October 2005 Kansas Pheasant Hunt

For probably 30 years I have wanted to hunt pheasants in the mid-west grain belt of the United States.  In February of 2005 my friend Bob and I attended the sportsman show in Harrisburg, PA with the purpose of finding an outfitter that offered pheasant hunting.  Out of the hundreds of outfitters from around the world we only found two offering pheasant hunting.  One of the outfitters came across as very commercial, plus he said some of the land that he had recently obtained he had not hunted on yet.  The other outfitter was Scott Wilkens of Midwest Outfitters.  http://www.midwestoutfittersinc.com/ 

It was evident after talking to Scott for just a few minutes that he loved hunting. Bob and I both felt he was the one we wanted to book a hunting trip with.  After corresponding by email with Scott and his sister Lisa, who also happens to be the camp cook, we decided on the first week of October.  We also decided to drive from the mid-Atlantic area rather the take a plane.  Midwest Outfitters is located about 10 miles outside of the very small (population 500) town of Linn, Kansas.  Linn is in the  northeastern part of the state.  It was roughly 1500 miles from my home just south of Baltimore.  I departed my house early Saturday morning and picked Bob up just west of Harrisburg.  We planned to take our time, stopping at any hunting store we passed on the way.

We arrived at Scott's farm just before dinner on Monday evening.   The main course for dinner that night consisted of the largest T-bone steak I have ever tried to devour. My guess is that it weighed at least 20 ounces.  If I have one negative comment about our stay at Midwest, it was that this is not the place to go if you are trying to watch your weight.  I watched mine increase even though we walked better then 10-12 miles each day hunting.  We stared each  morning with a country style breakfast of eggs and bacon, had a hot lunch, and then a huge dinner with home cooked deserts.

The accommodations were first class. It is 2-3 hunters per room.  (The week we were there it was just Bob, Lisa, the guide, and myself). The "bunkhouse" had a large screen TV as did the lodge. The second guest house, which was actually the farm house Scott and Lisa grew up in, is where we stayed.  I found it wonderful after dinner to go outside at night and gaze of the stars and enjoy the quiet feeling of being isolated from the rest of the world.  There were no other lights in any direction you looked, only the stars God placed in the night sky.  The nearest farm house could not be seen as it was about 1 mile away. The county road in front of the farm was gravel.  (I learned that township roads are dirt and it is the state roads that are paved). In my state it is not legal to hunt within 50 yards of a paved road.  The first day I was standing in the middle of this county gravel road shooting at a quail.  You only saw a truck or piece of farm machinery go by about once an hour.  This place is in the country!  

Between what Scott owns and leases, we had 30,000 acres to hunt on in Kansas.  Scott also leases another 30,000 acres in Nebraska for whitetail and mule deer.  At his Kansas location he offers upland birds consisting of pheasants, quail, and Chukars, some of the largest whitetail deer I have ever seen (well over 300 pounds on the hoof), turkey, and predators such as bob cat and coyotes. 

Our guide each day was Dan, a retired Navy seal.  Dan raises and trains bird dogs and horses, handles the dogs and guides for the bird hunts, and also the turkey hunts.  He had approximately 9-10 of his personal dogs along plus several dogs he was training for other people.  This is the first opportunity I've had to hunt over a state championship bird dog.  The trip was almost worth it just to watch the dogs work. I wish I would have been able to carry my camera as we hunted to get some pictures of the dogs on point, but I was too busy shooting birds.  I had my game vest pockets full of shells and the back of the vest normally had 1-4  birds in it.  The first day we hunted quail.  The second day we hunted pheasants, and the third day Chukar partridges.  Naturally on any day we would also shoot quail or pheasants that the dogs flushed.  We hunted both wild birds as well as birds that Dan released early each morning of the hunt.  I could not tell the difference in the way the raised birds flushed and flew from the wild birds.  I had never hunted Chukars before.  These birds flushed straight up maybe 25 feet like they had a rocket up their butt.  Their flight reminded me of the one time I have hunted grouse, as Chukars are fairly fast in flight and more difficult to hit than a pheasant.

Besides the great food and good hunting, it was also a pleasure to hunt with the people of Midwest Outfitters.  It was actually like hunting with your family or good friends.  Lisa even arranged to get my truck tuned up for me at the dealership where her husband worked as I was having trouble with loss of power on the drive out.  

Our hunting package included meals, lodging, and processing of the birds we shot.  In the three days of hunting Bob and I shot 40-50 birds. I would highly recommend Midwest Outfitters and hope to go back in the future for a hunt with my son.  It was difficult for me to have to drive back home knowing the following Monday morning I would have to be fighting traffic on the way to and from work.

                  The white building in the background is a trap house.                                                     This is me with a couple of nice roosters.

           The view of the Kansas county road in front of Midwest Outfitters.                                     This was the result of day two.  

                           Some of the dogs we hunted with.                                                           The lodge where we consumed great quantities of good food.

                           Another shot of day # two's hunt                                                                           The pens where the birds they released were kept.

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