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Great opportunities for pheasant hunters with Oct. 27 opener

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.

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at jerry.kane@nebraska.gov or 402-471-5008.

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