NEBRASKA

Deer Forecast 2004 -- MIDWEST

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Whitetail numbers were down in the western two thirds of Nebraska in 2003, thanks to drought and epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD). This resulted in a lower-than-expected harvest of 53,000 deer, 9,100 of them mule deer, says Kit Hams, big-game program manager for the Game and Parks Commission. Deer numbers are stable, if a bit down in western units, with at least 50,000 mule deer and 200,000 whitetails. Big bucks are found in every unit. Hams adds that the last two seasons saw an above- average percentage of older bucks harvested, and since drought and EHD probably took a big toll on yearling bucks, "it may take a few years for trophy-buck numbers to rebound."