“2016-17’s pheasant hunt produced a harvest of 170,600 roosters by 39,600 hunters,” reports Jeff Lusk, Upland Game Program Manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “These numbers represent an increase in harvest of 3%, and hunters by 9%, compared to 2015-16.”
“Our winter was generally mild,” says Lusk. “Cold periods were interspersed with unseasonably warm spells. There were a few isolated severe snow events. But the snow was short-lived and likely had minimal impact on regional populations.”
As for spring and the first half of summer, “We’ve had adequate rainfall and variable temperatures,” says Lusk. “High temperatures have been in the mid-90s, and there have been few days, if any, of temperatures in the upper 90s, low 100s.”
“Habitat conditions look fairly good so far,” adds Lusk. “We’ve had adequate early moisture to stimulate growth for nesting and brood-rearing.”
“For the traveling wingshooter,” Lusk says, “the Southwest and Panhandle regions of Nebraska have the highest relative abundance and reported harvest of pheasants.”
“The Berggren Plan for Pheasants and the Open Fields and Waters
(OFW) program are the most important initiatives in Nebraska,” says Lusk. “The Berggren Plan is a comprehensive management plan for pheasants, with specific goals for habitat and hunting access acres. As such, it is closely allied with the OFW program, which is our private-lands access program.
Tom Carpenter is Pheasants Forever's Digital Content Manager.