If you are looking for decent public land hunting you will want to check out the northwest corner of the panhandle. There are thousands of acres of public land west of hiway 385 and north of hiway 20. The area north of Harrrison is good. Early in the season the hunting pressure is’nt too bad. There is some public land in the Wildcat Hills in the Scottsbluff area, but I don’t know much about it. Also, the Samuel McKelvy forest in the northern sandhills might be worth checking out. Hope this helps.
Its kinda a bad time in Nebraska for deer. Blue Tongue & EHD seems to have hit a little hard then most have expected. I was told by a G&P Officer that they stopped selling the bonus tags & may look at pulling a couple of others for whitetails for us easterners. He also said they pulled all of the Doe Mule tags for this year to try to get the population back up. I live near Omaha & this Officer was from the same area so take this info with a grain of salt, but I would diffenitly talk to a bunch of outfits about the population before I made a trip.
I live in the NW corner of Nebraska and believe me there is not shortage of deer in this area!!! Sure we got hit with EHD but compared to the number of whitetails we have it didnt do much!!! The fires we had did more bad for the hunting on public versus private!!! Mule deer normally do not contact EHD and the mule deer herds in this area are doing good!!! My son and I see good numbers every time we are out hunting!!! Its hard to find QUALITY muley bucks on public as most of them get shot during rifle season but with some hard work and lots of glassing it can be done!!! PM me if youd like and I’ll steer you in the right direction as far as the best public land around!!!