As October nears its end each year, thousands of Nebraskans gear up for pheasant hunting season which always opens the last Saturday of the month.
This year that day falls on Oct. 27 and along with the chance to bag some ring-necked roosters the date also serves as opening day for quail and partridge seasons.
“This is always an exciting time of the year and upland hunters should have some great opportunities in many regions of the state this fall,” John Laux, Nebraska Game and Parks’ upland habitat and access program manager, said.
According to information released by NGPC, hunters seeking new places to hunt are encouraged to refer to the 2018-19 Public Access Atlas, which displays nearly a million acres of publicly accessible lands throughout the state. Hunters also have access to more than 317,000 acres of private land enrolled in NGPC’s Open Field and Waters (OFW) Program.
NGPC’s Public Access Atlas and OFW Program locations can be found online at outdoornebraska.gov/publicaccessatlas.
While upland hunting is an annual tradition for many Nebraskans, this year NGPC is offering a new challenge known as the Nebraska Upland Slam.
The challenge invites hunters to try and harvest all four upland bird species in the state, including the ring-necked pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, greater prairie-chicken and northern bobwhite quail.
Hunters who choose to participate in the Nebraska Upland Slam must first buy hunting permits for all four species of birds and then after taking their first bird will create an account on the NGPC’s official entry page and submit a photo and details about where the bird was harvested.
Hunters who complete the slam will receive an official pin, certificate and recognition online and in NEBRASKAland Magazine – while also getting the chance to win one of four prizes offered by Pheasants Forever.
Prizes include a YETI cooler, YETI tumblers, Hank Shaw cookbook and the grand prize which is a Browning Silver 12-gauge semiautomatic shotgun.
The grand prize drawing will take place at the Pheasants Forever State Habitat Meeting on Feb. 9. Winners do not need to be present to claim prizes.
For a full list of official rules and more information about the Nebraska Upland Slam, hunters are encouraged to visit outdoornebraska.org/uplandslam.
Along with the chance for experienced hunters to participate in the Nebraska Upland Slam, Laux says that in general upland game hunting is a great way to bring a new or novice hunter into the field.
“This is an excellent chance to introduce someone to hunting by showing how to hunt safely and responsibly,” he said.
NGPC also reminds hunters to follow basic firearm safety rules when out in the field:
— Treat all firearms as if they are loaded.
— Never point a firearm at anything you do not mean to shoot.
— Keep your finger out of the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.
— Be sure of your target and what lies beyond it.
The hunting seasons for pheasant, quail, partridge and grouse run through Jan. 31.