Enjoy a guest post from a close friend of the Kansas Outdoorsmen, Patrick Mellard –
Pheasant numbers have been down throughout the majority of the state the past few years. This year was a great start on turning the wild bird populations in Kansas. Opening weekend of pheasant season in Kansas finds people from all over enjoying the hunting opportunities our state has to offer. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to head west and chase around the colorful ditch chickens.
After some scouting on Friday night, we knew where there was good CRP, along with food sources, stirring hope for a few concentrations of birds. Then began the “other part” of what hunting season is all about. Drinks, poker and stories, all tossed around with the excitement for the next morning.
The morning came and the group was ready. We started by walking a WIHA piece that has been very good to us in the past. This year it wasn’t stellar, but we did put a few birds on the ground. The next chunk of WIHA found us to be a little too late, as we were watching birds leave it heading towards the food source (milo field) just to the East. Four more roosters in the bag, but we knew there were a lot in the uncut milo we didn’t have permission to hunt.
Location seemed to be the most important element to success for the weekend. Wherever grass met food there were birds. At points we had stellar shooting, but these were equally met with times of “how’d that bird get away?” A beautiful sunset only made the end of the day that much better as our last field produced 6 or so roosters. 27 total on the day was a great start to the upland season.
We saw 2 coveys of quail over the weekend. Sadly, both were not large in size so we didn’t pluck out any of those. We like to leave large enough coveys so they are sure to survive the winter and have breeding stock for next year. Again, this is the first year on a long road to recovery.
We started day #2 in the same WIHA field we let birds sneak out of the first day. It provided 5 birds and plenty of hens. We hunted a few milo fields that we didn’t walk the day before and covered a few more miles. Some fields were just calorie burners while others provided some hot and heavy shooting. It was a great trip overall and I hope all of you got to sneak out as well.
Safe and happy hunting!
~ Patrick Mellard