The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commission will vote on liberalizing equipment for deer hunting at Thursday’s meeting in Topeka.
Mike Miller, Wildlife and Parks information chief, said the agency will ask the commission to approve the following:• Allow the use of any centerfire rifle or handgun ammunition for hunting big game. Previously rifles had to be at least .24 caliber. Miller said the department wants to simplify hunting regulations and allow sportsmen more flexibility afield.
At a January meeting in El Dorado, some hunters spoke against such a change, fearing it could lead to wounded deer shot with smaller bullets, like a .223.• Approve the use of crossbows by all hunters during the state’s archery deer seasons. Robin Jennison, Wildlife and Parks secretary, has said he’d like to increase hunting opportunities, and that studies show allowing crossbows doesn’t hurt a state’s deer numbers or the quality of their bucks.
Many bowhunters disagree, saying the ease of crossbows will lead to more deer killed.
Only those with physical disabilities and those basically 15 and under and 55 and older can use a crossbow during the archery season in Kansas.
Four management units allowed hunters of all ages to use crossbows last season as part of a two-year research project.• As mandated by the Kansas legislature last year, the department will ask for an Oct. 12-13 firearms deer season for antlerless whitetails.
• Remove most of the limitations on what electronics can be used while deer hunting. Bow-mounted cameras and radio frequency tracking devices that stick to a deer when shot with an arrow would be legalized.
• Change non-resident deer licensing so each license allows the shooting of one whitetail of either gender, and another whitetail without antlers. The combination permit will sell at a reduced rate when compared to buying the two permit separately.
Wildlife and Parks hopes the combination permit, which was mandated by the legislature, will lead to increased numbers of killed antlerless deer in large areas leased for non-resident hunting.• Biologists will also detail possible regulatory plans for hunting greater prairie chickens in western Kansas. Hunting for lesser prairie chickens in that part of Kansas could be halted if the birds are placed on the federal threatened or endangered species lists.
• Discussion will be heard about possibly making lead shot illegal on all public fields specifically managed for dove hunting.
• Create storage parking areas at select state parks for those who want to store campers or boats through the main camping season.
The meeting will be held at the Kansas Historical Society History Center, 6425 SW 6th Ave., Topeka.
The meeting’s sessions begin at 1:30 and 7 p.m. Public comment is invited at both sessions. The meeting will also be carried at www.kdwpt.state.ks.us.