The good news: The outlook for the Kansas pheasant opener Saturday is much better than it was a year ago at this time.
The bad news: It still won’t be anywhere near what it once was.
“We should see improvement in be anywhere near what it once was.
“We should see improvement in the harvest,” said Jeff Prendergast, a wildlife biologist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. “There will be more birds out there.
“But the hunting still will be below-average.”
“Average” in Kansas is a lofty peak. The Sunflower State has long been recognized as one of the best pheasant-hunting states in the nation. That’s why last year’s crash came as such a shock to many hunters.
They shot only 190,285 pheasants, the lowest total since record-keeping started in 1957. And hunter numbers slumped to 54,000, again the lowest in modern times.
That was a far cry from 2010, when 892,672 pheasants were taken in Kansas. Prendergast warns hunters not to expect anything like that this year. But at the same time, he doubts hunters will have to suffer through another season like 2013-14.
The Smoky Hills region should produce the best hunting, with the most birds found there during surveys. But most parts of the state showed improvement in bird numbers.
Quail season to open, too
Kansas quail hunters also are looking forward to being able to erase memories of last season.
Hunters shot 174,970 bobwhites in 2013-2104, the lowest seasonal total on record. And just as troubling to wildlife officials, only 38,350 hunters were chasing those birds, again a historical low.
This season promises to be better. Surveys show that quail numbers are up sharply, though nowhere near what they once were.
And wildlife officials say that increase in bird numbers should produce improved hunting. In surveys, the best populations were found in the eastern one-third of the state, particularly the Flint Hills region.
Youth deer season
Missouri youngsters shot 18,091 deer during the the first segment of the youth season Nov. 1-2, the lowest total since 2011.
Young hunters shot 18,676 deer last year and 19,277 in 2012.
Osage County led the state this year with 448 deer registered. Franklin ranked second with 393 and Howell third with 376.
A disappointing turkey season
The Missouri fall firearms turkey season was one of the worst in recent years.
Hunters shot only 5,691 birds in the season that lasted Oct. 1-31. That was the lowest total since at least 2009.
Greene was the top county, with 165 birds checked in. Franklin was close behind, with 163 birds, and St. Clair third with 160.
Conservation agent wins award
Rob Farr, a conservation agent for the Missouri Department of Conservation since 1980, was recently named Officer of the Year by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
He topped officers nominated from 16 states. Farr started his career in Henry County, and has been in Benton County since 1982.
And the winners are…
Several area bass-tournament circuits crowned their champions in recent year-end tournaments.
Frank Flack of Spring Hill won the Olathe Bass Club Tournament of Champions on Oct. 25 at Melvern Lake. He caught three bass weighing 8.38 pounds. He also took big bass honors with a 3.91-pound bass.
Kevin Harris of Overland Park and Louis Eason of Kansas City, Kan., won the Sol Pro Bassmasters Year-End Classic on Saturday and Sunday at Lake of the Ozarks. They had a two-day total of 15.40 pounds.
Fundraiser set for Saturday
A raffle and barbeque to benefit Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing is set for Saturday at K&K Flyfishers, 87th Street and Grant in Overland Park.
The event, which will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., will feature fly casting instruction, fly tying, prizes and the raffle. Hot dogs will be served.
For more information, call K&K Flyfishers at 913-341-8118.
To reach outdoors editor Brent Frazee, call 816-234-4319 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.