During the settlement era, the Cimarron River was a major source of game and sustenance for pioneers in southwestern Kansas. These days, that pioneer legacy lives on for upland bird hunters at the Cimarron National Grassland, located near Elkhart. The Cimarron Grassland contains 108,000 acres of prairie that supports healthy populations of quail as well as limited numbers of pheasants and prairie chickens. The largest quail populations live in the area south of the Cimarron River, which contains prairie grasses such as bluestem and love grass. You can also find birds in the riparian areas bordering the river itself, which is usually dry. If you go for pheasants, concentrate on the private croplands bordering the grassland. Some of these areas are leased for walk-in hunting by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, and you can find them all in the DWP’s Walk-In Hunting Area Atlas, which can be obtained free of charge. Contact: Cimarron National Grassland (316-697-4621); Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (316-672-5911;