Glen Elder Wildlife Area
Hunters can go here, https://ksoutdoors.com/checkin to check-in / check-out using your licensing login credentials.
Glen Elder Wildlife Area encompasses almost 13,200 land acres surrounding the 12,500 acre Glen Elder Reservoir. Click here for a Google Earth map of the area. 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: 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. Check-in/ out is required of all hunters (including youth).
There is also a deer blind available for use in the Youth-Mentor area. It is located near the corn fields in the western portion of the Y/M area and can be seen from HWY 24.
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: There is 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.
LAKE LEVEL: 2 feet below conservation (normal) pool (and dropping) as of September 2022. 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. The Boller Point ramp is still usable, but it's condition is deteriorating. Hoping to have it replaced in 2022. Low water levels and silt are making the Carr Creek ramp challenging to use as well.
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. Primitive 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. 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.
SHOOTING RANGE: 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.
All hunters are required to check-in / check-out here, https://license.gooutdoorskansas.com/event/wmasignin.aspx using your licensing login credentials. Sunflower fields will have portions of fields mowed leading up to the season. Wheat fields will be burned, mowed, or lightly disked. All managed dove areas will have mowed parking areas and mowed walking trails to the fields
ONE OF THE FIELDS LISTED WILL BE CLOSED TO HUNTING SEPTEMBER 1ST AND 2ND AND MAY BE RESERVED FOR YOUTH DOVE HUNT SATURDAY SEPT 3RD. At noon on Sept. 3rd the field will open to Youth and Mentor Hunting until Sept. 12th. During this time, adults may only hunt the field if they have a youth 17 or younger hunting with them. On Monday Sept. 13th the field will be open to all hunters for the remainder of the season.
County Line Fields- 3 miles east of Downs and about 1/2 mile south of Highway 24. One 20 acre sunflower field located on west side of road.
One 5 acre of wheat field located 300 yards east of the parking lot at the end of County line road (100 Rd).
Airport Fields- 1/4 mile west of Cawker City and 1/4 mile south of Highway 24. One 15 acre sunflower field. One 4 acre wheat field. Hunters should turn off Highway 24 immediately west of the railroad tracks and park where the trail forks. These fields are designated as Youth-Mentor Fields.
Brock Bridge Fields- 4 mile south of Hwy 24, on 110 Rd . Located immediately north of Brock bridge and the South Fork Solomon River. One 10 acre sunflower field located on the west side of the road. One 4 acre wheat field on the east side of the road.
Golf Course Field- 1/4 mile east of the town of Cawker City, and 1/4 mile south of Hwy 24 on the east side of Ash St. One 4.5 acre sunflower field. (Between the flood dike and Ash Street.)
Granite Creek Sunflower Fields- 2 miles east of Cawker City, 1/4 north of Hwy 24, and 1/4 mile east of the intersection of 130 Rd and D Rd. Hunters should park east of the flowers at the end of D Rd where the road meets the lake. One 5 acre sunflower field immediately north of D Rd and one 24 acre field 300 yards north of the Parking lot.
Granite Creek Wheat Field- 2 miles east of Cawker City, 1 1/4 miles north of Hwy 24, and 1/2 mile east of the intersection of 130 Rd and C Rd. One 6 acre wheat field.
- Here are some of the Statewide Public Lands Regulation changes from recent years. See printed regulations for complete details.
- GUIDED HUNTING OPERATIONS ARE NO LONGER ALLOWED ON KDWP PUBLIC LANDS.
- 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 over 300 acres of new warm season grass plantings. 80+ acres of sunflower fields and about 100 acres of various food 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.
Manager: Chris Lecuyer
Fish Biologist: Scott Waters
- 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.
Here is a complete list of Public Land Regulations or you can download the regulation summary.
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.).
- Camping Available: No
- ADA Camping Available: No
- Reservable Sites: No
- Click for more information
|Waterfowl numbers|| |
ALL HUNTERS at Glen Elder WA are required to check-in AND check-out daily. Go to https://ksoutdoors.com/checkin or utilize the GoOutdoorsKS app and check-in using your licensing login credentials.
It is YOUR responsibility to know a property's regulations, refuge(s) and duck zone boundaries, etc. BEFORE you hunt.
Click here for a detailed map of the refuges, youth area, and State Park boundaries.
Please be aware that the Low Plains Early Duck Zone and Low Plains Late Duck Zone boundary is HWY 24. This means Glen Elder WA North of Hwy 24 is in the Early Zone (Season: 10/8/22 - 12/4/22 and 12/17/22 - 1/1/23). This includes the granite creek area North of the refuge and HWY 24. Glen Elder WA South of HWY 24 is in the Late Zone (Season: 10/29/22 - 1/1/23 and 1/21/22 - 1/29/22).
Lake is all open water now. Estimating 8,000 ducks mostly mallards and pintails (duck season is now closed). Est. 1,000 dark geese and 20,000 snow geese (dark goose season is now closed). A few swans have been seen on GELR. Please make sure to get a good ID if you are hunting snow geese.
There are extensive bare mudflats around the entire lake. Please be cautious of silt in the north and south fork rivers. Wading in some spots may be difficult for people and dogs that will sink in the mud.
There has been a significant outbreak of disease among the snow geese at GELR. You may find dead or sick birds along the shorelines or in the surrounding area during hunting or scouting. KDWP is monitoring this to the best of our ability and sent birds to SCWDS for testing very early in the outbreak. Currently it is thought to be very low risk of infection in humans. However, if you have a domestic poultry flock extreme caution needs to be taken to avoid transferring disease and infecting your flock.
|Water level||Lake is currently 5.3 feet low. The Bureau of Reclamation is dropping water level for dam and spillway repair projects. Lots of bare mudflats around the entire lake.|
|Hunting conditions||Extremely Poor. Vegetation near water is almost non-existent.|
|Expected hunting success||Possibly good if hunters can find a way to conceal themselves.|
Granite Creek boat ramp is closed November 1 through January 31, 2021.
The following boat ramps are now UNUSABLE due to low water levels: Granite Creek, North Fork River, Carr Creek, Schoen's Cove and Walnut Creek.
Low Plains Early Duck Zone season is 10/8/22 - 12/4/22 and 12/17/22 - 1/1/23
Low Plains Late Duck Zone season is 10/29/22 - 1/1/23 and 1/21/22 - 1/29/22
Dark geese season will be 10/29/22 - 10/30/22 and 11/2/22 - 2/12/23
Whitefront season will be 10/29/22 - 1/1/22 and 1/21/23 - 2/12/23
Light geese season will 10/29/22 - 10/30/22 and 11/2/22 - 2/12/23
Cawker City and Granite Creek Refuge closure dates are November 1st - January 31st.
The Youth/ Mentor hunting area is 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.