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Loup City, Neb. -- While touring Sherman Reservoir Wildlife Management Area on Sept. 27, U.S. Representative Tom Osborne had a first-hand look at the Focus on Pheasants (FOP) initiative, a combined effort of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) and Pheasants Forever (PF) to improve pheasant numbers, pheasant habitat and pheasant hunting in the state.

“The Focus on Pheasants initiative will provide solutions to restore Nebraskas pheasant population on both public and private lands,” Osborne said. “The broad public-private partnerships involved in this initiative reflect the cultural and economic significance of pheasants and pheasant hunting in Nebraska.”

NGPC Director Rex Amack said, “The initiative is intended to demonstrate how habitat improvements can increase grassland wildlife populations, especially pheasants. The Commission is committed to improving pheasant habitat and pheasant numbers on public lands, because they are important to our hunting culture and to small town economics across the state.”

Through the FOP partnership, nearly 350 acres of the Sherman Reservoir were disked and then planted to a specially developed legume mixture to increase pheasant and quail numbers in the area. “Pheasants Forever volunteers, equipped with 12 tractors and discs, worked to improve the habitat on the public land in a single day last spring”, reported Peter Berthelsen, PF director of conservation programs. “It exhibited an extraordinary commitment of time and equipment from dedicated volunteers and it showcases the relationships we have in this unique partnership”. Sherman Reservoir is a Wildlife Management Area open to public hunting.

Habitat management activities on FOP sites are primarily aimed at providing high quality nesting and brood-rearing habitat.

“Many people dont realize that pheasants are relatively short-lived birds,” Berthelson said. “The average pheasant lives less than two years, so reproduction is vital for maintaining populations and the only way to increase our pheasant population. If we really want to increase the pheasant population in Nebraska, we have to focus on providing the best habitat nesting and brood-rearing habitat.”

For more information on the FOP partnership and how to improve grassland habitat for wildlife, contact NGPC biologists at 402-471-0641 or PF at 308-754-5339.




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