Join us for an amazing prairie experience, to see and hear Lesser Prairie-Chickens displaying on their gobbling grounds, or leks. After very early morning coffee and pastries at the Northwest Inn, you will be transported via van to a lek, 30-60 minutes away. Exact departure time will depend on weather and lek location, but will be about 4:30 am – 5:00 am.
Lesser Prairie-Chickens are not doing well on the Selman Ranch and adjacent areas, despite Sue Selman’s best efforts to make her ranch Prairie-Chicken friendly. The last four years we have not had leks on ranches where we have access to set up blinds. However, there are some leks a bit further west that we know of and are able to view from the vans. For 2020 we will only be offering the van viewing option, and the last few years everyone had excellent views of the birds from the van. We do anticipate having one lek with a few blinds for those participating in the “Photographer’s Package”. Since that space is very limited the price is higher, but it is an option if you really want the blind experience.
Transportation: All Lesser Prairie-Chicken viewing options will take our van to the viewing location, then to the Selman Ranch for brunch and fence marking, and then return to Woodward by about 1:00. Driving your own car to return earlier is not an option, absolutely no exceptions. Please make your travel plans accordingly.
Weather: We do our best to get you to the birds rain or shine. But if we receive heavy rain the ranch roads can become impassable and we may not be able to reach the leks. We can’t provide a refund in case of bad weather, but we will make our best efforts to reschedule you for another day. In our eleven years so far this has only happened twice.
Viewing from Vans
For this option, you will stay in the van or other vehicle which will park near a lek before first light. This will be a much more comfortable option. Though you will not be as close to the chickens as in a blind, you will still get excellent views and be able to watch and hear their displays on the lek.
Ranch Brunch at Selman Ranch
After the birds disperse from the lek, we will depart and travel to the Selman Guest Ranch for a ranch brunch at approximately 10:00 am.
Please note: The total number of people we can accommodate to view the chickens each morning is limited.
Conservation Action—Fence Marking
You can contribute significantly to the protection of Lesser Prairie-Chickens by helping to mark fences, a very simple procedure anyone of any age can perform. Collisions with barbed wire fencing is a significant cause of chicken mortality. The Sutton Avian Research Center has worked out a technique of using vinyl siding starter strips cut into 2 inch pieces. These easily snap onto the barbed wire, making the fence visible to the chickens. Fences marked in this manner dramatically reduce chicken mortality.