McPherson Valley Wetlands Wildlife Area

Area News
Brochures
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 receiving 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 offer a hunting alternative and supplemental habitat when water availability is limited due to drought.

Area News - Updated: 09/07/2022

Area News

UPDATE:   07 SEPTEMBER 2022

All hunters are required to check in/out when hunting.  Visit https://ksoutdoors.com/checkin using your licensing login credentials to check in and out, and report your harvest.

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. 

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 receiving 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 offer 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!!

Hunters can check-in / check-out here, https://ksoutdoors.com/check-in using your licensing login credentials. 

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 - 12/02/2022
Waterfowl numbers

ATTENTION: All hunters MUST check-in / check-out when hunting.  Visit https://ksoutdoors.com/checkin using your licensing login credentials to check in and out. 

Friday, 2 December 2022:

Waterfowl numbers remain low at this time. 

Remember that all activities in the south and north refuges in the Big Basin are prohibited.  

Current Information  Be aware of new regulations in effect for the 2022 season:  The Big Basin is designated as youth only during the youth and military weekend, the use of motorized boats is prohibited, and centerfire rifles and handguns are prohibited. 
Water levels

The wetlands are in serious need of abundant rainfall.  Water levels have been in steady decline since mid-June.  Scouting will be critical in determining which wetlands have water. 

Groundwater pumping operations have stopped, and we will save what little water we have left to pump until early to mid-December. 

Big Basin: Very limited water in the wetlands that are open to public hunting, and limited water in the refuge.

Chain of Lakes:  This unit is 99% dry.  Be aware that the vast majority of Steel's Pond on the east boundary is privately owned. 

Little Sinkhole Marshes:  Water levels at the LSM have declined significantly over the last few weeks.  Many of the wetlands are now dry.

Hunting conditions Once again this year, we treated approximately 400 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 to create hunting spots as the season moves forward.  Waterfowl food production (native moist soil vegetation) has been exceptionally good across the area this year.  Approximately 100 acres of millet was planted in various wetlands.  The food is here, so if we get some good rains conditions will improve.
Expected hunting success Fair at best until conditions change.  Limited water will have a negative impact on waterfowl numbers and hunter success.
Comments

ATTENTION:

**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.

Throughout all units, please be mindful of farmers and big equipment operators needing to access and maintain roads.