Thursday, October 31, 2019

"Pheasantennial" celebration in Redfield SD


Dozens of people gathered at Hagman's Grove, the site of the first pheasant release, which happened more than 100 years ago.

"To think that 100 years ago , pheasant hunting started here in South Dakota is pretty wild," Paul Nester, a long time hunter said.

"Today we re-enacted the first successful release in South Dakota of the pheasants," said the Mayor of Redfield Jayme Akin.

The release of the birds in 1908 marks a transition in South Dakota pheasant hunting.

"In the years moving forward, the rooster, the pheasants, they flourished in South Dakota, they flourished in our harsh environments, the population soared, and then a few years later we had the first pheasant hunt.," Akin said.

That first hunt happened on October 30th, 1919. Wednesday's 'Pheasantennial' celebrates the 100 year mark of that hunt in Spink County.

NE Hunters take to the field on pheasant opener

LINCOLN, Neb. – Hunters from around the country returned to rural Nebraska on the weekend of Oct. 26-27 for the pheasant and quail season opener.
Hunter activity was highest on opening day and most effort subsided by midday on both Saturday and Sunday. Across the state, hunters were greeted with pleasant conditions and temperatures in the 70s on opening day. That all changed Saturday night with the passage of a cold front, which brought low wind chills and some ice.
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission staff contacted 840 upland hunters while making bag checks. These hunters harvested 471 pheasants, 25 quail, two greater prairie-chickens, and a sharp-tailed grouse. Pheasant-release sites on 14 select WMAs continue to be popular in eastern Nebraska, with an additional 721 hunters encountered there. They bagged 438 pheasants and six quail. More than 85 percent of roosters harvested on release sites were pen-released birds.
Based on field reports, hunter success for pheasants on the opener was highest in the Panhandle (0.73 birds/hunter). Hunters also found good pheasant numbers in the southwest and portions of the northeast where Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) fields were abundant.
Public lands were popular, including WMAs and private lands enrolled in the Commission’s Open Fields and Waters (OFW) Program. Overall, hunter activity on the opening weekend was slightly lower compared to previous years but harvest success on wild pheasants (0.56 birds/hunter) was higher compared to 2018 (0.40 birds/hunter).

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Abundant Opportunities Await Nebraska Pheasant, Quail Hunters Oct. 26 2019

LINCOLN – Abundant hunting opportunities and access await hunters when they go afield for the opener of the Nebraska pheasant, quail and partridge seasons on Oct. 26. Hunters seeking new places to hunt are encouraged to refer to the 2019-20 Public Access Atlas, which displays nearly a million acres of publicly accessible lands throughout the state. In addition to state and federal lands, hunters will have access to more than 347,000 acres of private land enrolled in the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Open Fields and Waters Program, an increase of 30,000 acres from 2018. For those pursuing upland birds in the Southwest or Panhandle regions, the Stubble Access Guide displays an additional 40,000 acres of tall wheat and milo stubble fields open to public hunting access. Both publications are available at

According to the July Rural Mail Carrier Survey, this year’s statewide pheasant index was down 14% but hunters should still find good bird numbers where suitable habitat exists. Habitat conditions across the state look great going into the fall following the abundant moisture received earlier this spring/summer. Hunters will find the best pheasant hunting opportunities in the Southwest and Panhandle regions, which offer good bird numbers and abundant public access.

For bobwhites, this year’s production should make up for some of the population losses incurred from severe winter weather earlier this spring. The Republican, West Platte, and Southeast regions should offer the best quail hunting opportunities this fall according to the Spring Whistle Count Survey. The full upland hunting forecast is available online at

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Idaho F&G fuels pheasant season with stocked birds

by Ryan L Morrison

Hunting pheasants in Idaho is a tradition and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is cultivating that by stocking pheasants on nine WMAs. 
WMAs, or Wildlife Management Areas, are sections of land controlled by IDFG to help wildlife when they become vulnerable, like mule deer. But, they also help to provide Idaho with unique hunting experiences.
 IDFG has nine WMAs on their stocking schedule this season. They started last month and will stock birds through December when the season ends.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Montana bird hunters reminded to "Be Bear Aware"

Friday, September 20, 2019

Kansas’ 2019 Upland Bird Hunting Prospects Are Good

PRATT – Surveys are complete, data is in, and the 2019 Kansas Upland Bird Hunting Forecast is ready for viewing. The highly-anticipated annual forecast predicts what pheasant, quail and prairie chicken hunters can likely expect going into the new seasons. Based on this year’s crow counts for pheasants, whistle counts for quail, and lek counts for prairie chickens, overall upland bird hunting prospects are looking “good” for fall.

Pheasant hunting in Kansas should be fair to locally good this year. Heavy winter precipitation made hunting conditions tough in 2018 but provided ample soil moisture entering the 2019 nesting season. A few late winter storms raised some concern in western Kansas, but the spring crowing index remained the same as 2018, indicating there was no measurable impact on over-winter survival. Heavy rainfall continued throughout the spring and resulted in high levels of nest abandonment. However, nests that did hatch appear to have responded to the plentiful cover with relatively high chick survival, indicated by larger brood sizes. In wet years like 2019, the nesting season becomes longer, allowing for multiple re-nesting attempts. Overall, the large brood sizes, combined with production from re-nesting birds appear to have compensated for the losses from extreme spring weather.

The counts through much of central Kansas decreased while numbers farther west increased or remained similar to last year. Kansas continues to maintain one of the best pheasant populations in the country and the fall harvest should again be among the leading states.

The highest densities this year will likely be in the High Plains regions of western Kansas.

Click to read the full article and the forecast for Quail and Prairie Chicken.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

ND 2019 Pheasant, Sharptail and Partridge Numbers Up

North Dakota’s roadside surveys conducted in late July and August indicate total pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse and gray partridge numbers are up from last year.

State Game and Fish Department upland game biologist RJ Gross said the survey shows total pheasants observed per 100 miles are up 10% from last year. In addition, broods per 100 miles are up 17%, while the average brood size is down 5%. The final summary is based on 275 survey runs made along 101 brood routes across North Dakota.
“This was the first year in a while that we’ve had good residual cover to start the year, and good weather for nesting and brood-rearing,” Gross said. “In the southwest portion of the state, which is our primary pheasant district and most popular hunting area, local populations are slowly improving."
Gross said hunters should not overlook pheasant opportunities in northwest and southeast North Dakota. “Two good years of chick production should translate to more birds for hunters to pursue,” he said.
Statistics from the northwest indicate pheasants are up 49% from last year, with broods up 75%. Observers recorded five broods and 39 pheasants per 100 miles. Average brood size was six.
Results from the southeast show birds are up 32% from last year, and the number of broods up 27%. Observers counted six broods and 51 birds per 100 miles. The average brood size was six.
Statistics from southwestern North Dakota indicate total pheasants were down 7% and broods observed up 2% from 2018. For every 100 survey miles, observers counted an average of six broods and 41 pheasants. The average brood size was five chicks.
The northeast district, generally containing secondary pheasant habitat with lower pheasant numbers compared to the rest of the state, showed two broods and 15 pheasants per 100 miles. Average brood size was four.
Sharptails observed per 100 miles are up 113% statewide from 2018, and partridge are up 58%.
Upland game management supervisor Jesse Kolar said sharptail numbers are still roughly 50% below 2012-15. “However, we observed slight increases in all metrics this year during our surveys, especially in counties east of the Missouri River where we observed the highest numbers of grouse per 100 miles since 2013,” he said.
Brood survey results show statewide increases in number of grouse and broods observed per 100 miles, and in average brood size. Observers recorded 1.7 sharptail broods and 13.6 sharptails per 100 miles. Average brood size was five.
Although partridge numbers have shown a slight increase, Gross said the majority of the partridge harvest is incidental while hunters pursue grouse or pheasants. Partridge densities in general, he said, are too low to target. Observers recorded 0.5 partridge broods and 6.8 partridge per 100 miles. Average brood size was 10.
The 2019 regular pheasant season opens Oct. 12 and continues through Jan. 5, 2020. The two-day youth pheasant hunting weekend, when legally licensed residents and nonresidents ages 15 and younger can hunt statewide, is set for Oct. 5-6.
The 2019 grouse and partridge seasons open Sept. 14 and continue through Jan. 5, 2020.