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Hunting in Nebraska

Welcome to America’s wild heartland! It’s where the prairies roll out under massive skies and critters flourish in their natural homes. Welcome to Nebraska – the ultimate hunting ground.

Whether you’re a sharpshooter or just starting your journey, hunting here is a total rush, packed with challenges and raw nature that’ll blow your mind. So pack up, and sharpen those skills of yours because it’s high time we dive into the savage beauty of this incredible state.

In this detailed guide, we have covered all you need to know about hunting in Nebraska. On this page, you will find what type of animals you can hunt here, the best places to hunt them, hunting seasons, and license & permit information.


Hunting in Nebraska

What Can You Hunt in Nebraska?

Hunting in Nebraska is a great way to experience the outdoors and bag some memorable trophies. From big game like white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and black bear to small critters such as cottontail rabbits, squirrels, and pheasants – there’s something for everyone.

Waterfowlers have plenty of ducks and geese to choose from with valid federal duck stamps required. And if you’re looking for furbearers, then coyotes, foxes, raccoons, or badgers could be on your menu. Trapping may also be an option (with a state permit). So grab your gear because hunting season awaits.


Planning a whitetail deer hunt in Nebraska? From early September through mid-January, this state offers some of the best hunting opportunities around. Whether you’re an experienced or novice hunter, there are plenty of public lands available that make for successful trips out – state parks, wildlife management areas, and national forests all offer exciting prospects.

Before heading out on your hunting adventure, it’s important to pay attention to local regulations; these can vary from county to county or even within one single area. Have all the essential gear ready too, a valid license is must have (of course!), as well as appropriate clothing and footwear plus any additional items such as tree stands or blinds.

This way you can ensure your trip goes smoothly and safely so that when it comes time to shoot at those big bucks roaming around Nebraska fields, you know exactly what you need.

Deer Season Nebraska

Season Dates
Archery 01 Sep – 31 Dec
Special Landowner 04 Nov – 06 Nov
November Firearm 11 Nov – 19 Nov
Muzzleloader 01 Dec – 31 Dec
October River Antlerless Firearm 01 Oct – 15 Oct
River Antlerless Late Firearm 01 Jan – 31 Jan
Antlerless Only Season Choice 01 Sep – 15 Jan
Limited Landowner 01 Sep – 15 Jan
Late Antlerless Only Firearm 01 Jan – 15 Jan


Hunting elk in Nebraska is an exciting and rewarding activity that requires planning and preparation. The state has several dedicated elk zones with different regulations, seasons, and permit requirements.

To hunt in these areas, you need to apply for a limited-entry permit through the lottery system during May or June each year. Unsuccessful applicants are rewarded with preference points which increase their chances of being selected in future lotteries.

Elk hunting season varies depending on zone, weapon type (archery, muzzleloader, or firearm), but archery typically starts in September; muzzleloader from October/November; and firearms from November to December.

Elk Season in Nebraska

Season Dates
Archery bull 01 Sep – 31 Oct
Firearm bull 21 Sep – 31 Oct
Early Antlerless 01 Aug – 31 Oct
Late Antlerless 01 Nov – 31 Jan


Hunting for antelope in Nebraska is a popular outdoor activity and the perfect place to do so. The wide open plains, abundant wildlife, and plentiful watering holes make it an ideal location for anyone looking to bag some big game.

To get the most out of your hunt, aim to go during the fall months when they are most active; that way you can spot them grazing on grasses or along river bottoms with ease.

When hunting antelope, safety should always be a top priority; wear blaze orange clothing so other hunters know where you’re at all times, and bring ear protection too.

Also, it’s important to have quality gear like a reliable rifle with fitting ammunition as well as binoculars or spotting scopes to help locate your target from afar before making any moves. With these essentials taken care of ahead of time, you’ll be better equipped than ever before.

Hunting Antelopes in Nebraska

Antelope Season

Season Dates
Archery 20 Aug – 31 Dec
Firearm 14 Oct – 29 Oct
Muzzleloader 16 Sep – 01 Oct
November late doe/fawn 01 Nov – 31 Jan

Bighorn Sheep

From the Badlands to the Sandhills, Nebraska is home to prime bighorn sheep hunting spots. During fall months, you can find them grazing in open spaces or perched on rocky cliffs, so it’s essential to scout out potential areas beforehand and become familiar with the terrain.

To properly hunt these animals, come prepared with a good pair of binoculars or a spotting scope for far-off identification; as well as proper outdoor clothing and boots for traction over uneven surfaces.

And of course, don’t forget your rifle. Most importantly, always remember safety regulations while hunting bighorn sheep; be aware of your surroundings at all times, and ensure that you have a clear line of sight before shooting off any rounds.

Bighorn Sheep Season

Species Dates
Bighorn Sheep Nov 28 – Dec 22

Mountain Lion

As the apex predator in Nebraska, mountain lions are a thrilling and challenging pursuit for any hunter. In wintertime, when they’re most active, these stealthy cats can be found lurking among thickly forested hillsides and brushy slopes; after all, such cover provides them with plenty of food sources like deer or elk.

When hunting mountain lions, it’s important to remember that they’re extremely shy creatures who will flee at the slightest provocation – so caution is key!

The best way to locate one is by combining tracking skills with scent detection methods and calling techniques. Once you spot your quarry approach slowly; if startled it may become aggressive. To ensure success on your hunt, make sure you come prepared: knowledge of their habits combined with patience always pays off in the end.

Mountain Lion Season

Species Dates
Mountain Lion Currently Closed

Wild Turkey

The spring season is the perfect time to go turkey hunting in Nebraska. With resident and non-resident licenses available, anyone can get out there and have a blast. Before you hit the field though, check your local regulations as they may differ from county to county.

Remember that certain areas are off-limits due to nesting activity during certain times of the year so it’s best to plan ahead. A 12 gauge shotgun with #4 or #5 shot will provide optimal success when it comes to equipment for hunting wild turkeys in The Cornhusker State but if you’re new at this game, then make sure you do some practice shooting first.

Camouflage clothing and face paint are also essential pieces of gear; turkeys have amazing eyesight so any sudden movement could spook them away before firing a single shot. Once you’ve reached your destination, scouting becomes key for successful turkey hunts.

Keep an eye out for signs like tracks, droppings, feathers, or scratch marks on trees where birds might be feeding or roosting. The early hours tend to be more active for turkeys so try planning accordingly if possible. Silence is paramount too since even small noises can send them running far away from you before getting a chance at that coveted bird dinner!

Hunting Wild Turkeys in Nebraska

Turkey Season Nebraska

Season Dates
Spring Archery Mar 25 – May 31
Spring Shotgun Apr 15 – May 31
Spring Youth Shotgun Apr 08 – May 31
Fall Archery and Shotgun Oct 01 – Nov 30
Fall Youth Archery and Shotgun Oct 01 – Nov 30


From the vast plains to undulating hills and dense woodlands, Nebraska is a paradise for pheasant hunters. Late October through early December is prime hunting season; during this time, the birds are more active due to mating season which makes them easier to find and catch. The ideal habitat includes tall grasses that provide cover from predators as well as food sources for these birds.

If you’re planning on heading out onto public land, it’s important to make sure you understand any local restrictions or regulations before starting your hunt – no one wants an unexpected surprise.

To get started, make sure all of your gear is ready to go: rifle/shotgun with ammo, decoys if desired along with waders (or boots) in case of need access into streams or ponds while hunting; binoculars should also be included so you can spot game at a distance even when weather conditions aren’t perfect.

Pheasant Season

Season Dates
General Oct 28 – Jan 31
Youth Oct 21 – Oct 22


When it comes to hunting rabbits in Nebraska, preparation is key. To increase your chances of success, plan your hunt around the times when they’re most active – dawn and dusk. When you arrive at a spot with thick brush or tall grass, take extra caution as rabbits have an excellent sense of hearing and can be easily startled by loud noises.

Using a shotgun for the hunt will definitely give you an edge; its wide range allows you to cover more ground than any other weapon would. If possible, bringing along some trained dogs could also prove useful in flushing out rabbits from their hiding spots.

To blend into your surroundings even further while hunting bunnies, camouflage clothing is essential! Make sure to wear comfortable boots too since terrain varies across the state – you don’t want blisters slowing down the chase. Also, don’t forget to bring all necessary items such as permits and licenses before setting off on your adventure.

Rabbit Season Nebraska

Species Dates
Cottontail Sep 01 – Feb 28
Jackrabbit Sep 01 – Feb 28

Squirrel Season

Hunting Squirrels in Nebraska

Species Dates
Squirrel Aug 01 – Jan 31

Raccoon Season

Season Dates
Hunting Only Sep 01 – Oct 31
Hunting & Trapping Nov 01 – Feb 29
Running, No Harvest Mar 01 – Aug 18

Badger Season

Season Dates
Hunting & Trapping Nov 01 – Feb 29

Bobcat Season

Season Dates
Hunting & Trapping Dec 01 – Feb 29
Running, No Harvest Mar 01 – Nov 30

Striped Skunk Season

Season Dates
Hunting & Trapping Jan 01 – Dec 31

Virginia Opossum Season

Season Dates
Hunting Only Sep 01 – Oct 31
Hunting & Trapping Nov 01 – Feb 29
Running, No Harvest Mar 01 – Aug 18

Red Fox Season

Season Dates
Hunting & Trapping Nov 01 – Feb 29
Running, No Harvest Mar 01 – Oct 31

Gray Fox Season

Season Dates
Hunting & Trapping Nov 01 – Feb 29

River Otter Season

Season Dates
Trapping Only Nov 01 – Feb 29

Muskrat Season

Hunting Muskrats in Nebraska

Season Dates
Trapping Only Nov 01 – Mar 31

Beaver Season

Season Dates
Trapping Only Nov 01 – Mar 31

Mink Season

Season Dates
Hunting & Trapping Nov 01 – Feb 29

Long-tailed Weasel Season

Season Dates
Hunting & Trapping Nov 01 – Feb 29

Quail Season

Season Dates
General Oct 28 – Jan 31
Youth Oct 21 – Oct 22

Partridge Season

Season Dates
General Oct 28 – Jan 31
Youth Oct 21 – Oct 22

Grouse Season

Species Dates
Prairie Grouse Sep 01 – Jan 31

Teal Season

Season Dates
Low Plain Sep 03 – Sep 18
High Plain Sep 02 – Sep 10

Duck & Coot Season

Season Dates
Zone 01 Oct 14 – Dec 26
Zone 02 (Low Plains) Oct 07 – Dec 19
Zone 02 (High Plains) Oct 07 – Dec 19, Jan 10 – Jan 31
Zone 03 (High Plains) Oct 28 – Jan 09, Jan 10 – Jan 31
Zone 04 Oct 28 – Jan 09

Goose Season

Hunting Geese in Nebraska

Season Dates Bag Limit
Dark Goose (North Central Unit) Oct 07 – Jan19 5 per day
Dark Goose (Platte River Unit) Oct 28 – Feb 09 5 per day
Dark Goose (Niobrara Unit) Oct 28 – Feb 09 5 per day
White Fronted Goose (Statewide) Oct 07 – Dec 17, Jan 25 – Feb 09 2 per day
Light Goose (Statewide) Oct 07 – Jan 03, Jan 25 – Feb 09 50 per day
Light Goose Conservation Order (East Zone) Feb 10 – Apr 15 50 per day
Light Goose CO (West Zone) Feb 10 – Apr 05 50 per day
Light Goose CO (Rainwater Basin Zone) Feb 10 – Apr 05 50 per day

Youth Waterfowl Season

Season Dates
Zone 01 Oct 07 – Oct 08
Zone 02 Sep 30 – Oct 01
Zone 03 Oct 21 – Oct 22
Zone 04 Oct 21 – Oct 22

Dove Season

Species Dates
Mourning, White-winged, and Eurasian collared-dove Sep 01 – Oct 30

Rail Season

Species Dates
Virginia & Sora Rail Sep 01 – Nov 09

Woodcock Season

Species Dates
Woodcock Oct 07 – Nov 20

Snipe Season

Species Dates
Snipe Sep 01 – Dec 16

Crow Season

Species Dates
Crow Oct 15 – Dec 15, Jan 13 – Mar 14

Nebraska Hunting License Information

Hunting is a beloved pastime and sport in Nebraska, just like it is in many other states. But before you can join the fun, you’ll need to get your hunting license sorted out. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Who Needs License: All hunters – residents or non-residents – must have an up-to-date permit if they want to hunt wildlife in the Cornhusker State.

2. Age Restriction: Anyone over 12 years old needs a valid license; kids under that age don’t require one as long as they are accompanied by an adult with their own permit.

3. Resident vs. Non-resident Licenses: Residents of Nebraska qualify for discounted rates on permits compared to those from outside the state – but note that this only applies after living within its borders for at least 30 days prior to purchase.

4. Types Available: There are several options here depending on your situation – annual licenses, lifetime ones (if applicable), youth/senior/disabled veteran/deployed military variants etcetera all exist too so make sure you read up accordingly.

5. Habitat Stamp Required Too? Don’t Forget It! Most hunters also need a Habitat Stamp which helps fund conservation efforts around NE – be sure not to forget about it when purchasing your license.

6. Hunter Education Course A Must For Some First Timers: If you were born after January 1st, 1977, and plan on getting into hunting yourself, then make sure to complete an approved Hunter Education Course first since these are mandatory if aged 12+ and buying your first license ever.

7. Where To Get Your License? Online through the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission website or at any physical store registered with them should do nicely!.

8. What About Seasonal Regulations? Every type of game has different limits and periods during which they can legally be hunted throughout the year (deer, turkey, waterfowl). These details usually come out annually so keep checking back online.

A lifetime hunting license costs $355 (age 16-45) for residents in Nebraska while a non-resident lifetime license (age 17+) will set you back $1,395.

Where Can You Hunt in Nebraska?

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking forward to hunting in Nebraska, the state offers a variety of game species like deer, turkey, pheasant, quail, and grouse. If you’d prefer public land options, check out wildlife management areas (WMAs), national wildlife refuges (NWRs), or federal lands such as National Forests and Bureau of Land Management properties.

Private outfitters also offer guided hunts on their own or leased properties for those seeking more immersive experiences with lodging and meals included. Alternatively, there are numerous private farms throughout the state that allow hunters access for a fee – just make sure to read up on their rules first.

Public Hunting Places in Nebraska

Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge

Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge sprawls across 4,000 acres of Nebraska, hugging the banks of the Missouri River. Here you’ll find a plethora of wildlife species in both wetland and upland habitats. Deer are abundant as well as wild turkeys, squirrels, and rabbits – making it an ideal spot for small game hunters.

If waterfowl is more your speed, ducks and geese provide plenty to hunt during their various seasons. Hunters aged 12-15 can partake in any one of Boyer Chute’s youth hunts throughout the year while older participants must obtain a valid state hunting license plus a refuge permit before they begin their journey into this outdoor paradise.

Ashland State Wildlife Management Area

Ashland State Wildlife Management Area is teeming with wildlife – deer, turkeys, waterfowl, and small game like squirrels and rabbits. The hilly landscape provides plenty of cover for animals while streams and ponds around the area create a perfect habitat for aquatic species.

Hunters from September to February come here to take advantage of the various hunting opportunities available – archery hunting, muzzleloader hunting, still hunting you name it! Before heading out into the field though, be sure to check local regulations so as not to violate any laws or rules in place regarding these activities.

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park is the perfect spot for hunters of all levels to get their game. From open fields and flat prairies to rolling hills and dense forests – there’s a variety of habitats that offer great chances for bagging deer, turkey, or small game like rabbits and squirrels.

The park also provides campsites, picnic areas, and trails so you can make your hunting experience as comfortable as possible! And don’t forget about the lakes where anglers have plenty of opportunities too.

Platte River State Park

Platte River State Park is an ideal hunting destination offering a variety of game and terrain. From rolling hills to woodlands, the 400-acre park has plenty of cover for rifle and bow hunters alike. Deer, turkey, pheasant, and quail are just some of the species available to pursue here.

There are also plenty of opportunities for anglers as several ponds are stocked with bass, catfish, bluegill crappie, and perch – perfect for those looking to cast off from shore or take out one of the boat ramps located throughout the area.

Fort Robinson State Park

If you’re searching for some of the best hunting grounds in Nebraska, Fort Robinson State Park is a great choice. Not only does it offer two designated areas – the North Unit and South Unit – for big game such as elk and bighorn sheep, but also smaller units perfect for pursuing wild turkey or pheasant. The diverse terrain with grasslands, woodlands, and ravines provides excellent cover for all types of wildlife while ponds and streams provide them water sources.

Aside from hunting, visitors can take advantage of other recreational activities like camping, fishing, or hiking at this park to make their experience even more memorable.

Smith Falls State Park

Smith Falls State Park is a hunter’s paradise. Deer, wild boar, turkey, quail, woodcock, and more all call this park home. Enjoy the challenges of varied terrain with plenty of lakes and ponds that make excellent habitats for waterfowl. There are also options for bird hunting – dove being a favorite among hunters.

The terrain here is perfect for bowhunters of any skill level – with open fields and thick woods providing plenty of opportunities to take down deer and turkey with just your trusty bow and arrow.

Private Hunting Places in Nebraska

For an enjoyable and successful hunt on private lands in Nebraska, it’s essential to understand the rules that apply. Researching any local laws or regulations is a must for your pre-hunt prep.

You should also be aware of special restrictions in place at your chosen hunting area, from required blaze orange clothing to specific firearms and ammo allowances. Ensure you’re informed before setting out so there are no surprises when you are out hunting in Nebraska.