When I moved to the Midwest I was very fascinated that there was an abundance of pheasants living here. I had heard that most of the Midwestern states had birds however did not realize how widespread they were.
This last thanksgiving, I was invited to go pheasant hunting in central Kansas with a large group of people from Missouri. We hunted private land for 2 solid days with great weather outside of Concordia, Kansas. I had just left Minnesota where we had 8 inches of snow and low temps down to -15. 65 degree bird hunting was wonderful!
We started our hunt Friday in a CRP field surrounded by wheat and Milo. Our sunrise was spectacular and the temperature was just below freezing. Perfect conditions for a morning bird hunt. In Kansas you can start pheasant hunting at sunrise, where in Minnesota you have to wait until 9 to start. We saw and shot at birds on our first walk. While we had a very large crew, most everyone was pretty happy that we got a few shots off first thing. We hunted the adjacent milo field and saw a huge buck run out from a tree line. This part of Kansas near Concordia is also known for great deer hunting. Our guide has several huge racks from deer he has shot in the local area.
While walking the second field, we were surprised to push up a covey of quail. I did not realize quail were this far north, however they love the milo. It was very cool to have something else to shoot at other than Pheasants! Shooting at quail was quite the challenge and I had a hard time adjusting from a slower moving pheasant to 20 quail moving at mach 1. Also most of us were using #5 Phesant loads, not the best thing for shooting quail. A few of the other guys were carrying #7s in their guns so that they could get a few of these fast moving birds.
Kansas Hunting licenses are around $73
After hunting a couple of different fields, we decided to take a break and have regroup. Hanging out next to the vehicles talking about the birds we saw was almost just as much fun as the hunt. At this time we had probably walked over 5 miles through some rough terrain through Milo, brush, and CRP. We saw lots of birds, both pheasants and Quail, as well as several other species of birds and animals. We re-grouped and decided to hunt up to a cow pasture. We had not seen any birds other than a couple of hens through the first arge field we walked which wa next to the guide’s home. As we were getting closer to the end we had a rooster pop up out of now where. A Missourian shot him with one shot. I was getting a little doubtful about seeing another rooster when I had a bird pop up right in front of me. I must have shot three times with no luck! I must have not been leading him correctly. What do you do when you only get to hunt once in a while you blast away hoping to hit the bird!
Shortly after this we tried to move some cattle, hoping they would put some birds up, however no luck at all. Maybe the birds are just used to them and run, figures. We hopped a fence and went into a pasture where I was not sure if we would see anything. There were some scrub trees, a pond, and what looked to be tumbleweeds. As we walked up the hill and around the pond, we started putting birds up once we hit this super thick tumbleweed stuff. It was so thick to walk through that we could hardly move my legs through it. Birds were popping up left and right! We were much closer to the farmhouse here and the horses. I am sure some of them got peppered from our shots. A bird flew up and got shot and would up flying into the farm house. That was the only bird we got out of that walk and we must have put up 15. Mass chaos, but a lot of fun.
We ate lunch, told a few lies, and went out to a different property. This property had a nice line of timber where we knew some big deer hung out There was a nice deer stand there and I a sure whoever hunted there had some good times. After walking through the brush, we got out into some more milo, another huge field. I had never seen so much milo grown in one place, it was everywhere. After walking a little ways we put up a couple of more birds. I managed to shoot a rooster. Shortly after we started to flush quite a few quail. The birds could fly faster than I had expected, however I got on or two. All in all it was a great trip full of hiking, covering a lot of ground and seeing some great country. Maybe with some good conservation we can keep these birds flourishing.
This year, i am hoping to get back to Kansas and possibly try out South Dakota. We will see if I have time, however I have met a few more friends who a are bird hunters and enjoy the walk as much as the shooting. I would love to be able to eventually hunt for pheasants and such in all of the big mid-western states. I have heard that Nebraska, Iowa, and North Dakota hold a good number of birds. It is all a matter of find the time and the ground to hunt on.