Daily duck limits might be on the rise this year

Kansas duck hunters may have the most liberal daily limits in several decades, including being allowed up to two hen mallards per day.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks commission will help set limits and season dates for most waterfowl Thursday in Mankato.

Hunters could be allowed up to six ducks per day compared to five the past several seasons.

The other major change could be raising the limit on hen mallards. The limit has been one since 1985.

Faye McNew, Wildlife and Parks waterfowl biologist, isn't worried the increase will have a big impact on populations.

"Since Kansas has such a small proportion of the overall mallard harvest, I don't think upping one more hen mallard will impact continental populations," McNew said. "We do expect the hen harvest to go up slightly but overall to not have much of an impact."

Other states have allowed two hens per day for several years.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has often offered Kansas a two-hen limit, but the state has stayed at one per day.

Many avid duck hunters opt not to shoot hen mallards, no matter the limits.

This year the feds are also allowing Kansas up to two pintails per day, compared to one last year.

McNew is also recommending Kansas abandon the "hunter's choice" system that for several years restricted hunters to one duck from a group that included hen mallards, pintails, canvasbacks and mottled ducks.

"This year people can shoot two hen mallards and two pintails if they like," she said.

Also within the daily limit, hunters will probably be allowed up to five mallards, two scaup, two redheads, one canvasback and three wood ducks.

Suggested duck season dates are Oct. 9-Dec. 5 and Dec. 18-Jan. 2 for the low plains early zone.

Low plains late zone duck recommendations are Oct. 30-Jan. 2 and Jan. 22-30.

High plains zone duck seasons should be Oct. 9-Jan. 3 and Jan. 22-30.

McNew will recommend a Canada and snow goose season of Oct. 30-Nov. 7 and Nov. 10-Feb. 13.

The limit on Canada geese will remain three per day. Fish and Wildlife officials denied a Wildlife and Parks request to raise the daily limit to five Canada geese. The limit is expected to be 20 snow geese per day.

White-fronted goose season recommendations are Oct. 30-Nov. 7, Nov. 10-Jan. 2 and Feb. 5-13.

The recommended limit for white-fronted geese will be two per day.

Also at the commission meeting:

* Commissioners and biologists will discuss possible changes in license and permit offerings and prices.

Mike Miller, Wildlife and Parks information chief, said a combined permit for any whitetail with another for antlerless-only whitetails at a reduced price is a possibility.

The a change could help increase the deer harvest in some parts of Kansas.

Miller said it is not known if such a combined permit might be an optional buy or if it might become the mandatory offering for those wishing to hunt whitetails.

* Discussion will also be had on possible changes in fees for the use of state parks and cabins.

None of the fee-related topics can be officially voted upon before an Oct. 14 meeting in Goodland.

Thursday's meeting in Mankato will be at the Community Center, 214. N. High. For more information call 620-672-5911 or go to www.kdwp.state.ks.us.