If you’ve been outside the city of McPherson this week, it’s likely you’ve seen at least one orange-clad hunter or passed a sitting pick-up near pasture land. The 2010 upland bird season opened Saturday, bringing hunters, dogs and money to the state’s rural areas.


If you’ve been outside the city of McPherson this week, it’s likely you’ve seen at least one orange-clad hunter or passed a sitting pick-up near pasture land. The 2010 upland bird season opened Saturday, bringing hunters, dogs and money to the state’s rural areas.
Rains that came through just prior to opening day both helped and hurt hunters, leaving most habitats and good scent conditions for dogs but rendering some rural roads impassible.
According to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, hunters have been very pleased overall with both the conditions and number of birds.
“Hunters reported seeing lots of pheasants, especially in the westcentral and western portions of the state. The opening weekend generally lures mostly pheasant hunters, but quail numbers are good in central portions of the state, and hunters reported taking quail in these areas,” KDWP officials wrote in a press release Wednesday.
Hunting in the southcentral part of the state lagged some this year, likely due to higher bird counts farther west. Last year, nearly 108,000 hunters harvested 680,000 roosters. KDWP notes that unfavorable June weather conditions likely led to below-average productivity for birds in the central part of the state. Quail numbers are also down somewhat from last fall as heavy summer rains impacted quail nests that were hatching. And prairie chicken numbers are also expected lower for the state’s central and southcentral regions due, again, to heavy rains during that summer months.
Ash Creek Upland Game Hunting resort owner Rich Case said he’s received several calls from hunters wanting to use his controlled hunting area because they had little luck finding birds in opening hunting lands.
“We’ve been booked solid for the last two weeks,” said Case, whose hunting lodge is located north of Windom. “We had a group leave today and will have another group coming in tomorrow and wil hunt this Saturday and Sunday.”
A vast majority of Case’s business is from out-of-state hunters and this year has been no different. Nearly 90 percent of hunters travel to Kansas for its hunting opportunities.
Annually, the sport of pheasant hunting generates about $271 million and adds about 6,000 jobs. Lat month, Governor Elect Sam Brownback made a public push to better promote and market the state’s hunting opportunities. Pheasant season would be kicked off each year with an invitation hunt followed be a weekend of networking among community and business leaders.
Opening weekend of pheasant season is typically the busiest time for Kansas hunters but KDWPs said opportunities for hunters exist through the end of the year. Any snow the area receives will only help improve hunting conditions. Hunting licenses are valid through Dec. 31 and 2011 licenses go on sale Dec. 15.