Elk City Wildlife Area News
FLOOD UPDATES: June 17, 2015-- Due to an extremely wet period in May and June 2015, Elk City Reservoir flooded up to within 5 feet of the emergency spillway, inundating a large portion of the property. This pales in comparison to the 2007 flood in which flood waters were 4 feet over the emergency spillway. The Corps of Engineers is releasing water and the draw down has began, but rain is still in the forecast. Even without additional flooding, this will have a significant impact on the area habitat. Wetlands that are above the flood stage have been drawn down, but remain wet. Much of the corn crop has been flooded and limited wheat and soybeans are in the fields. The quail and turkey nesting period has been impacted by the floodwater and extreme rain events, so nesting success is possibly reduced significantly across the area.
PRAIRIE RESTORATION - Native grassland restoration continues with the use of a skid steer mounted saw to remove trees from existing blocks of native grass. Brush is being piled and stumps treated to prevent resprounting. These work areas are scattered across the area and have targeted native grasslands as well as quail habitat areas.
DOVE SEASON - Due to flooding, all sunflower dove fields on the Elk City Area have been ruined or impacted. The fields were planted and the sunflowers were up and growing, but did not tolerate flooding or extremely wet, cool weather. No replacement crops have been planted due to wet conditions. Harvest from past years has been variable with just over 3400 harvested in 2014, 700 in 2013, 2400 in 2012 and just over 4000 in 2011. Since 2008, over 20,000 dove have been harvested on managed fields.
It is forecast that none of our yearly designated managed dove hunting fields in 2015 will require registration to hunt. No Lead shot is allowed for 2015 as well in these areas as posted, as sunflowers will continue to be planted for dove management hunts in 2016. The non-toxic requirement is in response to the concentrated hunting of doves and accumulation of lead in the fields, available to wildlife while feeding. Non-Toxic shot is required on numerous dove management areas across the state.
A reminder to hunters, the Berentz-Dick Wa (Buffalo Ranch) is open to hunting on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday only. The sunflowers there so far have survived the wet weather but are in only fair condition. Mandatory registration before hunting is in effect and I-Sportsman is now available for registration. It is highly recommended to utilize this method, as it will be mandatory for use in 2016 for all hunting.
WETLAND MANAGEMENT - Following a wet spring, the wetlands have been inundated or extremely wet allowing little in the way of management. The weather later in the summer will determine which management options we have available. Currently some limited mowing, spraying of undesirables and reseeding has occurred.
The Chetopa Creek / Quaker Cemetery Road: This road will be seasonally closed (September to April) The Road WILL BE OPEN during duck hunting seasons in 2015-2016. Vehicle access will be allowed during early teal, youth and all of regular duck season. This is to decrease vehicle disturbance while increasing wildlife utilization and improve hunting opportunities in the Chetopa Creek area for deer and turkey.
DEER HUNTING: Hunters are reminded that changes were made for public land hunters regarding baiting and the use of blinds. No individual may use more than two portable blinds or tree stands on any single department owned or managed property. Portable blinds or decoys shall not be left unattended overnight. Each portable blind or treestand shall be marked with the users name and address or the users department issued identification number in a visible, legible and weather proof manner.
No person may place or use bait while hunting on department lands. Bait is defined as any grain, fruit, vegetable, nut, hay, salt, sorghum, feed, other food or mineral that is capable of attracting wildlife. Liquid scents and sprays are not considered bait. Hunting is prohibited within 100 yards of any baited site for up to 10 days after removal of the bait. Hunting is not prohibited over standing crops or food plots found on the area.
Commercial guiding on public land is not allowed without a commercial guide permit issued by the department for a specific area. An annual report must be submitted before July 1 on a form provided by the department.