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Thread: Is rural Kansas dying?

  1. #1

    Default Is rural Kansas dying?

    I don't ask to be mean, just an observation. 4th year hunting KS. Went to a steak restaurant in Mankata on Thursday night around 7. 3 of us and 2 ladies in a place with a couple dozen tables. Only 1 waitress working. Owner asks us if we're hunting pheasants. Says 20 or 30 years ago he could have taken us out and we would have seen 100+ birds flush a day. Says he rarely sees them any more.

    Went to a Mexican restaurant in Smith Center on Saturday night. 7pm. 1 local cop and the 3 of us are the only people in the place. The shredded beef quesadilla was the best I've ever eaten, and the rest of the food was good. But the place was EMPTY. 4 guys walked in as we went out. Saturday night, 8pm, Main St. - could've shot a cannon off. Empty parking spaces are far as the eye can see.

    Seems like rural America is withering away. Really made me sad.

    Anyway, I wasn't totally happy with the outfitter to say the least, but it was nice to get out of town. Killed quite a few pheasants that didn't quite seem wary enough to fool us into thinking they were wild birds. Las Canteras in Smith Center gets my unqualified stamp of approval though.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    South Central, KS
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    538

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    Quote Originally Posted by Makintrax73 View Post
    I don't ask to be mean, just an observation. 4th year hunting KS. Went to a steak restaurant in Mankata on Thursday night around 7. 3 of us and 2 ladies in a place with a couple dozen tables. Only 1 waitress working. Owner asks us if we're hunting pheasants. Says 20 or 30 years ago he could have taken us out and we would have seen 100+ birds flush a day. Says he rarely sees them any more.

    Went to a Mexican restaurant in Smith Center on Saturday night. 7pm. 1 local cop and the 3 of us are the only people in the place. The shredded beef quesadilla was the best I've ever eaten, and the rest of the food was good. But the place was EMPTY. 4 guys walked in as we went out. Saturday night, 8pm, Main St. - could've shot a cannon off. Empty parking spaces are far as the eye can see.

    Seems like rural America is withering away. Really made me sad.

    Anyway, I wasn't totally happy with the outfitter to say the least, but it was nice to get out of town. Killed quite a few pheasants that didn't quite seem wary enough to fool us into thinking they were wild birds. Las Canteras in Smith Center gets my unqualified stamp of approval though.

    Yes it's been dying for years. Several reasons - No jobs, Lack of any opportunity, School closures (Thanks Brownback) Hospital Closures (Thanks Brownback - though Medicaid expansion if passed can help the health care system some) lack of upland hunting opportunities (farmers not seeing the big picture that there is an economic incentive to farm with birds in mind and to have "tourism" to their towns and years and years of brainwashing by Big ag such as Monsanto - I've yet to have a business discussion with an ag producer who can show on paper why the farming practices of today make any sense vs some minor tweaks - I'm still hopeful I can get that sit down talk to understand the business side)

    But back on topic - it is pretty sad. With the virtual and gig economy I'd love to see companies (or sole proprietors) receive tax incentives to live/work remotely in rural economies - now a days all you need is a strong internet connection to perform any host of tasks - however many large corporations have their blinders on or 0 incentive to let folks live/work wherever they want. Would be nice to see some "development" zones or towns to take their own initiatives. A few do - many dont - they just have been dying a slow agonizing death.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Topeka KS
    Posts
    168

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    Quote Originally Posted by Makintrax73 View Post
    I don't ask to be mean, just an observation. 4th year hunting KS. Went to a steak restaurant in Mankata on Thursday night around 7. 3 of us and 2 ladies in a place with a couple dozen tables. Only 1 waitress working. Owner asks us if we're hunting pheasants. Says 20 or 30 years ago he could have taken us out and we would have seen 100+ birds flush a day. Says he rarely sees them any more.

    Went to a Mexican restaurant in Smith Center on Saturday night. 7pm. 1 local cop and the 3 of us are the only people in the place. The shredded beef quesadilla was the best I've ever eaten, and the rest of the food was good. But the place was EMPTY. 4 guys walked in as we went out. Saturday night, 8pm, Main St. - could've shot a cannon off. Empty parking spaces are far as the eye can see.

    Seems like rural America is withering away. Really made me sad.

    Anyway, I wasn't totally happy with the outfitter to say the least, but it was nice to get out of town. Killed quite a few pheasants that didn't quite seem wary enough to fool us into thinking they were wild birds. Las Canteras in Smith Center gets my unqualified stamp of approval though.
    That mexican place in smith center is GOOD. Same local cop was there 3 weeks ago when I was in there.
    -Mark

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    373

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    Pretty much the same across rural America.

    Least my part of Iowa.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    295

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    It's a shame. I haven't made it out a lot this year, but have seen areas of Kansas I've never visited before. I don't have access to private ground anymore, so I've logged a lot of miles (boots and tires) when I have been out. I really enjoy the small town cafes and meeting the friendly locals. I was in Dorrance over New Year's. Stopped at a little place called the Boathouse. Had a couple of cold beers and played shuffleboard with the owner. Only a few people in the place and they were very welcoming.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Mid Missouri
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    Attitudes have changed somewhat over the years out there. I used to knock on doors and most everyone would let me go. And I'm talking the last 10 years. This year I've knocked on 5 doors and been turned down 3 times. Yeah 2 let me go but it used to be 80 percent said yes. I had one guy tell me that a storm back on memorial day killed all the pheasants. He said this as one was eating out of his milo silage pile. He was just trying to discourage us from hunting that area. We found plenty of pheasants too just a mile north of his house. I've hunted with a few Kansas residents too on the fly. This year the one guy I asked to join us looked at me like I was crazy. The small towns are drying up with the birds I agree, but the state as a whole just doesn't seem as inviting as it used to. But the farmers that I have hunted on consistently through the years are still in good spirits. But they live in more populated areas too. I hope Kansas gets on an upswing in the next few years economically. Its too good of an upland and outdoor rec state to steadily go downhill.
    Some people talk about it, some people live it!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    South Central, KS
    Posts
    538

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    Quote Originally Posted by PheasantWhisperer View Post
    Attitudes have changed somewhat over the years out there. I used to knock on doors and most everyone would let me go. And I'm talking the last 10 years. This year I've knocked on 5 doors and been turned down 3 times. Yeah 2 let me go but it used to be 80 percent said yes. I had one guy tell me that a storm back on memorial day killed all the pheasants. He said this as one was eating out of his milo silage pile. He was just trying to discourage us from hunting that area. We found plenty of pheasants too just a mile north of his house. I've hunted with a few Kansas residents too on the fly. This year the one guy I asked to join us looked at me like I was crazy. The small towns are drying up with the birds I agree, but the state as a whole just doesn't seem as inviting as it used to. But the farmers that I have hunted on consistently through the years are still in good spirits. But they live in more populated areas too. I hope Kansas gets on an upswing in the next few years economically. Its too good of an upland and outdoor rec state to steadily go downhill.
    Brandon I haven't asked for much permission the past 3-4 years - Ive never had luck with anyone younger than 50-60 and the most luck the higher on the age spectrum - maybe I relate better I dunno - is it the younger ones saying no to you at least in your small sampling size? I'm guessing the changing of the guard so to speak as the generational change/farms turnover to the younger ones.

    It was that way back to when I was in college late 90's early 00's - never had luck w the younger ones and always anyone around my grandparents age or close would usually say yes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    South Central, KS
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    Quote Originally Posted by McFarmer View Post
    Pretty much the same across rural America.

    Least my part of Iowa.
    McFarmer - would you care to have a dialogue about some of the economic decisions that go into farming certain ways - if not here maybe offline - I really want to learn some of what drives what we see out there. Not to hijack this thread. But saw you replied - thinking based on some of your posts you are a producer it seems in Iowa. Obviously some decisions are geographic specific but in the grain belt some of the practices overall should be nearly the same. Perhaps Fsentkilr would join in as I believe he is a producer in Eastern KS - but about in the middle N to S - I dont know how to tag him but hoping he sees this.

    I have a plethora of questions as I simply have a desire to learn that perspective.
    Last edited by KsHusker; 01-15-2019 at 12:20 AM.

  9. #9
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    Jul 2015
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    Mid Missouri
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    Quote Originally Posted by KsHusker View Post
    Brandon I haven't asked for much permission the past 3-4 years - Ive never had luck with anyone younger than 50-60 and the most luck the higher on the age spectrum - maybe I relate better I dunno - is it the younger ones saying no to you at least in your small sampling size? I'm guessing the changing of the guard so to speak as the generational change/farms turnover to the younger ones.

    It was that way back to when I was in college late 90's early 00's - never had luck w the younger ones and always anyone around my grandparents age or close would usually say yes.
    I would say the 50-60 year old range is my cryptonite. That age range is usually a no. If they are younger they usually let me go and if they are retired age I'm usually good. Even when I get told no though its like they feel bad about telling me no. Or maybe its just an act. But this year I had a couple people both about 50-55 years old tell me absolutely not and that there were no pheasants. It was just a change in attitude I guess. Usually if I get told no I still have a conversation with the people before I leave, just to try to leave on a good note. And I still feel somewhat welcome. Did not feel welcome on a few occasions this last trip.
    Some people talk about it, some people live it!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Topeka KS
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    Quote Originally Posted by PheasantWhisperer View Post
    I would say the 50-60 year old range is my cryptonite. That age range is usually a no. If they are younger they usually let me go and if they are retired age I'm usually good. Even when I get told no though its like they feel bad about telling me no. Or maybe its just an act. But this year I had a couple people both about 50-55 years old tell me absolutely not and that there were no pheasants. It was just a change in attitude I guess. Usually if I get told no I still have a conversation with the people before I leave, just to try to leave on a good note. And I still feel somewhat welcome. Did not feel welcome on a few occasions this last trip.
    4 years ago I asked 24 land owners for permission to hunt.... now this was near Wamego area but out of those 24, 3 told me yes. The ground I do have is really good but damn it takes a lot of work and knocking/calling to get it.
    -Mark

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