Milford Wildlife Area

Area News
Milford Wildlife Area Waterfowl Report
Milford Wildlife Gallery
Milford Reservoir Fishing Information

There are approximately 19,000 acres of public land surrounding Milford Reservoir on the west side and the upper end. All 19,000 acres are open to public hunting. The Steve Lloyd refuge contains an additional 1100 acres. Both the public hunting area and the refuge are managed to maximize the production of various wildlife species.

There are currently 8 newly formed wetlands, the first of which was created in 2001. These wetlands are located along the Republican River all north of the Milford Reservoir. They surround the Steve Lloyd Refuge area. They are primarily filled with natural vegetation but there are a few that are comprised of flooded food plots. They range in size from 60 to 250 acres making-up approximately 2300 acres of wetlands when all pools are full.

Numerous opportunities exist for those who wish to observe or photograph wildlife on the area. The abundant and diversified habitat at Milford supports many species of nongame birds, mammals, reptiles and aquatic life.

Hunters will find a variety of game including quail, pheasant, prairie chicken, duck, goose, rabbit, turkey, deer and squirrel. Trappers are also active throughout the season in pursuit of raccoon, muskrat, beaver and other furbearers .

1782 10th Road
Clay Center,KS    67432
Office Hours:
8am to 4:30pm However we are a field office so hours are subject to change

Manager: Justin Wren

Assistant Manager: Sean Mason

Phone: (785) 461-5402

Area News - Updated: 12/21/2022
E-Bike Regulations

All e-bikes/electric bicycles/electric-assist bicycles are prohibited under the motorized vehicle regulation [115-8-13(2)]. A motorized vehicle includes; cars, trucks, all-terrain vehicles, work-site utility vehicles, golf carts, go-carts, and electric or gasoline-powered two-wheel vehicles.

Seasonal Road Closure:

All seasonal roads will be closed October 1st, 2022. This means unauthorized vehicle traffic is prohibited past the gates. Please note, these gates may occasionally be unlocked as department staff or authorized personnel are conducting business. Just because the gate is unlocked or open, does not mean it is open to public vehicles.

Also note that fires of any type are prohibited anywhere on the wildlife area, under any circumstances.  

2022 Wetland Conditions
(To be updated periodically. Last update 12/14/2022)

Spring draw-down was completed on almost all wetland units successfully, resulting in good native wetland plant germination. The years moderate rainfall kept the units soil wet enough to facilitate growth, but dry enough to keep from damaging floods.

Boards were placed in almost all units the first week of August to start the soil saturation process with natural rainfall; the exceptions were wetland units with agricultural crops planted, such as Zach Hudec.

The boat ramps, wetland berms and roads are passable and maintained. All wetland dikes were mowed in early August to facilitate easy foot travel by hunters.

Vegetation quality and quantity is quite good with a heavy smart weed component and generous seed production across most wetlands. Paths and openings were mowed sporadically though some wetland units to create open water pockets where heavy vegetation was dominant.  

West Broughton Youth/Mentor: Wetland unit is mostly dry do to low water conditions on the river, and pumping is not foreseen to happen for the rest of the season. Pump has been running for a solid week, good water should be present throughout parts of the unit. Pump has been re-started to prep for the Youth weekend. Good water is in the North unit and is working it's way South. Pumping had occurred during the 2021 – 2022 season when water rights were available. Severe droughts late fall made pumping conditions difficult as water rights were limited, and low water levels made water difficult to reach with our pumps. The structure on the south cell needs to be replaced and materials are on hand.

Zach Hudec: Pumping is currently not happening due to low water levels and exposed sandbars. Pumping occurred during the 2021 – 2022. The structures and berms are all in good condition. Large portions of this year’s crop was lost due to large rainfall events early summer. Due to the silt deposited in 2019, this unit does not hold water for significant amount of time once the pumping is stopped. This can prove difficult to get the other unit’s downhill, adequate water during some situations. Due to the current agricultural lease, we are unable to start pumping until October 10th.

Martin: Some water remains in pockets north of the road, but pumping has stopped due to dropping water levels and sandbar exposure. Pumping did not occur during the 2021 – 2022 season. The wetland cell has good vegetation boards have been put in the structures to start holding water North of the pump site. The pump that service both Martin and Beichter has been repaired, waiting on final touches this week to hopefully have it pumping by the start of October. 

Beichter: The south structure has continued to erode, and now the outlet bypasses the structure completely. Major dirt work is needed and will hopefully take place after the 2022 – 2023 season. The pump that service both Martin and Beichter has been repaired, waiting on final touches this week to hopefully have it pumping by the start of October.  The road leading into an area commonly called "high banks" is now open year-round providing improved access to Beichter wetland and the republican river.

Quimby: Pumping has not occurred since 10/20 due to low water levels at the pump site. Pumping occurred during the 2021 – 2022 season. Good vegetation growth in both the north pool and moderate vegetation growth in the south pools. The south pool does have a drainage issue making it hard to dry out completely without natural evaporation, leaving an open water pocket in the middle. Boards have been put in the structure to hold natural precipitation until pumping is started. The parking lot was expanded, and rock was added in fall of 2021.

Mall Creek: The 2019 flood has eroded several places on the spillway. Repair attempts have been made, but large rainfall events each year continue to washout further down the dike around the structure. Vegetation growth is decent around the edges, but minimal at best in the middle with lots of wide-open water. The boat ramp with be checked and dredged out as needed. The West parking lot along the river dike was expanded and rock was added.

Lower Smith/Gatesville: Good water remains throughout the unit, although no pumping is currently happening. We may get freshwater on for the season split. Pumping occurred during the 2021 – 2022 season. All boards were pulled during the spring 2022 drawdown season, some water remained in middle pool where slope/drainage issues are prevalent. The boat ramp is in good condition

North Smith: Limited to no water remains in the unit. Dropping water levels and exposed sandbars pose difficulty in running this pump. Pumping did not occur during the 2021 – 2022 season. Pumping has started on 09/26/2022. All repairs have been completed and we will continue to pump water to our best ability. Vegetation and habitat is looking excellent, should provide ample opportunities once flooded.

Steve Lloyd Lower Refuge (No hunting): Lake water is currently backing into the wetland units through the structures, boards have been put in the 3 water control structures to hold a limited amount of water. More board will be added in sequence as the fall season progresses. 

2022 Dove Fields

Non Toxic Shot and use of check-in is required to hunt the Milford Wildlife Area Dove Fields. Check in here, or on the GoOutdoorsKS app using your licensing login credentials.

Adults are required to be accompanied by a youth hunter age 17 or younger to hunt the dove field located within the West Broughton Youth/Mentor Area.

#1: 10.3 acres – 15th Rd/Prairie Rd, East of Highway 15 (39.322716, -97.081975)

#2: 11.8 acres – Youth/Mentor Area (39.315107, -97.059487)

#3: 5.6 acres – 13th Rd & Quail Rd, just North of 12th Rd/400 (39.306556, -97.074584)

#4: 4.1 acres – 13th Rd & Sunflower, turn South off Broughton Rd (39.308709, -97.032014)

#5: 5.0 acres – 10th Rd, approximately 1.5 miles West of Valley View Rd (39.264696, -97.008535)

#6: 17.4 acres – 9th Rd, approximately 1 mile North of Wakefield, and 1 mile East of Sunflower Rd (39.234441, -97.024433)

#7: 7.0 acres – Quimby Wetland Area, West side of Utah Rd, just South of 4th Ln (39.179636, -97.009853)

#8: 8.4 acres – Off 3200 Ave, approximately 1.5 miles West of Milford Lake Rd (39.062237, -96.971266)


Total: 69.6 acres

Wetland Stone Signs Reset
wetland stone signs reset

On July 2nd, several volunteers assisted greatly with replacing the Zach Hudec wetland memorial sign and replacing the base rocks for four other wetland stone signs.  These signs were damaged in the 2019 flooding on the Milford Wildlife Area and have been lying on the ground since the flood waters receded in December of this past year.  The financial assistance from the Zach Hudec family and donated equipment and expertise from Joe Warren and Grandpa Boone's Cabin & Outfitters made this project possible.  Thank you to everyone involved!

2020 Steve Lloyd Refuge Expansion

The refuge area will be expanded to include an additional 200 acres along the southwest corner to the private property line.  This change will take effect Match 1, 2020.  The previous boundary was difficult to distinguish and thus enforce.

In addition to the refuge expansion, the seasonal road leading to the river known as "High Banks" will be open year-round also starting March 1, 2020.

Timber Stand Improvement (TSI)

Efforts are being made to improve the quality of our timber stands.  Chainsaws,herbicides, prescribed fire and mulching/mowing are being used in various areas to reduce undesirable tree species (Locust, elm, hackberry, cedar) and promote desirable species (Oak, walnut, hickory).  We recently completed some work near North Smith, Mall Creek, Quimby Creek and Beichter Bottom.  Undesirable trees were cut or girdled and left standing.   Several other timber stands, particularly creek drainages, have been targeted as areas in need of improvement.  In many areas, the majority of our desirable trees such as oaks are dying out or being shaded out by undesirable tree species.  Oaks are not a shade tolerate species meaning they require some sunlight to grow.  Many of the areas where TSI has been done will look pretty bare for the first several years until the seedlings develop into young trees.  In the meantime, the downed trees and increased growth of the understory will provide cover for many wildlife species including deer, quail and turkeys.

4th Road TSI removing cedars


4th Road TSI oak trees
Handicapped Vehicle Access Permits Available For Two Designated Areas on Milford Wildlife Area

Both areas will remain open to regular public hunting but will also be available for handicapped vehicle access by special permit.

A valid state issued handicapped permit and a permit from Milford Wildlife Area is required.

Please call the Milford Wildlife Area office for more information 785-461-5402.

North Area: Southwest of 13th Road and Rainbow Road Intersection

South Area: Northeast of Ava Road and Rebecca Road Intersection

Year-Round Prescribed Burning

The Milford Wildlife Area will be conducting prescribed burns throughout the year. The timing of these burns varies according to our management goals for each burn. Overall, we aim to control/reduce woody invasion, noxious weeds and promote more forbs in our grass stands to provide better brood rearing and nesting habitat for upland game birds and provide other benefits to many wildlife species.

Resprouting Hedgerows

Over the past several years we have been cutting mature hedgerows in hopes of promoting new growth that will offer a good quality of cover for numerous wildlife species, particularly upland birds.  We will move around the area periodically to cut hedgerows to promote various stages of vegetation growth on these hedgerows. Firewood permits are required to cut any dead AND down wood and are available free of charge by calling our office at 785-461-5402. Firewood is for personal use only and may not be sold commercially. Vehicles are not allowed off of maintained roads or inside gates or "no vehicles allowed" signs. Trees will be piled along roadways where practical. 

Gates and Parking Areas

Gates and parking areas have been installed on the area for several years now. These parking areas are meant to provide a safe area to park vehicles off of roadways while visiting the area. Seasonal roads will be open as posted from March 1-October 1 unless posted otherwise to provide more accessible fishing access. The primary objective of installing the gates is to improve the overall integrity of the wildlife area by restricting vehicle access to a few pieces of the wildlife area. These gates should not only improve constituents wildlife interactions, they will also help reduce the spread of the high volume of trash, off-road vehicle use, poaching and vandalism that has occurred on the area in the past. The Steve Lloyd upper and lower refuge is closed to all activities year round, while the rest of the Wildlife Area is open to foot traffic within the gated areas, in addition to the seasonal road vehicle access. 

General Information
1782 10th Road
Clay Center, KS    67432
Office Hours:
8am to 4:30pm However we are a field office so hours are subject to change

Milford Reservoir & WA (PDF 575.94 kB)

Manager: Justin Wren

Assistant Manager: Sean Mason

Phone: (785) 461-5402

Special Regulations

Camping, camp fires, off-road vehicle use, riding horses, and target shooting are prohibited activities. Camping can be done inside Milford State Park

Refuge areas are closed to all hunting and off-road activities throughout the year. There is one access road to the Steve Lloyd Overlook that is open year-round. Any off-road activities along this roadway are prohibited.

Hunters can check-in / check-out here, using your licensing login credentials.

No motorized boats are allowed in any of the wetland areas except Mall Creek/Peterson Bottoms.

Only non-toxic shot is allowed in the wetland areas. The perimeters of these areas are posted.

Special Features

The West Broughton area has been designated a Youth/Mentor Area for all activities. Each mentor age 18 or older must be accompanied by a youth 17 years old or younger.

Here is a complete list of Public Land Regulations or you can download the regulation summary.


Milford Reservoir began operation in 1965 and the former Forestry, Fish and Game Commission began operation of the public hunting area in 1967.

Milford Facilities
Zach Hudec Wetland Parking Area
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 18.482 W97 03.153

West Broughton Youth Marsh Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 19.143 W97 03.785

Upper Smith Wetland Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 16.680 W97 01.506

Sugarbowl Wetland Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 14.127 W96 58.986

Martin Bottom Wetland South Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 16.856 W97 02.581

Steve Lloyd Refuge Outlook
  • Type of Facility: Wildlife Viewing
  • Location of Facility: N39 15.405 W97 00.879

Quimby Creek Wetland Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 11.025 W97 00.188

Martin Bottom Wetland North Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 17.552 W97 02.626

Mall Creek Wetland Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 15.767 W96 59.884

Lower Smith Wetland Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 16.037 W97 00.802

Gatesville Boat Ramp
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • Location of Facility: N39 15.994 W97 00.726

Beichter Wetland Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 17.547 W97 03.181

Milford Wildlife Area Waterfowl Report - 01/31/2023
Waterfowl numbers

Waterfowl counts given on this report are based on what was observed on the day the report is updated. Waterfowl numbers vary greatly from day to day and weather conditions and hunting pressure will affect the numbers of waterfowl on the area.

The waterfowl survey this week resulted in roughly 300 dabbler ducks, 150 divers, and 150 Canada geese. Throughout the later part of the week, large flocks of Canada geese and a mix bag of ducks have been observed around the wildlife area.

Lake level Current Lake Level is 1142.64 and Conservation Pool is 1143.58 The dam is releasing 225 CFS. The inflow into the lake is 70 CFS.
Hunting conditions

Vegetation growth and seed production has been above average this year. No pumps are currently running.

Wetlands that currently have water: Sugarbowl, Lower Smith, and Mall Creek

No activites/hunting allowed in the Steve Lloyd Wetland/Refuge.

Motorized boats are only allowed in the Mall Creek wetland, electric motors are considered "motorized". All other public hunting wetlands are open to NON motorized boats and walk in hunting.

Expected hunting success


Fair, with a few pockets of open water.  Most of the river is now open.  Please use caution while hunting around frozen water.



Do NOT drive on dikes. Vehicles disrupt and discourage waterfowl from using the wetland areas. We have had several dikes being damaged due to unauthorized vehicles driving on them. Scouting is best done on foot to evaluate bird numbers and habitat conditions.

Please report any vehicles on dikes and anyone seen disturbing our pumps. Without the pumps in optimal condition we are unable to pump the wetlands to their greatest potential.

Do NOT block gates, and pay attention to No Parking signs in the wetland parking lots.

Hunter's need to be aware of their targets before shooting.

The area is a no trash policy, so if you take it in, please bring it back out with you.  This includes spent shotgun shells

Fires are not permitted anywhere on the wildlife area. Violators will be ticketed

Remember - Hunters can check-in / check-out here, All hunters (youth included) must first register online. The information collected and comments received are very useful in establishing future management goals for the area. for more information on seasons and limits.