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Nebraska Pheasant Opener Hampered by Tough Weather

November 4, 2009.

From Nebraska Game and Parks Commission:

Plenty of good pheasant hunting was available throughout the state as the season opened over the weekend, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, despite some difficult conditions.

A wet October resulted in large areas of unharvested crops and miles of impassable unimproved roads, challenging many hunters to get to and find birds. Expect hunting to improve dramatically with drier weather and more crops out of the field.

No hunting accidents were reported.

Nebraska's pheasant season continues through Jan. 31, 2010. Only rooster pheasants may be taken. The daily bag limit is three and the possession limit is 12. Permits may be purchased at OutdoorNebraska.org.

The following is a regional report of the opening weekend of the pheasant season:

Northwest

The area experienced one of the slowest pheasant openers in many years. Heavy snow two days before the opener resulted in many roads either drifted shut or muddy from melting snow.

Most conservation officers checked fewer than 20 hunters for the entire weekend, with few hunters having any birds. More than 75 percent of checked hunters were nonresidents who represented at least a dozen states.

The heaviest hunting pressure was on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land.

Northeast

About 90 percent of the corn remained in the field, as well as a fair percentage of soybeans. Hunters were represented by a good number of nonresidents.

CRP land was used extensively, with spotty success. Some hunters used Open Fields and Waters Program land.

Success appeared to be down, but hunter numbers up from last year in Washington and Burt counties.

Hunting pressure was light and success poor on Sunday.

Southwest

There was heavy snow in prime pheasant areas the day before the opener. Other areas received rain.

Overall, there were a good number of hunters, with about 85 percent of checked hunters being nonresidents. Most hunting took place on CRP land.

The number of pheasants harvested was not as good as last year, but many hunters were pleased with the number of birds they saw. Many birds were flushing wild and in cornfields.

Southeast

Pheasant numbers and success rate similar to recent years.

Open Fields and Waters Program and CRP lands were heavily used Saturday. There was heavy hunting pressure and good success on the northern Salt Valley complexes.

Quail numbers appear to be up.

Good numbers of pheasants and good success reported in Seward and western Butler counties.

Hunting pressure was down considerably on Sunday.

South-central

Hunting pressure was lower than normal for the opener. Conservation officers checked an average of 60 hunters each over the two-day weekend.

Most of the checked hunters were on public areas, such as the Rainwater Basin and CRP land. There were few nonresident hunters.

By 11 a.m. Saturday, 198 hunters were checked with 67 pheasants, six quail and one grouse.

Over the weekend, hunters averaged better than half a bird each. Hunters with the most birds were in the Rainwater Basin.


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