For most upland game bird hunters, taking to the field provides a lot more than just the act of shooting at birds. It’s a great opportunity for exercise, stress relief, camaraderie and simply enjoying this time of year. Nebraska Game and Parks encourages all those going afield to remember the basic safety rules of hunting, such as always keeping your gun pointed in a safe direction, treating every firearm as if it’s loaded, keeping your finger off of the trigger until you’re ready to shoot and knowing your target and what is beyond it. Hunters should also be aware of safety more specific to the type of hunting they’ll be doing and the specific regulations.
Be sure to read through your 2016 Nebraska Game and Parks Hunting Guide before heading out. Know the limits for the species you’re hunting. Familiarize yourself with species specific regulations such as the requirement that quail must be shot in while in-flight and only rooster pheasants may be harvested. As game birds may be hunted from 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset, you could potentially be in the field all day, so you’ll want to take breaks, drink some water and eat. A tired and hungry hunter is more likely to make a mistake when it comes to safety. And your dog will need rest and water too.
There’s a lot of good game bird hunting on private lands in Nebraska, so be sure to always contact landowners before hunting on private property. Even if you had permission last year, ask again. All landowners appreciate you being considerate of them and the possibility that circumstances may have changed. Remember to thank the landowner afterward for their hospitality. Courtesy and respect for private landowners and others goes a long way in promoting a positive image for hunting.
Since upland game bird hunting is frequently a group activity, know where your hunting partners are at all times and only shoot within your own zone of fire. Always positively ID your target; never shoot at a sound, shadow or movement. And although not a requirement, all game bird hunters are strongly encouraged to wear hunter orange as a precaution in the field. Hunter orange makes hunters more visible to others and is proven to save lives. Now get out there and enjoy some of this great fall hunting weather!
Wendy Horine, Nebraska Hunter Education Coordinator
Nebraska Game and Parks