Whitetails Unlimited Opposes Nebraska Deer Legislation

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A legislative proposal in Nebraska is the wrong way to manage deer overpopulation, according to Whitetails Unlimited, the nation's largest non profit conservation group dedicated to the benefit of the white-tailed deer.

"We understand that large deer populations can be a problem for farmers and landowners," said Whitetails Unlimited President Jeff Schinkten. "However, this bill (LB 836) is an overreaction to a problem that will result in many more problems in the future."

The bill would allow ranchers, farmers and their family members to use spotlights to shoot deer at night, kill unlimited deer on their properties without season limits or permits, establish a bounty for deer killed on their land by others, and require a special depredation season every two years to kill more deer throughout the state.

"This bill has advanced further than anyone thought it would, and Nebraska deer hunters need to contact their legislators and voice their opposition before it gets any more traction," said Schinkten. "Managing game populations is a very difficult job, but if this bill passes the regulation of the deer population in Nebraska would be an impossibility. Problems should be addressed within the existing management framework of the Nebraska Game and Parks department, not the state legislature. News reports I've seen indicate that a legislator introduced this bill without ever talking to any wildlife professionals. This has the potential to destroy regulated hunting as a game management tool."

Schinkten noted that he understands the frustration farmers and landowners can have when deer damage crops, but that there are options. "We have many members who are farmers, ranchers and landowners, and we understand how much damage an overpopulation of deer can cause." Schinkten suggests that these problems can be addressed without completely destroying regulated hunting.

"Finding places to hunt is the largest problem deer hunters have, and a landowner with too many deer on their property should have no trouble finding responsible, ethical and enthusiastic hunters to help them solve their overpopulation problem," said Schinkten. "Years ago unregulated hunting nearly eliminated the white-tailed deer in Nebraska, and it took almost a century for the population to get to this point. If changes to existing laws are needed, that can be done through the existing process, rather than making wholesale change through the legislature"

Schinkten urges Nebraska residents to contact their legislators and express their concerns over this bill (LB 836).