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 OutdoorNebraska.gov/PublicAccessAtlas.
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 OutdoorNebraska.gov/Upland.