About 25 local waterfowl hunters gathered at the Great Plains Nature Center Monday evening for Wildlife and Park’s presentation on duck and goose hunting in Kansas.
The main topic of interest was the exact boundaries of a proposed new duck zone in southern Kansas and when opening weekend might be within that zone. Any changes wouldn’t be made until the 2011 seasons.
The proposed zone basically runs from around Ottawa, westward to below Dodge City. The area around the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge would be included.
(To see a map of the proposed new zone go to kansas.com/outdoors.
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Many hunters from about Wichita westward aren’t in favor of the new zone if it leads to a later start of duck season.
Biologist Faye McNew explained southeast Kansas duck hunters and public marsh managers have requested a season that opens and closes later, like in early November. Their marsh crops seem to mature later and their fall flights of ducks arrive later than in most of Kansas.
Hunter/landowner Richard Waite was one of many in attendance who said a later opener would cost him hunting opportunities at early migrants, like teal, gadwall and widgeon. Others said their ponds or marshes would probably be frozen the last few weeks of the season.
McNew listened to concerns and reminded those in attendance that the boundaries of the proposed new zone are preliminary, more input would be taken by the public from meetings and surveys. The topic would also have to pass the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission before it could become a regulation.
A lot of talk was given to making the westard boundary of a south unit Highway 77. It met with high approval. Another consideration is to go down Highway 77, then include the southern tier of counties westward for those who like late season hunting on the Arkansas, Ninnescah and Chickaskia Rivers.
Kelly Johnston, commission chairman, was in attendance and talked with biologists and sportsmen.