GARDEN CITY — The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commission voted not to change coyote hunting regulations asked for by the department.
KDWPT had requested it be illegal to hunt coyotes with vehicles and two-way radios during the state’s 12-day firearms season.
Kevin Jones, Wildlife and Parks law enforcement chief, said his staff frequently deals with hunters illegally hunting deer from vehicles and using two-way communications to talk with other hunters. When approached by game wardens, the hunters say they’re hunting coyotes, a legal method.
Though sympathetic to the game wardens’ cause, most commissioners thought a new regulation would punish the wrong people. Many who legally hunt coyotes from vehicles, often with dogs, had contacted commissioners or spoken at commission meetings.
“What we’d be doing is damaging the scapegoat (coyote hunters) because other people mimic their activity to break the law,” said Gerald Lauber, commission chairman. “It seems the dog hunters are taking the brunt and it’s not the ethical dog hunter’s fault.”
Wildlife and Parks biologists also didn’t get full support when discussing dates for upcoming duck seasons.
The agency is recommending a Nov. 2-Jan. 5, and Jan. 18-26 season for Kansas’ southeast duck zone. Their similar request last year wasn’t accepted and the commission approved a Nov. 15-Jan. 27 season.
Several commissioners responded to a recent waterfowl hunter survey that showed about 65 percent of southeast duck hunters want a season similar to last year.
“If two-thirds of the hunters want a Nov. 15 opener, why are we proposing a Nov. 2 opener?” said commissioner Randy Doll, of Leon. “That’s a pretty strong statistical measurement.”
Commissioner Don Budd, of Kansas City, was the key member for setting last year’s later season. He’s recommending a Nov. 2-3 and Nov. 16-Jan. 26 season for the southeast zone.
Commissioner Roger Marshall, of Great Bend, asked to tweak the recommended low plains early season dates, too. The department’s request is Oct. 5-Dec. 8 and Dec. 21-29 for the area that includes Cheyenne Bottoms. Marshall wants to lengthen the late-season opportunities with Oct. 5-Dec. 1 and Dec. 21-Jan. 5 seasons. Waterfowl seasons will be voted on Aug. 1.
Also at the meeting:
• Commissioners approved a regulation to require non-toxic shot at all of the department’s specially managed dove fields.
• Hunters to use crossbows during upcoming big-game archery seasons will need to get a registration number from Wildlife and Parks, either online or at an agency office. Biologists say the system will help them survey hunters after the season.
• It was also announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will raise the limit of teal from four to six daily for the September season.