Big game recommendations approved for 2023

The Nebraska Park and Game Commission approved recommendations for the 2023 deer, antelope and elk hunting seasons at its April 19 meeting in Fremont.

The commissioners approved staff recommendations that will help the agency manage big game populations to socially acceptable levels.

Adopted changes to the Commission’s orders related to big game hunting include:

  • removing 70 permits for antelope of both sexes and 282 for doe/fawn antelope,
  • including archery season on all mule deer conservation area permits, making them valid for all open seasons,
  • prohibit the taking of antlerless mule deer statewide on all lands open to public hunting, except lands in the Open Range and Water Program,
  • Reduce the permit quota for non-resident male deer of any sex and bucks to 10,000, excluding landowner and youth permits,
  • reduce the non-resident bow deer permit fee to 3,000 and make it invalid for mule deer on MDCA,
  • reduce the nonresident muzzleloader permit quota to 1,000,
  • create a new Plains Whitetail Firearm Deer Permit,
  • reduce November available firearm permits by 5.9% and hornless-only seasonal choice permits by 7.4%,
  • setting the non-resident quota at 15% for the Calamus West, Plains, Sandhills and Upper Platte November Firearm and Frenchman MDCA permits,
  • restructuring of elk management units,
  • adding 39 buck elk permits and 214 antlerless elk permits,
  • minor adjustments to other deer, elk and antelope permits to meet management objectives.

The approved dates for the 2023 Big Game season are:


Archery: from September 1 to December 1. 31; November Firearm: November 11-19; Muzzleloader: from December 1 to 31; Late Antlerless Exclusive Firearm: January 1-15, 2024; October River Antlerless Firearm: October 1-15; Late Firearm River Antlerless: January 1-31, 2024; Seasonal choice only without horns: from September 1 to January 1. 15, 2024; Youth: September 1 to January 1. 15, 2024; Limited Owner: September 1 – January 1. 15, 2024; Special Owner – November 4-6


Archery – August 20-December. 31; Muzzleloader – September 16-October. 1; Firearm: from October 14 to 29; Late Doe/Fawn: November 1 to January 1. 31, 2024


Archery bull: from September 1 to October 1. 31; Firearms Bull – September 21-October. 31; Without antlers: from August 1 to January 1. 31, 2024; No horns, only on private land: August 1 to September 1. twenty; Early General Antlerless – August 1-October. 31; Late Polled General: November 1 to January 1. 31, 2024

The commissioners also approved a Board Resolution to apply for Transportation Alternatives Program grant funds through the Nebraska Department of Transportation to pave 24.6 miles of the Cowboy Trail from Rushville west to milepost 400 with limestone.

In other business, commissioners approved NDOT permanent and temporary easement applications for work on the Nebraska 7 Freeway in Ainsworth and the temporary Cowboy Trail bypass there.

In addition, the commissioners approved a staff recommendation to designate Phillips Canyon and Midway Lake, both located near Johnson Lake State Recreation Area in Dawson County, as state recreation areas. A new access to Phillips Canyon Lake on the north side of the canal, just off the highway. 283, is being developed by the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District and Game and Parks. Construction should be completed by the end of this spring. Designation of access to Midway Lake will allow for improvements to the existing ramp, dock, and parking area. Both access points to the Supply Canal will be managed by the Parks Division through a lease agreement with CNPPID. Both areas will provide critical access to public boats for fishing and waterfowl hunting.

There was also a review of the 2022-2023 river otter season. In the season, which ran from November 1 to the end of February, 53 otters were collected. In the first two seasons since the otter was removed, 131 were trapped.

In addition, commissioners received an overview of projects, updates, and activities in the Northeast Region from regional staff.

They also learned about the GoOutdoorsNE mobile app, which allows customers to access their account, view privileges, friends and family, hunter education, owner information, cancel electronic turkey permits, and report turkey harvest.