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It was like hunting on the edge of a war zone. There were combat helicopters hovering overhead, the distant percussions of exploding bombs and the ground was covered in old tank tracks.

This is Fort Riley, a 101,000 acre Kansas Army base. The base is considered one of the US’ top training centers.

It seems that what has proved to be highly useful for the army has also been good for those looking to hunt upland birds. The thick brush, rugged terrain and the overgrown fields that are used to train troops for combat, provides excellent wildlife habitat for many different sport animals such as quail, pheasants and turkeys.

The army recognises this and allows hunting on large areas of the bases’ ground where training does not take place. Those hunters who enjoy a challenge and are willing to endure some gruelling manoeuvres can find opportunities like no other.

This is what John Hill had hoped for when he and two of his hunter friends took to the fields in search for quail.

"There are quail in here," Hill, 68, states. "But sometimes, finding them can be like looking for a cork in an ocean.

"There is so much cover, that the birds have all kinds of options. You don't know where they're going to be. You just have to cover ground and hope you bump into them."

During their hunting trip they bumped into two pheasants. One of the roosters was hit by Hill and one of his friends but it sailed into the water where it was out of reach. Not deterred by the setback, the hunters devised a plan where they used a long stick to reach out to the bird and bring it back.

Despite not finding quail on this trip, Hill knows there is a significant population in the area and knows that next time they might just get lucky.

Have you hunted on army training ground? Was it full of upland birds?

Let us know in the comments below.

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