Lesser Prairie Chicken Viewing
Read the tour reviews and learn more about the Lesser Prairie Chicken and their lekking rituals
Lek viewings are managed and conducted by Prairie Tours & Guide Services, LLC. Groups from 4 to 14 are scheduled based on availability and group size. Custom scheduling can also be accommodated for groups with a minimum of 4 people. Reservations for all tours are required. All lek viewings take place rain or shine unless it becomes too hazardous to drive out to the lek. Please review the deposit and cancellation policy for complete information.
2023 tour pricing, scheduling and public date announcements pending:
The US Fish and Wildlife Service is set to make the final announcement / ruling on the “listing status” of
the LPC at any time (June 1st, 2022 was the one year date from the official publication of Document
Citation: 86 FR 29432). Until the USFWS publishes the status we’re unable to officially book any Lek
Tours for the spring 2023 season. Our hopes are that the final determination by the Service will not
detour our efforts to provide access to viewing and photographing the birds here in western Kansas.
Once the status and any subsequent restrictions are announced Prairie Tours and Guide Service LLC will
provide specific information concerning the 2023 Lek viewing season.
Large tour groups and private parties are able to “request” specific dates between March 15 th and May
15 th 2023 for viewing. In the event there are no restrictions these requests will be honored and booked
on a first come basis. If you have a group of eight (8) guests or more and would like to request a specific
date please contact Jim at (785) 953-1139 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Tour pricing for 2023 will not be determined until the final USFWS status for LPC is published.
Individuals, or groups less than four may schedule to join and open-to-the-public tour date.
Open to The Public Tour Dates: TBD
Tour groups – 4 person minimum – book your tour directly with Jim.
Please call or email to schedule your tour:
Contact: Prairie Tours & Guide Service, LLC.
Jim Millensifer / 785-953-1139
Payment: 50% deposit due after booking. Balance due on tour date. Credit card purchases will be charged $3 per tour ($88 total) – or $1.50 per one tour deposit ($44 total)
Cancellation: 100% Deposit is refunded 30+ days prior to tour. No refunds under 30 days.
Checks payable to: Buffalo Bill Cultural Center, 3083 US 83, Oakley, KS 67748. Please put your tour date on your check. Credit card payments can be accommodated with a service fee.
Lek Viewing Information: Sites do not have public restrooms, safety or communications facilities available. Dress in layers to ensure your comfort as the viewing trailers and blinds (areas) are not heated. Wear heavy shoes or boots and dark colors. Gloves and hats are recommended. Tour times are based on the sunrise time for that day. Groups will be in their areas approximately 1 hour before sunrise and for 1 1/2 to 2 hours after. Once in your area, turn cell phones on vibrate and do not bring anything with noises that will distract the birds. Photographic cameras and equipment is allowed.
- No Smoking or building of fires of any type is allowed at the site for any reason, due to fire danger.
- No cooking or other preparation of any food is allowed at the site, although the consumption of previously prepared food and drinks is allowed at the site, provided that all trash resulting from such activity is completely removed from the site and properly disposed of elsewhere.
- No firearms or other weapons are allowed to be brought onto, discharged, or used at the site.
- No plants, seeds, or cut flowers, and no animals or pets of any kind, including, but not limited to cats and dogs, are allowed to be brought onto the site.
- No collecting, trapping, killing, or other harming or molestation of any animal or bird life at the site, or any fish or other animals in any waters at or adjoining the site, is allowed.
- No cutting down, injury, picking of, collection of, or other disturbance of any trees or other plants of vegetation is allowed at the site, whether or not the plants are living or dead.
- No collection of souvenirs or specimens of anything found at the site may be disturbed or taken from the site.
- No item(s) brought to the site are allowed to be left at or adjoining the site, including, but not limited to garbage or food.
Plan to arrive the night before your tour. Groups will be viewing at one of the following sites:
Viewing at The Nature Conservancy’s Smoky Valley Ranch (SVR) site – Logan County (Oakley)
The site is very primitive and undeveloped, with few if any safety or communications facilities available to visitors. The site is an ecological reserve, used for research, natural studies, and resource management. There are a wide array of plants and animals at the site, some of which are not found elsewhere and may be unique in the world, so the introduction of other animals, rabies, insects, plants, etc. could be extremely detrimental to the flora and fauna at the site.
About the SVR: Owned by The Nature Conservancy, this 17,290-acre prairie supports tremendous plant and wildlife diversity while continuing its long history as a working cattle and bison ranch. Made up of expansive grasslands and chalk bluffs overlooking the Smoky Hill River, Smoky Valley Ranch is home to prairie-chickens, pronghorn, mule and white-tail deer, ferruginous hawks, burrowing owls, golden eagles and swift fox. On the majority of the ranch, the Conservancy is gradually improving plant community conditions, increasing habitat for wildlife and forage for cattle. Read More About SVR
Download the SVR Waiver of Liability
Viewing at the Abell Ranch site – Gove County (Oakley)
This site is a privately owned ranch operated by Dwight Abell (landowner). There are few, if any safety of communications facilities available to visitors. The site is a working ranch. The introduction of other animals, rabies, insects, plants, etc. could be detrimental to the crops and animals managed on the site.
“The mix of native grass and forb species in Abell’s CRP grasslands—including big bluestem, little bluestem, switch grass, buffalo grass, western wheat grass, and plenty of insect-rich flowering forbs—provides prime habitat for lesser prairie-chickens.”
“That grassland bird diversity was the focus of a 2015 study through the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies (formerly the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory). Abell’s ranch was one of the study sites for research assessing the extent to which LPCI conservation practices for the lesser prairie-chicken increase populations of other grassland bird species.”
Taken from the Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative: Read the whole Story
Download the Abell Ranch Waiver of Liability
Viewing at the Hoeme Ranch site – Gove / Scott County (Scott City)
This site is a privately owned ranch operated by Stacy Hoeme (landowner). There are few, if any safety of communications facilities available to visitors. The site is a working ranch. The introduction of other animals, rabies, insects, plants, etc. could be detrimental to the crops and animals managed on the site.
About the Hoemes: The Hoemes developed a cattle grazing program that recognizes that prairies require grazing and rest periods to maintain their natural productivity. The diverse collection of plants on their pastures supports some of the largest known populations and densities of the lesser prairie chicken.
“Their land was the focal point of the largest study ever conducted on lesser prairie chickens. It was just one way the family has been supportive of research on the rare bird.”
“Hoeme Family Farm and Ranch of Scott City was selected as the recipient of the 2018 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award®. Sand County Foundation, the nation’s leading voice for private conservation, created the Leopold Conservation Award to inspire American landowners by recognizing exceptional farmers, ranchers and foresters. The prestigious award, named in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, is given in 14 states.”
Taken from the Sand County Foundation News: Read the whole Story
Download the Hoeme Ranch Waiver of Liability