The very popular firearm deer season starts Saturday and lasts until Nov. 24.
Keeping everyone safe is a top priority for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission as there will be hunters of all ages in the field. Be on the lookout for other hunters while in the field, and for folks that may be using public areas for recreation other than hunting.
There are several safety tips that hunters need to keep in mind before hitting the field:
» Before hunting, let someone know where you’ll be and when you plan to return, and stick to your plan.
In the event of an accident, hunters who have left maps with their hunting locations can be located easier if something unexpected should occur.
If cold weather is in the forecast, dress properly by layering clothing, and bring plenty of snacks and water. Be sure to carry first-aid supplies in your day-pack and vehicle. Keep cell phones in dry cases, and if you’re hunting from a tree stand, keep that phone in a place you can reach it in case of an accident.
» Always wear blaze orange.
Firearm and archery deer hunters, along with turkey hunters are required by law to wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange on their head, chest and back during the nine-day firearm season.
» Always maintain muzzle control.
Never allow the muzzle of a firearm, or an arrow nocked in a bow to be pointed at something that you do not intend to shoot.
Know your target and what lies beyond that target. Be sure there are not people, buildings, vehicles, roadways or livestock behind the deer you intend to shoot and never shoot at sky-lined deer. If you are not sure of what is beyond a deer, don’t take the shot.
» Know the effective range that you are comfortable shooting, and only place shots at vital organs on deer presenting a quartering or broadside shot.
» Always use a full-body harness and lifeline when hunting from a tree stand.
The majority of accidents happen when entering, exiting, climbing or descending from a stand. Be sure the equipment you are using is in good condition. Avoid hunting from heights greater than 15 feet, and maintain a short tether from the body harness to the tree. To prevent falls, use a haul line to raise and lower equipment. Always stay attached to the tree using a lifeline or linesman’s belt when climbing up to and down from the stand.
If you do fall with a harness on, use the three R’s (rescue, relief and recovery). This includes knowing how to get back onto your stand and how to keep yourself safe while in the harness. Relieving pressure from the leg straps on the harness involves having a relief strap attached to your harness. This strap allows the hunter to stand in a loop at the bottom of the strap to relieve pressure on vital arteries in the groin area that will be affected by the harness’ leg straps. Many harnesses have a rappelling system to allow hunters to descend from the tree after a fall, getting them safely to the ground. Don’t panic and have a plan in place in case of a fall.
» Hunters should never go onto private property without the owner’s permission. Not only is this trespassing, but safety should be considered. Trespassers won’t know who else may be in the field or where other people, buildings or livestock are located.
Any deer harvested during the firearm season must be checked in at a deer check station before any processing takes place.
Hunters should locate a station online that they intend to use before the start of the firearm season. For a list of check stations, visit outdoornebraska.org, and click the hunting section.
Firearm deer hunters and archers harvesting deer during the firearm season must deliver their deer to a check station no later than 1 p.m. on the day following the close of the season.
There are plenty of permits remaining in several hunting units, but some units have sold out. To view a list of available permits, go to outdoornebraska.org, and click, Buy a Permit, then, Remaining Permits. Permits may be purchased at that site or at Game and Parks permitting offices.
When in the field, if you see something that looks suspicious or know of someone who has broken the law, please call the Nebraska Wildlife Crimestoppers toll-free at 800-742-7627 to report game law violations.
The Game and Parks website is a great resource for hunters looking for any information regarding deer hunting, including the 2019 Big Game Guide and 2019 Public Access Atlas for help finding public hunting lands and private lands open to public access.
People using the state’s wildlife management areas and Open Fields and Waters areas should be aware of the presence of hunters during all hunting seasons, but especially for the November firearm deer season when several thousands of hunters will be in the field across Nebraska.
Upland bird hunters, anglers, bird watchers, horseback riders, hikers, wildlife viewers and anyone else using public areas are encouraged to use common courtesy by being aware of hunters using the area for everyone’s safety. Everyone utilizing these areas should make themselves as visible as possible by wearing blaze orange even when not hunting.
Remember to help a veteran this deer season by taking the hides of deer, antelope, and elk with the head and legs removed to the Elks Lodge No. 985 at 502 Easy St. in North Platte.
The hides will in turn be made into specially designed leather gloves for veterans who use a wheelchair. The Veterans Leather Program provides leather gloves for vets, lending protection to their hands during movement.
Every part of the tanned hides is used by veterans for other projects like key chains, wallets, belts and more.
The tanned leather is used for recreational and occupational therapy for our vets as a way to pass time between visits from friends and family as well as providing a form of relief for vets by keeping minds active and providing exercise for injured and unused muscles.
Be sure to thank a veteran today and every day for their service to our country and for the freedoms that we have today.
Each Saturday and Sunday in November, guests at Ash Hollow State Historical Park can view a high-end vintage clothing exhibit, "Enchant," featuring handmade beadwork and embroidery.
The clothing line extends from the 1880s to the 1980s, and is an interactive, hands-on presentation that invites guests to touch and feel the craftsmanship of the garment.
"Garden County has a long standing tradition of dressmaking and dressmakers," park superintendent Tamara Cooper said. "Many of the items and dresses were collected locally by women who have since passed on."
The exhibit is open from noon to 5 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday in November and costs $5 per person. The exhibit ends Dec. 1 with an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. with a style show where some of the dresses will be modeled.
Finger hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be provided. A park entry permit is required. Ash Hollow is located two miles south of Lewellen. For more information, contact the park office