Sept. 27, 2012

Hunter survey input helps guide area management

GLEN ELDER – In 2009, as part of a program to provide beginning hunters special hunting opportunities, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism designated a portion of Glen Elder Wildlife Area as a Mentor-Novice Hunting Area. The West Walnut Creek portion (1,000 acres) of the wildlife area surrounding Glen Elder Reservoir in Mitchell County was set aside for Mentor-Novice hunts. However, as a result of information gathered through hunter survey cards, changes are being made to the program.

Although novice hunters who participated in the special hunting opportunities provided on the West Walnut Creek Area were generally pleased, the survey cards showed that participation was lower than desired. As a result, KDWPT staff are making some changes while continuing to provide young hunters with high-quality, low-pressure public land opportunities.

The biggest and most important change is that the Walnut Creek Area is no longer designated as a youth hunting area. The Granite Creek Refuge on the north shore between Cawker City and the Granite Creek Bridge will now be designated as a youth hunting area, opening more than 450 acres of land to young hunters. Managers hope the convenience of the Granite Creek area, located adjacent to U.S. Highway 24, will encourage more use. The water portion of Granite Creek Refuge will remain a waterfowl refuge with boat traffic prohibited from Nov. 1-Jan. 31. The Walnut Creek Area will be open to the public year-round with no additional restrictions.

In another change to past programs, the Granite Creek area will be designated as a Youth-Mentor Area, rather than Mentor-Novice. Youth must be 17 or younger and the adult mentor must be 18 or older, and mentors WILL be allowed to hunt with the youth. Each hunting mentor must be accompanied by at least one youth who is actively hunting. Older, experienced youth hunters who have completed hunter education are not required to be accompanied by an adult mentor.

The Granite Creek area will be open to Youth-Mentor hunting Oct. 1, 2012 through Jan. 31, 2013. All game species may be hunted during the appropriate seasons, including waterfowl. However, waterfowl shoreline or field hunting locations will have to be accessed by foot from the north or west. No boat traffic will be allowed. Kansas hunting regulations must be followed, and all hunters are required to fill out the free permit and survey cards before and after their hunts. The Granite Creek area will still be open to all users from February-September, no permits required, just has it has been in the past.

The goal of this access plan is to give youth hunters and their mentors easy access and good hunting prospects without impacting waterfowl populations using the area. For more information, contact area manager Chris Lecuyer at the Glen Elder Area office, 785-545-3345.