Elk permits top agenda at meeting

A proposal creating over-the-counter elk permits for most of Kansas is expected to be approved by Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commissioners on Thursday at the Great Plains Nature Center.

Chris Tymeson, Wildlife and Parks attorney, said the department wants to have elk permits easily available for landowners who want to control elk populations on their property.

Geary, Riley and Clay counties would be exempt from the proposed law to protect a well-managed herd on and near Fort Riley. Morton County would remain closed to elk hunting to protect a herd on the Cimarron National Grassland.

Several elk populations ranging from one to several dozen are scattered about central and western Kansas. The largest concentrations are along the Arkansas River near the Colorado border and Dodge City.

Biologists expect very limited use of the permits, since gaining access to ranchlands with elk can be very difficult.

Other topics scheduled to be covered at the meeting:

* Commissioners will vote to expand the special January whitetail antlerless-only season statewide. Currently, several western Kansas management units are closed to the January season.

* Discussion will be held on a possible October statewide firearms deer season. Commissioners and biolgoists will be seeking public comment.

* Adding additional opportunities for hand-fishing in Kansas will be discussed, including possibly opening much more of the Arkansas River to the sport.

* Commissioners will vote on a regulation change to allow bowhunters to have target points in their quivers so they can take practice shots from their stands. Currently they can only have approved broadheads in their quiver while deer hunting.

* A vote will also be taken to begin a general firearms antelope season in southwest Kansas. Eight permits would be issued by drawing. Currently, only archery and muzzleloading equipment can be used for hunting antelope in that unit.

The meeting is scheduled to run from 1:30-5 p.m. and 7 p.m.-completion at the Great Plains Nature Center. For information call 620-672-5911 or go to www.kdwp.state.ks.us.