North Central Kansas Advice

Munster927

Active member
Looking for some advice from some folks that have hunted North Central Kansas.

I'm looking for some general areas to target for public land quail and pheasant (mostly quail). I don't need your honey holes or GPS coordinates, just what areas around certain towns or counties even should I focus my research and scouting.

Being from MN, Ive never bird hunted in Kansas, only Turkey hunted. I'm familiar with the Smith Center/Phillipsburg area but none of the areas I'm familiar with are turkey spots and I've never seen a quail on them.

I'm not married to North Central Kansas either if there's better areas to target in the state. I just know the general north central area and South Central Nebraska.

Thanks for any advice!
 

KSBrittman

Active member
My experience the Kansas Upland Forecast put out by the state is pretty accurate , they break the areas down by different regions .

Plan on doing some scouting , I often hunt walk in areas and will scout 3 or 4 in a given area and hunt the one I think has the best cover .

If you don’t have luck in one area move 20 to 30 miles .

In one of the areas I hunt a town 12 minutes a way had 6 more inches of rain over the summer than the area we stay at , moving that short distance made a difference in bird numbers .


Puting some Miles on your truck and wearing some boot leather and sizing up cover are your best bet for some success .

Let us know how you do
 
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Munster927

Active member
Thanks Brittman. I was looking at the Upland Forecast as well and it looks like North Central, I'm between Colby and Smith Center is a decent area to start with. I haven't really dug into looking at the WIHAs yet, but plan to do some looking now that I at least have a targeted area.

It also looks like there's a chance at some Prairie Chickens up that way. Anyone ever have any luck on them in that general area?
 

Chessie 67

Active member
I was in that general location opening week and saw ONE. That was the first PC I have seen in 3 years in that area.
 

Munster927

Active member
So you're saying there's a chance 😉 I would just take them as a bonus. We have a pocket of Prairie Chickens up here in MN so I've gotten into them over the years but be nice to get one in Kansas next to some quail.
 

KsHusker

Active member
So you're saying there's a chance 😉 I would just take them as a bonus. We have a pocket of Prairie Chickens up here in MN so I've gotten into them over the years but be nice to get one in Kansas next to some quail.
If you want a PC NC and probably NW are your best bets. I've not spent much time NW since it's so far away from me but the Smokey hills are good for PC -- you can find quail and PC on the same parcel and close together if you're very lucky but PC and quail IMO do not necessarily like to hang out in exactly the same exact habitat. Close but not the same.

PC - look for pastures grazed w clumps of grass, open area to run around -- I dont know how to describe it but I know it when I see it - the cattle will have eaten patches down to the ground and little fern like plants will grow and be green even when it's cold - they smell sagey and the PC eat them along with other little plants that are green during the winter. Those plants grow in the shaded areas under the taller grass. Find those areas and you'll probably find PC scat.

I've got no idea where they like to go early season - but dont buy into the BS you cant get them pointed late season or need to pass shoot them.

Hilltops and just over the hilltops - little necks in canyons w grass and stubble fields if you get lucky and see them land and spread out you can get them etc. No need to get up early - start at 8-10 and go till dark -- around dark you can bust them off a roost area if you're lucky - on a hillside in the wide open or some sort or neck in a hill -- that's where I've found them in the years that or I'm just lucky at times. I dunno - but I love the birds - I still have lots to learn about them. Quail just hit the edges unless you hunt in sand hills country or come across ragweed patches out in a pasture. PC like ragweed too I believe. If I lived around them where I could observe them more often I'm sure I'd find they were more on a timeclock but I'm always going in blind. Ponds with some cover around it if the area is dry if you catch them watering. Dont blow both your barrels at the flock flush - wait for the straggler as hard as that is unless you get a good shot on the covey rise. You're dog can probably smell them a long ways off too.
 

KsHusker

Active member
Assuming you're asking what those mean bird dogs?

PC = Prairie Chicken
NC = North Central
NW = Northwest
Yes - sorry - in a bad habit of short hand writing at times - Good luck!

Chickens do just fine in the right habitat -- I never understood the bad decision to list the lesser as threatened or endangered - whatever they did - there were plenty around where the habitat was there and after the drought of 2011-2012 I'd find more chickens than I would pheasants or quail for a couple years.

Anyways hit hilltops - none to very limited trees and where pastures are grazed just right with clumps of grass - open ground for the birds to run and the little fern type plants growing - I dont know why but I think every late season bird I've ever killed had mainly green plants in their craw. Most of it was the sagey smelling plant - I've no idea what it's called but it's really small and about the only thing green when it's freezing cold in January.
 
Yes - sorry - in a bad habit of short hand writing at times - Good luck!

Chickens do just fine in the right habitat -- I never understood the bad decision to list the lesser as threatened or endangered - whatever they did - there were plenty around where the habitat was there and after the drought of 2011-2012 I'd find more chickens than I would pheasants or quail for a couple years.

Anyways hit hilltops - none to very limited trees and where pastures are grazed just right with clumps of grass - open ground for the birds to run and the little fern type plants growing - I dont know why but I think every late season bird I've ever killed had mainly green plants in their craw. Most of it was the sagey smelling plant - I've no idea what it's called but it's really small and about the only thing green when it's freezing cold in January.
There are definitely some around in the part of KS that's closed to hunting chickens. A couple of weeks ago I watched a flock of 37 fly from milo stubble into CRP, about 30 min before sunset. Was a very cool thing to see.
 

CGD

Member
Leaving for NC KS friday night, trying a different spot than I hunted last year, still haven't had much luck the 2 times I've hunted KS but for some silly reason I keep trying.
 
Leaving for NC KS friday night, trying a different spot than I hunted last year, still haven't had much luck the 2 times I've hunted KS but for some silly reason I keep trying.
We're going to be there in early January, I'll be curious as to your success. Best of luck !
 

ten walker

New member
We hunted nc ks near the area you plan to hunt first week of season. Found several quail but very few pheasants. Did not seem to matter if on public or private ground. Good luck .
 

Ahylt

New member
Jumped 2 packs of 20+ chickens this year. Only shot one cause 2 young hunters didn’t know what they were. Hunted 3 weekends and average shooting 4 birds a weekend. up until last weekend we haven’t seen very many birds, last weekend we walked 5 fields that had 10-20 birds in them.
 

CGD

Member
Will do, I forgot it's still deer season this weekend so hopefully I won't run into too many more people.
 
Can deer hunters be an issue in Kansas? In MT and ND it is a total nonissue. If we meet they tell me where they have seen pheasants and I tell them where I've seen deer. In 30 plus years I have never had an issue, but I have never hunted Kansas during deer season.
 

Munster927

Active member
Yeah my experience is that deer hunters out in pheasant country don't mind guys pushing the fields. Can get deer moving for em. But like Alaskan, I have no experience pheasant hunting in Kansas during deer season.
 
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