Nebraska May Extend Earn-a-Buck

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Last year was Nebraska's first, under a limited roll out of the earn-a-buck program. In this style of hunting regulation, a hunter must first harvest a doe before earning the license to hunt a buck. The program helps wildlife biologists to better manage deer herds by focusing efforts on harvesting does. According to the Journal Star, the program was successful in 2010, and the Game and Parks Commission is considering rolling it out to other units.

Firearm deer hunters in the Blue Northwest, Blue Southeast and Missouri units may join the ranks of those who have to kill a doe before they can shoot a buck next season. If approved, the expansion of earn-a-buck would cover about the eastern quarter of the state, where whitetail deer populations are most dense.


hunter25's picture

Since I live in a state that

Since I live in a state that does not have that many deer I will never have the problem of having to shoot a doe first. Some years it is impossible to even get a doe tag, at least close to home anyway.

I also don't understand why so many guys have to be forced to shoot a doe first. It seems if a person was allowed to shoot multiple does the guys that really wanted to would kill enough. I know I would hunt for as many as they would let me have. Even when my own freezers are full I can donate tons of meat to friends and co workers.

Not saying this is a bad thing at all just that I myself would love the opportunity for more.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

You would like Nebraska then,

You would like Nebraska then, because their October doe season is 6 days long, and it's unlimited.  I know one guy who got 10 doe for his freezer and friends. Wink

As for why people don't do it, it's still the long held belief that we need to keep does alive so that they will have fawns and the population will grow.  If you shoot a doe, you are taking away 2 fawns a year for the next 5 or 6 years, possibly, and then exponentially more.

Even when they are overpopulated, and people are running over them left and right, the deer are eating their gardens, etc., people still hold on to that belief.

Heck, i don't necessarily give in to the "balanced herd" mentality of having a 1 to 1 ratio, but I do believe in keeping the population as a whole under control.  Therefore, I would have no problem shooting does in a place like this, as you said, to keep my freezer full.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

I still don't really believe

I still don't really believe in the "overall quality" effec.  I believe if the deer are numerous, and look healthy, then your deer herd is "healthy".  But, that's just my opinion on these AR's and QDM in general.

However, if you just want to reduce your deer herd, due to crop damage, vehicle collisions, or the presence of disease, then I do like the earn a buck program.

Having spent alot of time on a Nebraska hunting site the last 2 years (Was gonna move there), there is one problem that I hope they iron out this year.

Last year, the regulations basically said that they needed to "check in" a doe before they could "check in" a buck.  Therefore, some hunters were shooting a nice buck whenever if they saw one first, but then waiting to check it in until they shot a doe. And from what I heard about 2 different instances, the hunter never got a chance after that to shoot a doe. Therefore, they were left with a buck that they could not legally check in, cause they didn't have the doe.

I guess it was just the wording, but they were going to address it.  They will need to say that the doe must be "harvested and checked in" before a buck is "harvested".  That should take care of the problem.

jaybe's picture

I have often thought that

I have often thought that this was one of the better ideas in the plan to reduce the number of does in an area. In states where this has been done they have found it to be a successful and effective tool, since some hunters simply aren't interested in killing a doe otherwise. This definitely gives them positive motivation.

One of the other benefits of this scheme is that it also increases the buck-to-doe ratio that has long been recognized as being important to deer herd quality.

I hope that it continues to work well for Nebraska and has the two-fold result of improving the deer herd as well as the hunting experience for Nebraska hunters.