Map of assigned counties and contact information for private land programs assistance.
Private Landowner Assistance
KDWPT offers a variety of programs to assist private landowners on improving fisheries and wildlife on their property. Fisheries biologist can provide technical assistance on managing fish populations in ponds and provide information where pond owners can purchase fish.
Wildlife biologists can provide technical assistance on improving wildlife habitat as well as provide direction and guidance for many of the state and federal conservation programs that can be designed to improve habitat. A number of state programs or initiatives have been developed in order to improve wildlife habitat, including KDWPT's wildlife habitat improvement program (WHIP), the Pheasant Initiative which is designed to assist landowners with improving their Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) fields for pheasants by offering cost-share assistance on many USDA approved management practices, the Kansas Quail Initiative offers financial incentives and cost-share assistance to improve bobwhite quail habitat in southeast Kansas, and the Landowner Incentive Program was implemented in western Kansas to establish grass buffers around playa lakes, which are often located in crop fields that are susceptible to flooding.
There are several federal conservation programs that are also available to provide wildlife habitat improvements. KDWPT wildlife biologists are familiar with these programs and can provide assistance and guidance on which programs may be suitable to achieve your objectives.
In addition, there are several options for access programs that landowners/tenants may enroll their land in for a financial payment. The F.I.S.H Program leases ponds or streams for public fishing access from March 1 to October 31 of each year. The WIHA Program leases private land to provide public hunting opportunities from September 1 or November 1 to January 31 of each year. In addition, property can be leased for the spring turkey season (April 1 to May 31). The Special Hunts on Private Lands program provides landowners the opportunity to work with KDWPT biologists to set up limited access hunts on their property specific to number of hunters, type of hunters (youth, mentor, or open), access dates, species hunted, and equipment used.
In addition to the knowledge that KDWPT biologists can share regarding wildlife needs and habitat improvements, the Kansas Forest Service has district foresters who can provide assistance to landowners, specifically pertaining to forestry-related issues. Kansas Forest Service operates a Conservation Tree Planting Program that offers trees and shrubs to landowners at very low cost. Most, if not all, species of plants recommended by wildlife biologists can be purchased through this program.
Since 1973, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism has employed 16-20 District Wildlife Biologists whose primary responsibility is to work with private landowners to improve wildlife habitat on their land. Because 97% of all land in Kansas is in private ownership, working with farmers and ranchers is critical to managing wildlife in the state. District Wildlife Biologists, upon request, can provide direct and technical assistance to land owners at no charge. Technical assistance can include recommendations on habitat improvement, cover types, and food establishment for all species of wildlife. In addition, there are several state and federal wildlife programs that provide financial assistance for improving wildlife habitat. All district wildlife biologists work closely with their local USDA offices to assist in the delivery of the federal conservation programs.
The walk-in hunting access (WIHA) program kicked off in 1995 in an effort to enhance the strong Kansas hunting heritage by providing hunting access to private property. The program has grown to one of the most successful access programs in the country. By 2004, over 1 million acres were enrolled in the program providing countless opportunities for sportsmen to pursue their favorite game at no additional charge. Although the majority of the acreage provides good to excellent upland game bird hunting, some areas provide opportunites for deer, waterfowl and squirrel hunting as well. Landowners receive a modest payment in exchange for allowing public hunting access. Payments vary by the amount of acres enrolled and length of contract period. Contract dates can be established from September 1 or November 1 through January 31 of each year. In addition, other lands are leased for spring turkey hunting only (April 1- May 31). Land enrolled can be in CRP, native rangeland, wheat or milo stubble and riparian or wetland areas. The area is posted with signs designating it as WIHA, regularly patrolled, and safety zones clearly marked. Liability is waived from private individuals who lease land to the state for recreational purposes. State law provides immunity from damages or injuries resulting from ordinary negligence. For more information fill out the application in the brochure below and send it to the Regional Office in your area or contact Private Lands Coordinator in Pratt Operations Office for more information.
Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks
Private Lands Coordinator
Pratt Operations Office
512 SE 25th Ave., Pratt KS 67124
Or use this Form to Email KDWP.