As experiences go, hunting prairie grouse is about as addictive as it gets. Nebraska is home to huntable populations of both sharp-tailed grouse and greater prairie chickens, making it a hunting mecca for the truly addicted. Sharp-tailed grouse range throughout much of the Sandhills, and in the Panhandle. Greater prairie chickens (below) range through parts of north central and southwest Nebraska, with populations concentrated in Sandhills prairies, and a smaller population ranges in southeast Nebraska in the counties along the Kansas border where remnant native prairie remains.
Both birds are native to Nebraska, and live in the wide-open prairies that once covered nearly all of Nebraska. The prairie grouse season runs from mid-September through the end of the year, and hunters can often combine a grouse hunt with a hunt for other wildlife in the later part of the season. In April, wildlife watchers can see prairie chickens ‘booming’ at Burchard Lake wildlife management area in southeast Nebraska, a mating ritual that is at least as addictive as the fall hunt.