Though not as many as many sessions, there are several wildlife-related bills in the Kansas legislature worth watching.
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 thinking 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 any private lands was removed at the request of the sportsmen and landowners.
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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-on-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 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.
Bowhunter’s convention – Many get into bowhunting for the solitary aspect of the sport, often spending dozens of days by themselves in some of Kansas’ most remote lands.
Next weekend many of those same people will gather in Hutchinson to spend a few days with like-minded archers.
Jason Wenzel, publicity chairman for the Kansas Bowhunters Association, said this will be the group’s 44th annual Convention and Banquet. Friday evening is the official start of the weekend, though most of events take place on Saturday at the Atrium Hotel and Convention Center, 1400 N. Lorraine.
Wenzel said KBA got started in the early 1970s to help archery hunting get off to a good start in Kansas. In the early days they helped develop regulations such as minimum poundages on bows and what accessories might make bowhunting too easy. The group still has a presence when the legislature is in session and at Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission meetings. Several times KBA leaders have activated members to help defeat a new regulation or bill they thought detrimental to wildlife and Kansas deer hunters.
Members annually raise money for college scholarships, and have an annual habitat improvement weekend. Through the years they’ve planted hundreds of thousands of trees and other habitat, often on public areas recently destroyed by fire or flood.
Much of Saturday’s events are informal, according to Wenzel, with vendors displaying archery gear ranging from new compound bows to hand-knapped stone arrow heads. Many members also bring the mounts or antlers of exceptional mounts from last falls hunts in Kansas and across North America.
The weekend’s main event will be Saturday, at the 6 p.m. banquet and auction. Denzel said a wide variety of items are donated, often by members, and sold via raffle and auction. This year’s speaker will be Lou Phillippe, a noted Colorado big game bowhunter who is active in on-going trends in wildlife populations and bow hunter recruitment.
Tickets for the banquet are around $20.
For more information call 316-299-8845, or go to www.thekbasite.com, or Kansas-Bowhunters-Association on Facebook.