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Nebraska Recap – The Best “Mixed” Success a Hunter Could Ask For

Photo by Anthony Hauck / Pheasants Forever

Pheasants Forever’s Rehan Nana and his red setter, “Annie,” with a mixed bag found on Nebraska Open Fields and Waters properties. Photo by Anthony Hauck / Pheasants Forever

“What is your ideal mixed bag hunt?” For me, it’s an easy answer: pheasant and quail in the same field. Nebraska is known for being a mixed bag state, so I’ve been anxiously waiting to get to day three of the Rooster Road Trip, where Nebraska Coordinating Wildlife Biologist Jake Holt tipped us off there had been a good quail hatch.

Unlike many hunting “tips,” Jake was dead on, and the “Cornhusker State” didn’t let us down. In fact, after nearly five days on the road, it brought us up. How did we do?

This was the best day of hunting for the Rooster Road Trip – ever.

Seventeen birds ended up in the bag today. Wild, publicly-accessed pheasants AND wild, publicly-accessed quail.

Our first field was a 30-acre parcel with the perfect amount of diverse cover, which produced a diverse mix of birds. Two munsterlanders, my red setter, and Andrew’s Lab, “Beau,” all hit the ground running. Within the first 100 yards a ringneck busted out of range, but luckily, it wasn’t the only bird. Hens were darting left and right past us.

I let Annie range down the line of hunters and she cast over to Andrew. Even though Andrew owns a Lab, he must have some pointer-owner in him somewhere, because he confidently let Annie work and then called over “Point!” No sooner than he said that, two bobs zipped past our line and our shot. Thankfully, those were only the scouts. Immediately after, a healthy 15-bird covey made the grass shake, and we scratched two down.

“Where we have grass, we have birds,” Holt said.

Pushing the field out, pheasants started flushing like grasshoppers in August. A rooster crossed right-left (my favorite shot), and thanks to well-placed Federal Prairie Storm 4’s, it ended up in the pack. Within 80 yards, we put up another covey of birds, and I dropped a cock bird. So, thirty minutes into hunting Nebraska, I had my first Cornhusker ringneck and bobwhite, a sequence I’ll play over and over again in the off-season. Thanks, Nebraska!

Shooting a Browning Citori 725, I had the opportunity to pick and choose my shells/barrel. Knowing I was officially in mixed bag country, I dropped a 7 steel in the top tube and 4 steel in the bottom. Shortly before the end of the field, I managed to bag my second rooster of the day on another right-left crossing shot (Rooster Road Trip Roadies, do you agree with this shell combo? What would you have used in this situation?).

I wish I could tell you names and other shots taken, but truthfully, there was too much shooting and too many birds to keep it straight! What I can tell you is every field we hunted produced in a big way, and these are areas open to you too. The Open Fields and Waters Program is a joint project of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Pheasants Forever.

The only thing that topped the hunting today was the company. We were joined today by Nebraska Game and Parks Commissioners Mick Jensen and Lynn Berggren. On the ride over, Commissioner Berggren and I discussed his youth growing up hunting pheasants in Nebraska and how he passed his outdoor tradition on to his children. He mentioned how important pheasant hunting has been and still is to the communities in Nebraska, both culturally and economically, and the positive things that are being done, especially with getting youth involved, to carry on the traditions.

From the dog work, to the pheasant/quail combo to the camaraderie, today will probably be one of the best days afield this season. It’s always a pleasure to share the field with people who share conservation and outdoor ethics, and today was no exception. With the last field pushed and photos wrapped up, the Nebraska commissioners and biologists heartily invited us back for a late season hunt, and after the day we had, there is no doubt we’ll be back.

Annie’s Tracks according to the Garmin Alpha: 9.61 miles

My Tracks: 6.30

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7 Responses to “Nebraska Recap – The Best “Mixed” Success a Hunter Could Ask For”

  1. GSP owner says:

    What part of Nebraska?

  2. Duane Bush says:

    Sounds like a great hunt! Like SoDak ringneck/sharpies. I am surprised you were able to knock down roosters with #7 steel… I have used #3 steel when steel is required and feel like it does an OK job… I have started using Federal Tungsten #4 on ducks and it is far superior. Will try it on pheasants this year where lead is banned. How far out were the pheasants you knocked down with the #7 steel?
    Does Nebraska have a map book available like South Dakota?

  3. Ana Gabica says:

    Large or Small Munsterlanders? I’m thinking of getting one, how did they work? Close/Far? Good points and retrieves? By chance do you know what breeder/ line they came from?

    I live in Idaho and just started hunting over a couple of friends labs. They do Ok; but I think I like the Idea of hunting over a close ranging pointer, that will occasionally hunt ducks.

  4. Christy says:

    Nebraska Game and Parks has a Public Access Atlas (hard copy) available by request, or you can use our online version http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/hunting/programs/CRP/maps/atlas.pdf, interactive map http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/hunting/programs/CRP/atlas.asp
    or our mobile apphttp://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/mobile_apps/index.asp

  5. matthew says:

    Thanks for the report. Like Ana, I (and perhaps other readers) would like to hear more about the dog work- particularly the small munsterlanders. The Road Trip is a great project that you folks have put together. Thank you again.

  6. English Setter says:

    I too was interested in general location. We were out in McCook area and didn’t do well. Farmers we’ve known for twenty years were less than optimistic for both pheasant and quail.


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