From sunrise to sunset, Saturday and Sunday, youth hunters have their shot at bagging pheasants or quail before adult hunters take to the fields Nov. 10. It’s the annual Kansas youth pheasant and quail hunting season, Nov. 3 and 4, for youth age 16 and under. Youth under the age of 16, accompanied by an adult mentor, can hunt for free all over the state. Brian Hanzlick, Barton County conservation officer, said while there were no organized youth hunts locally, the youth season offers a great opportunity for parents to pass on their love of hunting to their children, and keep the sport of hunting vibrant and alive.
But, with numbers of birds down as much as 40 percent following two years of drought, should there even be a hunting season this year? Wouldn’t it be better to allow numbers to build again?
“It’s hard to stop a hunting season,” Hanzlick said. “Honestly, sportsmen are going to regulate it.” For many families and groups of friends, the annual pheasant hunt has become a multigenerational tradition.
“You’ve got guys out there who have hunted together for 30 years or more, and have gotten their children and their grandchildren involved,” he said. “Even in a good season, if they get some birds, they’re tickled, but the main draw is spending time together, enjoying the outdoors. For some, its like a reunion.”
Wildlife biologist Charlie Swank said there are indeed birds out there. Many are carry-over from last year, which means they’ll be wise to the sound of a car door slamming.
“It’s called hunting for a reason,” he said. “These kids are going to have to hunt. It isn’t going to be easy, but they have a fairly good opportunity to get a bird.” The weather will be good, and cool enough for dogs to work well too, he said.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism website lists these requirements for the youth pheasant and quail season this weekend:
1. Resident youth 15 and younger do not need anything other than an adult supervisor to hunt during the youth season. Hunter education certification is recommended but not necessary as long as the youth hunts under adult supervision. Sixteen-year-old hunters need a hunting license and hunter education is required to purchase a hunting license, unless they opt for the apprentice license.
2. Anyone 16 or older who has not completed an approved hunter education course may purchase an apprentice license, which is a one-time deferral of the hunter education requirement. Adult supervision is required at all times for an apprentice license holder, even during the regular season.
3. Daily bag limits during the youth pheasant and quail season are half those of the regular season; 2 rooster pheasants and 4 quail.
4.An annual resident hunting license is $20.50. However, resident youth age 16-21 qualify for a multi-year hunting license, which is valid through the year they turn 21. It’s a bargain at $42.50 for the hunting license and $72.50 for the combination hunting/fishing license.