NEBRASKA -- Deer hunters are having more luck this year than last year.

That's according to preliminary deer check-in numbers from the Nebraska Game and Parks. Statewide harvest numbers are up about 8% compared to 2018.  Saturday was opening day for Nebraska's firearm season, which runs through Sunday.

The northeast district check stations saw the biggest jump with 17% more deer than last year.  The number of checked deer was up 9% in the southeast, up 3% in the northwest and up 5% in the southwest district.

“Many factors can be related to the higher numbers of checked deer,” said Luke Meduna, the big game program manager for Game and Parks. “While there is still some corn standing in the fields, the nice weather contributed to lots of hunters getting into the field and harvesting deer.”

Some reminders to hunters still in the field until the nine-day season closes Nov. 24:

— Make safety your highest priority. Know what your target is and what is behind your target. Be aware of where your weapon’s muzzle is pointed at all times.

— It is illegal to duplicate permits. Only hard copy permits are allowed; no electronic deer permits are allowed.

— Firearm deer hunters and archers harvesting deer during the November firearm season must deliver their deer to a check station no later than 1 p.m. on the day following the close of the season. To find a list and map of check stations visitOutdoornebraska.gov/deer. Notch the carcass tag on your permit immediately upon harvesting a deer.

— Many check stations in the northwest and northeast are collecting lymph nodes for chronic wasting disease testing. Those interested in test results can visitOutdoorNebraska.org in four to six weeks for results.

— In Nebraska, a person must have permission to enter private property.

-- The season also is an opportunity to take a new or lapsed hunter afield as part of the Take ‘Em Hunting challenge. For more information, visitOutdoorNebraska.org/TakeEmHunting.

Many management unit permits are available, as well as some statewide permits. Permits can be purchased at OutdoorNebraska.org.

December outdoor calendar

LINCOLN, Neb. – The following is a listing of Nebraska Game and Parks Commission events and important dates in December. Get more event details at Calendar.OutdoorNebraska.gov. Visit OutdoorNebraska.org for a list of hunter education classes and boating safety classes.

Dec. 1 – Bobcat hunting and trapping season opens

Dec. 1 – Enchant, Ash Hollow State Historical Park (SHP), Lewellen

Dec. 1-31 – Muzzleloader deer hunting season

Dec. 1-Jan. 15, 2020 – Antlerless elk hunting season

Dec. 3 – Learn to Hunt Predators Workshop, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln

Dec. 4-8 – Pearl Harbor Exhibit, Fort Atkinson SHP, Fort Calhoun

Dec. 6-7, 13-14, 20-21 – Christmas at the Codys’, Buffalo Bill Ranch SHP, North Platte

Dec. 7 – Kids Christmas Bird Count, Lake Minatare State Recreation Area (SRA), Minatare

Dec. 7 – Historical Christmas Dinner, Fort Robinson State Park (SP), Crawford

Dec. 7-8 – DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) antlerless muzzleloader deer season

Dec. 7-31 – Light Up the Fort, Fort Robinson SP, Crawford

Dec. 7, 14, 21 – Christmas in the Woods, Ponca SP, Ponca

Dec. 8 – White-fronted goose hunting season, first segment closes

Dec. 14 – Nature’s Gifts: Decorations from the Great Outdoors, Wildcat Hills SRA, Gering

Dec. 14 – Classic Christmas, Eugene T. Mahoney SP, Ashland

Dec. 14-22 – Boyer Chute NWR antlerless deer hunting

Dec. 15 – Crow hunting season, first segment ends

Dec. 16 – Snipe hunting season closes

Dec. 17 – Duck and coot hunting season closes in zones 2 and 4

Dec. 18 – Christmas Bird Count, Ponca SP, Ponca

Dec. 21 – Yule Log Festival, Platte River SP, Louisville

Dec. 22 – Bighorn sheep hunting season closes

Dec. 24 – Duck and coot hunting season closes in Zone 1

Dec. 25 – Light goose hunting season, first segment closes

Dec. 28 – 8th Annual Winterfest, Ponca SP, Ponca

Dec. 31 – Archery antelope hunting season closes

Dec. 31 – Archery deer and Whitetail Statewide Buck hunting seasons close

Dec. 31 – Underwater spearfishing season closes

Dec. 31 – Archery fishing for game fish closes