Commission OKs changes to southeast zone duck seasons

08/03/2013 5:19 PM

08/03/2013 5:21 PM

Jim Chappell thought he had strength in numbers, bringing five liked-minded hunters and a petition with about 80 signatures to Thursday’s Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission meeting.

Chappell, and friends were hoping to persuade commissioners to follow the recommendation of state biologists when setting the southeast zone duck seasons. His fear was the commission, as it did last year, would honor the request of Commissioner Don Budd of Kansas City and set the season to run about as as late as possible —Nov. 2-3 and Nov. 16-Jan. 26.

Tom Bidrowski, Wildlife and Parks waterfowl biologist, recommended a Nov. 2-Jan. 5 and Jan. 18-26 season. Budd contended the best hunting isn’t until later in the season.

Chappell, of Chanute, said Budd’s season was to placate those with access to managed private waters and rivers, and who mainly enjoy shooting late season mallards. He said the early November days were important for those who enjoy hunting earlier migrants, like teal, gadwall, widgeon and wood ducks.

“It’s a duck season, not a mallard season,” said Chappell, who manages a lease near one of Budd’s. “You hunt ducks, why set the season for a few?”

Chappell and others told commissioners that those who could only hunt public land, like many youth, enjoyed the early season, before the marshes froze and pushed the ducks to private waters.

About five hunters spoke in favor of Budd’s season dates, or at least a season that allowed them as much of January as possible.

Commissioners voted 6-1 to approve Budd’s season.

Chappell shook his head after the meeting ended.

“I had a petition with 80 people who wanted some early season, and five people who spoke,” he said. “They had five people who spoke for (Budd’s) season. t’s not fair that he’s a commissioner and gets what he wants. I guess we don’t need a (Wildlife and Parks) staff.”

Also at the meeting:

• Commissioners approved two waterfowl season dates requested by Commissioner Roger Marshall of Great Bend. Marshall’s low plains early zone duck season dates of Oct. 5-Dec. 1, and Dec. 21-Jan. 5 allowed for more late season hunting than Wildlife and Parks’ recommendations. His Canada goose season dates of Oct. 26-Nov. 3, and Nov. 6-Feb. 9 allowed for more early season Canada goose hunting than staff recommendations. Both passed 7-0.
•  The daily bag limit on Canada geese was raised from three to six. Bidrowski said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had just approved allowing a limit of up to eight Canadas per day, but the biologist recommended six per day saying some hunters might think eight would be a limit too hard to obtain. The department had asked for a limit of five Canadas per day for several years. The federal agency is also going to allow hunters a possession limit of three times their daily bag limits, compared to two in previous years. The daily limit on snow geese was raised from 20 to 50.
•  Commissioners and department staff discussed possibly reducing the costs of resident and non-resident youth hunting licenses and permits. Possibilities include lowering resident youth deer permits from $15 to $10, and non-resident youth deer permits from $300 to $75. The reductions could cost the department about $190,000 or more in lost fees. Mike Miller, Pass It On coordinator and information chief, said increased sales could help make up much of that loss, and said similar reductions in other states have gotten more kids afield.

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