2006 big game seasons highlight evening public hearing agenda
JUNCTION CITY -- The Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission will conduct a public meeting and hearing Thursday, April 27, at the Courtyard Marriott, 310 Hammons Drive, Junction City. The public is invited to attend both the afternoon and evening sessions, as well as a pre-meeting tour of the Milford Hatchery, Milford Nature Center, and Milford State Park. The bus tour will depart the Marriott at 8:30 a.m.

The afternoon meeting will begin at 1:30 p.m. with department reports on 2006 legislation and fiscal years 2006 and 2007 department budgets, followed by general discussion on the these topics:

  • status of the Deer Working Group and public comment, including announcement of tentative dates and locations for 19 public meetings in late summer on the group’s recommendations;
  • Parks Division awards;
  • park regulations;
  • fishing regulations, including plans for public meetings in April and May to discuss a series of proposed changes generated by public requests and department staff;
  • late migratory bird seasons for 2006, which will depend on waterfowl frameworks established in August by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service;
  • avian influenza , including discussion of plans to sample migratory birds in Kansas as part of an interagency surveillance plan to assist early detection of the disease, which has not yet been documented in North America;
  • sandhill crane hunter test procedures to identify alternative methods for delivery of the test among sandhill crane hunters, who are required to complete the test before purchasing a sandhill crane permit; and
  • provisions of Senate Bill 578 (exotic animals), which was signed into law earlier this month.

The afternoon session will also include workshop session discussion, in preparation for potential future regulatory action, on the following topics:

  • 2006 dove season, including discussion of a mourning dove banding project initiated among 30 states (including Kansas) in 2003;
  • 2006 early migratory bird seasons; and
  • duck zone boundaries, including recommendations for two minor boundary modifications in existing Kansas zones.

The afternoon session will recess at 5 p.m. The evening public hearing will begin at 7 p.m. with recommendations on the following regulations:

  • big game legal equipment and taking methods (KAR 115-4-4) -- A proposed amendment would allow the use of shotguns with slugs for the firearms elk season to accommodate areas on Fort Riley that allow only shotguns and muzzleloaders for big game hunting;
  • deer season, limits, and permits (KAR 115-25-9) -- Recommended 2006 season dates include early muzzleloader season, Sept. 9 through Sept. 22; youth and disability season, Sept. 23 through Sept. 24; archery season, Oct. 1 through Dec. 31; early firearms (DMU 19 only) season, Oct. 14 through Oct. 22; regular firearms season, Nov. 29 through Dec. 10; extended whitetail antlerless-only season, Jan. 1 through Jan. 7, 2007; extended archery (DMU 19 only) season, Jan. 9 through Jan. 31, 2007. There are three primary changes from the 2005 season. First, the extended firearms season for antlerless white-tailed deer in January would be shortened to 7 days, compared with 8 last year. Second, antlerless permits or game tags could be purchased after Dec. 30 without requiring an antlered permit as a prerequisite to that purchase. Third, no check stations would be required in 2006;
  • Secretary’s Orders will establish deer permit quotas for 2006;
  • antelope season, limits, and permits (KAR 115-25-7) -- Recommended 2006 antelope season dates include archery season, Sept. 23 through Oct. 1 and Oct. 14 through Oct. 31; muzzleloader season, Oct. 2 through Oct. 9; and firearms season, Oct. 6 through Oct. 9. One new proposal for this year is that unlimited nonresident archery antelope permits be made available. Archery antelope permits have been available to residents on an unlimited basis since 1990. Recent annual sales have averaged about 115 resident archery permits, and with a 10 to 12 percent success rate among archery hunters, harvest impact on the pronghorn population by archery hunters has been minimal; and
  • elk season, limits, and permits (KAR 115-25-8) -- Recommended elk season dates outside Fort Riley include muzzleloader season, Sept. 1 through Sept. 30; archery season, Oct. 1 through Dec. 31; and firearms season, Nov. 29 through Dec. 10 and Jan. 1, 2007, through March 15, 2007. Proposed season dates on Fort Riley include the following: any-elk permit holders, Oct. 1 through Dec. 31; antlerless-only permit holders, Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, with one-third of antlerless permits valid in each of the months of October, November, and December. Elk hunting on and around Fort Riley was initiated in 1990. Most of the hunting opportunity occurs on the military base, but unlimited hunt-own-land permits have been allocated off the base since 1999, and additional units were opened to hunting in 2003. Several areas of the state have experienced free-ranging elk on private land not currently open to hunting, and the department would like for landowners throughout the state to have the ability to remove elk causing damage. In addition, department staff want to make limited draw elk permits valid in all Kansas deer management units, including public lands. The department is recommending that an unlimited number of Hunt-Own-Land Antlerless-Only elk permits be authorized and that these permits be available statewide.

If necessary, the commission will recess on April 27, to reconvene at 9 a.m. April 28 at the same location to complete its business. Time will be made available in all sessions for public comment on topics which are not on the agenda.

If notified in advance, the department will have an interpreter available for the hearing impaired. To request an interpreter call the Kansas Commission of Deaf and Hard of Hearing at 1-800-432-0698. Any individual with a disability may request other accommodations by contacting the commission secretary at (620) 672-5911.