LATE-SEASON WATERFOWL HUNTING SOME OF THE BEST
Great duck hunting still ahead; goose seasons extend into February
PRATT -- January may be cold, but many hunters believe it is the best time to hunt waterfowl. Late-migrating mallards often linger in Kansas at this time, and when shallow waters freeze, mallards concentrate on rivers and reservoirs. In much of the state, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) has established a Jan. 19-27 duck season to allow hunters the opportunity to take advantage of this late-season opportunity.
The late January duck season is open in the High Plains Zone (west of U.S. Highway 283) and the Late Zone (most of eastern and central Kansas). To understand the exact boundaries of the Late Zone, obtain a copy of the 2007 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary, which contains maps outlining waterfowl boundaries. Booklets are available at most KDWP offices or other places where licenses are sold. They also may be downloaded from the KDWP website, www.kdwp.state.ks.us.
In most regions of the state, geese are more abundant than ducks in late winter. Canada goose season runs through Feb. 17 statewide. White-fronted goose season is currently closed, but it re-opens Feb. 9-17. Light geese (Ross', snow, and blue) may be hunted through April 30.
As of Jan. 14, the top four areas for geese are Quivira National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) with 635,000, Jeffery Energy Center with 107,000, Cedar Bluff Reservoir with 10,800, and Marion Reservoir with 10,500. The top four areas for ducks are Quivira NWR with 85,000, Marion Reservoir with 20,000, Neosho Wildlife Area with 15,000-20,000, and Elk City Reservoir with 6,500. (These numbers are approximate and can fluctuate daily.) Other areas are holding solid duck numbers; check the nearest KDWP office for the latest information. Updated waterfowl reports may also be found on the KDWP website. For a video clip on Kansas goose hunting, click "KDWP TV" on the website's home page.
All waterfowl hunters 16 and older must have a federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, and all hunters who are required to obtain a license must also have a Kansas State Waterfowl Habitat Stamp and a Harvest Information Program (HIP) stamp before attempting to take ducks and geese. (Those not required to have a Kansas hunting license include people hunting their own land and residents 15 and younger or 65 and older.)
Waterfowl and HIP stamps purchased during the fall 2007 seasons are valid through the winter and spring of 2008.