Fall River Wildlife Area News
Dove Hunting Opportunities at Fall River Wildlife Area
Six fields of sunflowers totaling 65 acres have been planted this year at Fall River Wildlife Area. No sunflower fields were planted at Toronto Wildlife Area this year. These fields will be managed through timely mowing to attract doves. Fields at Fall River are in good condition this year despite excessive rains and flooding that took place this spring and early summer. Good hunting opportunities are expected. Last year, 277 hunter trips during the first three days of dove season resulted in a total harvest of 2376 doves. Just 111 doves shy of the record high harvest of 2487 doves taken in 2013. The remarkable aspect of the 2014 harvest data compared to the 2013 season was that a 41% decrease in hunter trips only resulted in 4% less total birds being harvested. This data may tend to indicate that fields were occupied beyond optimal levels in 2013 when hunter trips reached an all-time high since the beginning of data collection for the dove fields at Fall River WA. Accurate collection of this data is very important to help KDWP staff to evaluate the effectiveness of dove field location and management strategies that will help maximize opportunities for the dove hunters that choose to hunt at Fall River Wildlife Area.
Hunters will be required to use only non-toxic shot in managed dove fields at Fall River Wildlife Area. Managed dove fields are considered to be any field in which data collection by harvest survey cards is required and will usually be fields that have been planted to sunflowers.
Dove hunters will find mailboxes with registration cards posted at each sunflower field. Instructions posted at these mailboxes will guide hunters through the registration and harvest reporting process. Hunters are asked to please take the time to register and report their harvest accurately and be aware that registration and reporting is required. Extra signs will be posted around dove fields this year, and KDWP Law Enforcement Officers will be patrolling dove fields to answer questions and remind hunters that registration and reporting of harvest is required. Hunters are also reminded that doves may be banded as part of a nationwide dove banding study. Hunters can help by inspecting all harvested doves for the presence of leg bands. The more bands that are reported by hunters the better understanding wildlife biologists will have about the habits of these challenging game birds. The phone number to call to report band information is 1-800-327-(BAND)2263. This number is also printed on the bands but the bands are relatively small, making the phone number difficult to read.
Again this year, two sunflower fields are being reserved until the evening of Saturday, September 5th for the special Youth Dove Hunt. This special event will be hosted at the Fall River Wildlife Area office near Climax. The Youth Dove Hunt is for young hunter’s ages 10 to 15 who will be accompanied by an adult. Accompanying adults will not be allowed to hunt. KDWP will provide at least two boxes of steel shot shells for each hunter. There is usually no shortage of shot opportunities so young hunters are encouraged to bring a couple boxes of shells with them to ensure the action doesn’t have to stop before the hunt concludes. A brief review of hunter safety will be given prior to the hunt. Space may be limited so early registration is encouraged, and all young hunters must be pre-registered by September 4th to hunt.
For more information or to register a youth for the Youth Dove Hunt at Fall River Wildlife Area contact theKansas Dept. of Wildlife and Parksat: (620)-583-6783.