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Nebraska One Box Pheasant Hunt preserves game populations

I am a farmer who loves to hunt, but with more and more natural habitat being tilled for cropland, something needed to be done to preserve the declining bird population. I grew up hunting with my dad and wanted to continue that tradition with my family and future generations.

In 1998, we started developing several pheasant habitat areas near a large farm pond. With the guidance of our Natural Resource District, 6,600 red cedar trees were planted. Water drip lines were added to help establish the trees. We planted switch grass and broad-leafed weeds. Next, four 100-foot strips of plum brush and a variety of other bushes were added. These nesting areas are never allowed to be grazed by cattle. Each year separate food plots are planted with a seed mixture donated by Pheasants Forever.

A pheasant can live year-round in a good habitat. Undisturbed areas of broad-leaf plants and grasses provide nesting and protection from predators. Adult pheasants eat the seed and grain provided by the food plots. Alfalfa, sweet clover and broad-leaf weeds support the high protein insects needed by the chicks.

Pheasant and quail numbers have slowly increased every year. These undertakings have not only benefited me and my family, but have also helped build stronger business relationships and improved the community economy. I have been a guide for the Nebraska One Box Pheasant Hunt for the past 34 years. Bruce Bartak of Anselmo, Nebraska, also guides with me, and without the help of his habitat practices and outstanding hunting ground, we wouldn’t have had the success we do.

The One Box Pheasant Hunt has had a large impact on our local economy, bringing hunters from all over the world to Broken Bow. These hunters help provide over $13,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors each year.

The hunt also provided the revenue to build and operate a multi-functional shooting facility, the Nebraska One Box Gun Club, and a youth shooting program that has won several national championships. In addition, the construction of the One Box Convention Center was completed in 2013. Without these tremendous efforts by our local farmers and ranchers to build and maintain habitat, these accomplishments would not be possible.

I feel not enough is being done to restore the excellent hunting I grew up knowing. We are only a few, but would like to see more farmers and ranchers make habitat a priority. We are proof that increasing Nebraska’s pheasant population is possible and beneficial to the economy.

About the Author

Russ Arnold
Russ is a farmer in Broken Bow, where he has been farming his entire life. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Nebraska One Box Pheasant Hunt, an annual hunt that brings in teams from across the country every November.

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