There are a variety of Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks programs designed to recruit new hunters and anglers. All efforts are in response to a declining trend in the number of Kansans who purchase hunting and fishing licenses, as well as the desire to see our outdoor heritage passed on. But the positive impact of teaching youngsters about the outdoors may go much deeper than merely passing on a heritage.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Something To Look Forward To

Hunting has always given me something to look forward to. When I was 13, opening day of pheasant season was a big day that couldn't arrive soon enough. I usually started to get the fever in August when my family would take Sunday evening drives in the country. I'd be watching for pheasants -- scouting. But I didn't have to see lots of pheasants to be excited for opening day. As a boy, I didn't know how important the camaraderie would become, and I didn't have the foggiest idea how important hunting would be in my life. I just knew that something new and exciting was going to happen, and I loved every minute of it, whether there were lots of birds or not.

Today, I understand how important hunting has been in my life -- how important it is to be in the field with certain people and dogs, and I fully appreciate every day. I'm looking forward to the hunting seasons even though the prospects for good bird populations in my area aren't good. The drought and heat have taken a toll on pheasant and quail populations, I'm afraid. But I'm still making plans to hunt. I've already made arrangements for my cousin to join me on opening day. Last year's bird hunting was disappointing, but we had memorable experiences, hunting ducks and even did a little crappie fishing. We made the best of what we found. We'll do the same this year.

Kansas provides a variety of opportunities, and we'll stay flexible and enjoy each other's company. I can't wait for hunting season!


  1. Mike,

    I'm a Kansas magazine subscriber, widowed from my Kansas-bred fisheries biologist husband, Mark, for a bit over a year now. I've taken on his outdoors column for our local paper, today was my 1 year anniversary of writing it.

    We own land in central KS, near McPherson, and my 10 year old son & I are planning to travel there (from TX, where we reside) to hunt pheasant and quail for the first time. We participated in a mentored duck hunt in January, part of a TPWD program. I'm a novice outdoor woman, but learning as quickly as I can. Know it's up to me to continue the training my late husband began.

    Would this be something you would be interested in writing about? You would be most welcome to join us, and you would be doing us a great favor, helping us with the finer points of pheasant hunting. We've taken hunter safety, and have a great German shorthair to hunt with.

    I've attached my column from today's paper, in case you are interested in reading it.

  2. My son is 13 now and has been hunting with his Grandpa and me for 4 years now. He has taken hunter safety and does a better job than a lot of adults I have met with safe handling of a firearm.

    We just returned from a opening weekend trip to North Dakota. Bird populations are good where we were hunting. The amount of cover for the pheasants and the availibility of places to hunt make it a wonderful trip. (In North Dakota private land can be hunted if it is not posted without tracking down the owner). The area we live in (here in Kansas) has very little cover left (most CRP in the area is out), and very little WALK in ground availiable. I would like to know how individuals can help improve those situations so I can help my son get started on something he can really get behind. Any ideas?