Debate leads to Nov. 15 opening for southeast Kansas duck hunting

A second straight meeting of heated discussion resulted in a southeast Kansas duck season beginning Nov. 15.

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commissioners and the public again argued when the season should open. In Kansas City in June, debate centered around whether to open the season Nov. 3 or 10.

Thursday, the commission voted 4-3 to run the southeast season Nov. 15 through Jan. 27.

Nov. 15 is a Thursday, and lets Wildlife and Parks use all 74 days of duck season allowed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The picked dates were Plan G offered by Wildlife and Parks, and forwarded to vote by commissioner Don Budd, of Kansas City, Kan., who hunts a lot around the Neosho Wildlife Area.

Some hunters in that region have maintained they needed a later season to better utilize mallard migrations.

Wildlife and Parks recommended a Nov. 3 opening day so other hunters across the unit, that basically runs from Kansas City to El Dorado and eastward, could have a few weeks to hunt shallow marshes.

Their recommendation would have closed the season for 13 days in January to incorporate all 74 days available.

Tom Bidrowski, Wildlife and Parks waterfowl biologist, said that early November sees a lot of hunter activity and duck harvest at places such as the Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area and the Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge.

He also presented data that showed 77 percent of southeast Kansas duck hunters surveyed wanted the season to open Nov. 10 or earlier.

Commissioner Randy Doll, of Leon, voted for the Nov. 15 opener, saying he trusted the judgment of Budd and commissioner Robert Wilson of Pittsburg.

Commissioner Debra Bolton, of Garden City, cast her vote via Internet video. Friday, she said she voted for the later opener based on communications she received from hunters.

Other duck and goose seasons were passed based on staff recommendations.