Abundance of Pheasants This Year!

The abundance of pheasants appears to be high in southwest Nebraska this year, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s 2010 Upland Game Hunting Outlook. Combined with public access, this region should offer excellent pheasant hunting opportunities. 

The outlook is based on surveys and input from biologists and staff. 

According to the outlook, the abundance of pheasants in Nebraska this year is highest in the southwest, followed by the Sandhills, central, northeast, Panhandle, and southeast regions. Overall, the abundance statewide is slightly lower than in 2009. 

Severe winter weather in parts of Nebraska and above-average rainfall this spring had an impact in parts of the state. 

The forecast for other species: 

Quail ˆ Populations were hurt by long periods of deep snow, ice and freezing temperatures, as well as above-average rainfall and localized hail storms during the breeding season. Abundance is highest in the southeast region and lowest in the northeast. 

Grouse ˆ Sharp-tailed grouse abundance is lower than in 2009 on four of seven breeding-ground survey routes in the Sandhills, and prairie chickens are lower in abundance on eight of 10 routes in the Sandhills and southeast. The July Rural Mail Carrier Survey shows a modest statewide increase in prairie grouse. Biologists report that the best areas for grouse in the Sandhills will be west of Bassett, where winter conditions were milder. 

Cottontail ˆ Abundance is higher statewide compared to 2009. The northeast and southwest are the only regions where abundance is lower. Highest abundances are in the central, southeast and southwest regions, in decreasing order. Field observations support survey results and indicate a good year for cottontail hunting.