PRATT – To ensure Kansas’ natural resources, especially our public lands, are accessible and enjoyable to all, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks Commissioners recently approved staff recommendations for new regulations. The regulation changes ¬ which are related to waterfowl hunting on select Department-managed wetlands and will be in effect this fall ¬- have a shared purpose of improving the overall experience and safety for waterfowl hunters utilizing public lands in Kansas.
“Last season, many waterfowl hunters expressed concerns about overcrowding, vessels being operated unsafely, and waterfowl being disturbed unnecessarily on public lands,” said KDWP Public Lands Division director Stuart Schrag. “We took those concerns seriously and immediately began developing a plan to significantly improve the overall hunting experience for our public lands hunters moving forward. It won’t solve every issue that needs addressed, but we’re confident these changes will be a big step in right direction.”
Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area
In an effort to deter the unsafe operation of motorized vessels at Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area – and to reduce the unnecessary disturbance of waterfowl on the marsh - a “No Wake” regulation is now in effect for all pools open to motorized vessels.
To improve the experience for all public lands users at Cheyenne Bottoms, no motorized vessels will be allowed in Pool 4A after 1 p.m. Pool 3A is closed to motorized vessels entirely.
“To help ensure hunters are aware of and complying with these new regulations, the Department will bring in additional officers to help patrol and educate hunters at Cheyenne Bottoms throughout the season,” said KDWP Law Enforcement Division director Colonel Greg Kyser. “It’s a big complex, and there’s certainly enough room for everyone, so we just want to make sure that things goes smoothly for all parties involved, and that conflicts are kept to a minimum.”
i-Sportsman Check-in System
In addition to checking for compliance with all waterfowl hunting regulations, Public Lands and Law Enforcement staff will also be verifying that hunters are utilizing the i-Sportsman electronic check-in/check-out system.
“Data provided through the i-Sportsman program has proven to be invaluable for having informed discussions and making sound decisions that benefit the majority of our public land users,” added Schrag. “Without i-Sportsman compliance on properties where it is required, justifying appropriate regulatory changes can be much more challenging.”
Neosho Wildlife Area
New for hunters at Neosho Wildlife Area near St. Paul will be a time restriction on access to the wetlands to ensure that no one hunting group has an unfair advantage over others in securing a hunting spot. At the June 17 public hearing, KDWP Commissioners approved a regulation change that prevents access to Neosho’s wetlands before 5 a.m., and requires all hunters to exit the wetland within one hour after sunset.
McPherson Valley Wetlands
Lastly, KDWP Commissioners voted on and approved a regulation that prohibits all use of motorized vessels on McPherson Valley Wetlands – a wetlands complex situated within a 50-mile radius of Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, offering a combined 1,750 surface acres of water.
“We hope this year’s waterfowl seasons are safe and enjoyable for everyone on Kansas public lands,” said Schrag. “We just ask that users please be respectful and courteous of others, and remember that these are shared resources for all – wildlife included.”
For a complete list of regulations related to hunting waterfowl in Kansas, visit ksoutdoors.com/Hunting/Hunting-Regulations.
To create a free i-Sportsman account, go to kdwpt.isportsman.net.