Grouse Viewing Blinds - Bessey

Area Status: Closed
Two sharptailed grouse face off in a mating display.

One or two viewing blinds are set up each spring at the Bessey Ranger District 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

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


Here is a printable vicinity map (.pdf).



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

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities