The Kansas pheasant and quail seasons are coming to a close next Friday, Jan. 31, but that hasn’t kept area hunters from managing to spook up a few birds in the last month of the season.
Sean Honer, of Council Grove, and his son, Caden, went on a hunt earlier this month in Russell with a group of 24 and came away with an excellent haul of birds.
“We ended up with 46 pheasants over two days, which we worked our tails off for,” Sean Honer said. “The landowners wouldn't allow us to shoot the quail, and that's what truly impressed me. The numbers were like nothing I have seen for quite some time. They were managing the ground well and the grass was much thicker than I had seen it in several years.
“I was very impressed with the conservation efforts they have put forth in that area.”
Honer said the group included mostly hunters from the Council Grove/Morris County area, but also included a few friends and old hunting buddies from across the state. He was shocked to see such good bird numbers, perhaps even more so this late in the season.
“Definitely a surprise, we took a trip with our boys' youth weekend in Cawker City and definitely saw a decline from the numbers we had seen in years past,” Sean Honer said. “The quail in our area, I believe, are on the increase, but have a long way to go.
He said the steadily increasing population has helped him train up his new hunting dog, as well.
“I started a new shorthair pup this last summer and I've gotten her on some coveys, but will rarely shoot more than one bird out of them because they just aren't the 15-plus bird coveys that I would like to see,” he said.
While the quail population is still middling in this northeast Kansas, it’s booming in other parts of the state.
Dennis Allison, also of Council Grove, and a buddy of his had a similarly excellent hunt for quail in northwest Kansas. The two bagged 32 birds in two days of hunting. He said they found 12 coveys, with each one containing about 20 to 25 birds, which he said was an encouraging sign.
“So much dog work, they were totally wiped out,” Allison said in a Facebook post. “It's been a long time since I shot a limit 2 days in a row. Surprisingly we did not see a great amount of Pheasants, but I would rather hunt quail anyway.”
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