McPherson Valley Wetlands Wildlife Area

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McPherson Valley Wetlands Waterfowl Report

Currently the area holds 51 independently managed wetland pools, two refuges that include approximately 650 total acres and approximately 350 acres of water when full, and provides a total of approximately 1,750 surface acres of water when full for migrating waterfowl. The area is managed intensively for waterfowl, but also provides good opportunity for pheasant, quail, and dove hunting. The spring migration is a spectacular sight for viewing migratory birds in full plumage. Many species common to the central flyway can be found at the wetlands during this time. Most notably, for the first time in 100 years, whooping cranes visited the area in 1995. In the spring of 2016, 17 whooping cranes were observed in the Big Basin marshes.

Address:
967 Mohawk Rd.
McPherson,KS    67460
County/Counties:

Manager: Jason K. Black; (620) 241-7669; jason.k.black@ks.gov

Due to low attendance at our annual public informational meetings, area staff is in the process of producing a bi-annual newsletter. If you are interested in recieving this newsletter CLICK HERE. The newsletter will include information about forecasted fall flights, upcoming projects, special hunting or other opportunities, harvest totals, and other information hunters / users need to know if planning a trip to the area. The newsletter will be distributed electronically, so you may "catch up" on area news at your leisure.

McPherson Valley Wetlands Brochure/Map

Location: McPherson Valley Wetlands are situated in three main units, the Big Basin Marshes, Chain of Lakes, and Little Sinkhole Marshes. The units start approximately 3.5 miles northwest of McPherson and expand to approximately 1 mile south and 1 mile east of Inman. The McPherson Valley Wetlands Complex lies within a 50-mile radius of Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. McPherson Valley Wetlands will offfer a hunting alternative and supplemental habitat when water availability is limited due to drought.

Area News - Updated: 09/07/2021

Area News

UPDATE:   07 SEPTEMBER 2021

McPherson Valley Wetlands has one managed dove field for the 2021 season.  This 34 acre sunflower field is located 3/4 mile south of the intersection of 10th Avenue and Buckskin Road, in the Little Sinkhole Marshes Unit southeast of Inman.  Portions of this field have been mowed each week for the last 3 weeks, and there are a fair number of doves using the field.  The field is open to ALL hunters, and non-toxic shot is required.  All hunters are required to check in/out and report their dove harvest using the i-Sportsman electronic hunt permit system.  Paper daily hunt permits will not be available.  Please visit the KDWP website to complete the registration process for i-Sportsman prior to the season opener if you have not already done so.

There are three new regulations in effect for the 2021 season:  1)  The Big Basin Marshes have been designated as "youth only" during the 2-day youth and military waterfowl weekend, 2) No motorized boats are allowed on the property, and 3) Centerfire rifles and handguns are prohibited. 

You can find a link to i-Sportsman on the KDWP home page, and all hunters are strongly encouraged to set up an account and begin using the electronic system, as i-Sportsman usage will be enforced this season.

For additional information please contact the McPherson Valley Wetlands office at (620) 241-7669.

Newsletter:

Staff at the McPherson Valley Wetlands will be producing a newsletter that will include season results, upcoming projects, special opportunities, fall flights, and other information that hunters / users may need to know if planning to visit the area. The newsletter will be produced bi-annually, prior to hunting season (mid August to mid September) and following waterfowl season (mid March to mid April). This document will be distributed electronically, and if you are interested in getting on the mailing list Click here.

The newsletter is an attempt to get information to more of our constituents since attendance at our public information meetings has been very low.

Wildlife Violations:

In the past, area staff has been informed of regulation violations during the hunting season. Even though KDWPT Law Enforcement staff are routinely at the wetlands, they can't be everywhere all the time. If you witness a violation, please call the McPherson County Game Warden, Operation Game Thief, or the McPherson Valley Wetlands area office and leave a description of the violation including the vehicle tag number if possible.

General Information
Address:
967 Mohawk Rd.
 
McPherson, KS    67460
County/Counties:

McPherson Wetlands WA (PDF 409.01 kB)

Manager: Jason K. Black; (620) 241-7669; jason.k.black@ks.gov

Due to low attendance at our annual public informational meetings, area staff is in the process of producing a bi-annual newsletter. If you are interested in recieving this newsletter CLICK HERE. The newsletter will include information about forecasted fall flights, upcoming projects, special hunting or other opportunities, harvest totals, and other information hunters / users need to know if planning a trip to the area. The newsletter will be distributed electronically, so you may "catch up" on area news at your leisure.

McPherson Valley Wetlands Brochure/Map

Location: McPherson Valley Wetlands are situated in three main units, the Big Basin Marshes, Chain of Lakes, and Little Sinkhole Marshes. The units start approximately 3.5 miles northwest of McPherson and expand to approximately 1 mile south and 1 mile east of Inman. The McPherson Valley Wetlands Complex lies within a 50-mile radius of Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. McPherson Valley Wetlands will offfer a hunting alternative and supplemental habitat when water availability is limited due to drought.


Special Regulations

REFUGE AREAS:

THE NORTH AND SOUTH REFUGE AREAS IN THE BIG BASIN ARE OFF-LIMITS TO ALL ACTIVITIES, AND THIS INCLUDES DUCK HUNTING.  THERE IS NO HUNTING OR PUBLIC ACCESS OF ANY KIND ALLOWED IN THE REFUGES!!

MPWL has transitioned to a new daily permit system called i-Sportsman.  Hunters will need to register via PC prior to hunting at MPWL.  Hunters will be able to login from PC, smartphone, or call in from a cell phone or landline phone each day prior to hunting to get a daily permit, and report back harvest similar to the paper daily permits.  Please visit https://kdwpt.isportsman.net/to register prior to hunting season.

Hunters must be aware of posted refuges, and stay out of these areas.

All hunters must use non-toxic shot for all species.

The entire McPherson Valley Wetlands Wildlife Area is now located in the Low Plains Early Waterfowl Zone. For exact season dates contact the area headquarters or CLICK HERE.

The Wetlands are open to the public year-round, and all areas, with the exception of posted refuges, may be entered on foot. Vehicles are allowed on maintained roads only.

Camping is not available but can be found only a few miles away in McPherson or Hutchinson.

Additionally, all statewide public land regulations, Secretary's orders, and posted notice regulations apply on the Wetlands.

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

History

Before their destruction by ditching, the wetlands of west central McPherson County comprised more than 9,000 surface acres of water in at least 52 separate wetlands, and were equal in importance to Cheyenne Bottoms. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT) recognized the need to restore portions of this vital wetland complex and started buying land for development in 1989. To date, the area is 4,455 acres. KDWPT is currently interested in acquiring land from willing sellers when funding exists. Several tracts of land have recently been acquired through a North American Wetland Conservation grant. Development has been completed on these tracts, and will provide additional acreage and opportunity for hunting and wildlife viewing. KDWPT has set a goal to eventually acquire and restore 5,000 acres of this vital wetland complex.

McPherson Valley Wetlands Waterfowl Report - 09/10/2021
Waterfowl numbers

ATTENTION:  i-Sportsman is REQUIRED to hunt this area.  All hunters MUST use the electronic daily hunt permit system!  Please check in, report your harvest, and check out using i-Sportsman for each and every hunt.

FRIDAY, 10 SEPTEMBER 2021

At the time of this posting, The Wetlands are holding approximately 2,700 ducks:  2,300 bluewings and 400 wood ducks, shovelers, mallards, pintails and other species.  Duck numbers have been fluctuating daily.

Remember that all activities in the south refuge are prohibited.  

Current Information  There are three new regulations in effect for the 2021 season:  1)  The Big Basin Marshes have been designated as "youth only" during the 2-day youth and military waterfowl weekend, 2) No motorized boats are allowed on the property, and 3) Centerfire rifles and handguns are prohibited. 
Water levels

The area received almost three inches of rain last weekend, and habitat conditions improved considerably as a result.  All three units now have at least some huntable water.  Scouting will be critical in determining which wetlands have water, as not all of them caught runoff after the storm. 

Big Basin:  Good water in many of the wetlands that are open to public hunting, and good water in the refuge.  I am currently pumping the wetlands north of Moccasin Road.  Pool 10 will most likely be kept dry this season to prep for a renovation project in late winter / early spring.

Chain of Lakes:  Water is still limited in this unit, but at least it is no longer dry.  The west pools have the best water, and the east pools have very little. 

Little Sinkhole Unit:  Huntable water in most of the wetlands.  I am currently pumping Pools 13 and 14.  

Hunting conditions We have treated approximately 500 acres of cattails, Lotus, and other undesirable vegetation this growing season.  As the treated vegetation dies off and the desirable moist soil vegetation completes seed production, we will continue to roller chop / manipulate vegetation as the season moves forward.  Waterfowl food production (native moist soil vegetation) has been fairly good across the area this year, and approximately 400 acres of millet was planted in various wetlands.  The rain this weekend was a tremendous help, but the area will still need more rain to hold water all season. 
Expected hunting success Fair to good if water levels stabilize.
Comments

ATTENTION:

MPWL has transitioned to a new daily permit system called Isportsman.  Hunters will need to register with i-Sportsman prior to hunting at MPWL.  Hunters will login (or call) each day prior to hunting to get a daily permit, and report harvest similar to the paper daily permits.  Please visit https://kdwpt.isportsman.net/ to register prior to hunting season.

Kansas hunters should be aware that iSportsman Electronic Daily Hunt Permits are required on 25 wildlife areas, including McPherson Valley Wetlands (check the 2020 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary or kdwpt.isportsman.net for a list).

iSportsman replaces the old paper permits and allows hunters to conveniently check in and out using a telephone, smartphone or home computer. As with the old paper system, information gathered helps area managers tailor management practices specific to an area and hunter preference. The paper system was inconvenient for hunters and labor intensive for managers. 

**THERE IS A "NO TRASH POLICY" IN EFFECT AT MCPHERSON VALLEY WETLANDS.  PLEASE CARRY OUT WHATEVER YOU CARRY IN, INCLUDING EMPTY HULLS AND OTHER TRASH.  PLEASE TRY TO LEAVE YOUR HUNTING SPOT AS CLEAN OR CLEANER THAN IT WAS WHEN YOU ARRIVED.  THANKS!!!

REFUGE AREAS:   THE SOUTH REFUGE AREA IN THE BIG BASIN IS OFF-LIMITS TO ALL ACTIVITIES, AND THIS INCLUDES DUCK HUNTING.  THERE IS NO HUNTING OR PUBLIC ACCESS OF ANY KIND ALLOWED IN THE REFUGE!!

The Little Sinkhole/Farland Lake marsh unit is included in the EARLY low-plains duck zone (as is the rest of MPWL).

All shotgun hunters at McPherson Wetlands are required to use non-toxic shot for all hunting. This includes upland birds.