WHERE THE WILD DUCKS ARE
KDWP waterfowl reports reveal latest information on ducks and geese in Kansas
PRATT — Waterfowl season is upon us, and hunters have patterned shotguns and restrung decoys in preparation. But there’s no more important piece of “equipment” than knowledge of where the ducks (and geese) are hanging out. To provide this all-important hunting information, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) offers waterfowl reports on its website, www.kdwp.state.ks.us. Reports on waterfowl numbers, habitat conditions, hunting success, and phone and email contacts are provided for major public waterfowl hunting areas in the state’s five regions.
Hunters should note that duck season does not begin in much of central and eastern Kansas until Oct. 30. Consult the KDWP website or the 2010 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Summary for details on dates and zone boundaries.
Warm fall weather has likely slowed waterfowl migration this year, with most areas reporting few ducks so far, and very few mallards. As of early October, those wildlife areas list the following reports:
Region 1 (northwest Kansas)
- Cedar Bluff — good hunting conditions with lots of flooded shoreline vegetation and about 1,800 ducks;
- Glen Elder — fair hunting conditions with the lake 2 feet below conservation pool and approximately 2,700 ducks;
- Jamestown — fair to good hunting conditions with approximately 3,000 ducks;
- Lovewell — reservoir 3.5 feet below conservation pool with very few ducks at this time;
- Norton — good hunting conditions with excellent cover in flooded timber but about 500 ducks at this time;
- Smoky Hill/Kanopolis — plenty of water and about 500 ducks;
- Webster — low water and only about 300 ducks; and
- Wilson — good flooded vegetation and about 450 ducks.
Region 2 (northeast Kansas)
- Benedictine — few waterfowl but good habitat conditions;
- Clinton — good habitat and plenty of water with about 300 ducks;
- Hillsdale — about 300 ducks, but wetland areas have been drained for minor repairs, and rainfall is needed, but some areas have water;
- Jefferey Energy Center — fair hunting conditions but few ducks;
- Milford — habitat conditions are variable due to summer floods with approximately 300 ducks;
- Perry — few ducks with habitat varying from very good to very poor due to late summer floods; and
- Tuttle Creek — several hundred ducks but little shoreline vegetation due to summer floods.
Region 3 (southwest Kansas)
- Cheyenne Bottoms — good water depths, good hunting, and approximately 60,000 to 80,000 ducks but few mallards;
- Isabel — good hunting conditions and about 250 ducks; and
- Texas Lake — very few ducks and thick vegetation in most pools with mowed openings.
Region 4 (southcentral Kansas)
- Byron Walker — only a few teal on the area but Japanese millet to be flooded close to opening season;
- Council Grove — only fair hunting conditions due to summer floods and few ducks present;
- El Dorado — few ducks but lake is near conservation pool;
- Kaw — few ducks and poor hunting conditions;
- McPherson Valley Wetlands — approximately 2,000 ducks and excellent hunting conditions, subscribe to an area newsletter at this site;
- Slate Creek — few ducks and poor hunting conditions; and
- Marion — lake is at conservation pool with good hunting conditions but few ducks.
Region 5 (southeast Kansas)
- Elk City — hunting conditions fair but few ducks at this time;
- Fall River — hunting conditions fair to good but no ducks yet;
- John Redmond — lake near conservation pool but only a few teal reported;
- Marais des Cygnes — few ducks yet but good hunting and habitat conditions;
- Melvern — few ducks but good hunting conditions;
- Neosho — excellent habitat with approximately 2,000 ducks at this time;
- Toronto — no ducks but good hunting conditions; and
- Pomona — a few ducks but only fair hunting conditions.
Much more detail is available on the waterfowl reports pages for each of these areas, and as the weather cools and ducks begin moving south in greater numbers, many areas reporting poor conditions could turn into waterfowl hotspots. Visit these pages regularly to keep abreast of water conditions and migrations as they unfold. Duck season dates and zones include the following:
- High Plains Zone — Oct. 9-Jan. 3, 2011, and Jan. 22-30, 2011;
- Early Zone — Oct.9-Dec.5, and Dec. 18-Jan. 2, 2011; and
- Late Zone — Oct. 30-Jan. 2, 2011, and Jan. 22-30, 2011.
Canada goose season (includes Brant) runs Oct. 30-Nov. 7 and Nov. 10-Feb. 13, 2011. White-fronted goose season runs Oct. 30-Nov. 7, Nov. 10-Jan. 2, 2011, and Feb. 5-13, 2011. Light goose season runs Oct. 30-Nov. 7 and Nov. 10-Feb. 13, 2011, and a light goose conservation order allows hunting through April 30, 2011.