Goodbye 2019-20 Season

BritChaser

New member
What are your thoughts about this season?

Hunted a half day on the 31st in NW. Encountered half dozen pheasants in the distance and three coveys of quail. We found quail everywhere we hunted this season. I estimate we saw at least ten times as many quail as pheasants. A favorite spot, a weedy dry ditch, was wiped out by herbicide in the corn monoculture where we hunt. Not sure if anything will improve the pheasant hunting in the near term. Hope I'm wrong.
 

Thatguy

New member
Alot of hedgerows and waterways are being cleared in my area. They started this fall then got stopped by wet weather. Trackhoes and dozers sitting in fields waiting for frozen ground or drier weather.
 

Zeepo

New member
Where I hunt its been so wet the last 5 years the ditches and waterways are bigger and thicker than ever with huge patches of cattails that are 10 ft tall that you cannot even walk thru. Plus the pastures have also grown up since the owner sold all his cattle 10 years ago and since it never really got cold the pheasants really didn't need to get into the thick crp grass. So I think there are way more birds than you really see. We hunted a 40 acres patch of crp that we couldn't get to because its been so muddy and about 50 pheasants burst out of it in one flush. Quail numbers were really good, not as good as 4 years ago but still way above normal.

Gary
 

MAB7799

New member
Where I hunt its been so wet the last 5 years the ditches and waterways are bigger and thicker than ever with huge patches of cattails that are 10 ft tall that you cannot even walk thru. Plus the pastures have also grown up since the owner sold all his cattle 10 years ago and since it never really got cold the pheasants really didn't need to get into the thick crp grass. So I think there are way more birds than you really see. We hunted a 40 acres patch of crp that we couldn't get to because its been so muddy and about 50 pheasants burst out of it in one flush. Quail numbers were really good, not as good as 4 years ago but still way above normal.

Gary
Best season for me by far pheasant wise. I don't hunt with big groups, normally me and 1 other person (maybe 2). Shot a 2 man limit 3x and one 3 man limit once this season. I agree, lots of quail, I would say an avg of 4 coveys a day. Walked a total of 106 miles this season. Feet are tired that's for sure.
 

V-John

New member
I wonder, with all the moisture we had and the levels of the creeks that had risen how much that impacted bird numbers (quail) and possible displacement of coveys.
 

hunter94

New member
I wonder, with all the moisture we had and the levels of the creeks that had risen how much that impacted bird numbers (quail) and possible displacement of coveys.
i kicked up nice coveys where there wasn't a tree or plum thicket within a mile of the birds....crazy how they have adapted and spread.
pheasants? i guess i was hunting in the wrong counties.....it was horrible where i was at....that and my thoughts are that after 2-3 weeks of the season a lot of birds got pressured off
the public ground...it never used to be that way, but in the last couple seasons it sure seems to be....it's all i can come up with, as many other guys on here have had a good year.
i hunted a lot of places i had never been.....and just did not connect, hens were very scarce too......that was the most disturbing part of all.
will be making big changes next season, that's for sure.

also saving my walk in maps, i want to see how much CRP ground gets plowed and planted.....that is concerning as well.
 

matto

New member
also saving my walk in maps, i want to see how much CRP ground gets plowed and planted.....that is concerning as well.
I have WIHA atlases going back almost 10 years. First thing I do every fall when the new one comes out is compare it to the old one. Looking for good spots lost, new spots in my area to scout, etc. I can point to 6 great spots lost in the last several years. One was converted back to cultivation. I haven't driven by the others to see if they were also plowed up or maybe just snapped up by an outfitter. The outfitter that works my hunting area uses distinctive posted signs...
 

quailhunter101

New member
We only hunt 3 days in Kansas a year, so this is a small perspective. We hunt almost all private and an occasional WIHA usually in early December. We did notice quail were way down from last year. We only found a couple of small coveys until the afternoon of our 2nd day when we found a couple of nice coveys of 15 to 20 and actually shot a few of those. We have a favorite quail ditch that was surrounded by milo this year that we saved for the last day. We moved 1 rooster out of this half section. The ditch I suspect saw heavy flooding during the wet summer as fences were covered in debris. Ten miles west of where we normally hunt, a buddy of mine was finding around 4 coveys a day, nice coveys, but not so many pheasants.

We did see plenty of pheasants. Moved maybe 30-50 birds a day. Golden hour hunting in pastures close to feed was often great. We had as good a year if not better than previous 5 years on pheasants. Worst year on quail since 2012.

It was great to see my young dog lock down a couple roosters. The pheasants sat unusually well this year, and I believe this to be due to the thicker cover.
 

KSBrittman

New member
The state of Ks has on there hunting outlook for this past season how there is lots of CRP land that will come out of the program that has been enrolled in walk in hunting .

Where we hunt private ground out west nine Quarter sections will be coming out of CRP , I think we will see a significant decline in Pheasants numbers in our area of operations .

I think a bright spot / opportunity might be in tall wheat stubble habitat cut with a stripper head and not sprayed to late summer .

My best hunt of the year came from a weedy Wheat felid me and hunting partner harvested 6 Quail and 8 roosters by 11:30 last Monday of the season . Best hunt since the 2009 :
 

KsHusker

New member
The state of Ks has on there hunting outlook for this past season how there is lots of CRP land that will come out of the program that has been enrolled in walk in hunting .

Where we hunt private ground out west nine Quarter sections will be coming out of CRP , I think we will see a significant decline in Pheasants numbers in our area of operations .

I think a bright spot / opportunity might be in tall wheat stubble habitat cut with a stripper head and not sprayed to late summer .

My best hunt of the year came from a weedy Wheat felid me and hunting partner harvested 6 Quail and 8 roosters by 11:30 last Monday of the season . Best hunt since the 2009 :

CRP disappearing is part of the problem for the pheasants no longer being widespread - Counting on wheat stubble soaked in chemical and run over with machinery is not proper brood rearing habitat. Yes they will utilize it late in the season and sometimes raise young there - but properly managed CRP next to the other types of transitional cover will grow more pheasants IMO --- if everyone starts pulling out all their CRP I hope we are faced with another dust bowl era - the government and landowners should have learned their lesson from the farmers passing the torch now - it appears the next generation is having selective memory.


(***I dont really hope for another dust bowl era - some of what is being done just seems so short sighted and uncreative - Some of these guys should study what this guy is doing https://www.bloomberg.com/news/feat...loviev-is-one-of-america-s-largest-landowners )
 
CRP is the backbone of pheasant production, especially new CRP. I understand that there is a new signup going on now, albeit at lower rates. I also understand that commodity prices, mainly corn and soybeans are down significantly. Are the rates and new rules generous enough to get farmers to enroll land or is the program just lip service?
 

lbills

Member
I realize this is the Kansas forum, but I wanted to share my experience from earlier this week with the new CRP program. I live in the rolling plains of northwest Texas, and the following is what transpired.

I made inquiry with our county USDA/FSA office about enrolling 272 acres of cultivated ground into the new CRP program. My county USDA/FSA office informed me that only 108 acres out of the 272 was eligible to even apply for consideration for CRP, due to soil type. They said the 108 acres scored 96 points on their 400 point scoring system, so it was going to be a long shot that it would even be approved/accepted.

If it did get approved/accepted, the annual payment would be $20.85/acre/year on a 10 year contract. We lease the farming on all 272 acres to a guy for over $30.00/acre/year. I told USDA/FSA we wouldn’t be pursuing things any further.

I had high hopes for the new CRP program, as we were wanting to add more quail habitat and get this land out of cultivation to stop the wind and water erosion that’s pretty severe on the place. I was also hoping the new CRP program would be financially beneficial to farmers and landowners while also increasing pheasant and quail habitat in all of the primary upland bird hunting states like Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. However, my experience tells me that while it all looks and sounds good, there’s just not a lot to the program to make it doable for most people.

Maybe my experience isn’t typical, but it is what it is. I’d sure like to hear from anyone else that has made inquiry about the new CRP program and find out what their experience(s) have been.
 
Kind of like I thought. Economics 101 would show that enrolling land in CRP would be money losing. Throw in whatever pittance the state pays for allowing public access and the landowner can afford an oil change on their 15 year old pickup. Until the landowner can show a bottom line we won't be seeing more CRP. Until we see more CRP we won't be seeing more birds.
 

BritChaser

New member
I think a bright spot / opportunity might be in tall wheat stubble habitat cut with a stripper head and not sprayed to late summer .

My best hunt of the year came from a weedy Wheat felid me and hunting partner harvested 6 Quail and 8 roosters by 11:30 last Monday of the season . Best hunt since the 2009 :
Wheat stubble used to be the best hunting and with all the cornfields bare dirt now they are good again.
 

KsHusker

New member
I realize this is the Kansas forum, but I wanted to share my experience from earlier this week with the new CRP program. I live in the rolling plains of northwest Texas, and the following is what transpired.

I made inquiry with our county USDA/FSA office about enrolling 272 acres of cultivated ground into the new CRP program. My county USDA/FSA office informed me that only 108 acres out of the 272 was eligible to even apply for consideration for CRP, due to soil type. They said the 108 acres scored 96 points on their 400 point scoring system, so it was going to be a long shot that it would even be approved/accepted.

If it did get approved/accepted, the annual payment would be $20.85/acre/year on a 10 year contract. We lease the farming on all 272 acres to a guy for over $30.00/acre/year. I told USDA/FSA we wouldnÂ’t be pursuing things any further.

I had high hopes for the new CRP program, as we were wanting to add more quail habitat and get this land out of cultivation to stop the wind and water erosion thatÂ’s pretty severe on the place. I was also hoping the new CRP program would be financially beneficial to farmers and landowners while also increasing pheasant and quail habitat in all of the primary upland bird hunting states like Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. However, my experience tells me that while it all looks and sounds good, thereÂ’s just not a lot to the program to make it doable for most people.

Maybe my experience isnÂ’t typical, but it is what it is. IÂ’d sure like to hear from anyone else that has made inquiry about the new CRP program and find out what their experience(s) have been.

This is basically the same feedback I received from a farmer who has let me hunt since I met him while I was in college back around 01 -- he's been generous to let me hunt since then -- anyways I had mentioned how I read about them expanding the CRP acres in the new farm bill - he had already checked into it and relayed basically the same thing you are saying - a chunk of land he wanted to enroll (that was in the old program previously and since expired) would not be eligible after they reviewed it, and other parts he wanted to enroll would get some ridiculous low dollar amount payment where it wasnt even worth it.


Sounds like on this small sample size the CRP increase is all lip service and was probably slanted towards some large landowner or a corporate landowner who paid off an elected official and lobbyists to write the bill to their liking/benefit.

I've no hope that the CRP acres will increase at all in KS and will likely continue to decrease - the state had written about the amount of acres set to expire and that it WAS Not GOOD -- we should be worried if they are bringing it up and see the writing on the wall.
 
I just went through the same thing. I have 120 acres to enroll. And my father in law has another 220 acres of pasture that he was wanting to put in as well. I was told that the soil was too acidic to enroll in the plan. So we went a different route with the conservation department. They are doing a pasture restoration program where they are converting fescue to warm season grass. Once again we did not qualify per the soil test....So here's the long and the short of it. If the soil is rich enough to produce a good yield without fertilizing the crap out of it, they will enroll it in the program. So basically they want to convert the good, high yield, ground. I don't think its a political thing. I think in the past, the program enrolled marginal ground or set aside ground. I think the target for them now is the good producing crop ground. The money they are offering for it is almost too good to be true and as the saying goes, it was. I think the target region at least around here is going to be the northern one third of Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska. If our soil here didn't qualify I highly doubt that any land in Kansas will qualify. So I have a hard time believing that any crp will be added in Kansas. I am still converting my land over to habitat but its going to cost me a lot more and I wont be getting a yearly stipend either for my efforts. The pasture restoration project was in a recent issue of Missouri Conservationist. They left out some serious details.
 

fsentkilr

New member
Pasture won't qualify for CRP because it doesn't have a farming history which it has to have. The CRP acres will be maxed out. It's not paying as much, but it still pays more than lower quality ground will cash rent for. Plus you don't have to deal with tenants and the government's checks won't bounce. I just bought a quarter of farm ground in Ness County. The CRP rate is about the same as cash renting it. I am going to cash rent it because a good friend of mine farms the quarter next to it. We are however going to put a pollinator plot it, and I am going to plant cedars and plums in a waterway that runs across it.
 

KsHusker

New member
I just went through the same thing. I have 120 acres to enroll. And my father in law has another 220 acres of pasture that he was wanting to put in as well. I was told that the soil was too acidic to enroll in the plan. So we went a different route with the conservation department. They are doing a pasture restoration program where they are converting fescue to warm season grass. Once again we did not qualify per the soil test....So here's the long and the short of it. If the soil is rich enough to produce a good yield without fertilizing the crap out of it, they will enroll it in the program. So basically they want to convert the good, high yield, ground. I don't think its a political thing. I think in the past, the program enrolled marginal ground or set aside ground. I think the target for them now is the good producing crop ground. The money they are offering for it is almost too good to be true and as the saying goes, it was. I think the target region at least around here is going to be the northern one third of Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska. If our soil here didn't qualify I highly doubt that any land in Kansas will qualify. So I have a hard time believing that any crp will be added in Kansas. I am still converting my land over to habitat but its going to cost me a lot more and I wont be getting a yearly stipend either for my efforts. The pasture restoration project was in a recent issue of Missouri Conservationist. They left out some serious details.

I'm pretty positive like all things govt if you follow the money whomever wrote this into the farmbill likely wrote it a specific way to benefit a corporation or a select few. That or it was unintentional which I highly doubt. Putting high quality land back into CRP defeats the purpose of the program to begin with IMO. It will take another environmental disaster that blows dirt over Washington DC like black Sunday did to get anyone's attention - that or another widespread drought or water crisis like the one experienced 2011-2012 across much of the breadbasket though I think most of the Nation or farmers in KS for that matter learned many lessons from that time. It took one of the largest wildfires in modern history to educate extreme South Central KS the benefit of not letting invasive western red cedars to grow on properties like weeds - Manhattan KS will someday burn to the ground or parts of it will for their sins and allowing the scourge to grow near the town with no interference.

I explored some more new areas (to me) this year than in the past - I like the desert like areas the most and hate where it can get "muddy" - anyways these new to me areas are part of the Ogallala aquifer - I saw many many abandoned circles. Large swaths of land from Texas to Mexico to Nebraska will need to go back to pasture again once they suck all the water out of the aquifer - it appears based on what I've seen since living in SW KS more wells are being abandoned (**I saw numerous reports by major media and online about wells running dry and it not being economically viable to keep them going due to the depth of the water) - my favorite place to hunt the ground water level in a river is about 40 ft down if that tells you anything - looking at historical photos the water source likely ran a quarter mile wide or more at times. Old platt maps I believe had a mile wide easement or was so told.

Not enrolling CRP corners at the edge of irrigation is one of the biggest crimes if the govt is turning those down.


Mike *Fsentkilr -- Maybe Ness county is different or the cash prices are different there - the farmer I have a relationship with in Edwards county quoted me the prices and the CRP rates he could get for some of his parcels weren't close to cash rent nor anywhere close to making it economically viable to enroll - as well as he had land they completely rejected that was enrolled under the old program that paid more. ***His summary to me - he operates at a scale large enough I'm 110% confident he understands the program and very well what he relayed to me.
 

fsentkilr

New member
Click on the link then go to Kansas then the county. It shows the old rates and new. Edwards county is a dollar lower and Ness is 7 higher. Continuous pays more than general signup. Also you bid General in so nobody will know if they are in or not until the bids are accepted. You can get more points by lowering your rate, or doing enhancements like food plots, interseeding wildflowers. planting trees ect. https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-a...conservation-reserve-program-statistics/index
 
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