McPherson Valley Wetlands Wildlife Area
Currently the area holds 51 independently managed wetland pools, two refuges that include approximately 650 total acres and approximately 350 acres of water when full, and provides a total of approximately 1,750 surface acres of water when full for migrating waterfowl. The area is managed intensively for waterfowl, but also provides good opportunity for pheasant, quail, and dove hunting. The spring migration is a spectacular sight for viewing migratory birds in full plumage. Many species common to the central flyway can be found at the wetlands during this time. Most notably, for the first time in 100 years, whooping cranes visited the area in 1995. In the spring of 2016, 17 whooping cranes were observed in the Big Basin marshes.
THE 2016 - 2017 HUNTING SEASON RAPIDLY APPROACHES!!!
Beginning in September 2016, McPherson Valley Wetlands will complete the transition to the i-Sportsman electronic hunt permit system. There will only be one paper daily hunt permit box on the entire property, and it is located at 967 Mohawk Road near the area headquarters. Hunters that use paper cards from this box are asked to return their hunt permits to this box as well, as all other hunt permit boxes on the property will either be removed or closed. Please plan accordingly and register for i-Sportsman prior to the September 1st opener of hunting season. For those of you who have already set up an account with i-Sportsman, this is a good time to make sure you remember those user names and passwords!
You can find a link to i-Sportsman on the KDWPT web page, and all hunters are strongly encouraged to set up an account and begin using the electronic system.
For additional information please contact the McPherson Valley Wetlands office at (620) 241-7669.
FIELDS MANAGED FOR DOVE HUNTING:
Although the abundant rainfall has been great for the marshes, it has not done many favors for the dove fields at McPherson Valley Wetlands. There will be one sunflower field managed for dove hunting during the 2016 season; however, this field was severely flooded in July. The majority of the sunflowers drowned, but some small patches managed to survive. Portions of this field were disked and/or mowed during the 2nd and 3rd weeks of August, and some doves are beginning to find the field. Recent rains have not improved conditions, and hunting success is predicted to be fair to good, at best, due to the extensive flood damage. This field is located in the Little Sinkhole Unit, southeast of Inman, on the west side of the intersection of 11th and Arrowhead (one mile north of Arapaho). The field is open to ALL hunters, and non-toxic shot is required. Please register with i-Sportsman if you plan on hunting at McPherson Valley Wetlands.
Staff at the McPherson Valley Wetlands will be producing a newsletter that will include season results, upcoming projects, special opportunities, fall flights, and other information that hunters / users may need to know if planning to visit the area. The newsletter will be produced bi-annually, prior to hunting season (mid August to mid September) and following waterfowl season (mid March to mid April). This document will be distributed electronically, and if you are interested in getting on the mailing list Click here.
The newsletter is an attempt to get information to more of our constituents since attendance at our public information meetings has been very low due.
In the past, area staff has (after the fact) been informed of regulation violations during the hunting season. Even though selective law enforcement by Public Lands and Law Enforcement division employees, is done routinely at the wetlands, we can't be everywhere all the time. If you witness a violation, please call the area office at (620)-241-7669 and leave a description of the violation including the vehicle tag number if possible.
Manager: Jason K. Black; (620) 241-7669; firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to low attendance at our annual public informational meetings, area staff is in the process of producing a bi-annual newsletter. If you are interested in recieving this newsletter CLICK HERE. The newsletter will include information about forecasted fall flights, upcoming projects, special hunting or other opportunities, harvest totals, and other information hunters / users need to know if planning a trip to the area. The newsletter will be distributed electronically, so you may "catch up" on area news at your leisure.
Location: McPherson Valley Wetlands are situated in three main units, the Big Basin Marshes, Chain of Lakes, and Little Sinkhole Marshes. The units start approximately 3.5 miles northwest of McPherson and expand to approximately 1 mile south and 1 mile east of Inman. The McPherson Valley Wetlands Complex lies within a 50-mile radius of Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. McPherson Valley Wetlands will offfer a hunting alternative and supplemental habitat when water availability is limited due to drought.
THE NORTH AND SOUTH REFUGE AREAS IN THE BIG BASIN ARE OFF-LIMITS TO ALL ACTIVITIES, AND THIS INCLUDES DUCK HUNTING. THERE IS NO HUNTING OR PUBLIC ACCESS OF ANY KIND ALLOWED IN THE REFUGES!!
MPWL has transitioned to a new daily permit system called i-Sportsman. Hunters will need to register via PC prior to hunting at MPWL. Hunters will be able to login from PC, smartphone, or call in from a cell phone or landline phone each day prior to hunting to get a daily permit, and report back harvest similar to the paper daily permits. Please visit https://kdwpt.isportsman.net/to register prior to hunting season.
Hunters must be aware of posted refuges, and stay out of these areas.
All hunters must use non-toxic shot for all species.
The entire McPherson Valley Wetlands Wildlife Area is now located in the Low Plains Early Waterfowl Zone. For exact season dates contact the area headquarters or CLICK HERE.
The Wetlands are open to the public year-round, and all areas, with the exception of posted refuges, may be entered on foot. Vehicles are allowed on maintained roads only.
Camping is not available but can be found only a few miles away in McPherson or Hutchinson.
Additionally, all statewide public land regulations, Secretary's orders, and posted notice regulations apply on the Wetlands.
Before their destruction by ditching, the wetlands of west central McPherson County comprised more than 9,000 surface acres of water in at least 52 separate wetlands, and were equal in importance to Cheyenne Bottoms. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT) recognized the need to restore portions of this vital wetland complex and started buying land for development in 1989. To date, the area is 4,455 acres. KDWPT is currently interested in acquiring land from willing sellers when funding exists. Several tracts of land have recently been acquired through a North American Wetland Conservation grant. Development has been completed on these tracts, and will provide additional acreage and opportunity for hunting and wildlife viewing. KDWPT has set a goal to eventually acquire and restore 5,000 acres of this vital wetland complex.
|Waterfowl numbers|| |
ATTENTION: i-Sportsman is back up and running, and all hunters are REQUIRED to use the new system! Please check in, report your harvest, and check out using the mandatory electronic hunt permit system. Thanks!
Friday, February 10, 2017:
The Low Plains Early Zone duck season ended on January 1st. Preliminary results indicate that harvest was very similar to last season, with 1,655 hunters reporting a harvest of 2,379 ducks, for an average of 1.44 ducks per hunter.
Canada, white-front, and snow goose seasons close this Sunday, February 12th.
Other than a little skim ice the last couple of mornings, the marshes are now thawed and the spring goose migration is under way. Geese have been moving through the area for the last week in good numbers.
During a survey of the property on Thursday, February 9th, approximately 30,000 geese were observed. The majority of the geese are snows, but there are solid numbers of Canadas and specklebellies present also. Goose numbers fluctuate constantly as the geese trade back and forth between the wildlife area and private ground. Warmer weather and south winds forecasted for this weekend may bring more geese in from the south as they make the journey back north.
Remember that the north refuge in the Big Basin became off limits on October 1st, and all activities in both the south and the north refuge areas are prohibited.
|Mallard Migration Rank|| |
Current rank: 2
This rank is subjective and ranges from 0 (no mallards) to 10 (peak numbers).
|Water levels||The area has received abundant rains this summer, with several significant flood events. There are a few marshes on the west side of the Big Basin that are not completely full, as attempts were made to de-water these pools to control vegetation. The remaining pools in the Big Basin are at, or near, capacity. The Chain of Lakes marshes have lost a lot of water over the last few weeks, with only small pools remaining in some of the marshes. The Little Sinkhole marshes are in good shape, with the majority at, or near, capacity.|
|Hunting conditions||Although the flooding caused it to mature late in the season, moist soil vegetation is good to exceptional across the area. Pondweed, annual smartweed, sprangletop, and barnyard grass production has really come on strong in the last month or so. Due to the extremely wet conditions, vegetation manipulation was impossible in most of the marshes, but efforts to open up holes in the emergent vegetation will continue as season progresses.|
|Expected hunting success||Fair to good, depending on weather conditions.|
Kansas hunters should be aware that iSportsman Electronic Daily Hunt Permits are required on 24 wildlife areas, including McPherson Valley Wetlands (check the2016 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary or kdwpt.isportsman.net for a list). The electronic permit system has been in place for two years, and after a few issues in the last two weeks is now fully functional, fast, and efficient.
iSportsman replaces the old paper permits and allows hunters to conveniently check in and out using a telephone, smartphone or home computer. As with the old paper system, information gathered helps area managers tailor management practices specific to an area and hunter preference. The paper system was inconvenient for hunters and labor intensive for managers.
**THERE IS A "NO TRASH POLICY" IN EFFECT AT MCPHERSON VALLEY WETLANDS. PLEASE CARRY OUT WHATEVER YOU CARRY IN, INCLUDING EMPTY HULLS AND OTHER TRASH. PLEASE TRY TO LEAVE YOUR HUNTING SPOT AS CLEAN OR CLEANER THAN IT WAS WHEN YOU ARRIVED. THANKS!!!
REFUGE AREAS: THE SOUTH REFUGE AREA IN THE BIG BASIN IS OFF-LIMITS TO ALL ACTIVITIES, AND THIS INCLUDES DUCK HUNTING. THERE IS NO HUNTING OR PUBLIC ACCESS OF ANY KIND ALLOWED IN THE REFUGE!!
The Little Sinkhole/Farland Lake marsh unit is included in the EARLY low-plains duck zone (as is the rest of MPWL).
All shotgun hunters at McPherson Wetlands are required to use non-toxic shot for all hunting. This includes upland birds.