The archery deer season is underway, and other deer seasons will soon follow.

Some deer hunters love to be in the field and truly love the hunt itself. Some hunters may have multiple permits giving them more deer than their freezer space allows. Others may hunt specifically for the meat. No matter the type of hunter, the deer exchange program through Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is a great resource for those who either need to give deer meat away or for those wishing to have some fresh deer meat on the table. Nonhunters can benefit from the program, especially those who enjoy the flavor of deer meat or need the meat.

The deer exchange is available Sept. 1 through March 1 and is free for anyone to register for online at outdoornebraska.gov/deerexchangeprogram. Donors and recipients can search the database on the NGPC website for interested parties in their area. The parties can then contact each other and work out details of the deer meat transfer. While venison cannot be sold, recipients may pay for the processing or butchering of the meat.

The NGPC is not responsible for the quality of the deer meat or the failure of the donor or recipient to follow through with the transfer. However, the agency provides the necessary transfer cards online, making this program simple to complete. Recipients will have the choice of accepting whole field dressed deer, skinned and boned deer, wrapped and frozen deer or processed meat. Donors are responsible for properly field dressing and checking deer at a check station before transfer.

When transferring game animals, the hunter must provide the following information, which is on the transfer card: name, phone number, permit number or seal number, estimated weight of meat (in pounds), species of animal, date taken, signature of donor and name of recipient.

Other benefits of the program are:

» Supplying a source of protein to the hungry.

» Increasing communication between hunters and nonhunters.

» Increasing hunter recruitment, development and retention.

The nutritional benefits of venison are impressive; it’s no wonder deer is a popular meat.

According to nutritiondata.com, 100 grams of ground, pan-broiled venison has 187 calories, compared to 246 for the same portion of 80-percent lean pan-broiled ground beef. venison has 26.5 grams of protein, compared to beef’s 24, and 8.2 grams of total fat to beef’s 15.9. venison is also low in sodium.

Going outdoors and enjoying a deer hunt is time well spent in the field. Not only do you get a front row seat to beautiful scenery, the animals you encounter bring lasting memories.

Youth upland hunts

Special youth upland hunts are set for Oct. 21-22 at 14 wildlife management areas.

Youth ages 15 and younger are encouraged to participate in special youth pheasant hunts during the two-day statewide youth pheasant, quail and partridge season.

Rooster pheasants will be released at 14 wildlife management areas before the special youth hunt season. The special hunts are open to the public, and the number of participants is not limited. No registration or special permit is required. Special regulations posted at each of the 14 wildlife management areas will apply to all portions of the designated areas normally open to hunting. All other current youth and regular hunting regulations also will be in effect on these designated areas.

Pheasants will be released at the following WMAs: Pressey (Custer County), Sherman Reservoir (Sherman County), Oak Valley (Madison County), Branched Oak (Lancaster County), Twin Oaks (Johnson County), Hickory Ridge (Johnson County), Wilkinson (Platte County), Peru Bottoms (Nemaha County), Yankee Hill (Lancaster County), Cornhusker (Hall County), Arrowhead (Gage County), George Syas (Platte County), Randall W. Schilling (Cass County) and Kirkpatrick Basin North (York County).

There are special regulations on these areas, which include the use of only nontoxic shot at Wilkinson, Peru Bottoms, Randall W. Schilling and Kirkpatrick Basin North WMAs.

Adult mentors must be licensed hunters age 19 or older to accompany a youth. Mentors may harvest one rooster pheasant per day only. The 14 WMAs are the only locations where adults may harvest pheasants during the youth season. Only one adult mentor per youth will be allowed to hunt, however additional nonhunting mentors may accompany the youth on the hunt. Youth may harvest two roosters per day.

This is the sixth year of the pheasant releases during the special youth season, which is intended to increase youth participation in upland game hunting.

For more information on the youth hunt and the hunting locations, visit these websites: outdoornebraska.gov/upland#youth or outdoornebraska.gov/publicaccessatlas/.

Learn to hunt workshop

There is a learn to hunt workshop from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission office in North Platte.

The free workshop is designed to introduce inexperienced participants to deer hunting and give those with experience some new ideas to implement during this deer season, along with insight into various deer hunting opportunities.

Taught by experienced hunters and NGPC staff, the workshop will cover the strategies, equipment, biology and scouting knowledge you need to know, as well as tips on how to get started for new hunters and ways to increase hunting skills, build confidence and increase success in the field.

To sign up for this class and see other classes offered visit the commission’s website or call the North Platte office at 308-535-8025.

The Game and Parks office in North Platte is at 301 East State Farm Road.

Candlelight tour at the Ranch

Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park Presents “A Mansion Candlelight Tour.”

Join Buffalo Bill’s wife, Louisa, and her servants on a candlelight tour of the mansion as they share intriguing tales from the past at Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park.

Dates for the candlelight tour are Friday and Saturday. Tours are at 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Cost is $5 per person. A park entry permit is required. Tour sizes are limited, and spots may be available the day of the tour but are not guaranteed. To reserve your spot, purchase your ticket today by calling the ranch at 308-535-8035.

Pheasants Forever banquet

The Cody Ringneck chapter of Pheasants Forever is once again hosting its annual banquet on Oct. 21 at the Creek Side Event Center in North Platte. Doors open at 5 p.m. and cost for the banquet is $15, which includes a prime rib dinner.

Support Pheasants Forever by becoming a member — memberships start at $35 for adults and $15 for youth.

Memberships help the mission of Pheasants Forever by putting more habitat on the ground. Fundraising and project development allows members to see results of their contributions. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever empower county and local chapters to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds will be spent. As a result, chapter volunteers are able to see the outcome of their efforts locally, while belonging to a larger national organization with a voice on federal and state conservation policy.

There are a limited number of tickets for this event, so get yours soon. Tickets are available at River Valley Gun Gallery in downtown North Platte and the Minnow Bucket on Jeffers.

The banquet will have several gun raffles, live and silent auctions, games for all ages, youth raffles and much more. For information about the banquet, contact Drew Larsen at 308-293-1194.

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