Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Quail and Pheasant Hunting Forecast
Not Part Of The Formal Agreement
Mid-America Hunting Association has always been more than a business exchange of money for service. It is a case success is based on relationships between Association partners, Jon Nee and John Wenzel, and hunters. Foundation of that relationship are the Association rules. The rules set minimum expected exchange between hunters and Association. Beyond our rules based exchange is courtesy. Courtesy in exchange of information feedback, ideas. The annual quail and pheasant hunting forecast is such a courtesy exchange. A courtesy beyond our rules willingly offered to first year Association hunters. After anyone's first year our forecast is given as a thank you to all who graciously send in their annual hunting photographs.
What hunters gain are recommendations where to go quail or pheasant hunting.
Without recommendations a hunter is left to his own resources of where to put out his dogs. With us we seek a high rate of return hunters. Offering this service usually results in higher bird numbers lending towards return trips.
Quail & Pheasant Hunting Forecasts Based On:
During season upland bird hunting by Association's two partners behind their own dogs in Kansas, Iowa, Missouri.
Off season tracking of spring nesting/brood weather.
Summer time rainfall, habitat development.
Contributions voluntarily sent in by Association hunters.
We operate as a business rather than a club. As a business we know what self guided wild upland bird hunters seek in order to earn their return business. Knowing where any better quail and pheasant hunting will be from year to year is part of that business.
About Our Upland Bird Hunting Forecast
We receive questions every year about our forecast. Largely how we develop it. Several elements contribute to our forecast includes:
1. Previous season densities.
2. Trusted hunter feedback.
3. 12 month year on the ground observation.
4. Season long weather effects.
Where They Were
Population densities during any previous season indicating a potential carry over for spring mating. We take this evaluation from our own on ground during season assessments.
We have trusted hunters who are not given to exaggeration or deception on their personal field observations. These hunters give assessments of where population trends are increasing or decreasing by regions they hunt. Just as the Association partners may not be able to cover all Association lease land regions during any season neither can anyone hunter. However, combining reports from a good selection of hunters hunting all regions with our year round observations does provide a more complete assessment.
During The Season Hunting
Next, is our own or MAHA partner assessment during of season behind dogs we trained and hunt. Nothing beats first hand experience. Hard to find from state agency prognosticators who must work during upland bird season rather than hunt. They are also not financially liable for their advice unlike this Association which survives based on return hunters.
Your Association staff does practice what they preach. They rarely cover one units twice in a season. Both Jon Nee and John Wenzel travel around each region. Along with traveling on land runs through each year observing weather effects. Their objective is to give every hunter as good of an experience possible. The first step is cover in a region having a history of production. The resulting recommendation to Association hunters of where to hunt is intended to motivate that member to renew his membership due to having a good hunt.
Hatch & Brood
Finally, spring reproduction survival. The combined rainfall during hatch and brood months of May to June for pheasant, summer long for quail.
No other environmental influencing factor we can measure has such a direct connection to ground nesting fowl populations than spring rains. Key is not to have too much rain. As a mark to gauge we have found through years having less than 10 inches combined from first of May to end of June rainfall indicates an above average pheasant chick survival rate. This is increasingly so as that rainfall decreases in amount.
Quail on the other hand have a higher frequency of re-nesting. We have observed juvenile conveys at season opener. For quail we will continue to track spring through summer weather effects. This refinement of recognizing pheasant and quail are not similar in their reproduction adds further refinement to our forecast.
What Did Not Work
Other environmental factors we have tracked to attempt to draw correlations to which have failed.
They have included winter cold temperatures with snowfall. Both of which had no statistical correlation to quail or pheasant hunting quality. In central mid-west our winters are mild to a point they have few degrading affects northern states suffer. Benefit is of greater spring carry over with increased general strength of hens.
Another environmental influence we have is summer heat combined rainfall. This criteria is more about cover quality than reproduction.
Cover quality is degraded by drought or enhanced by rains. A secondary effect being predation protection to maturing juvenile quail and pheasant. That secondary affect has been minimal to non-consequential in terms of population numbers. That same indicator of summer rains and the lack there of during some years does impact hunt quality in spite of numbers.
One impact is good tall grass is thick and five feet average height or better. That cover holds pheasants tight. In numbers making for memorable rolling flushes with successive points. These are conditions where one field, one walk, one dog, one hunter can have four rooster points, four shells with four in bag kind of day.
However, if grass is thin or low due to drought pheasants do not concentrate. They are far more given to run. Two conditions where lesser quality dogs fail to perform to hunter satisfaction. Such cover is shown above in a contribution from Tom showing low height native grass not sufficient to hide but half his dog. Tough hunting with pheasants possible.
Quail are less affected as weeds will grow every year. Weeds will attract bugs. Tall grass is not required by quail for protective cover.
From Joe, a dedicated deer/turkey hunter. He took this picture during a spring turkey hunt. A drought year. Plenty of weeds and grass in the background giving good cover.
When we combine all factors used in our forecast we assess as to where to recommend hunters to hunt quail and or pheasant. Our idea is maximizing their hunt quality. Not as a promise of bagging limits every day. This hunt quality aspect includes habitat type. We have experienced hunters who may excel on brushy draws achieve only frustration in tall prairie grass. Getting as many as is reasonable to experience satisfaction from quality of their hunt rather than by counting bag limits is our goal. Bag limits do come. They come to those who seem to first enjoy their dog.
Once More During Hunting Season
Another element to good upland bird hunting is the time and weather conditions during hunting season. Our early season from last of October through November is typically warm. This period makes for plenty of 'T' shirt field days and heat fatigued dogs. From December onwards colder weather becomes more reliable, hunt quality improves for scenting conditions, dog and hunter comfort.
Overall our approach is a continuous effort restarted each year after hunting season.