Hunters in several areas of the state enjoyed good success on opening weekend of Nebraska’s pheasant and quail seasons, Oct. 25-26.
And, one of the best areas of the state was southwest Nebraska.
With the number of birds seen throughout much of the state, weather was a factor. Opening weekend temperatures were unseasonably warm and unharvested crop fields gave pheasants ample cover.
Some of the best opening weekend success was on wildlife management areas (WMAs), where pheasants had been released for the Oct. 18-19 youth pheasant season.
Here’s the Game & Parks Commission’s assessment of southwest Nebraska’s hunter success.
Hunters averaged about .75 birds per hunter in the southwest, which includes Chase County.
Other than Pressey WMA, where hunters commented on how good the habitat appeared, and Sherman Reservoir WMA, where hunters averaged 1.39 harvested pheasants per hunter, the southwest part of the district had the most birds. The best counties in this area to be in last weekend were south Lincoln, southeast Perkins, north Hayes, Hitchcock, Chase and Dundy, according Game & Parks officials.
Most of the hunters in the southwest part of the district were non-residents.
The opening weekend also had an economic impact on Nebraska.
Tyler Loop, owner of a brewery and restaurant in McCook, said he had several out-of-town and out-of-state customers all weekend. He also took his family hunting in the area.
“Bird numbers seemed to be up quite a bit this year compared to last year, thanks to all the rain we have received,” Loop said.
“There’s still a lot of uncut corn, which made it tougher. But we still saw more birds, which was a good sign. It was hot, but I plan to go out again now that I know the birds are around. It was a good hunt.”
No hunting-related accidents were reported to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission on opening weekend.
The season for pheasant, quail and partridge is open through Jan. 3, 2015.
Game & Parks officials remind hunters to keep safety as their top priority. Hunters should be aware of the following safety tips:
Never point the muzzle of a shotgun at anything you do not intend to shoot.
Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
Always use the safety on a firearm but never depend on it.
Be sure of your target and what lies beyond it.
Know where each person in your party is at all times.
Know your safe zone of fire.
Although not required for upland bird hunting, blaze orange should be worn by every hunter.
Hunters accessing private land must first get permission and should leave the area as they found it. Do not litter or leave gates open.
The Open Fields and Waters program allows private land to be open to hunters for walk-in access. Visit the Fame & Parks website: OutdoorNebraska.org and search “Public Access Atlas” to view the most up-to-date printable maps.