Pheasant, quail, and prairie chicken bring family and friends together
PRATT — For many hunters, Kansas pheasant and quail hunting ranks right up there with Thanksgiving and Christmas — and often coincides. Family and friends who may not have seen each other for a year or more get together and enjoy the outdoors, camaraderie, and putting meat on the table in a time-honored tradition. This winter, pheasant and quail seasons run Nov. 12-Jan. 31, 2012, and while the forecast for bird numbers is down from recent years, the excitement of rekindling old relationships still runs high.
Although good numbers of pheasants and quail will be found in some areas, severe drought and record high temperatures throughout much of the birds’ range last spring and summer resulted in fewer birds overall. Generally, the best pheasant hunting in 2011 will be north of I-70 in western Kansas and the best quail hunting will be in the central part of the state. Details can be found in Upland Bird Regional Forecast on the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) website,www.kdwpt.ks.us, under “Hunting/Upland Birds.”
KDWPT reminds all hunters to avoid standing crops. While most crops have been harvested already, some fields remain uncut, even as late as mid-November. Hunters are asked to stay out of standing crop fields because most farmers do not want these fields disturbed until after harvest. Permission is required to hunt private land, whether it is posted or not.
The season on Kansas’ third upland bird — the prairie chicken — runs Nov. 19-Jan. 31 in the Northwest and East units and Nov. 19-Dec. 31 in the Southwest Unit. The best greater prairie chicken hunting should be in native grasslands from the northern Flint Hills westward throughout the Smoky Hills along the I-70 corridor.
The daily bag limit on pheasants is four roosters, and the daily bag on quail is eight birds. The daily bag limit on prairie chicken in the East and Northwest units is two, and the daily bag in the Southwest Unit is one. The possession limit on all three upland species is four times the daily bag limit.
A valid Kansas hunting license is required of all residents ages 16 through 64. Nonresidents must purchase a $72.50 nonresident hunting license, except that those nonresidents younger than 16 may purchase a youth nonresident license for $37.50. Anyone born on or after July 1, 1957, must have completed a certified hunter education course, except that youth 15 and younger may hunt under direct adult supervision without hunter education certification. Youth 12 through 15 may hunt without adult supervision if they have completed a certified hunter education course. Anyone 16 or older may purchase a one-time deferral of hunter education, called an “apprentice hunting license,” for the same price as a regular hunting license. This license is valid only through the calendar year in which it is purchased, and the holder must be under the direct supervision of a licensed adult 18 or older. A hunting license and hunter education are not required while hunting one’s own land.