Assorted notes and observations from Thursday’s meeting near Great Bend.
Tom Bidrowski, Wildlife and Parks, waterfowl biologist, said the later opening of duck season in the southeast zone will probably lead to a reduced harvest. In past years, about half of the mallard harvest had come in the first-half of the season. (In 2010, the season opened the last Saturday of October. This year it will open Nov. 15.)
He also showed that neighboring areas in Missouri and Oklahoma open their waterfowl seasons sooner than Kansas will this fall.
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Commissioner Don Budd said the department could manipulate survey results to make them say anything they wanted.
Chuck Carper, of Great Bend, said he’d like to see the duck season at Cheyenne Bottoms open several weeks later so can shoot more mallards and fewer teal, wigeon and shovelers. “It’s like getting to eat goulash compared to a ribeye steak” he said of comparing the ducks. When Bidrowski stated success rates and hunter attendance are annually highest early in the season, ” Carper complained it wasn’t fair that a few sportsmen are being penalized because of the wishes of the majority. Bidrowski pointed out that Cheyenne Bottoms is often frozen by the time Carper wanted most of his season.
Commenting on the great debate on season dates, Larry Fry, of Great Bend, said that current water conditions across the state didn’t bode well for this fall’s duck seasons. “I don’t think you can really make a mistake,” Fry said, meaning hunting might not be good at any time this fall and winter if things don’t change.
Tom Loats, of Overland Park, loudly said the commission should listen to Bidrowski and wildlife area managers on when the southeast duck season should be set. He contended that the late start would have a negative impact on all but those who hunt around the Neosho Wildlife Area. (In a phone call to The Eagle on Friday, Loats was still very frustrated with the “selfishness” of some commissioners.)
Commissioner Budd reminded other commissioners and the public that he hunted waterfowl more than 60 days last season, thereby giving credit to his experience, and why he wanted a late opener for the southeast duck season. He also said that if the seasons did not work well this fall and winter, he would consider changing them for the 2013 seasons.
MORE TO COME…