Outlook mixed; late dates may help

PRATT -- The peak of the dove season in Kansas may have passed, and avid hunters are now looking forward to the early teal season, which begins Sept. 17 throughout the state. But unless the state gets some heavy rains, many public areas may not hold many birds. There should be birds to be found, however.

"I think we could get a pretty good flight of birds because the season is late this year," says Marvin Kraft, waterfowl research biologist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP). "There is probably good habitat on private ground in the triangle running from Wichita to McPherson to Cheyenne Bottoms and back to Wichita. This area has a lot of natural wetlands and seems to be in heart of the corridor that teal migrate."

Kraft adds that the state's reservoirs should not be overlooked, either. Hunters should scout these areas, phone the area managers, or check the KDWP online waterfowl reports.

The picture is not so good for western Kansas and many public wetlands. McPherson Wetlands is fairly dry, and Jamestown Wildlife Area is under construction. At Cheyenne Bottoms, the only pool with adequate water is Pool 1B. It will be open for teal season only, and no motorized watercraft will be allowed.

"Duck hunting is looking pretty bleak right now," says Karl Grover, Cheyenne Bottoms area manager. "Without a good rain west of us, all the excellent duck food that came up in the hunting pools will go uneaten."
Early teal season dates and bag limits are as follow:

  • Low Plains, East of U.S. 283: Sept. 17-25
  • High Plains, West of U.S. 283: Sept. 17-24
  • Daily Bag Limit: 4
  • Possession Limit: 8

Residents 16 years old and older and all nonresident must have a hunting license unless exempt by law. Anyone 16 or older must have a federal waterfowl stamp, and anyone required to have a hunting license must have a Kansas HIP stamp and a Kansas waterfowl stamp.

For more information, phone (620) 672-5911.