August 23, 2014

Commission sets 2014 Kansas duck, goose seasons

Waterfowl seasons were set, Robin Jennison criticized for his desire to downlist the redbelly snake

For the third consecutive year, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commission has rejected the request of staff biologists when setting the hunting season for the southeast Kansas duck zone. The 5-2 vote came Thursday evening.

Also for the third year, commissioner Don Budd, of Kansas City, offered season dates that were passed by the commission.

Wildlife and Parks wanted the late zone season to run Nov. 8-Jan. 4, and Jan. 10-25, so hunters in the northern part of the zone could get in more hunts before ice formed on their marshes. Budd and several other commissioners, though, said they were following the wishes of the majority of surveyed hunters who wanted the season as late as possible.

Commissioners Randy Doll, of Leon, and Roger Marshall, of Great Bend, also referenced the survey. Like Budd, they had criticized the then-ongoing survey process as being inaccurate at an April commission meeting in Wichita.

There was little negative debate on other duck and goose season dates or limits.

The season dates are: Southeast duck zone, Nov. 8-9, Nov. 15- Jan. 25; low plains late zone, Nov. 1-Jan. 4 and Jan. 17-25; low plains early zone, Oct. 11-Dec. 7 and Dec. 20-Jan. 4; Canada and light goose, Nov. 1-9 and Nov. 12-Feb. 15; White-fronted geese, Nov. 1-Dec. 14 and Jan. 17-Feb. 15.

Official daily bag limits are: ducks, six, of which no more than five can be mallards, of which no more than two can be hens. Also the limit can not contain more than three scaup, three wood ducks, 2 redheads, 2 pintails and 1 canvasback; canada geese, six per day; snow geese, 50 per day; white-fronted geese, two per day.

The commission also passed a regulation that will allow hunters to use leashed dogs to aid in the tracking and recovery of big game.

There was no public support for secretary Robin Jennison’s decision to remove the redbelly snake from the Kansas threatened species list, despite the findings of the Kansas Endangered Species Task Committee that the snake should remain listed.

In the past, Jennison had stated fears of Kansas legislature taking control of the state’s threatened and endangered species laws was a major reason he wanted to see the species downgraded. He’d also said the department would continue to work to preserve the species in Kansas, even if it were down-listed.

Redbelly snakes have been blamed for hampering development in some forested areas near Kansas City.

Five people, including Elmer Fink, a Fort Hays State University biology professor, and representatives of the Kansas Wildlife Federation and the Sierra Club urged the commission to reject Jennison’s request when they vote on the issue at an Oct. 16 meeting in Salina.

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