Zackery Krisyman leaned in for a closer look at a duck display at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center. The blue-winged teal male and female were next to a male Northern shoveler. It just happened that those were the same species Krisyman had bagged Saturday morning at Cheyenne Bottoms.
Saturday was the opening day of duck season for the low plains early zone. The Wetlands Center offered a free hunter appreciation breakfast that morning.
“We drove up this morning and started hunting,” said Krisyman, who lives in Columbus, located in southeast Kansas. He and his friends planned to stay until Sunday afternoon. “I shot a shoveler and two teal, blue-wings, but what we really want are mallards — the greenheads.”
Teal season opened four weeks ago and the smaller species is still prevalent at Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area.
The free breakfast was sponsored by the Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau and organized by the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks & Tourism, and Ducks Unlimited. Curtis Wolf at the KWEC said nearly 200 people attended the breakfast.
The Cheyenne Bottoms Ducks Unlimited Chapter based in Hoisington offered a raffle and silent auction. Kim Schneweis, area chairman of the DU chapter, said money raised would be used for wetlands conservation.
People who visited the event on Saturday could also try their marksmanship on the KDWPT’s Hunter Education Laser Shot game, and there were several exhibits.
New at this year’s event, the Jayhawk Retriever Club from Wichita offered dog retrieving demonstrations.
Friday night’s weather was a topic of discussion at breakfast. Wolf said the KWEC had 2 inches in its rain gauge but he was surprised there wasn’t more.
“A lot of it was coming sideways,” he said.
Kevin Luman from Wichita said he was staying with his cousin, Jared Oelke, in Ellinwood when the storm hit, and that his cousin saw a power line fall during the storm.
A repair crew could be seen working on a line 2 miles west of Ellinwood south of U.S. 56 Saturday morning.