If you plan on fishing this weekend, you had better already have purchased your fishing permit. Sales of all Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks licenses and permits will be on hold from 9:45 a.m. Saturday until 8 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22.
Mike Miller, Wildlife and Parks information chief, said the online system will be down so improvements can be made. License vendors, like sporting goods stores, also will not be able to sell licenses and permits during that time. This includes special trout permits for Sedgwick County Park and the KDOT East Lake, which were just stocked last week.
“I don’t think we counted on it being 70 degrees those three days when this was planned,” said Miller. “There will probably be some people wanting to do some fishing. They’ve been working on this for a year. Normally this a pretty slow time of the year for license sales.”
Miller said the agency just renewed its contract with the company that runs the online sales system. Services are paid for with fees from license sales. He said sportsmen should see improvements in the system when it gets back up and running. For one thing, it will be easier to buy multiple licenses and permits, such as for several members of a family, at once.
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A major change will be that hunters will no longer be able to purchase any hunting permit that includes a carcass tag online. For about the past 10 years, the public could purchase permits to hunt deer and turkey online, and then print the tag that’s attached to the animal on a home or business printer.
Instead, hunters will have to buy their permit and tag directly from one of more than 600 license vendors in Kansas. Miller said people also could call a Wildlife and Parks office and make the purchase over the phone, then the permits and tags would be sent by mail, which would take a few days.
Miller said game wardens had been having problems with people copying tags they’d printed so they could shoot multiple animals. Paper tags also weren’t very durable and often tore while an animal was being moved or if they got wet.
There are several wildlife-related bills in the Kansas legislature:
▪ A house bill would close the loophole that allows people searching for wounded game to enter a property that’s posted with “Hunting by written permission only.” The law was originally created hoping it would make it easier for hunters to track wounded deer, or cross a fence to retrieve a duck or pheasant the fell on the other side.
Chris Tymeson, Wildlife and Parks attorney, said the agency has gotten many reports of landowners finding trespassers using the loophole as an excuse when they’re caught on posted land where they don’t have permission.
A portion of the bill that would have required written permission to hunt on all private lands was removed at the request of the sportsmen and landowners, as an inconvenience to both.
The bill cleared committee, and is headed to the house for a vote.
▪ A bill that would allow landowners to transfer their own “hunt-on-your-own-land” permit to a non-resident who didn’t get a permit through the annual drawing appears to have stalled. Such a system could create difficulties for game wardens and lead to over-harvest of deer in some areas.
Tymeson said it’s possible the bill could still get worked later in the session.
▪ A bill that would give governing control of conservation easements to county governments is not expected to see house action. Tymeson said it was widely opposed by many conservation and agriculture groups. As of now most conservation easements placed on private lands, by the landowner, are to protect their lands from kinds of development for perpetuity. Some oppose such longterm restrictions because it could keep good land from being farmed or developed by future landowners, and believe limitations should be imposed by county governments.