Rail

Rail

To buy a HIP Stamp, CLICK HERE.

Virginia rails and soras are the two rail species that can be hunted in Kansas. These species prefer wetlands with dense stands of cattail and bulrush for nesting, but frequently are found in higher-elevation portions of wetlands where grass or other less-robust vegetation is shallowly flooded. Virginia rails and soras nest in Kansas. During the nesting season, they primarily consume aquatic insects and other aquatic invertebrates. Seeds and animal matter are eaten in late summer and fall.

Rails typically are hunted in combination with snipe in the same habitats. Rails can use deeper water than snipe, but also are found in shallow water and on mudflats. Because seeds are an important part of the diet in late summer and fall, shallow-water areas with dense stands of seed-producing plants are prime rail hunting areas. Although rails don’t fly nearly as fast and evasively as snipe, hunting both snipe and rails together is like trying to adjust to a baseball pitcher’s fastball and changeup. Rails also compensate for their relatively slow flight by not remaining aloft for long.

Rail hunters need to be proficient in identification of the other look-alike species found in rail habitat. King, black, and yellow rails also occur in Kansas, but they aren’t legal to hunt. Of these nongame rails, kings are the most common and the others aren’t likely to be encountered when hunting. The king rail is similar in shape to the Virginia rail, but kings are about twice as large as Virginias.

Season Information
Current Seasons

All Rail seasons are closed.

Upcoming Seasons
Rail - Statewide

Dates: 09/01/2017 - 11/09/2017

  • Area open: Statewide
  • Daily bag limit: 25
  • Possession limit: 25

License Information

All waterfowl hunters 16 and older must have a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Federal Waterfowl Stamp), and all hunters who are required to obtain a hunting license must also have a Kansas State Waterfowl Stamp and a Kansas Harvest Information Program (HIP) stamp before hunting ducks, geese, or mergansers. (Those not required to have a Kansas hunting license include people hunting their own land, and residents 15 and younger)

NEW FOR 2016:  The 48 Hour Waterfowl hunt license is no longer available for KS waterfowl hunters, it has been replaced by the Annual Hunt License.

Annual Hunting License - All resident hunters age 16 through 74 must have a resident hunting license unless exempt by Kansas Law.  Nonresident hunters, regardless of age, must have a nonresident hunting license.  Annual hunting licenses can be purchased online by clicking here or through all licensed agents, or Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism offices.

Waterfowl Stamps and Licence - All Waterfowl stamps and licenses can be bought at any licensed Agent , Pratt Operations Office , or online, EXCEPT for the Federal Waterfowl Stamp which is bought at a US Post Office, KDWPT Regional and Park Offices, and select license agents.  All Waterfowl stamps are good through season.

  • Kansas HIP Stamp: $2.50
  • State Waterfowl Stamp: $10
  • Federal Waterfowl Stamp: $26.50 - Purchased at any KDWP office or at any US Post Office.

State stamps are available at any licensed agent, online , Pratt Operations Office or Regional office. Federal stamps are available at a US Post Office, Pratt Operations Office or Regional office . Federal stamps must be signed across the face of the stamp.

Waterfowl stamps are not required to hunt Coot, Dove, Rail, Snipe, Woodcock, or Sandhill Crane. HIP is required.

If hunting Sandhill Crane, in addition to a hunting license ( if required), a federal sandhill crane hunting permit issued through and validated by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks is required to hunt cranes. Crane permits obtained in other states are not valid in Kansas. The validated permit ($7.50 validation fee) is available at any licensed agent , online , Pratt Operations Office , or Regional office .

All Kansas sandhill crane hunters must pass the "Test for Sandhill Crane Hunters" before obtaining a sandhill crane hunting permit.

"Online Test for Sandhill Crane Hunters." Click this link to take an online test that provides information about identifying whooping cranes, sandhill cranes, and look-alike species, as well as the hunter’s ability to choose safe shots. The test is both entertaining and informative and only takes a few minutes.

Regulations
115-18-08 (PDF - 58.99 kB)

Retrieval and possession of game animals and migratory game birds - Requirements

115-09-08 (PDF - 9.53 kB)

Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program - Requirements, Exemptions.

115-25-21 (PDF - 11.75 kB)

Snipe, rail, and woodcock; management unit, hunting season, shooting hours, and bag and possession limits.

115-25-19 (PDF - 149.48 kB)

Doves - Management Unit, Hunting Season, Shooting Hours, and Bag and Possession Limits