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