Kansas is the only state remaining where hunters can legally kill lesser prairie chickens, which have been facing declining populations. This year’s survey found about 18,000 lesser prairie chickens in Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism limits the number of birds hunters can take and says hunting doesn’t impact the lesser prairie chicken’s population. The hunting season is Nov. 16-Jan. 31 in northwest and eastern Kansas and until Dec. 31 in southwest Kansas.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will decide by March 2014 if the bird will be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.