Milford Wildlife Area News
All hunters must complete an annual registration with ISportsman online at kdwpt.isportsman.net. 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.
Due to frequent flooding of the Republican river and high lake levels in Milford during the growing season, the natural vegetation growth has been reduced in Mall Creek, Beichter, Cane Creek refuge and the lower refuge as the water never fully drained from these areas. They are currently full and slats were put in to hold what water we can but if the river or lake go down we will most likely have exposed mud in these areas.
North Smith- the agricultural crops were flooded out early in the year, millet and milo were planted but were also partially flooded out in a later flood event, 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- summer floods kept this wetland full all season, mostly open water with some good natural vegetation around the edges, very little seed production expected
Quimby Creek wetland-Both north and south pools have a small amount of water in them from rainfall, soybeans and some millet will be flooded prior to duck season, plan to start pumping in October
Zach Hudec- the lower half of the cells were flooded out this summer and have grown up into desirable vegetation, north half was replanted to corn, plan to pump in October
West Broughton Youth/Mentor Area-the area was flooded out several times during the growing season but some desirable vegetation has grown and millet was planted, plan to pump in October once the new permanent pump is installed, installation is under way and should be complete by early October
Beichter Bottom- this area held high water all summer which has significantly reduced the vegetation growth and seed production, plan to pump in October-currently waiting on pump repairs
Martin Bottom- agricultural crops were flooded out early in the growing season, millets were planted and desirable vegetation has also produced good seed, plan to pump in October-currently waiting on pump repairs
This year we have 8 sunflower fields ranging in size from 7 to 12 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. Strips will be mowed in the sunflowers at two different times during the last two weeks of August.
Scouting is encouraged for best hunting results.
Non-Toxic Shot is Required on all sunflower fields
All Hunters must be "checked in" on Isportman prior to hunting.
New Youth/Mentor 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.
18 prescribed spring burns were conducted between February and April this year totaling approximately 1,800 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.
West Broughton Youth Mentor Area:
The wetland pump has become increasingly inefficient these past several years and plans are being made to either repair or replace it by the fall of 2015. Plans are also being made to implement stream bank stabilization along two stretches of the river bank bordering the south edge of the Youth/Mentor Area. Engineers are working on these plans and permits need to be attained prior to starting the work. If everything comes together in a timely manner and conditions are favorable we hope to do both the pump work and stream bank stabilization late this summer.
Beichter Stationary Pump Repairs Needed:
The stationary pump used to fill both Martin Bottom and Beichter wetlands quit working late in the 2014/2015 pumping season. At a minimum, a bearing will need to be replaced but larger repairs are expected once the pump is opened up to reveal the cause of the bearing going out. Bids will be taken and every effort will be made to have the pump repaired prior to the 2015 duck season.
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. Plans are also being made to continue the bank stabilization project that was started in 2012.
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.
The West Broughton Youth/Mentor area recently had some dirt work completed in anticipation of a functioning pump by next season. Several new culverts were installed to aide in the movement of both flood waters and pumped water. Stream bank stabilization projects are being designed to most likely install river weirs to reduce the stream bank erosion along two stretches of the river bordering the youth/mentor area. If designs are completed and permits attained we plan to complete at least the stretch near the pump late this summer.
A water control structure was installed on Beichter Bottom in August to allow for water to be held providing more floodable acres.
During March of 2014, the rock removal and stream bank stabilization project resumed and was completed the first week of April. The boat ramp and parking area was reopened for public use on April 4th. The stream bank both upstream and downstream of the boat ramp was armored to prevent future erosion using rock that was hammered out of the bluff to provide a larger parking area to better accommodate all users including those pulling boat trailers. Sixteen parking curbs have been installed to better facilitate the parking in, what was a very congested area. The stream bank downstream of the boat ramp was reshaped making the area more accessible for bank fishing.
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.
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.