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Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission to Meet Virtually on March 25

PRATT – Overcrowding concerns at public waterfowl hunting areas will be one of several topics discussed by Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commissioners during their March 25, 2021 virtual public meeting.

Tom Bidrowski, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) migratory game bird program manager, will detail a sharp rise in complaints from resident hunters about competition from nonresident hunters at places like Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area.

Unlike with upland birds and big game, most Kansans rely heavily on public areas to hunt ducks and geese. Bidrowski will present his research as to how other states handle the issue, such as states that limit the number of non-resident waterfowl licenses sold and/or restrict out-of-state hunters to a limited number of hunting days.

Other items to be discussed by commissioners include:

Migratory bird seasons

  • Bidrowski will present the framework for the 2021-22 Kansas waterfowl seasons. Proposed season dates, limits and management unit boundaries closely resemble Kansas’ 2020-21 waterfowl seasons. This topic will again be discussed during the Commission’s April 29 public meeting, followed by a final vote from commissioners.
  • KDWPT migratory game bird coordinator Rich Schultheis will present proposed seasons and regulations for webless migratory birds, which include species like sandhill cranes, doves, snipes and rails.

Raising the maximum age for youth seasons

  • KDWPT staff and commissioners will discuss potentially raising the maximum age to 17 for Kansas special youth hunting seasons. Currently, state regulations cap the ages for youth waterfowl seasons at 15, and upland bird, turkey and deer seasons at 16. KDWPT staff are confident an increase in age eligibility would provide better consistency among regulations and increase the likelihood of quality hunting experiences for youth.

Deer seasons

  • Levi Jaster, KDWPT big game program coordinator, will propose staff recommendations for Kansas’ 2021-2022 deer seasons, which largely resemble recent seasons.
  • KDWPT Secretary Brad Loveless will establish 2021 deer season permit quotas for nonresident hunters. Commission and public input is encouraged and considered.

State park permits via kiosks

  • KDWPT State Parks director Linda Lanterman will discuss plans to install electronic payment kiosks at some Kansas state parks. State park staff believe electronic payment kiosks would make it easier for state park visitors to purchase assorted vehicle and camping permits at the user’s convenience. If approved, electronic payment kiosks could be operational at some Kansas state parks later this year.

Upland game bird seasons

  • Kent Fricke, KDWPT small game coordinator and Jeff Prendergast, KDWPT small game specialist, will present staff recommendations for the 2021-22 pheasant, quail and prairie chicken seasons, which are expected to follow traditional season framework. Both biologists will also give updates on the results of the 2020-21 seasons and discuss projections for pheasant, quail, turkey and prairie chicken reproduction.

Antelope, elk seasons

  • Matt Peek, KDWPT wildlife research biologist, will present proposed season dates and permit allocations for the 2021-22 antelope and elk hunting seasons.

For a complete commission agenda and to view the briefing book, visit https://ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Commission/Meeting-Schedule/March-25-2021.

Commissioners will begin the March 25 meeting at 1:30 p.m., recess at 5 p.m., then reconvene at 6:30 p.m. for a public hearing, during which time Commissioners will vote on select items. Public input is welcomed during both the afternoon and evening sessions and time is set aside at the beginning of both sessions for comments on items not included in the meeting agenda. For specific instructions on how to participate, visit https://ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Commission/Instructions-to-Participate-in-Virtual-Meeting.

An interpreter for the hearing impaired can be requested by calling the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at 1-800-432-0698. Any individual with a disability may request other accommodations by contacting the Commission secretary at (620) 672-5911.

The next KDWPT Commission meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 29, 2021, at Rolling Hills Electric Cooperative in Beloit.

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