Milford Wildlife Area

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Milford Reservoir Fishing Information

There are approximately 19,000 acres of public land surrounding Milford Reservoir on the west side and the upper end. All 19,000 acres are open to public hunting. The Steve Lloyd refuge contains an additional 1100 acres. Both the public hunting area and the refuge are managed to maximize the production of various wildlife species.

There are currently 8 newly formed wetlands, the first of which was created in 2001. These wetlands are located along the Republican River all north of the Milford Reservoir. They surround the Steve Lloyd Refuge area. They are primarily filled with natural vegetation but there are a few that are comprised of flooded food plots. They range in size from 60 to 250 acres making-up approximately 2300 acres of wetlands when all pools are full.

Numerous opportunities exist for those who wish to observe or photograph wildlife on the area. The abundant and diversified habitat at Milford supports many species of nongame birds, mammals, reptiles and aquatic life.

Hunters will find a variety of game including quail, pheasant, prairie chicken, duck, goose, rabbit, turkey, deer and squirrel. Trappers are also active throughout the season in pursuit of raccoon, muskrat, beaver and other furbearers .

Area News - Updated: 10/27/2016
This year we have 8 sunflower fields ranging in size from 6 to 19 acres each. The West Broughton Youth/Mentor Area field requires each mentor age 18 years old or older to be accompanied by a youth 17 years old or younger. Vehicles are not allowed past the parking areas or "No Vehicles Allowed" signs. Due to heavy and frequent rainfalls the fields were not mowed until late August.

Scouting is encouraged for best hunting results.
Non-Toxic Shot is Required on all managed dove fields 

All Hunters must be "checked in" on iSportman prior to hunting.

 All hunters must complete an annual registration with ISportsman online at  Once registered, hunters are required to "check-in" prior to hunting and "check-out" after hunting on Milford Wildlife Area.  A toll free phone number may also be used to check-in and check-out  1-844-500-0825.  Youth hunters are required to register and "check-in" and "check-out" using their own accounts and can not use an adult's account.

2016 Wetland Conditions

Due to flooding of the Republican river and high lake levels in Milford during the growing season, the natural vegetation growth has been reduced in many of the wetland cells as the water never fully drained from these areas.  We are heavy on sedges and barnyard grass this year.  Due to the wet conditions, ATVs were used to spray cockleburs in many of the cropped areas where the planted crop was flooded out.  We are lacking high producing annual smart weed but do have quite a bit of the perennial smartweed due in part to the high water levels during the growing season. Japanese millet was broadcasted in late July on areas lacking desirable vegetation and it should be mature by the end of September if it is not flooded prematurely. Heavy and frequent rains have filled most of the wetland cells and early pumping for teal season will most likely not be needed.

North Smith- the agricultural crops were flooded out early in the year, some cockleburs were sprayed and japanese millet was broadcasted, plan to start pumping in October

Lower Smith- natural vegetation looks good, area has held water during the growing season and has reduced seed production, plan to start pumping at the end of September

Mall Creek- the river bank dike was eroded during a flood event last winter, this cut helped drain some water out of the wetland which promoted more vegetation growth, plan to repair the break in the dike when conditions allow, hopefully before or during teal season if it dries enough to bring in the heavy equipment needed

Quimby Creek wetland-Both north and south pools have some water standing, the south cell was sprayed for cockleburs and japanese millet was broadcasted to supplement the standing milo, plan to pump in October, the north cell was burned this past spring and had a favorable natural vegetation response

Zach Hudec- this area is currently in soybeans, a portion of the second cell crop did flood out and was supplemented with Japanese millet, plan to pump in October

West Broughton Youth/Mentor Area- the south cell is currently in corn, the cell just north of the road was flooded out early in the season but has a good amount of desirable vegetation and patches of cockleburs were sprayed, the small dike separating the large cell on the north side of the road was repaired which should help spread the water out more, creating more huntable pools, the far north cell was disked after a spring burn which proved to help promote more desirable vegetation (primarily smart weed)-plan to pump in October

Beichter Bottom- this area held high water all summer which has significantly reduced the vegetation growth and seed production in the open pools of water,  plan to pump in October

Martin Bottom- agricultural crops were flooded out early in the growing season, cockleburs were spot sprayed and japanese millet was broadcasted to supplement existing vegetation, plan to pump in October

New Youth/Mentor area signage
New Youth Area Signage

New signs have been posted on the West Broughton Youth/Mentor Area.  The area will now be designated for “any and all uses” to be strictly Youth/Mentor Only. Previous posting included “hunting” only and has caused some confusion on what activities were permitted.  By broadening the definition we hope to get back to the original intent of the area when it was designated 10+ years ago.  Regardless of what activity you are participating in on this area one youth age 17 or younger must be present per mentor age 18 or older.

Examples: hunting, trapping, fishing, game cameras, setting stands or blinds, scouting, etc.

2016 Spring Burning Season Totals:

14 prescribed spring burns were conducted between March and April this year totaling 1,757 acres.  We were fortunate to be able to limit the size of most of the burn areas to 100 acres or less and spread the burned areas throughout the wildlife area.  This will provide good brood rearing habitat near nesting habitat in many locations this year as well as provide more desirable nesting habitat in the next couple of years on the grasslands that were burned this spring. Prescribed fire is used as a habitat management tool to reduce woody invasion of trees and shrubs in native grass stands, minimize invasive grass species such as brome and promote fire tolerant desirable tree species in timber stands, all without using herbicides.  We also assisted on two wildfires this spring totaling approximately 800 acres.

2016 Planned Projects

West Broughton Youth Mentor Area:

The plans and permits are in place to complete the streambank stabilization projects both at the permanent pumpsite as well as the river weirs south of the seasonal gates.  We are now waiting on the fall crop income and weather conditions to complete the projects.

Mall Creek Wetland: 

Rock will need to be hauled in to repair some erosion on the spillway near the water control structure as well as expand the area that was repaired in 2012 to aide in management access and water retention. Silt removal is also needed on this wetland, an aquatic excavator may be needed if conditions and budget allow.

Zach Hudec Wetland:

Soil tests are planned to be taken in the west cell this year to look at the soil profile. This cell seems to be our least efficient when it comes to pumping and has been a limiting factor in how much water we can hold.


Timber Stand Improvement (TSI)

Efforts are being made to improve the quality of our timber stands.  Chainsaws,herbicides, prescribed fire and mulching/mowing are being used in various areas to reduce undesirable tree species (Locust, elm, hackberry, cedar) and promote desirable species (Oak, walnut, hickory).  We recently completed some work near North Smith, Mall Creek, Quimby Creek and Beichter Bottom.  Undesirable trees were cut or girdled and left standing.   Several other timber stands, particularly creek drainages, have been targeted as areas in need of improvement.  In many areas, the majority of our desirable trees such as oaks are dying out or being shaded out by undesirable tree species.  Oaks are not a shade tolerate species meaning they require some sunlight to grow.  Many of the areas where TSI has been done will look pretty bare for the first several years until the seedlings develop into young trees.  In the meantime, the downed trees and increased growth of the understory will provide cover for many wildlife species including deer and turkeys.

Handicapped Vehicle Access Permits Available For Two Designated Areas on Milford Wildlife Area

Both areas will remain open to regular public hunting but will also be available for handicapped vehicle access by special permit.

A valid state issued handicapped permit and a permit from Milford Wildlife Area is required.

Please call the Milford Wildlife Area office for more information 785-461-5402.

North Area: Southwest of 13th Road and Rainbow Road Intersection

South Area: Northeast of Ava Road and Rebecca Road Intersection

Year-Round Prescribed Burning

The Milford Wildlife Area will be conducting prescribed burns throughout the year. The timing of these burns varies according to our management goals for each burn. Overall, we aim to control/reduce woody invasion, noxious weeds and promote more forbs in our grass stands to provide better brood rearing and nesting habitat for upland game birds and provide other benefits to many wildlife species.

Resprouting Hedgerows

Over the past several years we have been cutting mature hedgerows in hopes of promoting new growth that will offer a good quality of cover for numerous wildlife species, particularly upland birds.  We will move around the area periodically to cut hedgerows to promote various stages of vegetation growth on these hedgerows. Firewood permits are required to cut any dead AND down wood and are available free of charge by calling our office at 785-461-5402. Firewood is for personal use only and may not be sold for profit. Vehicles are not allowed off of maintained roads or inside gates or "no vehicles allowed" signs. Trees will be piled along roadways where practical. 

New Gates and Parking Areas

Numerous gates and parking areas have been and will continue to be constructed on the area. These parking areas are meant to provide a safe area to park vehicles off of roadways while visiting the area. Several dead end roads have been closed, some may be open seasonally as posted from March 1-October 1 unless posted otherwise. The primary objective of installing the gates is to improve the overall integrity of the wildlife area by restricting vehicle access. These gates should not only improve constituents wildlife interactions, they will also reduce the high volume of trash, off-road vehicle use, poaching and vandalism that has occurred on the area in the past. The Steve Lloyd upper and lower refuge is closed to all activities year round, while the rest of the Wildlife Area is open to foot traffic within the gated areas.

General Information

Milford Reservoir & WA (PDF 572.14 kB)

Manager: Kristin Kloft

Assistant Manager: Nick Sanchez

Phone: (785) 461-5402

Special Regulations

Camping, camp fires, off-road vehicle use, riding horses, and target shooting are prohibited activities. Camping can be done inside Milford State Park

Refuge areas are closed to all hunting and off-road activities throughout the year. There is one access road to the Steve Lloyd Overlook that is open year-round. Any off-road activities along this roadway are prohibited.

Free daily hunt permits are required to hunt waterfowl within the wetlands complex.

No motorized boats are allowed in any of the wetland areas except Mall Creek/Peterson Bottoms.

Only non-toxic shot is allowed in the wetland areas. The perimeters of these areas are posted.

Special Features

The West Broughton area has been designated a Youth/Mentor Area for all activities. Each mentor age 18 or older must be accompanied by a youth 17 years old or younger.

Here is a complete list of Public Land Regulations or you can download the regulation summary.


Milford Reservoir began operation in 1965 and the former Forestry, Fish and Game Commission began operation of the public hunting area in 1967.

Milford Facilities
Zach Hudec Wetland Parking Area
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 18.482 W97 03.153

West Broughton Youth Marsh Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 19.143 W97 03.785

Upper Smith Wetland Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 16.680 W97 01.506

Sugarbowl Wetland Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 14.127 W96 58.986

Martin Bottom Wetland South Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 16.856 W97 02.581

Steve Lloyd Refuge Outlook
  • Type of Facility: Wildlife Viewing
  • Location of Facility: N39 15.405 W97 00.879

Quimby Creek Wetland Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 11.025 W97 00.188

Martin Bottom Wetland North Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 17.552 W97 02.626

Mall Creek Wetland Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 15.767 W96 59.884

Lower Smith Wetland Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 16.037 W97 00.802

Gatesville Boat Ramp
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • Location of Facility: N39 15.994 W97 00.726

Beichter Wetland Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 17.547 W97 03.181

Milford Wildlife Area Waterfowl Report - 02/09/2017
Waterfowl numbers
Duck season is currently closed.

Approximately 2000 geese were observed on the lake and wetlands this morning. All the wetlands are mostly frozen.

Waterfowl counts given on this report are based on what was observed on the day the report is updated. Waterfowl numbers vary greatly from day to day and weather conditions and hunting pressure will affect the numbers of waterfowl on the area.

Lake level Current Level is 1141.55 Conservation Pool is 1144.4 The dam is releasing 300 CFS. The inflow into the lake is 368 CFS.
Hunting conditions

Due to frequent river flooding and high water levels throughout the growing season, the vegetation and seed production has been significantly reduced on many wetlands.  

No activites/hunting allowed in the Steve Lloyd Wetland/Refuge.

Motorized boats are only allowed in the Mall Creek wetland, electric motors are considered "motorized". All other public hunting wetlands are open to NON motorized boats and walk in hunting.

All pumps have been turned off due to freezing temperatures.  If conditions permit, the pumps will be turned on again prior to or during the late duck season.

Expected hunting success Average
Do NOT drive on dikes. Vehicles disrupt and discourage waterfowl from using the wetland areas. We have had several dikes being damaged due to unauthorized vehicles driving on them. Scouting is best done on foot to evaluate bird numbers and habitat conditions.
Please report any vehicles on dikes and anyone seen disturbing our pumps. Without the pumps in optimal condition we are unable to pump the wetlands to their greatest potential.
Remember - an electronic permit/sign-in on Isportsman is required for all hunting on Milford Wildlife Area. Hunters can register and check in using the I-sportsman system from any phone or internet device. The information collected and comments received are very useful in establishing future management goals for the area.