Nebraska Game and Parks Commission


Date of this Version



Reprinted from Transactions of the Twenty·Fifth North American Wildlife Conference, March 7, 8, and 9, 1960. Published by the Wildlife Management Institute, Wire Building, Washington 5, D. C.


The ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) constitutes the most important species of upland game bird in Nebraska. According to Mohler (1960), Nebraska's population is the result of a relatively small introduction; probably not more than 500 pairs were brought into the state between the years 1915 and 1925-the period of initial establishment. Through natural increase and dispersal, aided by a program of trapping and transplanting, a population estimated to be more than one million was reached by 1930 (Swenk, 1930). The statewide population continued an upward trend until the early '40 's and then began to decline. Coincident with these changes, there occurred apparent shifts of centers of population from one part of the state to another. It is presumed that these "shifts" consisted of differential changes in the population levels in various regions of the state.

Nebraska,similar to many other states, inaugurated programs inc tended to increase or stabilize populations. While these efforts did not accomplish the desired results, they attested to the need for factual information upon which management programs might be founded. To be effective, any program of management must be directed at the limiting factor which prevails in the locality.

The primary prerequisite to such a program is a thorough knowledge of the life history of the species to be managed and its ecology in that particular environment. In 1954, an intensive research project was begun for the purpose of gathering such information. This study, entitled "The Life History and Ecology of the Ring-necked Pheasant" (Pittman-Robertson Project W-28-R) , is now in its sixth year and is designated to continue until 1964. In this study, we are attempting to examine each segment of the life history and to relate it to environmental influences. One segment being given particular attention is reproduction, for extensive data have suggested that this has been closely related to population fluctuations. It is the purpose of this paper to describe work accomplished to date relative to nesting and to relate this to changes in the population.