Elk City Wildlife Area News

AREA NEWS

August 3, 2017

The Reservoir flooded nearly 17 feet high during the early summer months with vegetation damage near the shoreline, crop loss and flood debris being deposited on the shoreline.  Boaters should be cautious in shallow water areas.

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 were planted prior to flooding.  One field survived and a second was replanted. The flowers will mature late due to weather conditions, and will affect dove use.  The youth field was inundated and not planted to sunflowers. 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 hunt areas.  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 for all hunting.  No paper registration cards are to be used by hunters.

WETLAND MANAGEMENT - Following a wet spring and early summer,  the wetlands have finally dried out in July allowing some ground work.  Good moist soil vegetation responses were successful in seed production in some areas, and selected portions were disked and planted to millet/milo. Repairs continue on Simmons Marsh on levee erosion and borrow fill. A new water control structure is scheduled to be constructed in August in Simmons Marsh to allow water to bypass out of the marsh during summer months and improve management options.

The Chetopa Creek / Quaker Cemetery Road: This road will be seasonally closed (September to April) The road WILL BE OPEN during duck hunting seasons. Vehicle access will be allowed during early teal, youth and all of regular duck season, 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 allowed over standing crops or food plots found on the area.

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