Upland bird hunting includes ring-necked pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse and prairie-chickens. A wide variety of cover types are available including croplands, food plots, CRP and other grasslands, shelterbelts and woody draws. Most upland bird hunting is done on our 50,000 acres of Walk-in lands. The Grassrope Unit is also available for an additional daily fee.
The pheasant daily limit for 2017 will be 3 roosters; on the Grassrope Unit the daily limit remains at 4 roosters. Prairie grouse (includes prairie-chickens and sharp-tailed grouse) limit is 3 per day combined.
License options for nonmembers include daily ($110) or season ($500) for the 2017 season which begins on October 7, 2017 and ends on December 31, 2017. The Grassrope Unit Daily Permit is an additional $50 per day on a first-come-first-served basis (limited to no more than 20 hunters per day) with a season from October 7, 2017 - January 14, 2018.
Fall 2016 Hunting Forecast (the 2017 forecast will be posted in late August):
After a large increase in pheasant numbers in 2014, pheasant numbers have declined for the second year in a row. For 2016, total pheasants per mile (3.4) were 24% lower than 2015 and 36% lower than the last ten years’ average. Brood size (8.2 chicks/brood) was higher than last year and higher than the ten-year average.
Prairie grouse numbers on the spring leks were nearly identical to last year and remain near the ten-year average. Observations indicate good prairie grouse brood survival this year.
Weather conditions this year included an average winter and very wet in late April and May. June and July were very dry and above normal temperatures while August and September have had some rains and cooler temperatures. Fewer pheasants than average went into the winter and nesting cover conditions were below average. Above average summer precipitation allowed good crop and grass growth as well as insect production. Food plots are in poor to good condition; drought and grasshopper infestations caused some crop damage. Grass areas are about average and should provide good hunting conditions.
Overall, upland bird hunting should be poorer than last year and poorer than our ten-year average; hunters with good bird dogs and willingness to cover some ground will still be able to get in some good hunting this year.
Follow this link to purchase license online (the Grassrope Unit Daily Permit must be purchased directly from the Wildlife Office).