Opening Weekend in Kansas

Kansan

Active member
I don't know but I am leaving for Iowa on Monday and be back on Saturday. I do know that their state has made an effort to work with landowners to set aside land for habitat.
In recent years filter/buffer strips have really become popular among farmers in parts of Iowa, for a number of reasons (erosion control is a big one). K-State has been promoting the same, in large part due to the success they’ve had in Iowa.

I know that on my recent travels in Western Iowa, there is a lot more cover than I remember in years past. Largely in the form of grassy buffer strips, waterways, etc. There are a lot more birds around up there than there has been in a long time, too. I have friends around Carroll, and the pheasant hunting has become stellar in that area once again. NW Iowa is the real hot spot. I think bird numbers generally decline as you go south and east.

Best of luck on your trip up there! I’m supposed to go sometime in December.
 

westksbowhunter

Well-known member
In recent years filter/buffer strips have really become popular among farmers in parts of Iowa, for a number of reasons (erosion control is a big one). K-State has been promoting the same, in large part due to the success they’ve had in Iowa.

I know that on my recent travels in Western Iowa, there is a lot more cover than I remember in years past. Largely in the form of grassy buffer strips, waterways, etc. There are a lot more birds around up there than there has been in a long time, too. I have friends around Carroll, and the pheasant hunting has become stellar in that area once again. NW Iowa is the real hot spot. I think bird numbers generally decline as you go south and east.

Best of luck on your trip up there! I’m supposed to go sometime in December.
NW Iowa is where I will be.
 
We had 5 hunters and 1 good dog and hunted hard Saturday in Rooks County. (it is a big county, I don't give a crap about hiding the county). 9 pheasants, 8 quail. Did not find the numbers of quail that we have in the past but there is a LOT of cover and still some standing milo in some places. Saw more pheasants in the ditches driving than I have in 10 years. Came over a hill and there were 25 roosters at the bottom of the hill crossing from one draw to another. A relative who drives country roads a lot says that he thinks birds are "spotty." Lots of birds in some places and then none in others. You HAVE to have a food source close to the CRP for the CRP to be productive.
 

Chessie 67

Active member
Just re entered reality after a 5 day hunt in Kansas. Saw lots of pheasants in CRP that was close to feed; probably saw the same or a little more than last year. Saw quail everywhere you would expect to see them. 75% private, 25% public hunting. We may have gotten skunked (not see any birds) on 3 or 4 fields the whole trip. Some walks birds were very spooky and flushed wildly, other walks they would wait until we were right on top of them.
 

duckn66

Active member
Been hearing reports of good bird numbers this year. Most everyone I know who’s hunted so far this year have seen quite a few birds. Probably spotty but that’s the case almost every year. That hasn’t changed.
 

westksbowhunter

Well-known member
Probably about the same as last year. Loss of habitat is a major problem. I have lost over half of my good spots that I have hunted for 20 years. In my lifetime, I have never seen so many hay bales. I don't see how all this hay will be used. More hay than cows. Also seeing a lot of signs that read "This property is no longer enrolled in WIHA". Can't wait to get to Iowa on Monday.
 
You know it could have been worse. Seems like he got a mouth and nose shot. I did the peroxide thing twice and then sponged down with a stout douche from massingale. Much better but if you put your nose up to his snout you can still smell it. His body seems to have dodged the bullet.
I said the same thing many times, my body like my pups just barely dodge the bullet throughout the years :)
 

Jayhawk

New member
Good luck to everyone! I wish I could be there.
Went up for opening week—delayed two days by a plumbing emergency at home, so that may have affected my success, but hunted 20+ areas over 5 days, combo of WIHA & WA, mostly in west & NW KS (roughly an arc from Barton to Norton to Mitchell counties). Walked over 20 miles. Flushed one rooster (ran through a plum thicket and flushed on the other side, giving me a bad shot!) one hen, and NO quail, which shocked me. Been hunting many of these areas for the last 15 years (since grad school at KU) and this was BY FAR the WORST I have ever seen it. Some WIHA was being mowed as I got there. Others were bare dirt or planted in wheat (not much use for pheasant hunting—maybe the geese like it?) or disenrolled (see pics). Many of the best parts (old farmsteads, corners, etc.) posted as off-limits.
Coyotes and hawks were ubiquitous-saw several ‘yotes running through fields in broad daylight and packs serenaded the camp every night. Getting tough to be a bird out there. Either the hunting pressure is so high that it is ruined after opening weekend, or the populations have crashed. Either way, hunting should probably be curtailed.
Think this was my last trip back to Kansas. Public land not worth it and I refuse to do private. Juice no longer worth the squeeze.
 

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BritChaser

Well-known member
Slim pickins in NW. Take for two days: one phez and two quail (on my first scotch double).
 
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Nick

Member
Slim pickins in NW.
Just got back last night. 2 days with my son and two dogs. Walked over 10 miles. Private and WIHA. Killed 2 quail and 4 roosters. Could've had one more of each with better shooting. One field with a good amount of birds. Probably flushed 10 to 12 roosters but they wouldn't hold. Talked to a guy when checking into the hotel. Group of 20 killed one on private ground on Saturday. Incredibly dry out there. Tough hunting.
 

Chestle

Well-known member
Sad to hear these reports. Used to hunt NCK exclusively prior to ‘06 when my group shifted to SD. No comparison.

Moved back to KS to live in ‘20 but finding it hard to get enthused about KS upland. Barely went out last year after SD and haven’t been out this year after SD.

Maybe if we get a bit if snow I’ll saddle up
 

Jayhawk

New member
Slim pickins in NW.
From the KDWP pheasant population map, the counties I hunted are in the heart of the range.
I have no regrets about the trip—the weather was perfect (maybe a little warm on Tuesday) and the habitat looked great, with grass up to my armpits in some places. I got to see a lunar eclipse and visit many of my favorite places (I highly recommend the bierock & American Wheat at Gellas/Lb Brewing in Hays!) But I did way more “armed hiking” than hunting. I’m grateful for the opportunity and glad to see what I’ve seen and for all the experiences I’ve had. It’s just time for me to shut it down.
 

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Nick

Member
From the KDWP pheasant population map, the counties I hunted are in the heart of the range.
I have no regrets about the trip—the weather was perfect (maybe a little warm on Tuesday) and the habitat looked great, with grass up to my armpits in some places. I got to see a lunar eclipse and visit many of my favorite places (I highly recommend the bierock & American Wheat at Gellas/Lb Brewing in Hays!) But I did way more “armed hiking” than hunting. I’m grateful for the opportunity and glad to see what I’ve seen and for all the experiences I’ve had. It’s just time for me to shut it down.
No regrets here either. Got to spend quality time with my 27 year old son who is busy with his own life. Love being out there and seeing the wildlife, sunsets, sunrises, etc.
 

BritChaser

Well-known member
Sad to hear these reports. Used to hunt NCK exclusively prior to ‘06 when my group shifted to SD. No comparison.

Moved back to KS to live in ‘20 but finding it hard to get enthused about KS upland. Barely went out last year after SD and haven’t been out this year after SD.

Maybe if we get a bit if snow I’ll saddle up

SD spoils a fella with its normal bird population.
 
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