Permits

Buy A Permit

Click the link above to purchase a hunting permit!

Mobile Permits

Nebraska Game and Parks now offers access to mobile permits for upland game, turkey, fishing and associated stamps. Other permits can be purchased here. Mobile permits must be accessible to display to a conservation officer just like a paper permit.

Permit & Stamp Requirements & Exceptions

Click on the link above to view a list of permits, stamps, hunter education requirements, and exceptions for hunting in Nebraska.

Nebraska Species

Pronghorn

The pronghorn is North America’s swiftest land mammal and one of the fastest in the world. Its speed, endurance and keen eyesight are well adapted to the short-grass prairies and gumbo badland of the western United States. Although commonly called an antelope, the pronghorn technically is not an antelope but the sole species in a family found only in North America. Pronghorn hunting is one of Nebraska’s most challenging big game experiences. Animals can be glassed and horn size determined at great distances. Herds were at the brink of extinction in Nebraska by 1907 when all hunting seasons were closed. Slow expansion occurred for the next 50 years, and hunting seasons have been held every year since 1958. Pronghorn occur primarily in Northwestern Nebraska and provide hunting opportunity to archers and firearm hunters annually.

Bighorn Sheep

Before 1900, Audubon bighorn sheep inhabited parts of western Nebraska including the Wildcat Hills, the Pine Ridge, along the North Platte River to eastern Lincoln County, and along the Niobrara River. It is thought that the Audubon bighorn probably became extinct in the early 1900s with its last stronghold being the South Dakota badlands.

In 1981, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission released a dozen bighorn sheep in Fort Robinson State Park. Subsequent releases of bighorns in 1988, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2012 have established bighorns in the Wildcat Hills and Pine Ridge of Nebraska’s panhandle. Limited hunting opportunities have been available since 1998 through the issuance of auction and lottery permits. Approximately 350 bighorn sheep occupy the bluffs and buttes of western Nebraska..

Elk

Herds once common across all of Nebraska became extinct by 1900. In the 1960s a few elk returned to Nebraska, and in 1986 Nebraska had its first modern elk season. Since then, elk and have expanded into hills and rivers of western Nebraska, and the annual passage of young bulls through eastern Nebraska is a common occurrence. More than 1,600 elk have been harvested since the first season in 1986. Nebraska Game and Parks public lands and U.S. Forest Service lands in Ash Creek, Bordeaux and Hat Creek units provide public land hunting opportunities for some elk hunters. However, most elk are taken on private land. It is a good idea to make at least one pre-season trip to elk country before the hunting season to finalize access or to scout potential hunting areas.

Deer

Deer were nearly extinct in Nebraska by 1900 due to unlimited hunting. In 1907 the Nebraska Legislature passed a law prohibiting the taking of deer, but recovery took decades. By the late 1930s, deer numbers were estimated at 2,500 in the Pine Ridge. In 1945 the first modern deer season began with a harvest of 275 mule deer and two white-tailed deer. White-tailed deer are now found statewide with higher densities in the east and in riparian corridors. Mule deer occupy the western two thirds of the state and are the dominant species in 20 counties. Hunters will find very good permit availability as archery, muzzleloader, youth and most firearm permit quotas do not sell out until October or when the season closes.

Herds once common across all of Nebraska became extinct by 1900. In the 1960s a few elk returned to Nebraska, and in 1986 Nebraska had its first modern elk season. Since then, elk and have expanded into hills and rivers of western Nebraska, and the annual passage of young bulls through eastern Nebraska is a common occurrence. More than 1,600 elk have been harvested since the first season in 1986. Nebraska Game and Parks public lands and U.S. Forest Service lands in Ash Creek, Bordeaux and Hat Creek units provide public land hunting opportunities for some elk hunters. However, most elk are taken on private land. It is a good idea to make at least one pre-season trip to elk country before the hunting season to finalize access or to scout potential hunting areas.

Wild Turkey

Nebraska offers the best turkey hunting opportunities in the entire country. It’s not just that Nebraska’s got an awful lot of turkeys – including the highly sought-after Merriam’s – though it certainly does. Nebraska also offers plentiful and affordable permits, long seasons, great public access and $5 permits for youth.

Turkeys can be found in every county of the state, and hunters will find good turkey opportunities on more than 500,000 acres of public and public-access land in Nebraska.

For more information about wild turkey and wild turkey hunting in Nebraska, click here.

Ring-necked Pheasant

The ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) is one of the most popular game birds in Nebraska. It is an introduced species native to Asia that was first introduced to the United States in 1881 and to Nebraska in the early 1900s. Early on, farmers were paid a bounty to trap pheasants on their land for transport to other parts of the state. The pheasant thrived where introduced because farming practices of the time produced excellent habitat. Pheasants can be found statewide today where abundant, suitable habitat exists. The largest ring-necked pheasant populations occur in areas where small grain agriculture and grasslands with abundant forbs predominate. Such grasslands provide nesting and brood-rearing habitat.

Northern Bobwhite (Quail)

The northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) is a quail native to Nebraska. The species range includes much of the eastern United States from Florida west to Texas and north to Nebraska. In Nebraska, bobwhites are most common in the southeastern through south central regions of the state, but can also be found in southwest and portions of northeastern and central Nebraska. The bobwhite is among the most popular game birds in the state, second only to the ring-necked pheasant. The distinctive “bob-bob-white” call of the male bobwhite can be heard along country roads from early spring to early summer.

Prairie Grouse

Nebraska is home to two grouse species, the greater prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus cupido) and the sharp-tailed grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus). The greater prairie-chicken has a more easterly distribution in Nebraska compared with the sharp-tailed grouse, occupying the grasslands from the Sandhills into northeastern Nebraska and south into south-central and southwestern Nebraska. There is also a population of greater prairie-chickens in southeastern Nebraska. Hunting greater prairie-chickens east of U.S. Highway 81 requires a special, free permit available from the Lincoln Nebraska Game and Parks office. West of U.S. Highway 81, only a small game license and habitat stamp is necessary. The sharp-tailed grouse occupies grasslands from the Sandhills into the Nebraska Panhandle. The range of these two species overlap in the Sandhills, and hunters may rarely encounter hybrid grouse in the area of overlap.

Partridge

The grey or Hungarian partridge (Perdix perdix) is an introduced game bird native to Eurasia. It is uncommon in Nebraska, being at the southern extent of the species introduced range in North America. The partridge is often raised in captivity and released by Controlled Shooting Areas and Captive Wildlife Permittees for hunting purposes, and escapees can often be found in suitable habitat around such areas.

Dove (mourning, white-winged, and Eurasian collared-dove)

Hunters in Nebraska may encounter three species of doves while afield. The most commonly harvested species is the mourning dove (Zenaida macroura), which is a migratory species and one of the most popular game birds in the United States in terms of harvest. The white-winged dove (Zenaida asiatica) is an occasional visitor to Nebraska, but can be legally harvested during the regular dove season. The white-winged dove is also a migratory bird. Unlike mourning and white-winged doves, the Eurasian collared-dove (Streptopelia decaocto) is a non-native, non-migratory species. The collared-dove was first introduced into the Bahamas in the 1970s, and made landfall in Florida in the early 1980s. It has since spread across the country in a northwesterly direction. The collared-dove can be harvested year round, but during the regular dove season, harvested individuals count towards the aggregate dove bag limit.

Rails (Sora & Virginia), Snipe, and Woodcock

The Sora (Porzana carolina) and Virginia rail (Rallus limicola) are migratory, freshwater marsh birds whose breeding range includes Nebraska. However, individuals that have bred further north migrate through the state during the fall migration. The common snipe (Gallinago gallinago) is a migratory shorebird that breeds in northern Canada. Nebraska is at the northern extent of the species winter range, with peek migration occurring in mid-September through early October. Eastern Nebraska is at the western extreme of the American woodcock’s (Scolopax minor) breeding range. Unlike the rails and snipe, the woodcock is a forest-dwelling shorebird, nesting in young forests and old fields. A migratory species, the woodcock winters in the southeastern United States. Rails, snipe and woodcocks have hunting seasons.

American Crow

The American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos), a migratory species, is resident year round in Nebraska. They are widespread across the state, especially in agricultural areas. In some areas of Nebraska aggregations of crows on roosts can constitute a public health hazard, necessitating a special harvest season in addition to hunting seasons.

Cottontail & Jackrabbit

Two species of cottontail rabbit can be found in Nebraska. The eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) is the most widespread in the state. The desert or Audubon’s cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii) can be found primarily west of Ogallala. The cottontail is also an important game animal among small game hunters. There are also two species of jackrabbit, or hare, that call Nebraska home: the black-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) and the white-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus townsendii). Both species can be hunted west of Highway 81 in Nebraska; east of Highway 81 there is a closed season on jackrabbits.

Squirrel

The fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) can be found in Nebraska nearly everywhere except the treeless expanses of the Sandhills, Panhandle, and the southwest. The related grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) can be found along the Missouri River bluffs in southeastern Nebraska. Both species have hunting seasons. The southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans), found only in remnant fragments of eastern deciduous forests in extreme southeast Nebraska, is not a game species and is listed as a state threatened species.

Ducks

Each fall, Nebraska duck hunters have the opportunity to harvest more than 15 different species of ducks that migrate through the state. Primary species typically harvested are mallard, blue- and green-winged teal, gadwall, northern pintails, American Wigeon, northern shovelers and wood ducks, with the occasional redhead, ring-necked duck or canvasback. Not only can Nebraska duck hunters encounter a number of different duck species, the diversity of habitats, from Sandhills lakes, Rainwater Basin wetlands, to Platte River sandbars offer a set of unique experiences as well as offering a long hunting season.

Canada Geese

Few animals can signify the arrival of fall, but a “V” of honking Canada geese overhead reminds us that winter is not far off. Once rare in the state, restoration efforts in Nebraska and across North America have brought populations back to where resident birds can be observed year-round. Migration into Nebraska from northern areas begins in late November with peaks of population in early January. Close to 100,000 Canada geese are harvested in Nebraska each year, and hunting opportunities exist in every corner of the state.

White-fronted Geese

If Canada geese signal the arrival of fall in Nebraska, then white-fronted geese (also referred to as specks, specklebelly) are the harbinger of spring. As they head to breeding grounds in the Arctic, flocks of white-fronts transition through Nebraska in February and March. Less common in the fall, white-fronts are a considered a trophy bird – both for their relatively rarity and their desirability as table fare – when one is harvested. The Rainwater Basin area of south-central Nebraska is the primary area to both observe and harvest a white-front.

Snow, Blue and Ross’s (light) Geese

The spectacle of a swirling, barking mass of a large flock of light geese – Snow, blue and Ross’s geese – into a marsh or field is one that few forget. Opportunities to harvest and observe light geese in the fall are somewhat limited, but that changes during February and March when millions stop and stage in Nebraska. The Rainwater Basin and Platte River regions in the central part of the state, with eastern Nebraska and the Missouri River corridor being the best places to pursue light geese.

Beaver & Muskrat

Beaver and muskrat may be trapped only; there is no hunting season for these species. Beaver and muskrat damage permits allow these species to be controlled outside of the harvest season. To inquire about obtaining a beaver and muskrat damage permit, please contact the nearest Game and Parks office.

Bobcat

Bobcats may be hunted or trapped. All bobcats harvested in Nebraska must be registered and tagged by the Game and Parks within two calendar days of the close of the season and before the pelt is sold. To prepare a carcass for tagging, create a small hole and insert a stick, pencil or similar object between the lower eyelid and the eye so the stick exits behind the upper lip; this will allow the bobcat to be tagged even when frozen. Otherwise bring a thawed carcass or dried pelt.

Raccoon & Opossums Early Hunting Season

Raccoons and opossums may be hunted but not trapped during the early hunt-only season. This season was initiated to provide additional opportunity to harvest these common species in an effort to reduce agricultural damage. Raccoon and opossum may also be hunted and trapped during the primary hunting and trapping seasons.

Striped Skunk Hunting and Trapping

Striped skunks may be harvested year-round by hunting or trapping.

Running Seasons

Bobcat, opossum, raccoon and red fox may be pursued or chased with hounds, but not harvested during the portion of the year when harvest is not allowed. A fur harvest permit is required to pursue these species during the running season.

Coyotes, Woodchucks, and Other Non-game (year-round)

Unprotected nongame animals like coyotes may be harvested year-round. Their pelts are prime during the primary hunting and trapping season, and that is when most coyotes are trapped and hunted. Electronic predator calls are allowed for hunting coyotes.

Mountain Lion Sightings

Click the image below for more information about mountain lion sightings in Nebraska!

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Mountain Lions

Mountain lions (commonly called cougar or puma) vary in size and weight. Males (100 to 160 lbs.) are larger and heavier than females (60 to 100 lbs.). They are generally uniformly tan in color with a black tipped tail and dark fur on the back of the ears. Juveniles have dark spots and a dark-ringed tail until they are about 1 year of age.

Mountain lions occur in a variety of habitats, but prefer rougher, wooded areas. Cover for stalking and prey abundance are probably the most essential components of mountain lion habitat. Mountain lions are most active from dusk to dawn, but will also move during the day. Deer are the choice prey but mountain lions will also prey on elk, bighorn sheep, small game, porcupines, and a variety of other species. After killing their prey, mountain lions often drag or carry the carcass under a bush or tree. After feeding, the carcass is often covered with litter to avoid detection by scavengers.

Mountain lions are commonly identified by trail camera photographs, tracks, and feces.

Although mountain lions were part of Nebraska’s native fauna, they were extirpated by the end of the 19th century. Despite annual reports since the 1950s, no confirmed sighting was made in the state until the 1990s. In 1991 mountain lion tracks were found and shortly after, an adult mountain lion was shot by a hunter near Harrison, in Sioux County.

Mountain Lion Hunting

Mountain lions have recently recolonized three areas in Nebraska: the Pine Ridge, Niobrara River Valley and Wildcat Hills. Dispersing mountain lions have been documented throughout the state including agricultural areas where suitable habitat may be limited. In order to provide hunting opportunities for this species the Commission approved Nebraska’s inaugural mountain lion harvest season during 2014. The goal of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is to maintain mountain lion populations in Nebraska over the long-term, as the Commission does with all game species. Research results and population information will be used to inform management decisions, including decisions regarding possible harvest seasons, on an annual basis.

For more information on mountain lions and mountain lion hunting in Nebraska, click here.

When & Where to Hunt

Seasons

For Nebraska hunting seasons and application dates, click here.

More Hunting Resources

Click here for information about hunting access for those who wish to hunt in the state of Nebraska. Through various partnerships, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is able to offer hunting access on some private land, as well as on designated public lands. For information on season dates and regulations for specific zones and units, visit The Nebraska Game and Parks guides page. Additionally, more information about special regulations for each property may be found in the Hunting Guide, which is also available on the guides page.

Click the image below to view Nebraska Public Hunting Areas!

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Meat Processing

Meat Processing

M & M Pack

121 Sale Barn Road, Rushville, NE 69360

(308) 327-2841

 

The Buck Stop

823 US-20, Valentine, NE 69201

(402) 376-1738

 

Bruns Meat Service

815 Box Butte Ave, Hemingford, NE 69348

(308) 487-5232