If you think flushing roosters and pointing coveys in Kansas was only for those with deep pockets, think again. Being in the middle of the country, Kansas is around a days drive for most of America which means if you and a buddy are willing to push through a long coffee fueled drive, you can make it no problem. Plus, watching the sunrise over the golden rolling Flint Hills is so worth an all night drive.
Blog written by NLK Ambassador Smiley Steele.
Where do I hunt?
The better question is where don’t you hunt? Kansas has a great program called the Walk-in Hunting Access Program, or WIHA, as the signs read. This program gives everyone access to certain tracks of privately owned land, and there is more of it than you can imagine. You can get your hands on WIHA maps from Kansas Wildlife Parks & Tourism as well as map layers for OnX maps and Gaia GPS. I promise you will have more trouble deciding where to hunt than you will finding a place to hunt. State lands are also great places to hunt. Wildlife areas are a great example of this. As long as you own a Kansas state hunting license you are free to enjoy these great lands!
Where do I sleep?
This depends on if you want to “rough it” or not. The most affordable option would be to camp. In many cases you can hunt where you stay. Lots of Wildlife areas have spaces for you to camp or areas for dispersed camping (camp where you want). You may also rent a cabin or campsite in some wildlife areas but many cost nothing. Kansas has another great program that provides free one night camping. Kansas started establishing Roadside Parks in the 1930’s. At the time most Kansas highways were 2 lane roads and many residents had to travel long distances for groceries and supplies. These Roadside parks provided folks with a place to rest for a night on their long journey. This could be a great free place to stay for one night. I found freecampsites.net to be very helpful in finding places to stay as well. Of course, if a night under the stars and dinner from a dutch oven isn’t your style, you can always find an affordable hotel/motel in a small town.
How do I know where the birds are?
Once again the answer is Kansas Parks and Wildlife. They post an upland bird forecast every year. Last year I solely used this forecast to determine what part of the state to hunt, and the birds were most certainly there. To paint a picture, my buddy, his dog, and myself were wading through a chest deep area of brush when we were surprised by an eruption of booming wings! 10 to 15 birds flushed in all directions around us. I found myself so in awe and overwhelmed by this beautiful site I almost forgot to shoot! If you want to take your research one step further, contacting the local biologist can be another great way to gain intel. But, in the end there is no substitute for scouting. Once you get to your destination you better get out the map and drive! Look for good habitat, make a note of cover that produces more birds. Listen and watch for birds going to roost in the evening. Half the fun is in the pursuit, anyway, in my opinion. So, I’ve given you the framework, now you have to apply it. With a little hard work and time I feel that most can be successful. There is a reason people come from all over to hunt Kansas roosters. Get out there, put some miles on, and find ’em. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg!