Grouse Viewing Blinds - Halsey

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Two sharptailed grouse face off in a mating display.

Two viewing blinds at the Bessey Ranger District are set up each spring to watch the mating dances of prairie grouse. The blinds have small square viewing windows for observing and photographing birds as they are dancing and booming on their display grounds, also known as leks. 

View an amateur video taken from a blind - turn up the sound!

Both viewing blinds are first come, first served. Visitors should plan to enter the blind at least 45 minutes before sunrise to avoid disrupting the lek. Please be courteous to fellow viewers, if present.

Viewing tips:

  • Dress warmly and bring a blanket. 
  • Bring binoculars, a spotting scope or a camera with telephoto lens. A flashlight will help navigate the dark.
Sharp-tailed Grouse A man and a yellow lab standing in front of a grouse blind. Two sharptailed grouse face off in a mating display. A sharptailed grouse at dawn

At a Glance

Reservations: First-come, first-served.
Fees No fee
Open Season: Late March - Early May
Usage: Medium
Best Season: April
Restrictions: Park in designated areas and hike about 1/2 mile to the blinds. Arrive at the blinds 45 minutes before sunrise to not disturb the birds.
Closest Towns: Halsey - 1 mile; Thedford - 17 miles
Water: No
Restroom: No
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Bessey Ranger District 
40637 River Loop Rd / PO Box 39
Halsey, NE 69142
(308) 533-2257

General Information


View a printable vicinity map (.pdf).

Sharptail Blinds:

From Thedford, NE take Highway 2 East 2.5 miles to Forest Road 259 (Gaston Road). South on Forest Road 259, 6.4 miles to Forest Road 213. West on Forest Road 213 go 0.7 miles to the blind.

From the Bessey Recreation Area take Highway 86b to Forest Road 212N. Go west on Forest Road 212N to Forest Road 203. West on Forest Road 203 to Forest Road 259 (Gaston Road). West/North on Forest Road 259 1.1 miles to Forest Road 213. West on Forest Road 213 go 0.7 miles to the blind.

Prairie Chicken Blind:

This lek is located ~150 yards east of windmill 18.

From Thedford entrance go south ~4.5 miles and travel east on road 211. Park at windmill 18 and walk east along the 2 track ~150 yards to the lek. Personal portable blind required.


Nature Viewing

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Viewing Wildlife

A man and a yellow lab standing in front of a grouse blind.Viewing blinds are set up from late March through early May to observe the mating displays of prairie grouse.


Fees: None
Reservation info: None required.
Usage: Blinds can seat up to four people.
Best Season: mid-April
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