Benedictine Bottoms Wildlife Area
Access to the area as of September 8th 2011 is limited. Many roads in the Benedictine Bottoms Wildlife area are impassable due to the flooding in the Missouri River area. Access is possible from the city of Atchison, but only to the levee along Independance Creek on the west. It is also possible to access the area from the north, south of the town of Doniphan. As of this time approximately 70% of the area has water on it or is very wet, most internal roads including the road to the main parking area are underwater.
The area is a 2,112 acre wildlife area in the flood plain of the Missouri River. The river borders the area on the south and east. This site is managed for 3 habitat types that existed in the area before development, timber, native grass and wetlands. During construction more than 175,000 trees were planted, 550 acres of native grass were planted and 450 acres of wetlands were developed.
Construction on the area started with tree planting consisted of a variety of hardwoods and shrubs. These varieties will provide mast as well as escape and winter cover for many wildlife. Though most of the hardwood trees are still small many Cottonwood trees are mixed in and are doing quite well.
The grasslands were created from a mixture of big bluestem, Indian, eastern gama and switch grasses along with wildflowers and legumes. Most of the grasslands have done very well and is providing valuable nesting and escape cover as well as a source of food.
The 450 acres of wetlands were built using low-profile earthen berms and using the natural contour of the land. Three well and distribution pipe provide water to approximately 120 acres. Water control structures were placed on the wetlands to allow for control of water depth.
Currently the area has a great variety of wildlife. Many species of song birds use the area and can be seen throughout the year. Many water birds also use the wetlands including shorebirds, wading birds, and waterfowl.
Many game species are common to the area. Good numbers of deer stay on the area with several large bucks seen every year. A large population of pheasant are found on the area and is a favorite of the locals. Good numbers of quail and rabbits can also be found.
Start November 18th 2013 the Corps of Engineers will have a construction crew at Benedictine Bottoms constructing two new chutes off of the Missouri River. The construction will be ongoing and could last over a year. During this time there will be areas that will be closed to public access. As the construction progresses we will keep you updated.
The hunting on Benedictine Bottom should be good this season. Very good habitat exists for all species this year. Upland habitats are very good over most of the area and bird numbers are also up for both pheasant and quail. Hunting for upland bird will be tough due to the thick habitat.
Water fowl habitat is also good. Although waterfowl numbers on the area have been sparse early, with the good habitat numbers should pick up as waterfowl migrate farther south.
Deer hunting should be good again this year also. Numbers appear to be about the average, and a couple of larger bucks have been seen.
The north wetland (first one) on the west complex is dry so we can apply Bentonite clay to seal it.
Area open in the month of September only to hunting for the dove and teal seasons. Non-toxic shot is required for all shotgun hunting. Please pick up a daily permit at the kiosk.
All other hunting on the wildlife area is regulated through a drawing in the department's special hunts program.
- The area is open to the public from April 1 through September 30. From October 1 Through March 31 an access/hunting permit is required. These permit are by computer draw only. Applications period will start in July and will be acepted on-line only at http://www.kdwp.state.ks.us/, look for "Special Hunts"
- Off road vehicle, ATV and horse use is prohibited.
- No alcohol or cereal malt beverages of any kind are allowed on the area.
- non-toxic shot required for all shotgun hunting
Benedictine Teal Season Wetland Map
The US Army Corps of Engineers purchased the area as a Missouri River Fish and Wildlife Mitigation Project in 1993 and 1994. This area was purchased under authorization of Congress through the Mitigation Project in Section 334(a) of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1986. The 2,112 acre Benedictine Bottoms was then leased to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks for management in 1999 after development.
|Waterfowl numbers|| |
Slight increase in duck numbers on the area. About 3,000 - 4,500 ducks on the refuge marsh, mostly mallards and Canada Geese.
Mallard Migration Rank: 2 (Estimate of potential mallard nunbers. 1=lowest, 10=highest)
|Water level|| |
Pumping 2 of the 4 huntable wetlands due to water holding issues.
October 1 through March 31 the area can only be accessed with a special permit obtained through a drawing. The application and drawing will take place online only in 2016. Look for "Special Hunts" on our home page under "HUNTING".
|Hunting conditions||Continuing to pump only the large center wetland and one of the west marshes due to excessive water loss.|
|Expected hunting success||Poor, very few ducks using the hunt-able wetlands.|
|Comments||Fewer ducks on are on the wildlife area at this time compared to past years.|