Thinking of hanging it up

RedLab

New member
Been upland hunting since I was 14, 50 now. This years results.....27 days, saw a total of 2 roosters and 1 hen. Yes I have good dog, and have never been afraid of wearing out the boot leather. But,.....this is an absolute joke. I went today, and no birds. Looking at my journal, 2012 was 47 roosters and 62 quail killed...this year 0. I have been all.over the state with the same results. I do.love the game, but I think this may be the end of the road.for me. I like the tradition, camaraderie, etc....but....this just might be at my limit of optimism. Any of you ever have a stretch of just utter frustration?
 

Matt D

Member
Hate to hear that but can understand why you would have those thoughts. I would say wait and see what next year brings. good weather during the hatch could improve things greatly. also maybe its time to look at heading to another state for a trip or two and see if that changes your perspective?
 

s.davis

Member
Tough season all across the pheasant and bobwhite range, and the reality is it’s not going to get much better in the near term, and in the long term it’s about the least of our worries.

There’s no reason for optimism. Wild bird hunting is not going to be around much longer in the Great Plains. It’s already effectively gone in the south and the rest of the Midwest. Get it while you can here, pay to play the South Dakota or Texas games while they last in any real way, or go hunt some sparse western birds. Or quit. No amount of despair will fix it.
 

Miforester

New member
Not sure what you have been hunting as far as land but if public lands ie whia's I would agree with Matt's post of go see what other states have to offer. I have hunted KS, IA, NE and SD. In my opinion the lands leases but open to public hunting in KS have the worse habitat when compared to the other states. I understand the frustration in KS when it comes to bird contacts on whia's. If the habitat is not suitable these lands will not hold birds, nothing you don't already know. I think it might be more of a function of what parameters the state requires to get enrolled in the program. I will qualify this by saying I hunted the NC portion of KS so that is where I'm drawing my opinion from. Just my 2 cents.
 

akp

Member
This year hasn’t been very good. In 2012 I was convinced I was done after three years of horrible drought. 2013-17 were the best years I’ve ever spent in the field. My hope was lost in 12. Didn’t kill a single bird in 2011 or 2012 down here in Oklahoma. Hang in there. My best hunts have been on public land.
 
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Tough season all across the pheasant and bobwhite range, and the reality is it’s not going to get much better in the near term, and in the long term it’s about the least of our worries.

There’s no reason for optimism. Wild bird hunting is not going to be around much longer in the Great Plains. It’s already effectively gone in the south and the rest of the Midwest. Get it while you can here, pay to play the South Dakota or Texas games while they last in any real way, or go hunt some sparse western birds. Or quit. No amount of despair will fix it.
Unfortunately I have mostly got to agree with you, although I am not quite that pessimistic. Mostly retired last year and now have the time to hunt multiple states, mostly all public land. Hunted Kansas for the first time this year and will have to say compared to the rest of the states it was as good as the rest. Yes if you are willing to pay SD still has some good hunting and some also in ND. Wiha's are as good or better than Wia's in SD or plots in ND. We were spoiled right after crp went in. The days of easy limits on public lands are mostly gone or I should say rare. Yes after a month of hunting this year I had some days of limits, also more 1 bird days and some blanks. Will I go next year, hell yes, probably even for longer. 20 years ago it was embarsing not to shoot a limit, now I can hunt all day and not have to worry about cleaning a pile of birds. As they say it is still better than work.
 

nickmqt

New member
Wow glass half empty or half full, Since when is it about killing birds. I love the dog work and the vista's and the adventure's saw bird's every time I went out even my 1st rattler in which my britt pointed. So if you hang it up more opportunity for me. Th ere will alway's be birds and if you want challenge come to the up of Michigan and hunt the king of bird's ole ruff he will humble you and all the habitat you and your dog can handle.
 

Point!

New member
Been upland hunting since I was 14, 50 now. This years results.....27 days, saw a total of 2 roosters and 1 hen. Yes I have good dog, and have never been afraid of wearing out the boot leather. But,.....this is an absolute joke. I went today, and no birds. Looking at my journal, 2012 was 47 roosters and 62 quail killed...this year 0. I have been all.over the state with the same results. I do.love the game, but I think this may be the end of the road.for me. I like the tradition, camaraderie, etc....but....this just might be at my limit of optimism. Any of you ever have a stretch of just utter frustration?
I understand completely. I got to thinking the same thing over the last few years. Trespassing, the lack of birds, and the unbelievable hunting pressure caused me to have this thought more and more. At one time I had six dogs, a trailer, and thousands of acres to hunt. I averaged roughly 40 days afield until about 2017. I've been hunting Kansas for 30 years and consider myself in my hunting prime. I've shot quail or pheasant in 99 of our 105 counties. I love being in the field, and most of all, I loved my dogs.

As my last 3 dogs began to age I had to make a decision. A few years ago I decided that when I was down to one, I'd make a heartfelt decision on whether to move forward with additional dogs and equipment or hang it up. I had begun to question whether or not it's worth the effort to me anymore. Fighting the crowds, losing land to leases, slobs in the fields, folks hunting over the top of each other, and the lack of birds has encroached too much on my enjoyment.

When I lost my last dog suddenly in February, I knew that I was unlikely to continue. In October, I put my trailer up for sale on this web site and sold it within 24 hours. In November, I made one last opening day trip with a very close hunting partner. Hunting behind somebody else's dogs just isn't the same. Although I love to hunt, working behind somebody else's dogs is like watching a high school sports event. You may love the sport, but without your kid or family involved, you're just not as invested. We found some birds on opening weekend, saw countless hunters walking the same WIHA fields over and over, and suffered through the 70+ degree temps. I knew I was finished.

For those of you that say it's just about "being out there", why don't you travel to Illinois or Indiana for pheasant or to Georgia or Alabama for quail? Because it's about the bird numbers. You want the best opportunity to see birds. That doesn't mean that you need to put them in the bag, but you want see birds and work your dogs. I'm perfectly happy to hunt with a camera and used to run my dogs and take photos well in to March (before breeding season), but we all want to see bird numbers.

I'm young enough to start another string of dogs and I may someday, but things are going to have to change and I believe that's unlikely. There will be some up years and even some decent years, but the trend is downward and for me it's to the point of getting out. The CRP, hunter numbers, and habit is going to have to improve before I reinvest my time and heart into my favorite activity and at this time, I believe that's unlikely.

For those of you who still have the desire and passion for the best sport in the world, good for you. I wish you the best of luck and hope that you get into hundreds of bird contacts. For me, I will fondly remember the good 'ol days, big running dogs, and the thrilling anticipation only a solid point can bring.

Best of luck to you all!

Point!
 
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hunter94

New member
I understand completely. I got to thinking the same thing over the last few years. Trespassing, the lack of birds, and the unbelievable hunting pressure caused me to have this thought more and more. At one time I had six dogs, a trailer, and thousands of acres to hunt. I averaged roughly 40 days afield until about 2017. I've been hunting Kansas for 30 years and consider myself in my hunting prime. I've shot quail or pheasant in 99 of our 105 counties. I love being in the field, and most of all, I loved my dogs.

As my last 3 dogs began to age I had to make a decision. A few years ago I decided that when I was down to one, I'd make a heartfelt decision on whether to move forward with additional dogs and equipment or hang it up. I had begun to question whether or not it's worth the effort to me anymore. Fighting the crowds, losing land to leases, slobs in the fields, folks hunting over the top of each other, and the lack of birds has encroached too much on my enjoyment.

When I lost my last dog suddenly in February, I knew that I was unlikely to continue. In October, I put my trailer up for sale on this web site and sold it within 24 hours. In November, I made one last opening day trip with a very close hunting partner. Hunting behind somebody else's dogs just isn't the same. Although I love to hunt, working behind somebody else's dogs is like watching a high school sports event. You may love the sport, but without your kid or family involved, you're just not as invested. We found some birds on opening weekend, saw countless hunters walking the same WIHA fields over and over, and suffered through the 70+ degree temps. I knew I was finished.

For those of you that say it's just about "being out there", why don't you travel to Illinois or Indiana for pheasant or to Georgia or Alabama for quail? Because it's about the bird numbers. You want the best opportunity to see birds. That doesn't mean that you need to put them in the bag, but you want see birds and work your dogs. I'm perfectly happy to hunt with a camera and used to run my dogs and take photos well in to March (before breeding season), but we all want to see bird numbers.

I'm young enough to start another string of dogs and I may someday, but things are going to have to change and I believe that's unlikely. There will be some up years and even some decent years, but the trend is downward and for me it's to the point of getting out. The CRP, hunter numbers, and habit is going to have to improve before I reinvest my time and heart into my favorite activity and at this time, I believe that's unlikely.

For those of you who still have the desire and passion for the best sport in the world, good for you. I wish you the best of luck and hope that you get into hundreds of bird contacts. For me, I will fondly remember the good 'ol days, big running dogs, and the thrilling anticipation only a solid point can bring.

Best of luck to you all!

Point!


another tough year coming to a close.......last 2 years have been my worst ever, but being an optimist keeps me coming back. have one more hunt left before end of this month, short one, maybe two days and shooting a few preserve birds to ensure my young dog gets some solid bird work.

we went from 5 years of drought to too much rain this past year. we are also going to lose a lot of CRP ground that will be put back into production, record corn planting predicted for 2020.....ugh...shrinking habitat.....more preserve hunts may be needed.

yeah, i get it, i don't pretend it is all about fresh air and sunsets either......i want at least some decent bird contact when i go....i want my dog to be able to find some birds!
when i don't even fire a shot it's depressing....not sure what the risk of loss of revenue in the pheasant belt will mean to those states going forward....not sure how much intervention can be done?

going to shoot a lot of skeet this summer....that will help me stay connected, but it sure won't help the dog....good thing he is a hard hunting pup with lots of prey drive, even when he isn't finding birds....hang in everyone, only 9 months until dove season.
 

Kansan

New member
I enjoyed some good hunting this year and saw healthy numbers of birds. I know several others who had some great hunts as well. I hate to hear that some had a tough year, but it’s not all doom and gloom!
 
For me it is more about being out there than the birds. I moved to NE Ks 15 years ago so I get to chase upland 4 or 5 times a year which is more than worth it to me. We only shoot a few birds every time we go but just getting one makes it a successful trip in my eyes. I still waterfowl hunt or fish most weekends so I think that it has become a change of for me has made me respect and cherish the times I can go vs being about the number of birds.
 

s.davis

Member
For me it's about the birds. I'm not embarrassed to say it. I love chasing, killing, butchering and eating animals, especially birds. It's better with dogs, it gets me outside, moving and being active, it gives me an excuse to spend lots of time in Kansas, a place I dearly love...but it's about killing birds.

And I've killed a lot of pheasants this year. I've had a better season in Kansas for pheasants than ever before. But I also know that my experience is just single data point in a set of data, and doom and gloom or not, pessimistic or not, I don't know how a person could look at the data sets (climate modelling, industrial agricultural practices, species collapse, insect declines, etc.) for wild upland birds in the Great Plains and not come to the conclusion that we are barreling towards the end.
 

RedLab

New member
My post was about birds. I love dog work, at one time I run a string of 7 pointers, this year there was no dog work, as there was no birds. I'm just thinking that the hours and days I spent being optimistic, I might just need to spend my time on something more productive. I have spent days seeing only a few birds in years past, but this year, was a complete bust. I just dont know if it's worth the effort. I agree the birds will rebound, but will we see 100 birds a day like years ago? My boy that's 16 really wants to get into the upland game, as he enjoys my stories, but walking for hours on end....or days....or this year for a whole year, maybe we should just concentrate on a longer fishing season. We fish about weekly till hunting season, but maybe we should just give up upland hunting. The comment on taking a trip east was priceless. Is it about the birds? Yes, as the birds give us reason to enjoy the sport. How many people can honestly say that they have a great time without a bird, or a fish, or at least the chance at them....that is point of the whole sport. With the birds...not.limits, but a few shots a day, will keep a guy coming back....just a few...but none? If there are birds, lots.of great memories....but memories can be made, without the birds...at another activity.
 

westksbowhunter

Active member
I personally have only shot 15 roosters this year and was curious to how many some of you shot. Not your groups, just your personally. That might give us a better way to gauge the season. For me it was a down year, a way down. Probably my worst year since 2002. I don't know what some of you consider good numbers but for me, walking a field and kicking up at least 25 would be good. Many years, we would witness a tornado of birds where 150 birds in a group would explode out of wind break. Not very often, but it would happen. This year, I might walk a field and flush less than 5 birds then walk 2 or 3 in row with nothing. I don't think I ever walked a field this year where I saw more than 15 birds. A couple of good hunts but for the most part birds were few and far between. I don't know how many times in January I would be on a school bus heading to a basketball game somewhere with snow on the ground, and we would see pheasants every where along the side of the highway getting salt and sand. This year, and the last couple of years, not a one. This was always a good indicator of bird population at the end of the season. So how many did you all shoot? I know some of you said it was a good year and that you saw birds but what did you see and what did you shoot? A good hunt and a healthy bird population have different meanings to each us so give specifics.

15 birds and hunted 14 days. Not done yet though. I had 2 hunts where I could have shot 2 more birds. Both were where I had 2 downed birds and didn't want to shoot a triple for the fear of not being able to mark all 3 and potentially losing one. I shot at 19 birds this season taking 15 and failing to recover only 1.
 
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BrownDogsCan2

New member
I personally have only shot 15 roosters this year and was curious to how many some of you shot. Not your groups, just your personally. That might give us a better way to gauge the season. For me it was a down year, a way down. Probably my worst year since 2002. I don't know what some of you consider good numbers but for me, walking a field and kicking up at least 25 would be good. Many years, we would witness a tornado of birds where 150 birds in a group would explode out of wind break. Not very often, but it would happen. This year, I might walk a field and flush less than 5 birds then walk 2 or 3 in row with nothing. I don't think I ever walked a field this year where I saw more than 15 birds. A couple of good hunts but for the most part birds were few and far between. I don't know how many times in January I would be on a school bus heading to a basketball game somewhere with snow on the ground, and we would see pheasants every where along the side of the highway getting salt and sand. This year, and the last couple of years, not a one. This was always a good indicator of bird population at the end of the season. So how many did you all shoot? I know some of you said it was a good year and that you saw birds but what did you see and what did you shoot? A good hunt and a healthy bird population have different meanings to each us so give specifics.

15 birds and hunted 14 days. Not done yet though. I had 2 hunts where I could have shot 2 more birds. Both were where I had 2 downed birds and didn't want to shoot a triple for the fear of not being able to mark all 3 and potentially losing one. I shot at 19 birds this season taking 15 and failing to recover only 1.
I started out with 4 limits and then went ,2, 1, 0,0,1. And haven't been out since and that 3 weeks ago.
 

CharBroiled

New member
So far personally, I'm up to 17 roosters in 9 days of hunting. The other day we were working dogs and I had three more I could have shot but they were not pointed so I passed up the shot. We've still got a few more days left and hopefully I can add to the total because they sure are tasty.

Birds have been spotty. And we've seen a lot of pressure in the area.
 

westksbowhunter

Active member
So looks like some of us old pro's are shooting the same amount of numbers. Between 15-20. A long way from the years where I would personally shoot between 50 and 75. Some years more.
 

s.davis

Member
33 pheasants and 15 quail. A couple 100+ days. Mostly days of 10-15 birds. I’m on a good luck streak and I haven’t missed much this year. I definitely have seen fewer roadside pheasants or pheasants out in green wheatfields than usual.
 

KansasGsp

Member
I've shot around 30 pheasants and 10 quail this year. But of those 30, around 15 were in the killed in the first two weeks of the season. I shot a limit my first four hunts I believe but I didn't miss much the first couple weeks of the season. Since then it's been pretty slim. I used to keep a journal and I shot between 50-60 a year for 10 years or so during the early 2000's before the drought. There's still some pockets of birds here and there but nothing close to what it once was. In Western Kansas we used to see them all over the roads early and late in the day and now you'll be lucky to see a couple. Things aren't getting any better and it's hard to stomach. I've got two bird dogs and it's getting harder and harder to get them into birds.
 
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