On a Quest for the Greater Prairie Chicken



We recently loaded up the dogs and hit the road for a two-day early season greater prairie chicken hunt out at Ringneck Ranch in the Smoky Hills of Kansas. Early season prairie chicken hunts are typically known to be a challenging and physically demanding hunt, and that’s no joke! Tromping miles and miles through the tall, matted grasses of the Kansas prairie can be tough for even the young bucks in their mid-20s. The dogs on the other hand, take it like champs and live to do this kind of stuff! Isn’t that what truly matters?

One of the best parts of early prairie chicken season is that it’s a great hunt to start getting the pups ready for quail and pheasant season. On the first day, less than five minutes from the truck, Rex, a young English pointer, busted a group of about nine prairie chickens. Rex was obviously excited, frolicking through the tall prairie grasses as he chased after the deceptively fast birds. We called him off the birds using a Garmin Alpha 100, hoping they wouldn’t fly far and we would be able to put another stalk on them. While Rex busted them far out of shooting range, it was a good sign that birds were in the area. Unfortunately, those were the first and last birds we were going to see on that hot September day.


On the morning of day two, we woke up early and hit it hard. It was going to be another hot day, so we figured that we were going to be done and headed home by 11 AM. We split up into two groups, hoping that if anyone flushed birds, they would fly to the other group. 

Midway through the hunt, Rex had a beautiful, picture perfect point. As soon as the shooter walked in on the point, a covey of more than 20 quail erupted. After that, Rex pointed three more singles that didn’t flush with the rest of the birds. Quail are still out of season in Kansas, but this point was a promising sign for the young pointer and we were all smiles. That alone was worth the drive.

ALF_0474 EDIT Un-cropped

We admitted defeat by chicken and headed back to the truck without any birds in hand. As we met up with the second group, we noticed that they were carrying a pair of prairie chickens. Come to find out, they stumbled upon a few birds that we flushed to them earlier that morning. Looks like our strategy paid off!

ALF_0659 EDIT IG - Greater Prairie Chicken Hunt Success

Overall, we had a great time and walked away with even more respect for the greater prairie chicken. It’s a tough bird to hunt this time of year, and you’ll definitely put on the miles. As a matter of fact, our fēnix 3 said that we hiked over 13 miles over the span of two half-day hunts!

The early greater prairie chicken season is the time when maybe it’s not just about shooting birds, but more about getting both your dogs and yourself back in the swing of things.

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The post On a Quest for the Greater Prairie Chicken appeared first on Garmin Blog.

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