So far, Kansas is escaping serious drought conditions, and upland birds are doing well this summer
By Marina Osier
Kansas has been faring pretty well in the rain department, and we have so far avoided the extreme drought conditions our northern neighbors have been experiencing all year.
We started the year out with much of the state in drought, but the rains have been rolling through the state with some regularity through the spring and first half of summer, leading to excellent nesting and brood-rearing conditions for pheasants and quail.
Our field staff and Kansas farmers report that habitat conditions and crops look great thanks to these so-far timely rains. In fact, wheat harvest is a little delayed in some areas of western Kansas as farmers work to navigate their “rain delays.” As they are able to get out and work the harvest, producers are reporting sightings of half-grown broods.
Meanwhile, in the southeast corner of the state, we may be dealing with too much of a good thing, though it is early to tell. The area has seen significant rainfall events, with some areas receiving upwards of 15 inches in a just couple of events fairly recently. This causes some concern over nesting and recently hatched birds, but the final effects remain to be seen. Pheasants Forever staff report daily bobwhite vocal observations in the area.
All that said, dry conditions are starting to show up in some northern and southern counties now. But so far these areas are isolated and relatively small, and the habitat is still in good shape for both pheasants and quail.
The numbers remain to be seen, but if the conditions continue to remain as favorable as they have been, Kansas may be rewarded with some excellent upland bird hunting this fall!
Marina Osier is State Coordinator for Pheasants Forever in Kansas.