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Pheasant Numbers Down Across Kansas

PheasantThis Saturday is one of the most anticipated days for outdoor enthusiasts in Kansas. It's the beginning of pheasant and quail season.

Thousands of hunters from multiple states will be walking fields in Kansas.

According to the the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, annual Kansas pheasant and quail harvests usually rank among the top two or three states, and even though harvests will be down this year, Kansas will still rank high.

Two years of drought and extreme summertime temperatures have reduced pheasant and quail numbers, especially in the southwest portion of the state. Pheasant numbers are better in the northwest and north central regions, and quail numbers have remained stable or increased in the northeast, Flint Hills and southeast regions.

Kansas has long been a bird-hunting destination for hunters, who spend money on lodging, gas, food and other services while they're here. Hunters provide many rural communities with an important economic boost each year. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's "2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation," hunters spend more than $400 million annually in Kansas. Hunting trip-related expenses alone total nearly $150 million each year. Hunting is big business and important to the state economy.

Officials remind hunters that landowner permission is required before hunting on private land, whether the land is posted or not. Land posted with purple paint on fence posts is the same as land posted with "Hunting By Written Permission Only" signs and both types require written permission before hunting. With conditions this dry, hunters need to also be aware of fire danger. Avoid driving vehicles in tall grass and never smoke in the field.

Pheasant and Quail season lasts about three months, through the end of January.

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