With large tracts of prairie land in the Sandhills, streams and wooded bottoms in the east, and offering some of the nation’s best waterfowl hunting in the Rainwater Basin, the state of Nebraska offers a wide diversity of wildlife for the sporting enthusiast. Anglers can enjoy the vast diversity of fish that thrive in the natural lakes, prairie rivers, reservoirs and cold-water streams in NE. Snagging paddlefish in northeast Nebraska is an experience unique to the state. Hunters and fishers who wish to engage in hunting or fishing in Nebraska are required to have a current hunting or fishing license on them. These licenses are required for hunters and fishers older than 16 years of age, resident or nonresident. Certain types of game and fish must have additional tags or stamps in addition to the regular hunting or fishing license. The requirements for licensing in Nebraska will largely depend on the type of hunting or fishing you plan to do as well as where you intend to hunt or fish. The information provided below will help you decide which hunting and fishing license you need and which additional stamps or tags you will be required to purchase in Nebraska.
Nebraska Fishing Permits and Stamps
For fishing in Nebraska, and for most types of fish, the basic fishing license is all that is required. However, if you wish to fish for paddlefish, then you will need the paddlefish permit in addition to the regular license. Paddlefish permits must be applied for, and applications are entered into a drawing. Only a certain number of permits are authorized for residents and only a few for nonresidents. You are also required to obtain a Nebraska aquatic stamp, unless you are a visitor from out of state and have a one-day fishing permit. If you plan to both hunt and fish in Nebraska, then the Department of Natural Resources offers a combination habitat and aquatic stamp. Licenses/permits are issued as resident permits and nonresident permits. Those who are visiting the state and would like to fish for the time they are visiting may obtain a limited time and limited use permit.
Hunting Licenses in Nebraska
Licenses in Nebraska are called “permits.” In order to hunt in the state, you need a hunting permit that is geared toward the type of game you will be hunting. For example, if you wish to hunt deer, elk or turkey, then you will have to purchase a hunting permit for each. However, if you plan to hunt for multiple types of game, Nebraska does offer a combination permit that will allow upland game hunting, furbearer hunting as well as waterfowl. Upland game is considered to be game such as rabbits and land birds. Waterfowl permits allow you to hunt ducks, while the furbearer permit will allow you to hunt for bobcats, foxes and other furbearing animals.
Nebraska residents who own their own land are still required to purchase a hunting permit. Ranchers are exempt from this requirement if they plan to hunt various upland game. However, those landowners who plan to hunt larger game must still have a hunting permit. The licenses are offered as resident or nonresident permits and tags, with the nonresident permits costing slightly more. Those who are visiting the state can obtain temporary hunting permits for their stay. Hunters who wish to hunt larger game will have to have applied for the tags and participated in the lottery ahead of time. A limited number of these are allowed to be issued to nonresidents.
Hunting Tags in Nebraska
Permits allow you to hunt for certain types of animals, but you will be required to obtain a tag for the number of animals you would like to take. Bagged animals must match the number of purchased tags. Some tags are gender and season specific. Many Nebraska hunting tags are issued through lotteries to avoid overhunting of specific species in the state. These lotteries are only open for application during certain times of the year. If your name is selected through the lottery, then you will receive the tags you applied for. Migratory bird hunting requires that each hunter participate in the harvest information program (HIP). This data allows wildlife management to determine how best to manage and keep species populations at healthy levels. Using this information, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service sets bag limits and determines the length of the hunting season.
Where to Purchase a Hunting or Fishing License in Nebraska
The Nebraska game and parks division offers online applications for hunting and fishing licenses, permits and tags. This can be completed on the Outdoor Nebraska platform. Additionally, many permit vendors operate throughout the state. In general, these vendors carry sporting goods or hunting accessories in their stores. Many convenient stores throughout the state offer them and so do many county clerk offices. Those hunters or fishers younger than 16 may purchase special youth permits, and the elderly or disabled can receive a discounted rate. In some cases, Veterans may be allowed to hunt for free, but additional stamps, tags or aquatic stamps must still be purchased. Lifetime stamps and permits are permitted for most types of game, but most of these are limited to residents only.