Let's face it, I'm a living, breathing example of just how spotty the state's pheasant population might be.

It's not at all uncommon for me to go days or weeks without seeing a pheasant, and then "Bam," borrowing a trademark phrase from famed television chef Emeril Lagasse, there they are.

Ironically, the greatest concentration of pheasants I've seen in at least the past two years were spotted on the drive down to Horsethief Reservoir, to take in the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism's propaganda about the importance of hunting and fishing in Kansas.

It wasn't long after leaving the house I spotted something moving on the road a mile or so ahead of me. Given it was still morning, with rapidly dissipating fog, it was hard to determine exactly what it was.

But as I moved closer and closer, it became apparent they were birds, and good size ones at that.

At about the half-mile mark, it quickly became apparent the birds were pheasants. Roosters no less.

That's when I started counting. There were two, no three.

No, the number was closer to four. Then I could see five.

As I slowed down, putting down the steaming coffee and grabbing for the camera, the birds started to scatter.

Unfortunately, they headed down into the ditch and all but out of sight, or rather out of the camera's viewfinder.

But there also turned out to be a sixth rooster.

A massive find, and not a single picture to show for it.

The luck didn't stop there.

A couple miles later, five or six mule deer were grazing in a pasture.

Ultimately, by the time I made it to the reservoir near Jetmore, I had spotted as many as eight pheasants, the mule deer and vast number of blackbirds and meadowlarks.

Considering most of that drive was on paved roads, not a bad haul, so to speak.

But, that's the rub. It was a single day and the most -- almost collectively -- that I've seen this year, if you don't count the handful of chicks I've seen.

I'm a skeptic when it comes to the idea that pheasant numbers are up from last year.

Oh sure, there might be a few more here and there, but I'm not convinced the numbers are that much higher.

I've watched as many a farmer has made his way through seemingly endless rows of milo and corn, without a single pheasant flushing. None that I've talked to have indicated seeing any either.

I've not seen them on the road, save for that single day record, and I've rolled down hundreds of miles of county roads this summer, at all times of day and in all kinds of weather.

That's why I really don't plan to head out this weekend, in the unlikely event there's a crowd. Next week, however, I might try my hand.

Who knows, I might see that nice bunch. I know where they are. And I'm not telling.