Early Season Kansas Quail Hunting
Consequence Of Over Enthusiasm
The idea that all must get out for the opening weeks of the Kansas hunting season has always been with us and always will. We recognize the desire to get hunting as early as possible to get as much in as the hunting season allows. We also recognize the consequences of this early Kansas season and wish to make them well known to all.
This series of early Kansas hunting season pictures well illustrates one concern. That is dogs will need water provided by the self guided hunter while hunting. Or, no guide is providing the hunter's needs.
The early season is warm.
Water more rare than dogs prefer it to be. Every water puddle, stream, pond will be break time. The pictures on this page may make it appear that dog accessible field water is plentiful. That is not the case in Kansas. Every hunter must carry water in the field for his dog. Yes, we have said that twice. And, every year we encounter hunters with pint sized water bottles their dog drains in 20 minutes. These hunters learn quick to do better. Not doing so is to detract from the dog's hunting to that of water search. It also dries out a dog's nose through dehydration reducing that dog's scenting capability.
North central Kansas has these water sources for the dog's relief. North west and south central Kansas does not. The difference is that north central and eastern Kansas is in the heavier drainage geography The rest of Kansas is the great plans that rise up into the high plains meaning very well drained soil.
This dog available water in north central Kansas benefit comes with a consequence. That is the hunter often has to cross steep drainage banks when the dog is on point on the other side. An obstacle avoided in south central and north west Kansas. One small issue for sure. One that shows the advantage of our various regions of upland bird habitat types. One quail region over another will better suit any one hunter and his hunting dog power. In the case of hunting Kansas heavier drainage areas is that hunter fatigue at crossing deep creeks does preserve quail through decreased shooting accuracy. Some of he largest Kansas coveys have found these creeks to protect against hunter and wildlife predation.
As a rule all Kansas upland bird hunters need to carry water for their dogs. Our experience shows three litters per dog per two hours of hunting. The two hour figure is generally the time it takes to hit the hot spots of a 1/4 section. The 1/4 section is the common Kansas upland bird hunting spot per stop regardless of the size of that lease.
Most will hunt a 1/4 section worth of land (160 acres) reload the truck, drive to the other side and hunt the adjoining 1/4. An advantage of our one mile grid road system. That is a good plan for the large farms. The hunter too will need to refresh himself after two hours hunting. The rest stop of sitting a bit longer in the truck seat soon becomes an anticipated respite.
Just In Case
For those hunting dogs that are carrying extra weight it matters little how much water the hunter may carry on a hot day. That is when the large ice chest in the truck may be helpful. There have been occasions when an out-of-shape or over weight dog suffered from heat fatigue or heat stroke. Immersion into the icy water of an ice chest may be all there is to save such a dog. An alternative may be hunting the middle and late Kansas season when the more reliable cold weather will occur.
Late Season May Be Better
Late Season Kansas Hunting
Dog on point in quail cover during the late Kansas season. A January hunt. Cold, good humidity and a dusting of snow. Great scenting conditions.
A hunter that responds to recommendations to hunt Kansas' late season with: "Will there be any quail left", is a hunter that should not hunt with us at all.
The hunter mentality that believes there are only wild quail at the beginning of the hunting season is a quail hunter that probably has failed at wild quail hunts.
Experienced private land quail hunters know full well the difficulty of hunting out a covey. Few have that capability in dog power, shooting ability or willingness to walk. At least no one that truly appreciates the value of hunting over that of collecting a body count. That is no one without a lot of dog power and a slob hunter ethic. The average upland bird hunter we allocated Association positions to are not the persons that seek only dead quail.
There will be those that attempt to hunt the same coveys each trip. Those folks will be talked to by one of the Association partners.
For the most part the better Association quail hunters are hunting for the dog work, not the bag. That drives them to conserve their coveys with 1 to 2 shot for the dogs and move onto the next covey. Contrast this with the other hunting style where shooting as many times as possible each covey rise. This level of Kansas wild quail covey and singles hunting in comparison makes other styles seem primitive.
A Kansas covey once pointed and flushed if let to fly typically disperse to several spots within vision of the hunter. Marking these spots and working the dog in turn will get more dog on bird action from a single Kansas covey than multiple covey hunting only approach.
Of a similar attitude that does not fit well with us is the quail hunter that has ego greater than dog capability. Those that tell us they have dogs superior to any other. Or, the finest hunting dogs to be seen. Or, shout out the dog's championship pedigree. These are hunters that often fail to qualify for Association membership. We do turn away money to avoid problems later during the season. When such hunters that have unreasonable expectations find them unfilled they seek to blame the Association, not their dog's ancestry.
Those that do have the "best" dogs or those that understand wild quail rarely tell of it.