PRATT – The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission will meet in person for the first time in over a year at the Great Plains Nature Center, 6232 E 29th St N, in Wichita for their June 17 public meeting. Commissioners will begin the meeting at 1 p.m., recess at 5 p.m., then reconvene at 6:30 p.m. for the public hearing, during which time commissioners will vote on select regulations.
The public is invited to attend the afternoon and evening sessions in person or virtually via Zoom. Zoom participants, like those attending in person, will be able to ask questions and address the commission. Time is set aside at the beginning of both sessions for comments on items not included in the meeting agenda. For specific instructions on how to participate virtually, visit https://ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Commission/Instructions-to-Participate-in-Virtual-Meeting. Watch live video/audio stream of the meeting at https://ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Commission/Watch-Meetings-Here.
A special overview of public lands management and strategies will also be presented to the commission from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The public is welcome to attend onsite or through Zoom. However, public questions and comments will not be allowed during the special morning presentation.
Items to be discussed by commissioners during the afternoon and evening sessions include:
2022-23 turkey regulations
During the afternoon general discussion session, Kent Fricke, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) small game coordinator, will present the preliminary discussion for the 2022-23 Kansas turkey seasons.
Lesser prairie chicken listing
Fricke will also provide information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) proposal to list the lesser prairie chicken under the federal Endangered Species Act. The proposal would list lesser prairie chickens in Kansas as threatened with a 4(d) rule that tailors protections.
2022 fishing regulations
During the afternoon workshop session, Doug Nygren, KDWPT Fisheries Division director, will propose changes to select length and creel limits for 2022. Other regulation changes to be discussed include:
- Chris Steffen, KDWPT aquatic nuisance species coordinator, will propose adding Asian carp, skipjack herring, emerald shiners and threadfin shad to the list of dead species that may be sold for fishing bait. The current regulation lists only dead gizzard shad.
- KDWPT district fisheries biologist Dave Spalsbury will discuss the possible creation of new walleye size limits at Cedar Bluff Reservoir. The proposal allows anglers to keep two walleye between 15 and 18 inches within the daily creel limit of five. Otherwise, the lake’s 21-inch minimum length limit remains.
- Craig Johnson, KDWPT fisheries biologist, will propose a three-fish daily creel limit and 18-inch minimum length limit for walleye at Marion Reservoir, except that only one fish in the daily creel limit may be 21 inches or longer.
Managing hunters on public areas
During the evening public hearing session, Stuart Schrag, KDWPT Public Lands division director, will recommend regulations designed to manage hunter densities on some public waterfowl areas. Commissioners will be asked to vote on the proposal. Proposed regulations include:
Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area
- Boats with motors will not be allowed in pool 3A.
- All boats will be limited to speeds that do not leave a visible wake.
- Boats with motors will not be allowed on the water in Pool 4A after 1 p.m.
- Pool 4B will be “Youth Only” during the Youth/Military weekend.
McPherson Valley Wetlands Wildlife Area
- Motorized boats will be prohibited in all pools.
- The Big Basin Unit will be designated as “Youth Only” during the Youth/Military season.
Neosho Wildlife Area
- Hunters will not be able to access the water before 5 a.m. and must be out of hunting areas an hour after sunset.
Prairie chicken season
Fricke will ask commissioners to approve prairie chicken hunting season dates of Sept. 15 to Jan. 31 in parts of Kansas where the birds may be legally hunted. The current seasons are Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and the third Saturday of November to Jan. 31.
The extended season will create more opportunities for hunters in October and early November, including the pheasant and quail season opening weekend.
Pheasant and quail
Jeff Prendergast, KDWPT research biologist, will ask the commission to raise the maximum age for youth upland bird seasons from 16 to 17 to ensure consistency with age restrictions in other youth hunting seasons. He will also present staff recommendations to increase youth season daily bag limits from two rooster pheasants and four quail to four rooster pheasants and eight quail.
For a complete commission agenda and to view the briefing book, visit https://ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Commission/Meeting-Schedule/June-17-2021.
An interpreter for the hearing impaired can be requested by calling the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at 1-800-432-0698. Any individual with a disability may request other accommodations by contacting the Commission secretary at (620) 672-5911.
The next KDWPT Commission meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 5, 2021, in the James P. Davis Hall at Wyandotte County Lake in Kansas City.