2014 Upland bird forecast shows improvements in pheasant, quail, prairie chicken populations
PRATT – A copy of the 2014 Kansas Upland Bird Forecast is now available and from the looks of things, upland bird hunters will see improved populations this fall. Although below-average harvests areksoutdoors.com and click “Hunting,” then “Upland Birds.”
After three consecutive years of statewide declines, spring breeding populations for pheasant stabilized in 2014. The only region showing a significant decrease was the Northern High Plains. Summer brood counts show an increase of 70 percent when compared to 2013. This increase should offer improved hunting opportunities, and the best hunting this year will likely be in the Smoky Hills region. Kansas still contains one of the best pheasant populations among states and the fall harvest will again be among the best in the country; however, Kansas will again have a below-average pheasant harvest this fall.
Regular Season:; Youth Season: . Daily Bag Limit: 4 cocks in regular season, 2 cocks in youth season.
Roadside surveys for quail showed a statewide increase of 50 percent compared to 2013. However, statewide populations are still below historic averages, and Kansas will likely have a below-average quail harvest this fall. Populations in much of the central and western portions of the state have not fully recovered from the drought. While opportunities will be better throughout most of the state this year, the best opportunities will likely remain in the eastern third of the state, particularly in the Flint Hills region.
Regular Season:; Youth Season: . Daily Bag Limit: 8 in regular season, 4 in youth season.
Prairie chicken populations are generally up where the appropriate habitat exists. Hunting opportunities should be improved throughout the greater prairie chicken hunting unit; however, the best opportunities this fall will be in the Smoky Hills Region.
Early Season (Greater Prairie Chicken Unit):; Regular Season (Greater Prairie Chicken Unit): . Daily Bag Limit: 2. Southwest Unit closed to all prairie chicken hunting.