Milford Wildlife Area News

Waterfowl Season Split:

Low Plains Late Zone (Milford Wildlife Area) is closed from January 1, 2024 to January 19, 2024. 

Low Plains Late Zone (Milford Wildlife Area) re-opens from January 20, 2024 to January 28, 2024.

Regulation Reminders:

Trail Cameras: Trail cameras are not permitted any state owned or managed properties [KAR 115-8-25]. Trail cameras will be removed from location by area staff.

Tree Stands: Tree stands left overnight must be labeled with owner's name and address, OR KDWP Costumer Number. Tree stands not labeled will be removed by area staff.

E-Bikes: 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.

Fires : Ground fires are not permitted anywhere on the wildlife area, under any circumstance.

2023 Wetland Conditions

(To be updated periodically. Last update 01/19/2024)

The lake and river are 100% froze over. Department maintained roads are heavily drifted and impassible at places making parts of the area inaccessible. 

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 dry, and no pumping will occur due to ice on the river. Pumping was started on 10/04/2023, water will be directed to the large unit on the South, and will fill North as water accumulates. 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.

Zach Hudec: Pumping is currently not happening due to low water levels and exposed sandbars. Due to the current agricultural lease, we are unable to start pumping until October 10th.

Martin: Pumping has not begun for the 2023-2024 season. Pumping did occur during the 2022 – 2023 season. The wetland cell has good vegetation boards have been put in the structures to start holding water North of the pump site.

Beichter: The south structure has continued to erode, and now the outlet bypasses the structure completely. 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 begun for the 2023-2024 season and will not begin until water levels rise substantially. Pumping occurred during the 2022 – 2023 season. The north unit was burned recently in August, so currently there is minimal wetland habitat. 

Mall Creek: Currently dry, and the in-flow creek is dry. Boards are in place to hold any precipitation we do receive. Boat ramp is inaccessible. 

Lower Smith/Gatesville: Pumping has not occurred since the split. Pumps have been removed from the river and are not expected to be put back due to ice conditions on the river. The wetland unit is still holding birds and water, expect thick ice to be present on 01/20/2024. Pumping occurred during the 2022 – 2023 season. All boards were pulled during the spring 2023 drawdown season, with good vegetation response. Some pockets of thick cattails present. The boat ramp is in good condition, but river levels are low and will make navigation difficult to impossible due to exposed sandbars. 

North Smith: Pumping has not begun for the 2023-2024 season yet. Pumping did occur during the 2022 – 2023 season. Vegetation and habitat is looking excellent, should provide ample opportunities once flooded.

Steve Lloyd Lower Refuge (No hunting): Currently very limited water due to drought and low water levels in the mud flats/hazard area of the lake.

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!

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.