Nebraska Game and Parks commissioners may cut the number of antlerless deer permits this season in response to a disease outbreak that is killing white-tailed deer by the thousands.
Permit reductions of 20 percent to 50 percent are recommended by wildlife biologists in 18 antlerless-only units. The River Antlerless permit quota is recommended to change from unlimited to 4,500 permits.
The changes will be considered at the commission's Oct. 26 meeting in North Platte. All permits purchased prior to the approved changes will remain valid, officials said.
Nebraska's whitetail herd is experiencing significant losses due to epizootic hemorrhagic disease this summer. The disease has appeared periodically in the state over at least the past several decades, but this year's outbreak appears to be unusually severe, biologists say.
More than 3,000 suspected deer deaths have been reported in the past two months, mostly in northern and eastern Nebraska.
The total reductions amount to nearly 9,000 antlerless permits and will leave more than 17,000 antlerless permits still available.
The disease is expected to continue until the first hard frost, which should kill the midge that transmits the virus. Humans are not at risk by handling infected deer, eating venison from infected deer or being bitten by infected midges.
The public is asked to report deer deaths that may be attributed to this disease to a Game and Parks office.
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The new recommended quotas for antlerless deer units are:
|Suggested deer quotas|