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Kansas Opening Weekend Report #2753707 11/15/11 01:09 PM
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bassfishinglawyer Online Content OP
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12 of us hunted Sat and Sun near Mullinville/Greensburg (Kiowa County). Very little cover. We were hunting private lands, but the WIHA looked like it had most all been grazed. Very little CRP anywhere, as it was all swathed for hay or grazed.

We only brought back 12 birds (and a few bonus quail) and maybe let 3 - 4 get away. Very tough and very little cover.

We talked to some guys headed back to Wichita Sunday about noon - they had been out west around Sublette. No birds for them. The further west you went the tougher the drought hit - at least in the southern part.

Good luck to everyone headed up this weekend.


Re: Kansas Opening Weekend Report [Re: bassfishinglawyer] #2753780 11/15/11 01:45 PM
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Thanks for the report Dewey, Did you have to walk huge areas with an army of hunters or small groups hitting good cover?

Stinkbelly and I are headed up that way in the morning.


Last edited by DoubleB20; 11/15/11 01:47 PM. Reason: I should read more carefully...
Re: Kansas Opening Weekend Report [Re: DoubleB20] #2753892 11/15/11 02:13 PM
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I went with a group of 11 about 15 miles north of Russell, KS. Same story. Came back with 9 pheasant and 2 quail. Fields we hit last year and flushed 40 birds were producing maybe 2. Only hunted one day.


Re: Kansas Opening Weekend Report [Re: okielawnboy] #2754689 11/15/11 05:48 PM
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Hunted North Central KS, group of 7 with 6 dogs. We hunted hard and flushed maybe 20 birds in two days. I shot 2 birds the entirre weekend and the group manged 3-4 a day. Conditions looked good with heavy cover in CRP and lots of food on the private lands. They just don't have the birds this year.
All in all a fun weekend and my dog worked well.


Re: Kansas Opening Weekend Report [Re: DoubleB20] #2754728 11/15/11 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted By: DoubleB20
Thanks for the report Dewey, Did you have to walk huge areas with an army of hunters or small groups hitting good cover?

Stinkbelly and I are headed up that way in the morning.


Brian - very little CRP, and even when we walked it very few out of it. Most were out of big milo fields. We were walking 11 and blocking 4 most of the time. There wasn't any "good cover" to speak of. Birds were spooky for opening day too - but I think that came from the lack of cover. At some point we just decided we would have to put our heads down and cover tons of ground per bird. To give you an idea, we never saw a single bird fly into or out of a field, across the road, feeding in a wheat field, etc. like you usually do - just very few birds I guess. I love the little weed patches, fence lines, etc., but just hardly any of those to speak of where we were. We did have a couple of corners (outside of the circle irrigation) that we covered that were pretty good. Food next to cover (or vice versa) was certainly the best. Good luck!


Re: Kansas Opening Weekend Report [Re: bassfishinglawyer] #2755150 11/15/11 08:00 PM
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I received this email from a guy at Kansas Wildlife Dept:

There are a couple resources online on our website that I would suggest you check out. One of them is the Upland bird forecast which talks about numbers for quail, pheasant, and prairie chicken by region in the state. The forecast numbers come from our surveys that are conducted every year. Here is the link for the upland bird forecast http://kdwpt.state.ks.us/news/Hunting/Upland-Birds/Upland-Bird-Regional-Forecast. You should also get a WIHA or Walk-In-Hunting-Area atlas. They can also be downloaded from our website, or picked up at most any wal-mart or KDWPT office in the state. WIHA areas, are areas that have been leased by KDWPT and made open to public hunting.


Unfortunately, due to the drought this year, our bird numbers in southwest Kansas are pretty poor. The majority of the broods that hatched this year, did not survive because of poor forb production which led to a lack of insects which is the main food source for chicks. This effected not only pheasants, but quail, prairie chickens and non-game bird species as well. A second issue that we will be facing this year, which is also related to the drought is the emergency grazing of CRP. Since grass production was poor, USDA opened CRP for emergency grazing in 31 counties in southwest Kansas. So, most people turned cows in on their CRP grass and have grazed it down to almost nothing. This means a great loss of habitat for upland birds, and also a reduction in the number of areas that are suitable for hunting. A third issue, for the southwest part of the state, which is also drought related, is wildfires. There were several wildfires in southwest Kansas this past spring. The largest one taking place on the Cimmarron National Grasslands, which burned up several thousand acres. This again, translates into a loss of habitat and reduced carrying capacity for upland birds.


So, to be completely honest, hunting pheasants in southwest Kansas this year is going to be pretty tough. I am told that bird numbers are the lowest they have been in several decades. My suggestion would be, if you still want to come to KS to hunt birds this year, would be to drive a little further north and hunt north of I-70 in the northwest part of the state. I would check the upland bird forecast, but I know they had a lot more rain than we did and were not effected by drought conditions like we are. They should have had better brood survival and should have a lot more birds to hunt. They also didn't have any wildfires, and less counties open for emergency CRP grazing.


Re: Kansas Opening Weekend Report [Re: cahughes82] #2755238 11/15/11 08:22 PM
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Everyone will be in the NW corner of the state.


Re: Kansas Opening Weekend Report [Re: stinkbelly] #2757254 11/16/11 06:21 AM
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we hunted opening weekend also stayed in dodge city went north all the way to i-70 no birds anywhere or cover to speak of. Talked to one local and he said theres talk of shuting down the season next year, also talked to a game warden and he said it was still to soon to tell. The game warden said people were doing better than they had expected but from the talk on here seems like every body did like us. We had 11 people and come home with 3 birds shot every roster we saw, not many hens either. Thinking of going to south dakota next year


Re: Kansas Opening Weekend Report [Re: cahughes82] #2758495 11/16/11 05:56 PM
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Has anyone hunted around Hugoton this year? It's about 30 miles west of Liberal. Did very well there last year and in several other years. But this year sounds like poor hunting for the entire state, possibly excluding NW Kansas.

On another note, if anyone knows of a decent Braque du Bourbonnais ("French pointer") for sale, I'd appreciate being given the heads up. My Braque has been a good one since '05 but she's now 9.5yrs old and doubt I'll be able to get much out of her this year. We didn't go opening weekend because 65-70 degrees and 15-20mph wind is not a recipe for good bird hunting.


Re: Kansas Opening Weekend Report [Re: HuntsmanTX] #2758968 11/16/11 08:27 PM
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you won't do any better goint west, go north, north of the smokeyhill river had summer rains


Re: Kansas Opening Weekend Report [Re: HuntsmanTX] #2759126 11/16/11 09:07 PM
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Hugoton is no good this year. The CRP has been grazed down, the WHA's are almost bare ground and less of them too. Alot of green wheat where there was milo or corn last year. The cover is essentially gone.
Scouted it opening day and probably didn't hear twelve shots all day. One good thing tho, plenty of rooms at the hotels. Never saw a "No Vacancy" sign in Liberal, Hugoton or any were else in the area.


Re: Kansas Opening Weekend Report [Re: HuntsmanTX] #2759267 11/16/11 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted By: HuntsmanTX
Has anyone hunted around Hugoton this year?


Agree with Tick Magnet. I was 30 miles or so south of there (Hooker, OK) in July and it was threadbare. I talked to some guys on their way back from Sublette (40 miles NE of Hugoton) Sunday afternoon and they had seen NONE. I wouldn't waste my time unless you had a sure deal there.


Re: Kansas Opening Weekend Report [Re: bassfishinglawyer] #2762882 11/17/11 11:02 PM
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Thanks for the reports on Hugoton. Very sad news.. I got my winter edition of Pheasants Forever yesterday and they said central should be the best part of Kansas. I don't think they're right, in general, but maybe some parts are okay. Anyone tried around Hoisington or Kinsley?
Not looking forward to driving 150 or more miles further (to get to NW counties) than I do in other years, but will probably go as soon as 4 or more inches of snow is predicted. Nothing beats hunting in ths snow in my book. In Jan. 2010 I could have bagged 20 or 25 roosters near Hugoton if I was a good enough shot and despicable enough to poach. 5" of snow on ground, temp in teens, dog pointing left and right and over half of birds holding very tight. Counting the over 40 I saw crossing road into the WIHA field we were about to hunt, had to have seen at least 150 birds that morning.


Re: Kansas Opening Weekend Report [Re: HuntsmanTX] #2764516 11/18/11 01:50 PM
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Hunted South of Phillipsburg Kan.on the 15th and 16th. The 15th not many birds these were older birds. 8 birds put up and three were roosters bagged one. Hunted crp and wiha's close to milo fields, hot 65 degrees in the p.m.
The 16th snow and 34 degrees. We (5) hunted creek bottom grass next to milo fields on private land moved several birds most were cocks birds with very few hens. Seems they always flushed in front of one gunner who got most of the shots and the rest of us were hail marys. We bagged 5 birds in two days.
Stay close to water and feed sources and walk the crp and grass patches slowly with good close working dogs would be my advive and shoot where he's going to be and not where he's been. Good luck



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Re: Kansas Opening Weekend Report [Re: txdogman] #2765909 11/18/11 09:36 PM
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We hunted North of Colby and had a good opening day. After that we saw more hunters than birds.


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