Three certainties occurred Thursday in Wichita. The sun rose in the east, set in the west and discussion about setting waterfowl seasons was long and sometimes contentious at the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commission meeting at the Great Plains Nature Center.
Commissioners for two years have rejected department recommendations for several season dates. Tom Bidrowski, Wildlife and Parks waterfowl biologist, presented commissioners Thursday with a questionnaire soon to be mailed to about 7,400 Kansas waterfowl hunters. Bidrowski expects about 3,200 to respond, which Bidrowski said will be an accurate reading on what hunters desire. Several commissioners have doubts.
“My biggest concern about the survey is the methodology,” said commissioner Roger Marshall, of Great Bend. “The people who return the survey are going to be the most avid hunters, they will be the people the most motivated to fill them out.” He said he didn’t think a mailed survey would accurately represent those who hunt a few times per year.
He also said bold type on some answers to the multiple choice survey could bring a bias. He also noted irregularities in the number of answers provided some question. Some had three options while others had six.
Commissioner Randy Doll, of Leon, also saw inconsistencies that could lead to bias and said the only way to get an unbiased response was to question sportsmen by telephone or face-to-face. He acknowledged that wouldn’t be within the department’s budget.
“Some small tweaking could be made to make the data more accurate,” Doll said.
Commissioners were asked to submit ideas for possible questionaire improvement to the department within a few days. Chris Tymeson, Wildlife and Parks attorney, was asked if the department was required to follow suggestions, and said it wasn’t.
“If you choose not to take the advice from a commissioner or the commission,” said commissioner Don Budd, who has often been critical of the department, “you’re going to have to be very understanding that the information that you provide me, as a commissioner, I’m going to give the same credibility.”
Waterfowl seasons and regulations will again be discussed at June 19 meeting in Pittsburg, and go to vote at an Aug. 21 meeting near Great Bend.
Also at the meeting: