There are states with more pheasants and states with more bobwhite quail. But if you want great hunting for both through the end of January, head for Kansas. According to Bob Matthews, chief of information and education at the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, many of the state’s most avid upland hunters wait for the late season, when fewer hunters vie for birds concentrated in prime cover.
“On a good day, you’ll put up 12 to 20 coveys of quail, and each hunter might get eight to 10 makeable shots at roosters,” Matthews says. And some of the best upland action is available to anyone, as both resident and nonresident hunters have access to nearly 1 million acres of private land through the state’s Walk-In Hunting Areas program.
Hotspots: Central and south-central Kansas perennially offer the best wingshooting. It’s consistently good throughout the region, Matthews says, but nonresident hunters should choose counties that combine prime hunting with a good selection of walk-in areas, such as Pawnee, Barton, Rush, and Edwards. For pheasants, hunt CRP grasses early and late in the day, and focus on pockets of cover in or near feeding fields during midday. For bobwhites, work thicker woody cover, such as shelterbelts, plum thickets, or pasture lands.
Insider Tip: “Take advantage of any breaks in the weather,” Matthews says. “If the sun pops out at midday, skip lunch because the birds will be out feeding. Weather is the biggest variable in December and January; if you have the opportunity to check the forecast before you come, do it.” Season dates: Nov. 8Â¿Â¿Â¿Jan. 31 for both pheasants and quail in the eastern two-thirds of the state.