Commission votes to significantly reduce resident and nonresident youth permit prices
At the public hearing conducted Oct. 17 in Hutchinson, the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission approved several recommendations including one that will significantly reduce the price of resident and nonresident youth big game permits starting January 1, 2014. Youth permits approved for a price reduction include deer, turkey, and antelope. In other public hearing items, the commission approved a special provision that will prohibit anglers from fishing or collecting bait from fish ladders, or any artificial barrier or dam that facilitates the natural migration of fish upstream. This provision was recommended in an effort to reduce conflict between boaters and anglers using the same passage way.
Commissioners also approved a variety of changes to fishing regulations including a 13- to 18-inch slot limit for largemouth bass at Grand Osage Wildlife Area and Howard-PolkDanielsLake. The 15-inch minimum length limit on spotted bass will also be removed at Howard-PolkDanielsLake. Floatline fishing will now be allowed at ElkCity, Fall River, Glen Elder, and Lovewell reservoirs. A trout permit will be required for trout anglers at MeadeStateFishingLakefrom Nov. 1-April 15.
The last public hearing item presented to the commission included recommendations to change future turkey hunting regulations. Commissioners approved the creation of a youth/disabled season that will allow youth to hunt turkeys free of competition from April 1 to the first full weekend of the month starting with the 2015 spring season. Regular archery season will start the Monday following the youth/disabled season, and regular firearm season will start the Wednesday after the second Saturday. Bag limits for the fall turkey season will also be reduced in Units 3, 5, and 6 from four birds to one bird. Season dates for the spring 2014 turkey season will remain unchanged.
The next commission meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 9, 2014 at SouthwesternCollege,
Daily bag limits increased for dark and light geese for 2013 seasons
“More is better” isn’t always true in a lot of instances, but for waterfowl hunters this season, “more” is a beautiful thing. New regulations now allow hunters to harvest greater quantities of waterfowl than ever before, increasing Canadageese bag limits from three to six birds, and light geese bag limits from 20 to 50 birds. Possession limits on all migratory birds was increased from two times the daily bag limit to three times the daily bag limit. The daily bag limit for ducks remained at six, but the number of scaup that may be included in the daily limit was reduced from three to two.
Oct. 26, 2013 is a big day for waterfowl hunters, marking the opening day of goose season, the first day of the Low Plains Late Zone season for ducks, and the first day of youth season in the Low Plains Southeast Zone. White-fronted geese may be hunted Oct. 26-Dec. 29, 2013 and Feb. 1-Feb. 9, 2014. The daily bag limit for white-fronted geese is two birds, and possession limit is six. Canada geese and light geese may be hunted Oct. 26-Nov. 3, 2013 AND Nov. 6-Feb. 9, 2014.The daily bag limit on Canada geese is six, possession limit is 18. The daily bag limit on light geese is 50, and there is no possession limit. The Low Plains Late Zone for ducks will run Oct. 26-Dec. 29, AND Jan. 18-Jan. 26, 2014. Following the Low Plains Late Zone, waterfowl hunters in the Low Plains Southeast Zone may hunt Nov. 2-3, 2013 AND Nov. 16, 2013-Jan. 26, 2014. Youth season the Low Plains Southeast Zone will run Oct. 26-27, 2013.
The daily bag limit for ducks is six, which may include no more than five mallards, of which only two may be hens; two redheads; three wood ducks; three scaup; two pintails; and two canvasbacks.
Following regular goose seasons, hunters may hunt light geese during a special conservation period Feb 10-April 30, 2014. During the Light Goose Conservation Order there is no bag or possession limit. In addition, hunters will be allowed to use unplugged shotguns and electronic calls and take light geese from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset during the period of the conservation order.
Although not as widely sought-after as geese and ducks, sandhill cranes may be hunted from Nov. 6 2013-Jan 2, 2014 with a valid federal permit. All sandhill crane hunters must take an online crane identification test each year before obtaining a permit. The test can be found by visiting www.ksoutdoors.com and clicking “Hunting/Migratory Birds/Sandhill Crane.” The daily bag limit on sandhill cranes is three birds, with a possession limit of nine. Quivira and Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge are closed to crane hunting.
Range-wide plan provides model for state leadership in conservation of a species proposed for listing under the ESA
On October 23rd the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) endorsed the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-Wide Conservation Plan, a landmark, collaborative planning effort to conserve a species proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The range-wide plan (RWP) represents a dedicated effort by the five range states of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma,Kansas and Colorado to conserve the lesser prairie-chicken. After an extensive review, the USFWS found the plan is consistent with criteria proposed last May for conserving the species, which is proposed for listing under the ESA. The plan calls for providing financial incentives to landowners who voluntarily manage their lands to benefit the species. It also includes a framework for mitigating the potentially harmful effects to lesser prairie-chicken habitat from development activity throughout its range.
“The unprecedented collaborative efforts of WAFWA and the five state wildlife agencies have produced a sound conservation plan for the lesser prairie-chicken,” said USFWS Director Dan Ashe. “We applaud the states’ commitment to lead conservation actions across the bird’s range.”
The endorsement is not a decision by the USFWS that implementing the plan will preclude the need to protect the lesser prairie-chicken under the ESA. The USFWS will carefully consider the plan, its implementation and effectiveness when it makes a final determination on whether to list the lesser prairie-chicken under the ESA in March, 2014.
Under the plan, agreements with participating landowners will aim to improve habitat conditions for the lesser prairie-chicken, increase populations and provide for long-term conservation of the species. The plan also establishes a framework for mitigating impacts from a wide range of activities with a goal of providing a net conservation benefit to the species.
“We are encouraged to see U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service endorsement of the five-state, range-wide plan to conserve this iconic grassland bird and its native prairie habitat,” said Carter Smith, WAFWA president and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director, speaking on behalf of WAFWA and the five state agencies. “Years of due diligence have gone into this plan, guided by scientific research and monitoring, and developed with input from landowners, agriculture, wind and oil and gas interests and other stakeholders. We can now work at the local level to implement the plan, facilitate more conservation for the bird while allowing sustainable land use and responsible economic development, and hopefully preclude the need to list this species.”
In the coming weeks, the USFWS will revise the May 6, 2013, proposed 4(d) special rule for the lesser prairie-chicken to more specifically identify the range-wide conservation plan as one that, when implemented, will address the conservation needs of the species. If the USFWS ultimately determines that the lesser prairie-chicken should be listed as a threatened species, the revised 4(d) rule would provide a mechanism for ESA compliance. Linking the plan to a 4(d) special rule would offer participating landowners and industry participants regulatory certainty, as actions carried out in accordance with the plan would be in compliance with the ESA, even if the species requires ESA protection.
The lesser prairie-chicken is a species of prairie grouse commonly recognized for its colorful spring mating display and orange eye combs. Once abundant across much of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado (the five range states), the lesser prairie-chicken’s historical range of native grasslands and prairies has been reduced by an estimated 84 percent. The substantial decrease in the range of the species is primarily a result of habitat fragmentation and loss caused by development and conversion of the species’ native grassland habitat to other uses. Last year, the population declined by an estimated 50 percent, primarily due to drought conditions in the West.
America‘s fish, wildlife and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. The USFWS is actively engaged with conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species such as the Working Lands for Wildlife program. To learn more about the Endangered Species program, go to http://www.fws.gov/endangered/.
More than 200,000 trout will be stocked in select waters throughout the state this season
Outside temperatures may be cooling down, but for trout anglers, fishing season is about to heat up. From Nov. 1, 2013-April 15, 2014, anglers can enjoy some of the best fishing opportunities in the state as nearly 30 public fishing areas will be stocked periodically with this special species. Throughout a five-month period beginning Nov. 1 and ending March 31, over 202,000 trout will be stocked in select waters.
In Kansas, there are two types of trout waters: On Type 1 waters all anglers age 16 and older fishing during the trout season are required to have a trout permit, and on Type 2 waters anglers 16 and older who are fishing for or in possession of trout are required to have a trout permit. Anglers 15 and younger can fish for trout without a trout permit, but they may only keep two trout per day. The daily creel limit for anglers with a trout permit is five per day unless posted otherwise. All anglers age 16-74 must also have a Kansas fishing license. New for 2014, anglers fishing for trout in MeadeStateFishingLake will be required to purchase a trout permit.
Anglers fishing in ponds and lakes after April 15 may catch trout without a trout permit, but the limit of 5 trout a day and 15 in possession is still enforced. This does not include the waters that are stocked year-round, such as the Mined Land Wildlife Area Unit #30 (CherokeeCounty), which requires a trout permit year-round.
Some local governments in areas such as Topeka and Kansas City have their own trout stocking programs, which may require a fee, but the state permit is not required. Local city and county recreation departments should have details.
Trout waters and the total number of trout stocked at each throughout the season are listed below. To view a complete stocking schedule for a specific location, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Fishing/Special Fishing Programs for You/Trout Fishing Program.”
Webster Reservoir Stilling Basin: 10,500
BellvilleCityLake (Rocky Pond): 7,500
GlenElderState Park Pond: 3,300
Kanopolis Seep Stream: 8,500
Cedar Bluff Stilling Basin: 4,250
Salina – LakewoodLake: 6,000
*At this time SmokyGardens (ShermanCounty) has water and will be stocked as water quality improves.
*At this time the SolomonRiver above Webster is dry and will not be stocked.
Ft.Riley – MoonLake: 9,000
Ft.Riley – Cameron Springs: 12,000
Topeka – Auburndale Park Stream: 1,505
Tuttle Creek – WillowLake: 12,900
ClintonState Park – Lake Henry: 5,075
Holton – ElkhornLake: 3,000
AtchisonCityLake #1: 3,000
Shawnee Co. – LakeShawnee: 14,000
Cimarron Grassland Pits: 5,800
Pratt – Centennial Pond: 4,000
Great Bend – StoneLake: 6,650
Dodge City – Lake Charles: 5,080
Syracuse – Sam’s Pond: 2,500
*At this time SandsageBisonRange and Wildlife Area is dry and will not be stocked.