PRATT – Participating in the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission’s Nov. 19 public meeting will be as easy as hopping on the nearest computer, tablet or phone, as the Commission’s next meeting will again be held virtually.
The Commission’s Sept. 24 meeting had up to 90 members of the public present at one time, making the outdoors-related meetings a popular event as of late among hunters, anglers and conservationists.
“That’s far more people than we would have had at an actual in-person meeting,” said Mike Miller, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism assistant secretary. “It’s now so easy for anybody to attend, it truly makes for some great discussions and we receive valuable input, as well. We’ll certainly continue with this method moving forward.”
During the Nov. 19 meeting, the public may participate via three methods, two of which offer ways to provide immediate public comment – Zoom, a call-in option, or a live audio/video stream on ksoutdoors.com. For specific instructions on how to participate, visit https://ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Commission/Instructions-to-Participate-in-Virtual-Meeting.
Topics scheduled for the Nov. 19 meeting include:
- The public and commissioners will be updated on chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Kansas, including on-going sampling efforts and an awareness campaign. A federal grant is funding a program that will assist in obtaining hundreds of samples from across the state this fall and winter. Details will be shared about how hunters can get harvested deer tested and reduce the spread of CWD.
- Biologists will present the results of a research project that studied how pheasants respond to winter cover crops planted on harvested grain fields.
- Staff and commissioners will discuss proposed new equipment, including air rifles for deer hunting and the FireStick ignition system for muzzleloaders.
- Elk and antelope season regulations will be discussed.
- Commissioners will vote on a proposal to reduce the cost of resident one-day fishing licenses from $8.50 to $6, and non-resident one-day fishing licenses from $14.50 to $10.
- Staff are also recommending a $7 trout permit for youth 15 and younger fishing for trout. Currently, youth can trout fish for free and keep two trout. The youth permit cost would be half the price of an adult permit and would allow youth to keep five trout, same as adults.
- Both of these proposals are designed to increase the number of certified license holders, ensuring Kansas receives additional Sport Fish Restoration funds, which are derived from excise taxes on fishing equipment and are allocated to states based, in part, on the number of license holders.
- Commissioners will be asked to approve changes concerning public land cabins. Cabin fees at the Mined Land Wildlife Area and Atchison State Fishing Lake would be increased from $70 to $107 per day, since the remote location of the cabins makes upkeep costly for the department. The proposed rates take into account nearby privately-owned rental options. Cabins at McPherson and Ottawa state fishing lakes will be converted to staff office space due to low annual occupancy rates.
Commissioners will begin the meeting at 1:30 p.m., recess at 5 p.m., then reconvene at 6:30 p.m. for a public hearing, during which time items will be voted on. Public input is welcomed during both the afternoon and evening sessions and time is set aside at the beginning of both sessions for comments on items not included on the meeting agenda.
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, January 14, 2021, at the New Strawn Community Center in New Strawn.