Nebraska One of Best Places to Hunt Pheasants

This week, Pheasants Forever named Nebraska as one of the top eight pheasant hunting destinations in the United States.

“The Cornhusker State is a bird hunting cornucopia,” Ron Spomer writes. “You’re liable to bump into not just ringnecks, but bobwhites, sharp-tailed grouse and prairie chickens. And you can look for them on 800,000 public access acres on 300 state and federal land areas. That’s only 2 percent of the state’s total land, so if you can talk yourself onto private lands, you’ll have the potential to walk yourself to death in a flurry of upland hunting.” 

Fall pheasant hunters can look forward to an excellent season. Surveys show that bird numbers continue to be robust, and that conditions for upland birds are better than in recent years. In addition, Nebraska Game and Parks recently unveiled the Berggren Plan for Pheasants, an ambitious and innovative five-year plan to improve pheasant populations across the state.

For tips on where to hunt pheasants and how to plan your trip, visit us online. You can also buy a permit on our website.

Hunters Enjoy Increased Bird Numbers on Opening Weekend

Hunters across the state saw noticeably improved hunting for pheasant and quail on the opening weekend of the season Oct. 31 – Nov. 1, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Hunters contacted by conservation officers reported more birds than in recent years and generally reported good success.

Southwest Nebraska provided the most consistent hunting in the state. Good numbers of pheasants were seen across the region, particularly in Lincoln, Hayes, Perkins, Dundy, Chase, and Red Willow counties.

Improved quail numbers were consistently reported across the Southeast region, but pheasant hunting success was more variable. Pheasant hunters on public hunting areas in the Rainwater Basins reported seeing good numbers of birds.

The Northeast region saw improved hunting in areas where sufficient grassland cover remained. Successful pheasant hunters were reported in Madison, Knox, Burt, Thurston, Dixon, Pierce, and Antelope counties.

Unharvested crop fields hampered hunters in the Northwest region, but good numbers of pheasants were reported. The highest hunting pressure and success appeared to be in Box Butte County.

Hunting conditions across the state are expected to improve in the coming weeks as the weather cools, more crop fields are harvested, and hunting pressure declines. Additionally, rain prior to opening weekend made travel difficult and many minimum maintenance roads were impassable on opening day. Good habitat conditions prevail across the state, which is good news for birds and hunters alike.

To view the Commission’s full upland game hunting forecast, visit, and then click on Hunting, Upland Game, and Forecast. Hunters can find public hunting sites, as well as private sites open to public walk-in hunting, in the Nebraska Public Access Atlas. Go to, and then click on Guides.

The pheasant and quail seasons run through Jan. 31, 2016.

Pheasant Hunting Opportunities Expected to Improve

LINCOLN – Nebraska pheasant hunting opportunities in 2015 should be better than last year, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Upland Game Hunting Outlook.

Mild winter conditions and timely spring rains have resulted in increases in pheasant abundance statewide. Spring rains also resulted in abundant cover, with Game and Parks staff reporting excellent habitat conditions across the state.

The outlook is based on spring and summer upland game surveys, and conditions reported by biologists. Regional weather events that could impact populations are considered.

Surveys indicated that pheasant abundance was higher in all regions of the state compared to 2014. The southwest and Panhandle regions should offer the best hunting opportunities this year, but better opportunities should be available statewide. With the lush vegetation comes an abundance of insects for chicks to eat. Reports from several regions indicate plentiful grasshoppers this year.

Quail abundance continued its ascent from lows resulting from the drought of 2012-2013 and the severe winter of 2009-2010. Surveys indicated increases in abundance compared to 2014 across almost all of the quail’s range. Habitat conditions were excellent for production and brood-rearing across the state. The southeast and south central parts of the state should offer the best opportunities this year, but there will be good opportunities throughout quail range.

Habitat conditions for grouse were excellent this year, particularly in the Sandhills, and surveys indicated increased abundance in most regions compared to 2014. Abundance was highest in the central part of the state.

Cottontail abundance appears to have increased significantly across the state, particularly in the southeast and central regions. Staff also report observing multitudes of young rabbits.

To view the full report, visit, and then search for 2015 Upland Game Hunting Outlook.

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