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Unseasonable warmth presents challenges for Kansas hunters

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 10:41 PM CST
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HAVEN, Kan. (KWCH) - From pheasants to deer to waterfowl, hunting seasons are in full swing in Kansas. But so far, it’s been a challenge for many hunters because of the unusual warmth the state’s had with several days of above average high temperatures.

Near Haven, you can find Steve Westfall in the tall grass, on the hunt for pheasants. He’s been hunting for decades and owns Irish Creek Outfitters where people can hunt and stay the night. There is no shortage of birds, but because it’s been so warm and dry, finding them can be a challenge for bird dogs.

“The dogs can’t smell them as well, especially when we’re in a prolonged dry period like we are now. They have to work a lot harder,” Westfall said.

The warmth also means pheasants are more likely to run instead of hunkering down in the grass to shelter themselves from cold winds.

At Irish Creek Outfitters, the warmth also means shorter hunts to give bird dogs much-needed breaks.

“If you hunt them for an hour and a half, two hours, you got a good hunt,” Westfall said. “We go a couple hours, maybe two in the morning, two in the afternoon.”

It’s not just birds. The warm weather has also made deer season more difficult so far.

“We’ve not killed a great big trophy deer this year, last year we killed five really good trophy deer,” Westfall said.

He and other Kansas hunters hope that a cold front will come in soon as changes in temperatures usually cause deer to be more active. For pheasants and quail, a few inches of snow would also help.

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