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Update on Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission Activities, Upcoming Meeting

For Immediate Release: 
August 4, 2023

Contacts:
Nadia Marji, CMP®, Chief of Public Affairs
nadia.marji@ks.gov

Jessica Ward, Communications Manager
Jessica.ward@ks.gov

Update on Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission Activities, Upcoming Meeting

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – August 17, 2023, will mark the fifth of seven public meetings to be held by Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commissioners this year. Serving as the regulatory body for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, the Commission is a seven-member, non-partisan board, with each member serving a staggered four-year term. Advising the Secretary on planning and policy issues regarding administration of KDWP, the Commission is also responsible for voting on nearly all regulation changes recommended by Department staff.

Here's an overview of items voted on by Commissioners in 2023, listed by hearing date:

  • Consecutive Camping Days Allowed on Public Lands(KAR 115-8-9)
    • Hearing: March 9, 2023
    • Final Vote: APPROVED
    • Staff recommendations to reduce the number of consecutive camping days allowed at state fishing lakes and wildlife areas from 14 to seven days was approved. The change does not affect state parks. And managers at state fishing lakes and wildlife areas still have the discretion to post their campgrounds or issue a permit allowing 14-day camping, if warranted.
  • Trail, Game Camera Use on Public Lands(KAR 115-8-25)
    • Hearing: March 9, 2023
    • Final Vote: APPROVED
    • Staff recommendations to implement a new regulation prohibiting the use of trail or game cameras on department lands and Walk-in Hunting Access/iWIHA properties was approved. The new regulation does not apply to mapping systems and programs. For the purposes of the regulation, the definition of a trail or game camera is any remote motion-activated or infrared camera where the shutter is activated via sound triggers, proximity sensation, radio transmitters, or the self-timer built into the camera.
  • Fall Turkey Season(KAR 115-25-5)
    • Hearing: April 27, 2023
    • Final Vote: APPROVED
    • The number of fall turkey hunters statewide has decreased substantially since 2015, at a rate of approximately 20 percent per year. In 2019, the statewide fall turkey season dates were reduced from October 1 through January 31 to October 1 through November 10, beginning in fall 2020. The estimated annual statewide fall harvest is less than 500 birds. While this is a small proportion of the statewide population, fall harvest is an additive source of mortality for turkeys – especially when hens are harvested. For these reasons, staff recommended suspending the fall season statewide, beginning with the 2023 season; Commissioners approved.
  • Spring Turkey Season(KAR 115-25-6)
    • Hearing: April 27, 2023
    • Final Vote: APPROVED
    • To reduce the overall turkey harvest, staff recommended reducing bag limits in Unit 1 (northwest) and Unit 2 (northcentral) from two birds to one bird. To reduce overall hunting pressure and turkey harvest, staff recommended reducing nonresident hunting participation by 25 percent in each unit by utilizing a draw system. And to ensure residents in Unit 4 have the utmost opportunity to successfully apply for Unit 4 permits, staff recommended that Unit 4 permits not be valid in adjacent units. All recommendations were approved by the Commission.
  • Lottery Draw for Nonresident Turkey Permits(KAR 115-4-11)
    • Hearing: June 22, 2023
    • Final Vote: APPROVED
    • Commissioners have approved staff recommendations to initiate a lottery draw system for distribution of non-resident turkey permits beginning in 2024. The recommendation was introduced as part of a larger strategy by staff to reduce overall hunting pressure and turkey harvest in response to declining populations nationwide. Beginning in early January, an application period will open for non-resident turkey hunters to apply for a specific hunt unit (Units 1, 2, 3, 5 or 6). Similar to Kansas’ lottery draw for non-resident deer permits, any leftover non-resident turkey permits will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Baiting Wildlife on Public Lands(KAR 115-8-23)
    • Hearing: June 22, 2023
    • Final Vote: APPROVED
    • Commissioners approved staff recommendations to amend the pre-existing regulation, KAR 115-8-23, established in 2012, that prohibits baiting on Department Lands and Waters. The June 22, 2023, amendment added language stating baiting would be prohibited for “all activities” on public lands, not just for hunting (as the regulation was originally written). Baiting wildlife remains a legal activity on all private lands in Kansas. Though staff intend to make baiting wildlife a regular discussion item at future Commission meetings, no additional regulation recommendations are planned at this time. The Department will instead host several townhall-style meetings – in addition to Commission meetings – to solicit statewide input on this complex issue.

All Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission meetings are accessible and open to the public, and time is always set aside for public comment on non-agenda items.

The next Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission meeting will once again be held in a hybrid format and take place on August 17, 2023, at Pittsburg State University’s Bicknell Center, VIP Room, 1711 S Homer St., Pittsburg.

During the public hearing portion of the upcoming August 17 meeting, Commissioners will vote on the following:

  • 2023-2024 Antelope, Elk and Deer Season Dates
  • Kansas’ Prohibited Aquatic Species List
  • Kansas’ Aquatic Nuisance Species Designated Waters
  • Select Length and Creel Limits for Fishing
  • Kansas’ Eligible Paddlefish Snagging Locations

The public is welcome and encouraged to participate in person or virtually via Zoom; Virtual participants may access login instructions HERE or watch live video/audio stream of the meeting HERE.

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) 672-0702.

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