“Upland hunters in Kansas harvested about 422,000 roosters in the 2016-17 season, up from 2015-16 season,” reports Jeff Prendergast, Small Game Specialist with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. “Hunter success was relatively high, and hunter numbers remain below average.”
Winter wasn’t a factor. “Winter weather in Kansas is rarely severe enough to cause any major population effects, and this winter there were no severe events of concern,” says Prendergast.
That brings us to nesting and production. “Rainfall throughout spring was heavy, providing ample cover for nesting and brood rearing,” says Prendergast. “A heavy snowstorm did occur the first weekend in May in far western Kansas, and that may have caused nest abandonment for hens in areas impacted.”
“Habitat across the state is generally good to great,” adds Prendergast. “However, extreme weather events that have been occurring this spring and early summer, for example that May snowstorm, and we may have localized to regional impacts on fall bird densities.”
For the traveling hunter, Prendergast provide the following insights: “Northwest and Southwest traditionally have the highest pheasant densities, but Southwest had the highest crow survey this year. The Northwest appears to be still recovering from losses during the drought.”
Related to that recovery, “the statewide pheasant crow index has returned above pre-drought averages, and North-Central and South-Central are both relatively above the long-term average,” says Prendergast. “The Kansas pheasant initiative is ongoing in focus areas in Northwest and North-Central Kansas. The recovery from drought conditions is currently the largest factor influencing our rapidly increasing pheasant populations."
Tom Carpenter is Pheasants Forever's Digital Content Manager.