Daily Archives: June 10, 2015

Donate to fund disabled veteran hunt and fish licenses


To show appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our disabled veterans, the Kansas Legislature annually appropriates a limited amount of funding to provide them free hunting and fishing licenses. Any Kansas resident who is a military veteran with at least 30 percent disability qualifies, and application for the licenses must be made each year. However, if the number of qualified applicants exceeds the amount appropriated, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) must cease issuing the licenses or rely on a pool of donations to fund them. Anyone purchasing a hunting or fishing license online is given the option through a check box to make a donation to fund these licenses.


The appropriation for Fiscal Year 2015 ran out in May and donations have been exhausted, so KDWPT has applications for licenses that cannot be issued. The appropriation is expected to be in the FY2016 budget, but those funds won’t be available until July 1 and may be insufficient to fund all the applications that could arrive during the coming fiscal year.


It’s difficult to predict demand for these licenses and permits and when funding runs out, the only recourse is to use donations. Help ensure our disabled veterans enjoy the Kansas outdoors by donating when you purchase licenses online. Call 620-672-5911 for more information.

Flathead handfishing season open to adventure-seekers


To explore the unknown and murky depths of a catfish nest, to be willing to wrestle a male flathead to the water’s surface bare-handed, to feel the unforgiving grinding of a bristly tooth patch rubbing against your skin ­- that is handfishing.



“Handfishing is a challenging sport that only a small portion of our anglers are willing to attempt,” said Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Fisheries section chief, Doug Nygren. “It’s really a unique opportunity for the adventurers out there.”


Handfishing requires an angler to use their hands as the bait and hook. They will find a suspected catfish hole, barricade possible exits the fish might escape through, stick their arm inside, and lurk around for a catfish mouth to grab. Although somewhat simple in theory, handfishing is an angling technique not for the faint of heart. And according to KDWPT license records, only 578 anglers were willing to take on the sport in 2014.


Adding to the challenge, regulations do not allow man-made objects that attract fish, such as a barrel, box, or bathtub to be used. Handfishing anglers are also prohibited from using snorkel or scuba gear. A stringer may be used, but not until the catfish is caught by hand and is at or above the water’s surface.


Luckily, Kansas is one of a handful of states that offer this special season. With a special permit, anglers can handfish for flathead catfish in select waters from sunrise to sunset June 15-Aug. 31.

Kansas waters open to handfishing include: the entire length of the Arkansas River, all federal reservoirs from beyond 150 yards of the dam to the upstream end of the federal property, and the Kansas River from its origin, downstream to its confluence with the Missouri River.


“These fish are going to be found in areas that have structures beneath the water, like rocks and old trees,” said Nygren. “An angler’s best bet is to try a federal reservoir with rip-rap areas open to handfishing.”


Handfishing permits can be obtained for $27.50 at license vendors, or online at


For more information, consult the 2015 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary, or visit

Early migratory bird seasons to be set at June 18 KDWPT Commission meeting


Several regulations focusing on the upcoming waterfowl seasons will be discussed at the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission meeting June 18. The meeting will be held at Fort Hays State University – Robbins Center, One Tiger Place, Hays, and will begin at 1 p.m. with time for public comments on non-agenda items. Shortly thereafter, a general discussion period will commence, followed by a general discussion period with remarks on agency and state fiscal status; the 2015 legislative session; tourism division activities; license fees; and state park updates.


Following the general discussion, the workshop session will cover topics considered for potential regulatory action at a future meeting, including park regulations, fishing regulations, duck zone boundaries, and the late migratory bird seasons.


The commission will recess at 5 p.m., then reconvene at 6:30 p.m. at the same location to discuss any remaining general discussion and workshop items, and begin the public hearing. Public hearing items to be discussed and voted on include early migratory bird seasons and the deer season on the Fort Riley Military Reservation.


Time will be available in both the afternoon and evening sessions for public comment on non-agenda items. If necessary, the commission will reconvene at the same location at 9 a.m., June 19, to complete any unfinished business.


Live video and audio streaming of the meeting can be accessed by visiting


If notified in advance, the department will have an interpreter available for the hearing impaired. To request an interpreter, call 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 Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission secretary at (620) 672-5911.


The next commission meeting is scheduled for August 20, 2015 at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, 592 NE K-156 Hwy, Great Bend.