The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism this week issued its 2018 Upland Bird Forecast, and the outlook is generally pretty solid across the state.

The Kansas pheasant forecast was categorized as being “fair to locally good” this year after Kansas reported the second-highest harvest by state in 2017, though roadside counts indicate a below-average pheasant population this year. Still, the state is set to have one of the top pheasant populations again this fall.

“Winter precipitation was limited this year, resulting in short wheat and concern for nesting prospects,” the report stated. “Heavy spring and summer showers greatly improved vegetative cover for nesting, but also limited nest success. Conditions shifted peak pheasant hatch later into June and July. While wheat harvest was delayed, which typically benefits pheasant production, the short wheat limited its usefulness for nesting.”

Best areas will likely be in the northern half of the Kansas pheasant range, with areas of high densities also found in central and far southwestern regions, according to the report.

The recorded 2017 bobwhite quail harvest in Kansas was the highest of any state in the country, just above Texas, and though the population is predicted to be down slightly it will still be among the best in the country, the forecast predicts.

“While total harvest has remained well below average due to lower hunter participation, the average daily bag has remained at the best levels observed in 20 years. The bobwhite whistle survey in 2018 showed only a slight decline compared to the 2017’s highest values ever recorded from this survey, which began in 1997.”

The report says densities in the eastern-most regions are not as high as other parts if the state, but all regional indices remain near or above their respective long-term averages, with the best opportunities in the central regions, extending east into the northern Flint Hills. Pheasant and quail seasons run Nov. 10 through Jan. 31, 2019, with a youth season Nov. 3-4. The daily bag limit for pheasant is four cocks during the regular season and two during youth season. The bag limit for quail is eight birds during the regular season and four during the youth season.

In the Northern High Plains and Smoky Hill Regions, greater prairie chicken numbers have been stable or even increasing, the report added. The greater prairie chicken early season runs Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 and Nov. 17-Jan. 31, 2019. Hunters are required to purchase a $2.50 Prairie Chicken Permit to harvest the birds, in addition to their regular hunting license.