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Late Season Pheasant Hunting Report: Kansas

Areas of quality upland cover have been few and far between in Kansas this year. Photo by Rehan Nana / Pheasants Forever

Areas of quality upland cover have been few and far between in Kansas this year. Photo by Rehan Nana / Pheasants Forever

This upland hunting season has been trying in many traditional pheasant strongholds, not the least of which is Kansas. “Upland bird hunting has been disappointing in most areas of the state as a result of below average populations due to prolonged drought and extreme summer heat,” according to a statement issued by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT).

“Expectations were quite low in west central Kansas this season due to a second year of extensive drought and excessive heat; those low expectations were warranted, as pheasant, quail and lesser prairie-chicken numbers were down substantially,” reported Mark Witecha, a Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist who serves seven counties around Ness City, “Furthermore, much of the habitat was hayed, grazed or stunted by the unfavorable climatic conditions, and is in less than ideal condition. Many local hunters have long since given up for the year, and out-of-state hunters simply never came.”

In early January, some regions in Kansas received up to 8” of snow, a blessing for hunters that timed it right. “We finally had birds flushing at our feet rather than 200 yards out in front,” Witecha said.

While the snow cover has since melted, two weeks remain in the season for hunters willing to give it one final try. “There are some bright spots, and for the hunter willing to travel and work, birds are there,” the KDWPT report continued, “The late season can be especially good because fewer hunters are afield and birds will be more concentrated in heavier cover.”

Have you been pheasant and/or quail hunting in Kansas this year? If so, post your own report in the comments section below.

Anthony’s Antics Afield is written by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

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3 Responses to “Late Season Pheasant Hunting Report: Kansas”

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  1. Tony Lee Arneson says:

    I was fortunate to hunt solo with my GSP a couple days in Kiowa and Pratt counties when visiting realtives over Thanksgiving. Tough conditions. It got in the 70′s each day which made it pretty hard on my GSP. We are from Wisconsin and did not expect such warm weather. We did find some birds. Hunted Dawn to Dusk the first day and were able to bag one Rooster and two Quail. Missed one shootable rooster. Nothing else in range but was encouraged by the hens I saw. Thoroughly enjoyed it though. Day two was a half day of hunting. Just too hot, close to 80. Bagged one Rooster. No other shots but saw more hens up close and roosters out of range. No quail. Other years I would have a chance to limit out in this area. Did not afford me that this year. Felt fortunate to see and bag what I did as many reports were far worse than my success. Whenever I can walk afield outside of Wisconsin chasing longtails I feel very blessed. This was no exception. See ya in da field.

  2. ACE ZOLA says:

    Since the numbers are down and they have been stressed from drought and heat wouldn’t it be a good idea to let them be for the remainder of the season with the hope that next year will be better?

  3. Greg Hansen says:

    I got in the field with my GSP about 15 days between Nov. 10 & Jan. 4. This included 2 days after the 7″ snow storm in north central KS on New Years eve. My hunting area is primarily Mitchell County, north central KS, in area of Barnard, Hunter, Beloit, Glen Elder, Cawker City, Lake Waconda. Populations on privately owned land, including my own, were the worst I’ve seen in at least 10 years. Small pockets of birds could be located on the public hunting lands around Lake Waconda, but by the time I got to them they were ‘well trained’ and exceedingly difficult to get close to. The exceptionally early harvest likely did great damage as well since many if not most pheasants in the area, choose to nest in winter wheat. In a normal year, the chicks are hatched and can fly away short distances from the harvesting machines by end of June. This year, however, they were cutting wheat by Memorial Day, so many nests/hatchlings undoubtedly were lost in this manner.

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