Nebraska was once known for its pheasant hunting with more than 140,000 hunters taking home roughly 1.4 million birds in the mid-1960s and before. With pheasant numbers declining and less people hunting, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has a plan to put the state back on the map as a pheasant hunting mecca. 

Last month, commissioners approved a “mega plan” for the state to jump start its efforts at improving and preserving habitat to the tune of $26.4 million over five years. It should all be worth it, though, as upland game hunting is said to represent $47 million to local economies in the state, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

The improvements the commission suggested cover more than 805,000 acres and 122,000 acres of increased hunting access. It also calls for improving the pool of potential hunters, managing hunter expectations, and improving the funding and policy related to pheasant hunting.

In one of the more interesting tweaks to the plan, commissioners asked that roadside mowing be pushed back in an effort to save nests in the spring. It’s these management decisions in the past that likely contributed to the decline in the number of birds in the state. 

These days around 30,000 hunters bag some 130,000 birds each year. 

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