By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

He's not yet seen a single shred of evidence to suggest how the state's pheasant season went.

Still, Randy Rodgers is confident the season was good -- but only for a portion of the almost 90-day season. Rodgers is the state's pheasant expert for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

Early on, the season was off to a slow start, considering the sheer amount of crops that were still standing in the field when hunters were able to go afield.

In some areas of northwest Kansas, that problems abated early on, allowing ready access to uncut fields.

But then winter weather set in and slowed the progress of the hunt once again.

"Overall it was a pretty good season," Rodgers said of much of northwest Kansas.

The cold and snowy weather really wasn't much of a hindrance, he said, until it started melting and turned into a crunchy covering.

That made it all much impossible to walk up any birds, as the noise sounded the alarm long before hunters were able to get within range.

That's why Rodgers, when people who weren't from the area would call ahead to see where the best spot to go hunting was, would send them south.

"I was sending people south into Rush, Pawnee and Ness counties, to get away from the crunchy snow," Rodgers said.

KDWP is just now in the process of gathering information from hunters to determine actual success rates.

And while it might not be a banner year, Rodgers thinks it "will be above what we're used to on average.

"Overall, I still think it was pretty good. Certainly, it could have been better. One can always say that."

The state's pheasant season is one of the most popular, attracting hordes of hunters for opening weekend. Because pheasant hunting is best in western Kansas, many hunters from the eastern part of the state head west for the opening.

The season opened in early November and closed Jan. 31. The season opens Nov. 13 this year.