Southwest Focus on Pheasant
Initiative started in July of 2010. The kick off of the
initiative was during a habitat tour of the Southwest focus
area. The Southwest Focus area is part of the larger state
wide Focus on pheasants Program that started in 2002.
In response to continued declines in statewide pheasant
numbers, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Board
of Commissioners directed staff to assess and develop projects
and activities to address this problem. The activities
and projects identified were designed to serve the specific
goal of delivering tangible benefits to the greatest possible
number of pheasant hunters over the next ten years, while
maximizing educational opportunities for landowners and
other stakeholders regarding the habitat needs of pheasants.
Although these recommendations are designed to meet the
above goal, it is recognized that NGPC actions alone will
not be sufficient to reverse regional or statewide pheasant
Although weather events and fluctuations in the distribution
and abundance of predators have no doubt influenced this
downward trend in pheasant numbers, there is little doubt
that changes in land use practices have had more impact
on pheasant populations than any other set of factors.
During the period of peak pheasant abundance in the 1940s
and 1950s, diverse agricultural operations were the norm,
with each operation often consisting of small fields of
grain and hay crops interspersed with pasture and idle
ground. This production system generated, by happy accident,
nearly perfect conditions for sustaining high pheasant
densities, providing good nesting, brood-rearing, escape,
and winter feeding habitats within close proximity.