Nebraska Archery Antelope Season Begins Weds.

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An increasing Nebraska antelope population will await archery antelope hunters when the season opens Aug. 20.

Residents and nonresidents have a good opportunity to pursue mature bucks and put meat in their freezer.

There are an unlimited number of archery permits available and hunters may purchase only one permit. Permits are valid statewide, but archery hunting is prohibited in firearm antelope units during the firearm antelope season, which is Oct. 11-26.

Hunters harvested 78 antelope during the archery season last year, with 78 percent of those being mature bucks (age 2½ or older). The success rate of 16 percent was the second highest on record.

"The quality of bucks is better than it has been in several years," said Kit Hams, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's big game program manager.

Hams suggested archery hunters pursue antelope before the Sept. 20 start of the muzzleloader season, when antelope are likely to become spookier.

While permission is needed to hunt on private land, Hams said most landowners are willing to grant access.

On public land, Oglala National Grassland is best, but antelope also may be found in limited numbers in Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest southwest of Valentine and the Bessey Ranger District of the Nebraska National Forest near Halsey.

The archery antelope season runs through Nov. 14, then is open Nov. 24 through Dec. 31.

Hunters are encouraged to pick up a copy of the 2008 Nebraska Big Game Guide, available where permits are sold.

The minimum age to hunt antelope in Nebraska is 12 years. All hunters need an antelope permit, and residents ages 12-15 are exempt from needing a Nebraska Habitat Stamp to hunt antelope.

Permits are $28 for residents and $133 for nonresidents, while habitat stamps are $16. They may be purchased online at the Commission's Web site, OutdoorNebraska.org, or at the following permitting offices: Commission offices in Lincoln, Omaha, Norfolk, Kearney, Bassett, North Platte, and Alliance, as well as Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium, Chadron, Ponca, Niobrara and Fort Robinson state parks, and Lake McConaughy and Wildcat Hills state recreation areas.