Nebraska Game and Parks officials are developing a landowner survey they hope will help with the management of elk, deer and pronghorn across the state.
Alicia Hardin, wildlife division administrator, said Game and Parks has done landowner deer surveys in the past but the elk and pronghorn versions are new.
Landowner responses will be solicited from each of the 18 deer management units, 10 pronghorn units and seven elk units in the state.
“The surveys will offer us an opportunity to hear from many landowners, not just those who can make it to our public meetings,’’ Hardin said.
Officials are compiling the questions that will be included and plan to have the surveys ready in the spring or summer. Past deer surveys have included questions about damages, hunting access, season dates, population trends, antlerless permits and other topics.
“We’re still evaluating the types of questions we will be asking,’’ Hardin said.
Nebraska Game and Parks also is developing a survey to send to deer hunters.
However, hunters and landowners don’t have to wait until the surveys are sent out to voice their concerns about big game issues. Input is encouraged at a series of public meetings that will be held across the state in January.
Game and Parks officials will share harvest information and how they make decisions on big game permit allocations. They’ll also give an overview on what is happening with big game in each area.
“We get a lot of questions,’’ Hardin said. “We do a little bit of talking and a lot of listening in the end.’’
Questions asked vary at each meeting, depending on whether an audience is dominated by landowners or hunters. Attendees often ask about how seasons are determined, population trends and why Nebraska policies differ from surrounding states.
Landowners may want to share that more antlerless permits are needed in their area because there are too many deer.
“These meetings provide us a jumping-off point to identify areas of concerns, so we can do a little further investigation and make changes as needed,’’ Hardin said. “Our goal for big game management in Nebraska is to maintain a balance between healthy wildlife populations, recreational hunting and social tolerance.’’
Meetings have yielded positive results such as the antlerless deer hunter database. Hunters can add their name to the database and be connected to a landowner who wants to trim the number of deer on their property.
None of the eight meetings this year are scheduled near the Omaha area. Meeting locations are rotated to different parts of the state so everyone has a chance to provide input.
A meeting was held in Plattsmouth last year and in Elkhorn in 2017.
All the meetings start at 7 p.m. local time. The schedule:
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» Jan. 7: David City, David City Auditorium, 699 Kansas St.
» Jan. 9: Bennet, American Legion, 970 Monroe St.
» Jan. 9: Norfolk, Lifelong Learning Center, 701 E. Benjamin Ave.
» Jan. 13: Chadron, CSC Student Center, Scottsbluff Room, 400-450 E. 12th St.
» Jan. 14: Broken Bow, Custer County Fairgrounds-Extension Building, 44100 Memorial Dr.
» Jan. 15: Scottsbluff/Gering, Wildcat Hills Nature Center, 210615 Hwy. 71
» Jan. 16: Ogallala, Lake McConaughy Visitors Center, 1475 Hwy. 61 North
» Jan. 16: St. Paul, St. Paul Civic Center, 423 Howard Ave.
Anyone who cannot attend a meeting can watch an online big game informational session at OutdoorNebraska.org.