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Drought reduces pheasant population but hunting preserves... - KOAM TV 7

Drought reduces pheasant population but hunting preserves keep the sport alive

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According to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, drought has reduced pheasant population in most regions, but hunting preserves are keeping the sport alive.

Pheasant season opens this weekend for those hunting in the wild.  But on hunting preserves, like Claythorne Lodge in Cherokee County, Kansas, the hunt has been going on since September.

Leonard Mosler used to hunt pheasant in western Kansas.

"It's tough to go out there anymore without private places to go, so preserves are hard to beat," says Mosler.

The state says population in that area of Kansas has decreased due to two years of extreme heat and dry conditions.  Those conditions reduced nesting and brood habitats for the birds.

Claythorne Lodge hunting guide, Kent Schenker, says over the years hunter population has increased.

"If you do the math and everything, it's becoming cheaper to hunt around here rather than out in western Kansas - price of gas and everything - it's harder to find land out there to hunt anymore," says Schenker.  "Probably saves them a lot of money, just in the travel time and you end up with a lot more birds usually."

Schenker says Claythorne Lodge has the birds captured and released, giving hunters a better opportunity to bag a few birds.

"They fly very well and everything, it's still a fun hunt with your guys, with your friends and everything," says Schenker.  "It's just hard to beat."

Kansas Wildlife officials say hunting brings the state an estimated $400 million each year.

Also, on Saturday, deer season begins in Missouri.

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