Elk City Wildlife Area News
August 30, 2016
Due to moderate rainfall events, the reservoir has been relatively stable during the summer months. No major floods allowed good habitat conditions around the shoreline.
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 re-sprouting. These work areas are scattered across the area and have targeted native grasslands as well as quail habitat areas. Extensive spraying of invasive weeds has occurred on several large tracts of grassland this season. Upland areas away from frequent flooding were targeted with good success.
DOVE SEASON - Sunflower fields this summer have been successful and good production has occurred. No dove fields survived flooding in 2015 and dove use was very limited on the area. Dove 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. No Lead shot is allowed 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. Mandatory registration before hunting is in effect and I-Sportsman is now available for registration. It will be MANDATORY for use in 2016 for all hunting. No paper registration cards are to be used.
WETLAND MANAGEMENT - Following a wet spring, the wetlands have been dry for most of the summer. Good moist soil vegetation responses were successful in seed production in some areas, and selected portions were disked and planted to millet. Due to extensive dry and hot conditions during mid-summer most of this millet is short and will provide open water areas when flooded. Extensive repairs were done to Simmons Marsh on levee erosion and borrow fill. Some selected trees were removed and limited repairs to beaver damage were conducted on Widgeon Marsh Cub Pool.
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 2016-2017. Vehicle access will be allowed during early teal, youth and all of regular duck seasons, and will closed immediately following 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 tree stand shall be marked with the users name and address or the users department issued identification number in a visible, legible and weather proof manner. Stands are to be removed two weeks after season closes.
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.