Game and Parks optimistic on pheasant and quail outlook ahead of opening weekend

LINCOLN — The Husker football team plays at home this weekend but you might see more blaze orange than red in some parts of the state.

Saturday is opening day for pheasant and quail hunting in Nebraska.  Assistant Wildlife Division Administrator for Nebraska Game and Parks Will Inselman says the harsh winter didn’t hurt bird populations as bad as you might think.

“It definitely impacted some birds, but overall we saw in our April rural mail carrier surveys that bird numbers appeared to be doing pretty well,” Inselman said.

Inselman says the wet spring and summer means hunters could see water in some fields they’re used to hunting.

“Know that areas will be wet and be prepared for that,” Inselman said.  “But don’t overlook those areas because some of those areas that might be a little wetter than normal might still hold pheasants.”

No land, no problem.  That’s thanks to Nebraska’s Open Fields and Water Program.  You can get a free public access atlas and look at detailed maps of the entire state to find public hunting ground near you.

“So we have about 350,000 acres now in our Open Fields and Waters Program in Nebraska, which has provided a lot of extra opportunity for our hunters,” Inselman said.

Inselman says the highest population of pheasants can be found in the panhandle and southwest Nebraska while the strongest region for quail is in the southeast.

Details about permits and regulations can be found here.