TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks has released its 2022 Kansas Upland Bird Hunting Forecast.

Breeding population data was gathered for the forecast on pheasants, quail and prairie chickens. This data was collected during late summer roadside surveys for pheasants and quail, which quantify both adults and chicks observed. The same methods cannot be used to easily asses the reproductive success of prairie chickens as they do not associate with roads like pheasants and quail.

The forecast acknowledges that drought conditions had a big impact on pheasant production across much of their primary range. This was most noticeable in the High Plains regions of the western third of Kansas where were widespread declines. The statewide pheasant index has dropped to levels similar to the last drought cycle. Despite declines though, the forecast notes that Kansas remains as one of the best concentrations of pheasants in the county.

For quail, Kansas has continued to support above-average populations with spring densities remaining similar to 2021. Drought conditions reduced production of quail in the southwest region of Kansas, but quail increased on brood surveys through much of northcentral Kansas and eastward. Drought conditions are expected to impact huntable cover throughout the range with the best opportunities being in the Flint Hills and Smoky Hills regions.

Prairie chicken are found primarily in the tallgrass and mixed-grass prairies that occur in the eastern third and northern half of the state. Greater prairie chicken have recently expanded in numbers and range in the northwestern portion of the state while declining in the eastern regions. The best hunting opportunities will be best in the Smoky Hills Region this fall where populations have been stable, public access is more abundant and the drought was less intense than further west.

Season dates for bird hunters are as follows:

  • Youth Pheasant & Quail
    • Nov. 5-6, 2022
  • Pheasant
    • Nov. 12, 2021 – Jan. 31, 2023
  • Quail
    • Nov. 12, 2022 – Jan. 31, 2023
  • Prairie Chicken
    • Sep. 15, 2022 – Jan. 31, 2023

To read the full forecast, click here.