LINCOLN – Prospects look good for Nebraska’s pheasant, quail and partridge hunting season, which opens Oct. 29.
Conditions for upland birds are better than in recent years, and pheasant and quail abundance in Nebraska this year is higher than the five-year average over most of the state. Most of the state, which experienced a generally mild winter, received timely spring rainfall, producing abundant nesting and brood-rearing cover for pheasants.
Pheasant abundance this fall should be similar or slightly lower than during the 2015 hunting season, which saw a 26 percent increase in harvest compared to 2014. Southwestern Nebraska and the Panhandle should offer the best hunting opportunities this fall. Surveys indicate pheasant abundance is higher in the central and Sandhills regions, compared to 2015. Abundance in other regions of the state is predicted to be similar or slightly lower than 2015, but not significantly.
Quail abundance continues to be high across the species’ Nebraska range. The southeast, Republican River, and east central regions should provide the best hunting opportunities for 2016. Surveys show that abundance should be as good, or better, than the 2015 hunting season, which was 73 percent greater than the year before.
Public and private land will offer plenty of options for hunters this season. Public land and lands open to public hunting through the Open Fields and Waters program can be found in the Public Access Atlas, available online at Maps.OutdoorNebraska.gov/PublicAccessAtlas. Tall wheat and milo stubble fields open to public hunting also are in the atlas.
This fall, Pheasants Forever (PF) has taken notice of Nebraska’s pheasant hunting prospects. It recently selected Nebraska as one of the nation’s top eight pheasant hunting states, describing the Cornhusker State as a “bird hunting cornucopia.” The Commission partners with PF and Quail Forever to improve habitat, increase hunting opportunities and enhance hunting experiences for thousands of hunters.
The hunting season for pheasant, quail and partridge is Oct. 29 – Jan. 31, 2017. Hunting permits may be purchased at OutdoorNebraska.org. Mobile permits are available.
For a closer look at the upcoming season, read the Commission’s Upland Game Hunting Outlook at OutdoorNebraska.gov/Upland.