Nebraska Pheasant Hunting Forecast 2017


Pheasants Forever explores the respectable prospects, and top hotspots, for big Cornhusker roosters this fall.

By Tom Carpenter

“In the north-central and northwest areas of Nebraska, abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions prevailed through most of the summer,” reports Jeff Lusk, Upland Game Program Manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “Temperatures were variable, but overall moderate.”
“Then, August was cooler than usual,” Lusk adds, “which may have reduced heat stress on young birds. There were some regional, late-spring snow storms that likely impacted pheasant production earlier on, occurring when hens were beginning to nest.” 
“We conducted a Rural Mail Carrier survey in early July,” says Lusk. “Results can be found along with our full forecast pheasant forecast here.” The details point to select areas of good pheasant hunting in Nebraska this fall. Here’s a map and table of results, followed by some commentary and insights.
“Statewide, pheasant abundance appears similar to last year,” says Lusk. “However,
some regional declines were observed. Overall abundance in the Southwest remains high compared to some regions of the state, and the best opportunities should be found in the Panhandle and Southwest regions this year.”
“Mild winter and early spring weather typically support good production for pheasants where suitable habitat is available,” says Lusk. “In the Northeast, nesting conditions were good due to early spring rains, and staff observations of pheasant broods indicate a good hatch in some areas.”
“In the Southeast, weather conditions have led to quality habitat where available, but observations of pheasants are similar to slightly lower than last year,” says Lusk.
“Early moisture resulted in abundant, high quality habitat in the Northwest, but abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions set in over the summer,” he adds. “Staff observations and survey results in the Northwest indicate good pheasant numbers in the Panhandle.”
“A spring snow storm struck portions of southwestern and south-central Nebraska while hens
were nesting, likely resulting in abandonment of some initiated nests,” Lusk points out. “Re-nesting attempts are always likely, but typically have fewer eggs, potentially resulting in lower overall production in storm-effected areas.”

Nebraska Hunting Tip

*Lusk offers the following insight for this unique hunt year in Nebraska: ““Walk areas of the field you and/or your dog normally wouldn’t walk because of vegetation height. If there are pheasants in that field, that’s usually where the smart ones that survived opening day will be.” 


Nebraska Upland Forecast
Nebraska Public Access Tool


Tom Carpenter is Digital Content Manager for Pheasants Forever.