Standing crops restrict hunter success on pheasant opener

LINCOLN, Neb. – Hunters from across the nation returned to rural Nebraska on Oct. 28-29 to partake in a coveted outside custom – the upland chook searching season opener.

General, hunter success on the opening weekend was barely decrease than 2016, however hunter success for pheasants was highest within the southwest and northwest areas. Good quail numbers had been reported all through the southern half of Nebraska however only a few hunters had been focusing on bobwhites.

On opening day, most areas skilled cooler morning temperatures within the teenagers and low-20s, which offered good searching circumstances for these afield. Looking exercise declined Saturday afternoon as hotter circumstances prevailed. Temperatures reached the 70s on Sunday.

Nebraska Recreation and Parks Fee workers and conservation officers made contact with 1,445 hunters. These hunters harvested 523 pheasants and 143 quail. An extra 615 hunters had been encountered on pheasant-release websites occurring on 14 wildlife administration areas (WMAs). These hunters bagged 298 pheasants. Greater than 80 p.c of roosters harvested on launch websites had been launched birds.

John Laux, Recreation and Parks’ upland habitat and entry program supervisor, stated it’s too early to attract conclusions on what the marginally decrease hunter success means. “Decrease success may recommend we had restricted manufacturing this yr, however we actually gained’t know till the remainder of the crops are out,” he stated.

Studies point out the 2017 delayed crop harvest left an abundance of canopy on the panorama, which proved difficult for upland hunters on opening weekend. Based on the U.S. Division of Agriculture, Nebraska’s corn harvest as of Oct. 29 was 45 p.c full, effectively behind the five-year common of 67 p.c. Based on producers, harvest is delayed because of precipitation in late September and early October. In some components of the state, excessive winds have brought about stalk breakage and ear loss, which contributes to a slower harvest.

Based on Laux, unharvested crops present wonderful escape cowl for pheasants and improve their skill to elude hunters. “It permits the birds to unfold out on the panorama and is sort of unattainable to hunt,” he stated. “This clearly had an influence hunter success this previous weekend.”

Pheasant searching alternatives and hunter success are anticipated to enhance considerably as soon as harvest is full.

The next is a report of opening-weekend searching exercise by area:

Southwest – Cool temperatures and light-weight winds offered favorable circumstances on opening day however searching exercise declined on Sunday as temperatures reached the higher 70s. Discipline experiences indicated that corn harvest was 5-40 p.c full. Many soybean and sorghum fields additionally had been unharvested, which possible diminished hunter success. Contact was made with 795 hunters, with 305 pheasants, 95 quail and 6 prairie-chickens harvested. Conservation officers contacted an extra 200 hunters on pheasant-release websites at Pressey, Sherman Reservoir, and Cornhusker WMAs, the place 93 pheasants had been bagged. Hunter success on pheasants was extremely variable however was highest within the southwesternmost counties. Hunters reported seeing good numbers of quail however only a few hunters had been particularly focusing on bobwhites.

Southeast – Exterior of the pheasant-release websites, searching strain and success had been comparatively low throughout a lot of the area. Most searching exercise occurred on WMAs and personal lands enrolled within the Open Fields and Waters (OFW) Program. Hunters reported good numbers of quail all through the area however comparatively few had been bagged. Contact was made with 325 hunters who harvested 87 pheasants and 40 quail. Conservation officers contacted an extra 257 hunters on eight pheasant-release websites, who harvested 155 pheasants.

Northeast – Looking strain and success had been comparatively low throughout many of the area. Cool morning temperatures offered good searching circumstances however hunter exercise declined drastically after 10 a.m. each days. Discipline experiences point out that soybean harvest is close to completion however an estimated 50-80 p.c of corn was nonetheless standing, posing challenges to these afield. Contact was made with 125 hunters who harvested 39 pheasants, eight quail and two prairie-chickens. Conservation officers contacted an extra 158 hunters on pheasant-release websites (Oak Valley, George Syas, and Wilkinson WMAs) who harvested 50 pheasants. Exterior of the discharge websites, searching exercise on different public lands was low to average.

Northwest – Most hunters reported seeing good numbers of pheasants and sharp-tailed grouse however little or no progress had been made on corn harvest within the Panhandle. Some unharvested sorghum and sunflower fields additionally remained standing. All through the area, conservation officers contacted 200 hunters, who harvested 92 pheasants. General, searching strain within the Panhandle was comparatively low and most hunters had been noticed searching public lands, together with WMAs and OFW properties.

Pheasant, quail and prairie grouse seasons proceed by means of Jan. 31. Permits could be bought at OutdoorNebraska.org.

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