LINCOLN, Neb. – Great hunting opportunities and access await hunters when they go afield for the opener of the Nebraska pheasant, quail and partridge seasons on Oct. 27.
Hunters seeking new places to hunt are encouraged to refer to the 2018-19 Public Access Atlas, which displays nearly a million acres of publicly accessible lands throughout the state. In addition to state and federal lands, hunters will have access to more than 317,000 acres of private land enrolled in the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Open Fields and Waters (OFW) Program. For those pursuing upland birds in the Southwest or Panhandle regions, the Stubble Access Guide displays an additional 29,000 acres of tall wheat and milo stubble fields open to public hunting access. Both publications are available at OutdoorNebraska.gov/PublicAccessAtlas.
“This is always an exciting time of the year and upland hunters should have some great opportunities in many regions of the state this fall,” said John Laux, Game and Parks’ upland habitat and access program manager.
According to the July Rural Mail Carrier Survey, pheasant numbers this fall should be as good, or better, than typical over the last five years in the Panhandle, Southwest and Sandhills regions. Hunters should find the best opportunities in the Southwest and Panhandle regions, where there are good bird numbers and abundant public access.
Quail populations have remained strong throughout many regions of the state and the best opportunities will be found in the Republican, Southeast and East Central regions, where relative abundance was above their five-year averages. The full forecast is available online at OutdoorNebraska.gov/Upland.
A new challenge awaits hunters this year. The Nebraska Upland Slam invites hunters to try to harvest all four upland bird species in Nebraska, including the ring-necked pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, greater prairie-chicken and northern bobwhite. Those who complete the Nebraska Upland Slam will receive an official certificate and pin, and will be entered for a chance to win prizes sponsored by Pheasants and Quail Forever. For more information, visit OutdoorNebraska.org/UplandSlam.
An upland game hunt is also a great way to bring a new or novice hunter into the fold. Share the excitement of a hunt and help create lifelong memories for a new hunter. “This is an excellent chance to introduce someone to hunting by showing how to hunt safely and responsibly,” Laux said.
Hunters should be mindful of the following firearm safety rules:
— Treat all firearms as if they are loaded.
— Never point a firearm at anything you do not mean to shoot.
— Keep your finger out of the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.
— Be sure of your target and what lies beyond it.
The hunting seasons for pheasant, quail and partridge, as well as grouse, run through Jan. 31, 2019.
For more on hunting in Nebraska, visit OutdoorNebraska.org.
Special youth pheasant hunt another success
LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska youth got to experience an upland hunt as adult mentors took them afield for the state’s special youth pheasant hunt Oct. 20-21.
The special hunt took place on 13 wildlife management areas (WMA), where the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission released 6,997 roosters Oct. 19.
In total, 298 adult mentors accompanied 375 youth hunters on the hunt this year. Youth and their mentors harvested 52 wild roosters and 592 released roosters.
“We are excited to see so many youth out in the field harvesting pheasants and we are grateful for the mentors and parents who are taking kids out,” said Jeff Lusk, Game and Parks’ upland game program manager. “There will be many more great days afield for mixed bag hunting with youth this year, including upland game, turkey and deer.”
Pheasants were released at the following WMAs: Pressey (Custer County); Sherman Reservoir (Sherman County); Oak Valley (Madison County); Branched Oak (Lancaster County); Twin Oaks (Johnson County); Hickory Ridge (Johnson County); Wilkinson (Platte County); Yankee Hill (Lancaster County), Cornhusker (Hall County), Arrowhead (Gage County), George Syas (Platte County), Rakes Creek (Cass County), and Kirkpatrick Basin North (York County).
The highest harvest success rates were at Rakes Creek, Branched Oak, Wilkinson, Hickory Ridge, and Twin Oaks.
The special hunt, which takes place annually during the statewide youth pheasant, quail and partridge season, was for youth ages 15 and younger. Youth could take two rooster pheasants per day while adult mentors were allowed to harvest one per day. Only one adult mentor per youth was allowed to hunt.
This was the eighth year of the pheasant releases during the special youth season, which is intended to increase youth participation in upland game hunting.
The statewide pheasant, quail and partridge season is Oct. 27 – Jan. 31, 2019. Permits are available at OutdoorNebraska.org.