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If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decides to place lesser prairie chickens on their endangered and threatened species list the sun could be setting on hunting the birds. Biologist say Kansas' population is strong.
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Michael Pearce / Michael Pearce
Prime lesser prairie chicken habitat is rolling sandhills of grass and thickets. Kansas has more lessers than all other states combined.
Tom Turner heads to his truck after shooting his limit of one lesser prairie chicken. A manager of about 30,000 he said lesser prairie chicken numbers appear strong in Edwards County.
Lesser prairie chickens may be the most coveted trophy in American bird hunting. Kansas is the only state with a season. Only a few hundred are annually shot.
The buff-colored feathers and barring gives lesser prairie chickens good camouflage to protect them from flying predators.
Tom Turner with a male lesser prairie chicken he shot Thursday in Edwards County.
Though the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering placing lesser prairie chickens on their threatened and endangered species list numbers appear to be strong in much of western Kansas.
Much of Kansas' best lesser prairie chicken habitat is in the sandy hills near the Arkansas and Cimarron Rivers. The area is still prone to wind erosion in places.
Trees are so rare in lesser prairie chicken habitat bucks often have to rub their antlers on fence posts.
Tradtional hunting for lesser prairie chickens involves long hours of walking rolling prairie.
Chris Tymeson made the eight-hour round-trip from Topeka to hunt lesser prairie chickens in Edwards County.
Related stories: Kansas will join lawsuit over federal listing of lesser prairie chicken as threatened | Lesser prairie chicken considered for protection under Endangered Species Act | Lesser prairie chickens placed on threatened species list | Prairie chicken population holding its own in Kansas