Wyoming and Nebraska reduce deer tags, but for different reasons

Drought has hit Wyoming's deer population much harder than Nebraska's. So why are we reducing deer permits, too?

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The deer season in Wyoming is going to be a little quieter. They’re reducing tags by quite a bit.

Meanwhile in Nebraska, we’re seeing a reduction as well, but for different reasons.

Wyoming has animals living in an environment that is substantially impacted by drought.

Luke Meduna, manager of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s big game program, said Wyoming’s pronghorn population subsists on sagebrush.

Because of the drought, “They’re walking a fine line there with getting enough moisture to keep that sagebrush going, and that can have some pretty drastic impacts on things.”

Nebraska’ biggest drought-related concern is epizootic hemorrhagic disease.

Meduna said dry times are when it “typically rears its head.”

He went on to describe the ailment: “That’s a disease that’s commonly associated with whitetails but also tends to impact pronghorns during dry periods, so we did see some pronghorn losses this last fall directly related, as well as some whitetail.”

Despite those factors, the main reason why Nebraska plans to issue fewer permits is that things are generally looking good.

“On our mule deer and pronghorns, numbers are down a little bit,” Meduna said. “Overall, we’re down a little bit on everything, like whitetails and even elk.”

Down, but still in good shape, because Nebraska Game and Parks is constantly fine-tuning the numbers to keep things in check.

“We’ve got good, huntable deer populations,” said Meduna, “but by and large, most of our areas where we’ve got deer, they’re not so high that we have a lot of depredation.”

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