Blog comments invited on changes in 2006 upland bird seasons

The 2006 Kansas upland bird seasons are underway. Pheasant season opened Nov. 4 and runs through Jan. 31. Quail season opened Nov. 11 and runs through Jan. 21, 2007. Prairie chicken season opened Nov. 18, and runs through Dec. 31 in the southwest, and Jan. 31 in the east and northwest regions of the state.

For the first time in nearly 30 years, pheasant hunters took to the Kansas fields on the first Saturday in November this fall. In a break with tradition, the Kansas pheasant season opened on November 4. Traditionally, the pheasant season opened on the second Saturday in November, but the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission approved the change in June of 2005. A new opening day was established to provide bird hunters with an additional week of hunting. This will give bird hunters and the small rural communities that depend on hunting revenues three opening day events to promote.

KDWP staff patrolling Walk-In Hunting Areas and visiting with hunters reported generally less hunting pressure compared to previous opening weekends when pheasant and quail seasons opened on the same day in most of the state. This fall’s Upland Bird Forecast appears to be accurate with hunting success being spotty, depending on local rainfall. Mild weather may have also hampered hunter success.

Hunters reported seeing good numbers of pheasants in portions of northcentral Kansas, but in areas where the drought was most severe bird numbers are down. In the northcentral and northwest regions, hunters were averaging just less than one bird each on opening day of pheasant season.

In the northeast, pheasant hunter numbers were down as much as 50 percent, which is to be expected since this area is known more for its quail hunting. Reports indicate that pheasant numbers may be slightly lower than last year, while quail numbers may be higher.

In the southcentral region, hunting pressure was also lighter than last year for the opening of pheasant season. Pheasant numbers appear to be down this year, and hunting was tough. Many hunters from this region reported seeing good numbers of quail, which is also consistent with the fall forecast and should bode well for quail season.

In the southwest, opening weekend pheasant hunting pressure was lighter than last year in most areas, and hunting was spotty. In areas were timely rains fell, hunters were finding birds. In areas where drought was severe, hunting was more difficult. Average harvest was less than two pheasants per hunter.

KDWP would like to know what you think about the change in bird season opening days. Visit the KDWP blog to post your opinion.