Fishing License Permits and Tags
Resident Sport Fishing License
Nebraska residents aged 16 and above can purchase a resident sport fishing license for $52.66.
Non-Resident Sport Fishing License
Non-residents aged 16 and above can acquire a non-resident sport fishing license for $142.02.
Reduced Fee Sport Fishing License for Disabled Veterans
Both residents and non-residents with a 50% service-connected disability can get this license for $7.98.
Reduced Fee Sport Fishing License for Recovering Service Member
Recovering service members can purchase this license for $7.98 while recovering from treatment or illness acquired while on duty.
Reduced Fee Sport Fishing License for Low-Income Earners
Nebraska residents aged 65 and above can purchase this license for $7.98, subject to specific income requirements.
Free Sport Fishing License for Low-Income Americans
Native US residents and Nebraska residents who cannot afford a fishing license can obtain this license free of charge.
Free Sport Fishing License for Disabled
This license is free and valid for mobility-impaired, blind, and disabled individuals.
One-day Sport Fishing License
Both residents and non-residents can obtain a one-day sport fishing license for $17.02.
Two-day Sport Fishing License
Both residents and non-residents can get a two-day sport fishing license for $26.49.
Ten-day Sport Fishing License
Both residents and non-residents can purchase a ten-day sport fishing license for $52.66.
Nebraska Hunting Season
The hunting season in Nebraska varies for different game animals and firearms used for hunting. Here are some of the seasons for 2020/21:
- Nebraska Deer Hunting Season:
- General Season: August 10 to November 10
- Archery Season: July 11 to September 27
- Nebraska Bear Hunting Season:
- Archery Season: August 15 to September 6
- Nebraska Pronghorn Hunting Season:
- General Season: August 8 to September 13
- Apprentice Hunts Season: August 22 to August 30
- Nebraska Elk Season:
- General Season: July 25 to November 1 (varies by region)
- Nebraska Desert Bighorn Hunting Season:
- General Season: August 15 to September 27 and December 5 to February 7 (varies by region)
- Nebraska Small Games Hunting Season:
- Tree Squirrel Hunting Seasons:
- Archery Season: August 1 to September 11
- General Season: September 12 to January 31
- Rabbits and Hares Hunting Seasons:
- General Season: July 1 to January 31
- Tree Squirrel Hunting Seasons:
Note that specific hunting seasons and regulations may vary by region and method of taking games and wildlife.
Nebraska Wildlife Game and Fish
Nebraska is home to various wildlife and game species that hunters can pursue, including:
- Mountain Lions: Common in Nebraska, primarily inhabiting deserts and humid forested areas.
- Bobcats: Predators found in the northern part of America, about twice the size of household cats.
- Coyotes: Found in almost every part of Nebraska, except major cosmopolitan regions.
- Foxes: Commonly the red fox, dispersed throughout the state.
- Wolves: Returned to Nebraska through human dispersal from other states, particularly gray wolves.
- Black Bears: Two species, the northwestern black bear and Nebraska black bear, inhabit some national parks in the state.
- Deer: Mule deer are indigenous to the Northern part of America, including Nebraska.
- Elk: One of the largest deer species in North America and Nebraska.
- Bighorn Sheep: Found in snowy heights and arid regions, including desert bighorn and Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep.
- Waterfowl: Hunting requires permits obtained through random drawings.
- Rabbit: A popular small game, with a bag limit of five and possession limit of ten animals.
Nebraska Shooting Ranges
Nebraska offers numerous shooting ranges for enthusiasts to practice and hone their skills. Some of the shooting ranges include:
- Camp Clarke Raiders Blackpowder Club/Range
- Fremont Izaak Walton Gun Club – Valley Trap Range
- Harry A. Koch Trap & Skeet Range
- Heartland Public Shooting Park
- Jefferson County Sportsmen’s Club
- Sumac Sporting Clays
- Eustis Gun Club
Nebraska Hunting Land for Sale and Lease
Hunters interested in owning or leasing hunting land in Nebraska have several options, including:
- Kearney, Nebraska (Buffalo County) – 182 acres
- Harrisburg, Nebraska (Banner County) – 2,270 acres
- Elyria, Nebraska (Valley County) – 26.37 acres
- Crawford, Nebraska (Sioux County) – 1,789 acres
- Long Pine, Nebraska (Brown County) – 128.51 acres
For lease, there are options like:
- Great Archery Whitetail Lease in Norfolk County – 80 acres
- Whitetail and Turkey lease Birds and Beast Whitetail Hunts in Niobrara County – 600 acres
- Whitetail Lease in NE Nebraska with big bucks and a growing deer population in Norfolk County – 988 acres
- Hunt Club with Waterfowl Lease Memberships in Otoe County – 300 acres
- Duck/pheasant/deer land along the Missouri river in Honey Creek County – 300 acres
Nebraska offers a rich hunting experience with diverse game species and beautiful landscapes. To make the most of your hunting trip, familiarize yourself with the state’s hunting regulations and obtain the necessary licenses and permits. Respect the laws and the environment, and enjoy your adventurous hunting experience in Nebraska!
Can I carry a firearm while bow hunting in Nebraska?
No, it is illegal to carry a firearm while bow hunting in Nebraska.
What are the bag limits for hunting in Nebraska?
Bag limits include daily, possession in storage, and season bag limits. Daily limits restrict the number of game species that can be taken in a day, possession in storage limits regulate non-migratory wildlife storage, and season bag limits set the maximum number of wildlife and game that can be taken during the open season.
Are there any hunting seasons for mountain lions in Nebraska?
Yes, mountain lions are common in Nebraska, and there are specific hunting seasons for them.
What is the age requirement for a resident hunting license in Nebraska?
Residents aged 16 and above can purchase a resident hunting license in Nebraska.
What are the rules for hunting waterfowls in Nebraska?
Hunting waterfowls in Nebraska requires obtaining a permit through random drawings.