Glen Elder Wildlife Area
Glen Elder Wildlife Area encompasses almost 13,200 land acres surrounding the 12,500 acre Glen Elder Reservoir. Located 13 miles west of Beloit, KS. on U.S. Highway 24, the lake was built in 1968 for irrigation, flood control, and recreation. Because the irrigation district below the reservoir was never fully established, the demand is lower than other western Kansas lakes, and the water level remains relatively stable.
You can see and photograph a diversity of wildlife species. In winter, bald and golden eagles visit. Deer and pheasant are common sights. Waterfowl stop on their migrations, and a small Canada goose flock make the area home.
For more information about the area, check the kiosks located around the reservoir or contact the Glen Elder Area Office.
Public hunting areas are limited in Kansas, so demand is high. Less than 1% of Kansas land is public. Management continually seeks to enhance quality.
YOUTH-MENTOR AREA: New changes for 2012 hunting season. 450+ acres along the north shoreline of Waconda Lake have been designated for Youth-Mentor hunting from October 1st through January 31st. Youth must be age 17 or younger. Adult mentors must be at least 18 years of age and are allowed to hunt with the youth. Remember, each hunting mentor must be accompanied by at least 1 youth who is actively hunting. Free permit/ survey cards are required of all hunters and are available at various access points to the designated area.
SPECIAL HUNTS: Special hunts for pheasant, waterfowl and deer are offered through the season. Special hunts for youth only are also available. Online applications for these hunts will begin in July on the KDWPT website. For more details about special hunts, contact the Glen Elder Office. KDWPT and the Waconda Lake Association have organized and held a Youth, Women and Celebrity Pheasant Hunt for the past 14 years, and the Osborne County Pheasants Forever Chapter has co-sponsored a youth dove hunt since 2011.
SPECIAL DISABILITY AREA: a 160 acre area on the southeast corner is open to vehicle access for disabled persons through a special permit. Contact the Glen Elder Area Office for details.
BIG GAME: Deer populations cycle with habitat and hunter harvest. Most deer are whitetails with a few mule deer in the area. Turkey numbers are fair in the local area, but their usage of the WA varies seasonally.
UPLAND GAME:Pheasant populations fluctuate yearly with the most hunting pressure during the season opener. Diverse habitats - grass, crops, weeds- produce the best results. Quail numbers are generally fair. In some areas vegetation is heavy and can be difficult to walk through.
MIGRATORY BIRDS: Doves are plentiful until cold weather moves in. Sunflower fields are the best hunting. Geese and ducks use the area during migration, depending upon habitat conditions. Most goose hunting occurs when the geese leave the area to feed. Early season duck numbers depend on flooded shoreline vegetation. A water level plan that lowers the lake in June and raises it in September is planned each year, but only rainfall makes the plan work. Duck and goose numbers usually peak in December.
- Here are some of the Statewide Public Lands Regulation changes that went into effect in 2012. See printed regulations for complete details.
- All hunting guide operations on Public Lands are required to obtain a free permit through the Pratt Headquarters office.
- Each hunter is only allowed to have 2 tree stands on a property. Stands must be labelled with hunter's information.
- Portable blinds and all decoys are not allowed to be left out overnight.
- Baiting for any hunting purposes is no longer allowed
- Each of the last few years, we have established several new shrub plots and about 60 acres of new grass strips were planted. 80+ acres of sunflower fields and about 100 acres of upland milo and cane plots are also planted every year.
- We spray hundreds of acres of brome grass each fall on the area to encourage early succession growth to benefit our upland bird populations.
- Please be respectful the many dirt roads we have around the area. If WA and county roads are muddy-STAY OFF OF THEM!!
- Our tree shearing contractor is continuing to work at several different locations on the WA. This work really improves the upland habitat. We will continue this work for the next several years.
LAKE LEVEL is currently about 18 inches above conservation (normal) pool but is expected to return to conservation level by early September. Current lake level can be seen at Waconda Lake Information - U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
BOAT RAMPS - All WA ramps are open. As the lake gets close to or below conservation level, the Granite Creek ramp (closed while our refuge dates are in effect Nov. 1 through Jan. 31) can be challenging to use due to it's shallow slope.
CAMPING: Camping is available in Glen Elder State Park (N.E. corner of the lake) where numerous sites are open including showers and electric and water hookups. Camping on the Wildlife Area is only allowed in designated locations. Camping in parking lots is not allowed. The designated locations are North Fork, Fisherman's Bridge, Carr Creek, Boller Point, Schoen's Cove, and the Bluffs areas.
CAMP FIRES must be in established metal fire-rings only. Installation of new metal fire-rings and pads was completed in September 2010 and they really look sharp. Users are not allowed to burn ANY other items (ie.- trash) except wood or charcoal.
There are no TRASH receptacles on the Wildlife Area. Please take your trash with you.
The SHOOTING RANGE is open during daylight hours. If there are muddy conditions, users may have to walk in from the gates. Everything brought into the range should be taken home with you including spent casings and targets.
The 17th annual Waconda Lake Youth, Women & Celebrity Pheasant Hunt was held on November 22, 2014 with 45 new and inexperienced hunters participating. Celebrities included former professional athletes and “hero-celebrities” from the Kansas National Guard. More than half of the participants were females and the hunters ranged in age from 11 up to 59. This event is organized by Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism staff from the Glen Elder Wildlife Area and the Wichita-based Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors, Inc.
“Hero Celebrities” included Sgt. Tim Campbell (Air Force) and wife Vicki, Sgt. Lisa Gomez and Sgt. Carl Anderson (Marines), and Sgt. Trent Shanks (Army). Most had never hunted pheasants before and were eager to act both as mentors and as students learning the ropes. Celebrities attending to serve as hunting role models and interact with the youngsters throughout the day included 4 former NFL players (Mark Arneson, Jerry Holloway, Rich Stephens, and Eric Williams).
The day began before sunrise in the Hopewell Church basement at Glen Elder State Park with a biscuits and gravy breakfast for all of the hunters, mentors, and volunteer helpers. Following a new format this year, participants were divided into 5 groups based on experience levels. Each hunting group had celebrities, a hunt captain, and bird dogs to assist the new hunters. The most experienced groups headed to one of the refuge areas on Glen Elder Wildlife Area where public hunting is generally not allowed. The most inexperienced groups began with a safety and gun handling session, followed by a “mock” pheasant hunt where they walked a field with unloaded guns and learned what it was like to hunt as a group. The medium experience group went directly to the trap shooting range to bust some clay targets. Following target practice the medium groups went out to hunt pheasants. The inexperienced group then went to the target range and finally out to hunt pheasants.
Nearly all participants had opportunities to shoot at a bird or 2 and the final harvest total was 30 rooster (male) pheasants in the bag. For many of the hunters it was their first bird ever. While in the field all of the groups also enjoyed seeing lots of deer, geese, ducks, bald eagles, and several other wildlife species. One young hunter actually stepped on a deer that was bedded down in a cane field! The deer jumped up quickly and ran away. Everyone was surprised and now the hunter has a memory of a lifetime.
The hunting groups returned to the church basement for a hot lunch that was prepared and provided by the Waconda Lake Association. Stories of the morning’s hunt were shared and a longest tail feather prize was awarded. After lunch most of hunters took part in more hunting and trap shooting held in Glen Elder State Park.
The day’s events concluded that evening with a Hunter’s Banquet held at the United Methodist Church in Cawker City, KS. Each participating hunter received a prize at the banquet and a T-Shirt at morning registration. Attendees learned about the importance of quality habitat for pheasants and the importance of getting more kids involved for the future of hunting. The new hunters also had the chance to collect autographs and visit more with the Celebrities to close out the evening.
This event would not be possible without the generous support of many different businesses and individuals that stepped up as sponsors from the local communities surrounding Waconda Lake. These sponsors allow the day-long event to be offered to participants absolutely free of charge! Their donations of prizes, food, services, and financial contributions continue to make the event a bigger success every year.
Next year’s hunt is planned to be held on December 12, 2015. To learn more about this event or similar ones offered around Kansas visit ksoutdoors.comor outdoormentors.orgor contact the Glen Elder Area Office at 785-545-3345.
The youth hunting area will now be located in the area that was formerly the Granite Creek Refuge on the north shore of Waconda Lake between Cawker City and the Granite Creek Bridge. The water portion of the Granite Creek Refuge will remain in effect as a waterfowl refuge from November 1 to January 31 as it has been in recent years with no boats allowed during those dates. This new location for the youth area will provide hunters with easy all-weather road access to the 450+ acres of land, and should increase area users’ awareness of its existence being located directly adjacent to U.S. Highway 24.
The new special use area will now be designated as the Glen Elder Youth-Mentor Area. This second major change means that the area is only open to hunting for youth and accompanying adult mentors. Mentoring adults are allowed to hunt with the youth. Youth must be ages 17 or younger, and the adult mentor must be at least 18 years of age. Each hunting mentor must be accompanied by at least 1 youth who is actively hunting. Older, experienced youth hunters are not required to have an adult with them, but definitely encouraged to do so.
Moving forward, the new Youth-Mentor Area will be in effect annually from October 1 thru January 31. This will begin with the fall 2012 hunting season which is already upon us now. These dates were chosen as a reflection of when the youth area has been utilized in recent years, primarily during pheasant and deer seasons. During these dates, all youth and adult users will still be required to fill out free permit and survey cards before and after their hunts. These cards will be available from several “iron ranger” stations that will be placed at primary access points to the area. From February thru September the Granite Creek area will be open to all public users, and no permits will be required, just as it has been in prior years.
Youth-Mentor hunting will be allowed for all game species (when their appropriate hunting seasons are open) during the designated period of October 1 thru January 31. This includes waterfowl species. Youth-Mentor waterfowl hunting will be allowed in this area from both field and shoreline locations. Waterfowl hunting locations must be accessed by foot from the north and west as no boats of any sort will be allowed. Youth-Mentor hunters are also reminded that all Kansas hunting regulations (including license requirements and bag limits) remain in effect for this special usage area.
This change at the former Granite Creek Refuge area will continually be monitored, and if changes are necessary going forward they will be made as needed. The goal of this new designation is to provide youth hunters and their mentors an easily accessible location with good prospects for success without any adverse effects on waterfowl populations using the area.
If there are any further questions, etc. concerning the revised Youth-Mentor Area, please contact Wildlife Area Manager Chris Lecuyer at the Glen Elder Area Office (785) 545-3345.
Manager: Chris Lecuyer
Fish Biologist: Scott Waters
Current Events on the Wildlife Area
- Two areas are seasonally closed to all activities except special hunts by permit only. A refuge is in effect on 1,200 acres (land and water) west of the Cawker City Causeway and on 600 acres (water) near Granite Creek. Refuge dates for both areas are from November 1 to January 31.
- Six boat ramps are located around the wildlife area and two in the state park. Low water hazards may exist west of a line from Granite Creek to Mill Creek, so caution and reduced speeds should be used in this area.
- Developed campgrounds with modern facilities are available in the Glen Elder State Park located on the north-east corner of the lake. Primitive camping on the Wildlife Area is only allowed in designated areas which include: North Fork, Fisherman's Bridge, Carr Creek, Boller Point, Schoen's Cove, and Bluffs. Hunting and fishing are the primary activities on the area and camping is secondary. Due to shifts in work priorities and vandalism and abuse, the number of camping areas have been reduced. Hunters and anglers are fortunate to have Glen Elder State Park where camping is a priority. The State Park provides an excellent place for persons wanting to camp while hunting and fishing at Glen Elder.
- Campfires are only allowed at designated camping sites and only in the metal fire rings that are provided.
- Please leave the area cleaner than you found it. No trash receptacles are available.
- Hiking and bicycle riding is permitted throughout the area (except for the refuges). Horse riding is limited to open, maintained roadways.
- Motorized vehicles can only be operated on open, maintained roadways. Some roads are open seasonally to provide angler access.
Glen Elder Reservoir (Waconda Lake) was constructed in 1969 by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. It was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1946 and built for both flood control and irrigation, with secondary uses of recreation, fish and wildlife. Current allocations of the 219,420 acre-foot storage water are Glen Elder Irrigation District (132,500 ac-ft./yr.), City of Beloit (2,000 ac-ft./yr), and Mitchell County RWD (1,009 ac-ft./yr.).
|Waterfowl numbers|| |
Teal - app. 350
Other ducks numbers around 1500
Resident Canada geese at this time around 600
Mallard Migration Index (1)
|Water level||Conservation pool|
|Hunting conditions||Water level receding, exposing mudflats along shorelines and low lying areas.|
|Expected hunting success||Fair. Waterfowl numbers may increase with each cold front.|
Check Area News for updates.
Both Cawker City and Granite Creek Refuge closure dates are November 1st - January 31st. The refuges are open to the public until that time.
The Youth/ Mentor hunting area is now located in the Granite Creek Refuge and is in effect from October 1 - January 31. Waterfowl hunting from the shoreline area is allowed in the Youth-Mentor Area as long as EACH adult is hunting with a youth 17 years or younger. Boats of any sort are prohibited in the Granite Creek Refuge.
Zebra Mussels have been confirmed in Waconda Lake. Be sure to dry boats and equipment before moving to other waters.