Information About Kansas Pheasants
The state of Kansas holds a long tradition of hunting the ring-necked pheasant. According to the national forecasts, they rank in the top 3 or 4 states as a top destination for pheasant hunting every year. In its current format, pheasant season opens the second Saturday in November and runs through the last day of January. The Kansas pheasant hunting season the daily bag limit is four male pheasants known as roosters. Every year, hunters come from all over the U.S. to hunt opening weekend.
The tradition of upland bird hunting takes many forms in the United States. Hunters in different regions typically pursue similar birds. Some examples include pheasant, quail, woodcock, grouse, prairie chicken, and chukar. In most regions comprised of wilderness or crop fields, hunters usually pursue only one or two species native to a specific area. For example, in many parts of Kansas, licensed hunters can sometimes shoot ring-necked pheasants and quail in the same CRP field.
In “controlled shooting areas,” hunters have the opportunity to shoot multiple species. Most upland bird seasons range from early autumn to mid-winter, depending on the state and species.
- Price is per hunter – per day
- Hunters arrive after 3:00pm day before hunt
- Departure after the hunt on last day unless arranged
*If clients wish to have dinner upon arrival – Dinner is served at 7:00 pm. Communicate with our staff on your arrival to ensure you have a warm meal waiting for you if you wish.
History of Pheasants
There are approximately 50 types or species of pheasants in the world according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Most pheasants originated in China or Malaysia and originally transplanted to Europe several centuries ago. Ring-necked pheasants are primarily viewed as game birds, whether stocked artificially in fields or hunted as wild birds. Male pheasants can be up to 35 inches in length.
The ring-necked Pheasant is an upland game bird and was originally imported to the U.S. from China in the 1800s. Ring-necks thrive in the Midwestern U.S. because many areas in this region provide the ideal habitat. Ring-necked males, are known as “roosters” and are very colorful birds. These birds mate in the spring with up to a dozen hens. The average life span of a ring-necked pheasant is about 10 to 20 months, according to National Geographic.
Colorful Upland Bird
Roosters are colorful and have long tail feathers while ring-necked females colored brown or tan. Pheasants have an amazing ability to survive extreme climate changes, and they prefer grassy areas and grain fields. According to Kansas wildlife biologists, hunting pheasants has no negative effects on the pheasant population.
Habitat Benefits for Pheasants
Pheasant habitat and CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) habitat greatly benefit the ring-necked pheasant. According to a 2006 study conducted for the Dept. of Agriculture, pheasants have a 22% increase in population when located within a 1000 meters of 788 acres or more of CRP habitat. Starting in 1985, the federal government offers farmers a voluntary opportunity in 10-15 year contracts to preserve lands by planting CRP native grasses and plants. Upland birds love these fields as the biodiversity of multiple grasses and forbs provide roosting areas and supply food for their young by way of seeds and insects.
Where to Find Pheasants
In Kansas, ring-necks are often found and are hunted in grassy CRP fields, cut grain or “stubble” fields (especially milo, grain sorghum, wheat or corn). They are usually found in weedy earth silos, shelter belts, corner fields on irrigation circles, or brushy creek bottoms, brushy draws, ditches, canyons and wetland areas. Although pheasants can survive without water for several days, successful pheasant hunts usually take place within a mile of the habitat.
What does a Pheasant Sound Like?
When pheasants are flushed by dogs or hunters, they take flight suddenly. The first thing an upland hunter will hear is the rapid beating of wings. Roosters usually make a cackling sound as they take flight as well. This may sound similar to a decrescendo of “kawk-kawk- kawk-kawk-kawk.” The sound occurs normally when a rooster takes sudden, flushed flight. Roosters also make this sound when flying to feeding fields in the morning or back to the roosting fields near sundown. Just before daybreak, a rooster will make a “kaw-KAWK!” morning call to announce the sunrise and stake territory. A hen, however, when flushed will make a higher pitched sound–if any–and it resembles a soft, repeated, “squeet-squeet-squeet” as it flies away.
Pheasant Hunting Dogs
Pheasant hunters typically identify 1 of 25 breeds of bird dogs as being “the best” breed. In most cases, any “upland hunting dog” is considered a good dog for pheasants. Much has been written about the ideal bird dog for pheasant hunting, and hunters today continually vouch for their favorite type and breed. Bird dogs or “gun dogs” typically fall into these three categories: flushers, pointers and retrievers. True pheasant hunting dogs either “point” (become stiff at the scent/presence of a pheasant) or “flush” (cause a pheasant to fly up relatively close to the hunter). So, pointers and flushing breeds are typically the best bird dogs for pheasant hunting.
Originally, flushers, such as those with “Spaniel” in the name, were the primary bird dogs used for pheasant hunting. But now, pointers and retrievers are commonly found in hunters’ kennel boxes. Many dogs in the “retriever” lines are known for retrieving waterfowl but can make excellent pheasant dogs as well. If properly trained, retrievers have the potential to flush pheasants. Most popular pheasant dogs in Kansas are likely included in this list: Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Brittany, German Shorthaired Pointer, German Wirehaired Pointer, English Pointer, English Setter and English Springer Spaniel.
In the Field
When you go out with dogs, pay close attention to all of the bird dogs in the hunting party. Notice how the dogs start to act more excited and circle back into a spot in the field. It is likely they are encountering pheasant scent and are considered “birdy.” Once on point, follow the directions from the guide to flush the pheasants. If no specific instructions from the guide, avoid approaching the dog on point from behind. Instead, arc around to the side at a right angle to the point and walk into the spot to obtain the flush. Finally, do not shoot at birds below the horizon of the land for fear of accidentally shooting at the bird dogs.
Join Your Local Pheasants Forever Chapter
Pheasants Forever is a nonprofit habitat organization dedicated to promoting conservation, pheasant hunting heritage, wildlife habitat, hunting access and all things related to pheasant hunting. Beginning in 1982, Pheasants Forever tries to establish chapters throughout the country, allowing pheasant hunters and conservationists to connect with others locally. Local members decide how to spend 100 percent of the locally raised money on habitat or pheasant hunting projects.
The organization holds fundraising banquets typically comprised of a dinner and an auction to raise money for education, awareness and habitat production. Periodical publications include Pheasants Forever Journal, Forever Outdoors and “On the Wing” newsletter. A sister organization called Quail Forever in 2005 to promote the same type of things for quail hunting.