LINCOLN – Because vendors were unable to provide birds, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will not be releasing pen-reared pheasants before the youth pheasant season and Thanksgiving holiday this year.
The statewide youth season still will take place between October 22 and 23, but only youth ages 15 and younger will be allowed to hunt.
In a statement released by Game and Parks, Alicia Hardin, the commission’s Wildlife Division administrator, lamented the deprivation, stating that, “it was very unfortunate the Commission was unable to purchase birds to release for the special season this year.”
“Two separate requests for proposals and numerous phone calls were made to potential vendors,” Hardin continued, “but none were able to fulfill the request this year. We know families look forward to hunting in our public areas during the special season. We encourage hunters to still go out and take Nebraska’s youth hunting and spend some quality time outdoors.”
People interested in hunting pen-raised birds in a more controlled environment are encouraged to visit one of the state’s 48 Controlled Shooting Areas. CSAs are privately-owned areas for hunting upland game birds during an extended season.
Other options for youth hunters include attending a free Youth Mentor Hunt event for ages 12 to 15 or participating in the Next Steps Hunt Program, both sponsored by Pheasants Forever chapters throughout the state.
In recent years, the Game and Parks Commission has released approximately 16,500 pheasants throughout 19 public areas across the state. The agency is planning to release pheasants next year.