Archive for the ‘ Pheasant Hunting ’ 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!

Advertisements

Grouse Nirvana

After  a long week hosting the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Conservation Ed Training Academy I took the weekend to head out west with my father-in-law to chase grouse.  We had a blast!  I think grouse hunting is just plain awesome and truly enjoy chasing these psychotic sandhill chickens.  You will walk a ton (like I need that kind of impact to my cholesterol level) but in some of the best scenery in the state.  Grouse can pop up at any time and give you little warning but when their numbers are large it is a blast (yes pun intended). 

Grouse can be a challenge for some and generally we have luck when the weather gets a bit cold and they tend to huddle up on the protected side of hills from the wind.  On warmer days, the shady side of hills is best.  They are not like pheasant and do not care for thick cover grass but rather favor more choppy sand hills with mixed grasses that have been thinned a bit by grazing.  Give it a trip or two and you’ll get the hang of it. 

We also enjoyed a bit of waterfowl in the sandhill potholes and of course had no intention of going through an entire pheasant opener without chasing them too!  Life is good!

Get Em’ Out There

Rawly

Last night of camp with a tired old dog (the lab was tired too)!

Did I mention I like a BIG fire?

Finally a critter he was familiar with

Every morning was a gift!

Not a lot of trees in them there hills...

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

Missouri River Outdoor Expo

Folks if you have made the short drive to Ponca State Park in northeast Nebraska for the Fall Expo you really owe it to yourself and family to get up there.  The largest Expo in Nebraska (and maybe the midwest) Ponca has something for everyone…from shooting rifle, shotgun,  muzzleloaders, archery, big game rifles, kayaking, Missouri River boat rides, fishing, bow fishing, camping, tree stand safety, outdoor villages, crafts, games, wildlife activities…you just can’t go wrong this weekend at Ponca. 

Jeff Fields and the team at Ponca have done an outstanding job, along with all the volunteers that make this huge program such a success.  And of course, just visiting Ponca State Park in the fall is a treat in itself.  The attitude amongst all the staff and volunteers just seems to foster a fun and exciting time for all who are fortunate enough to participate in this grand event.  Don’t miss out!  The Expo will run Saturday through Sunday this weekend only.  We’ll see you out there!

Get Em’ Out There

Rawly

Shooting is a big part of the Ponca Expo and is a lot of fun for anyone!

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

Nebraska Hunters Had 100% Success In 2009!

Yep!  You read it right!  Now, I am not going to even discuss the excellent hunting opportunities present in Nebraska.  I am talking about the true measure of success.  According to studies supported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, hunters agree that success is had each time they go afield.  Its the stuff you find from watching the sun rise from the tree stand.  The experience you gain from chasing turkeys all over the state.  Its the joy you found in sharing the hunt or shooting with kids or friends.  Its the joy you get from watching your hunting buddy point his first bird and the sadness when he points his last.  Its the thrill of hard work paying off when  your arrow hits its mark.  Its the relaxation with family and friends around the crackle of a good fire after a long day afield.  Its the anticipation of the next day afield and the optimism that follows.  Its the feeling of connection with the land, our heritage and those great Americans that came before us.  Its the understanding of nature and wild things that is gained from countless hours in the blind, walking fields or sitting in the stand.   Its the passion of supporting legislation that ultimately supports hunting and wildlife.  It is the realization that you are a hunter…

Get Em’ Out There

Rawly

100% Success!

100% Success

No birds but 100% success!

Our hunt was 100% success long before this bird showed up!