Posts Tagged ‘ pheasant ’

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!

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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!

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!

Last Weekend!

It has been a rough pheasant season for many of us.  Too much snow has covered good CRP areas, made roads impassable, etc. but this last weekend should provide some decent access to pheasant haunts.   I like late season for some reason.  The pheasants this year should not be too spooky as most hunters have not returned to the field since November.  There should be decent numbers but with the cold weather and snow on the ground, look for them in the thickest, weediest , least accessible parts of the field.  This could be irrigation sloughs, field ditches, drainage areas, or just holding tight in plumb thickets near field edges.  There is a good chance they will be packed together so when the dog goes on point….oh baby get ready!

Get em’ out there

Rawly

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