Archive for the ‘ Hunting Forecast ’ Category

Pheasant Opener

By all accounts I think most hunters were pleasantly surprised at the number of birds they saw in the field this weekend.  Having crops out of the field helped a lot in many areas with the corn harvest around 75-80% and beans over 95%.  Hunter numbers were down across the state but harvests were good.  Best numbers for pheasants were in the southwest.

Bird numbers in the southeast reflected the effects of a harsh winter and hunter pressure on private land was low.   There are a lot more birds out there for the hunting and a whole season ahead of us!  My advice…try some of the excellent CRP-Hunter Access lands that allow public access to private lands.  Many of these have good bird numbers and are worth the walk.  You can pick up a Map Atlas booklet that shows locations by county at any NGPC office or permit vendor or online at www.outdoornebraska.org

Be safe! 

Know your target and what lies beyond

Wear blaze orange

Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot

Muzzle control – point that thing in a safe direction…always

Know where members of your hunting party are at all times

Get Em’ Out There

Rawly

Two happy hunters on opening morning!

CRP-MAP lands rock!

Do Deer Really Study The Moon?

Much has been said about deer movement in regards to the various phases of the moon and I will offer my limited observations on this.  Now some may say….”Jeff…how can you comment on the moon having never been to the moon before?”  These observations come from the physical phenomena of being able to look UP.  Looking up, I have been able to notice when the moon is fully visible and what my hunting conditions have been like the next day or so.  Very scientific. 

Some researchers, such as Charles Alzheimer, have powerful data suggesting the full moon triggers rutting activity in deer.  From his research, some have concluded that the first full moon after the autumn equinox, the hunters moon (Oct. 23, 2010), triggers rutting activity, while the second full moon after the autumn equinox hovers around the time rutting activity peaks (Nov. 21 for 2010).  We have long known that day length is a primary trigger for changes in testosterone in deer, stimulating rutting behavior.  What we are not as clear on is how the moon may impact these changes.  One could argue it makes sense because wildlife tune into such constants that are consistent for thousands of years.  Maybe there is something to these sci-fi theories? 

Before you completely discount moon phases on animal behavior, keep in mind many law enforcement and medical facilities have documented strange behavioral abnormalities during nights with full moons.  Are we influenced by the moon?  The maternity ward at some hospitals would suggest so!

My own experience has told me that on full moon nights, morning deer movement will be subdued but mid day activity will be higher.   This may be because deer take advantage of moon lit nights and feed longer, therefor are not as active in the 6am – 10am range?  It would make sense that deer who have not been active since say…4am would need to get up and move around by noon or so the next day.    Regardless, I subscribe to the theory of hunting when you can, regardless of what the lunar tables and telescopes suggest.  One constant is for sure…you can’t shoot a deer if your not out there!”  I wonder what impact Saturn has on deer?

Get Em’ Out There

Rawly

Phases of the moon - can they predict deer behavior?

Must be a full moon fight?

Nebraska Pheasant Outlook

I have heard a lot of discussion lately on the outlook for pheasants in Nebraska this year.  Much of the state will be similar to last year with the hot spot likely in southwest Nebraska.  Several things are impacting our numbers right now.  First, the winter we survived was an unusually tough one with cold temps and prolonged deep snow.  That was hard for most wildlife to survive and undoubtedly had an impact on pheasants.  They can scratch through some snow but not several feet!  Second, we had a really cool and wet spring/early summer which likely did not help pheasant recruitment this year.  Such weather impacts insect populations and is not ideal for young chicks.

My suggestion is to understand these impacts and enjoy the season.  In areas of quality habitat, you will find birds and your dog will be thrilled.  In areas of poor habitat,  hunting may be more difficult.  The key in all this is having quality habitat for pheasants to survive weather outbreaks such as our last winter and spring.  The Commission and Pheasants Forever have been working with landowners for several years now to enhance pheasant habitat and the benefits of such efforts are starting to pay off.   More and more landowners are changing practices to benefit pheasants and we hope such efforts will continue. 

Don’t get discourage as the birds are out there.  Find good habitat and you will find roosters.  Enjoy each outing with friends and dogs and appreciate the birds that they bring to you.

Get Em’ Out There

Rawly

What its all about!

Win A Free Upland Bird Hunt

Nebraska was one of  only a few states to pioneer a new marketing effort designed to get us dads with kids of hunting age to take them out this fall.  The add campaign is pretty cool as was run in our latest version of NEBRASKAland along with multiple other publications, news paper, etc.  Let me know if you see it.  The campaign directs dads to www.outdoornebraska.org/youth where they can learn how easy it is in Nebraska to get kids into the field this fall.  They can also sign up to win one of several upland bird hunts in Nebraska thanks to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.  I highly encourage all hunters to look at the site, register and then take a youth hunting.  With the recent $5 youth deer and turkey tags available, along with quality youth only upland game seasons, it has never been easier to take your kids hunting!

Get Em’ Out There

Rawly

Nebraska Outdoors Radio – Aug 19

The Show:   Nebraska Outdoors Radio
The Station: 1240 AM KFOR (Lincoln)
Listen Online: www.KFOR1240.com
The Day: Every Thursday
The Time: 6 to 7 p.m.
The #: 402-489-1240

It’s Wing-shooting Week & the Doctor is in!

Dr. Mark Vrtiska, Waterfowl Program Manager, stops by to give his thoughts and ideas on the upcoming migratory bird seasons – from dove to duck to goose.  With some seasons just weeks away you will want to tune in to hear the Doctor’s prescription for success.  Don’t miss this week’s Hunting, Fishing & Camping Weekend Forecast & the NGPC Outdoor Calendar.  Join the conversation by calling 402-489-1240.

Upland Bird Outlook

…work the dog, bust some blue-rock , knock on some doors – now is the time to start planning for this fall’s bird hunting – if you haven’t already begun

…to help you out NGPC Upland Game Program Manager, Jeff Lusk, is currently compiling Nebraska’s 2010 Upland Game Hunting Outlook that should give us hunters an idea of how our bird populations have fared…the Outlook is based on population surveys conducted in April & July as well as field staff observations about general nesting and brooding conditions…you will be able to access the full outlook at our website (www.OutdoorNebraska.org) once it is finalized…

…I snuck a peek at his pre-release work and here are some of the hi-lights
* Winter Snow & Spring Rain didn’t help – but the entire state was not effected equally
* Pheasant hunting should be similar to last year – head west!
* Prairie Grouse hunting may be even better in some parts of the state

…just remember that upland game is dependent on the amount and quality of the available habitat in the area…if you have superb, year-around bird habitat you will have birds – if you don’t, you won’t…changes in the habitat at the local level can dramatically influence the bird population in the area – hopefully with a successful Conservation Reserve Program sign-up this month our Upland Birds will have even more quality habitat to make use of for years to come..

hershy