Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area

photo aerial view of the Marais des Cygnes
Area News
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Marais des Cygnes Waterfowl Report

Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area (7,654 ac) lies in the floodplain of the Marais des Cygnes River and is unique for its quantity of managed wetlands and bottomland hardwood forest. The array of wetland units are managed for a diversity of habitat types, producing abundant food and cover for migratory waterfowl and other wetland species. In general, wetlands are dewatered in the spring and reflooded in the fall with water pumped from the river.

Bottomland hardwood forests are dominated by oak and hickory and are excellent habitat for wild turkey, white-tailed deer, squirrels, and, during wet seasons, waterfowl that use forested wetlands. In addition to wetlands and bottomland forest, the area features upland forest, upland and wet-meadow prairie, restored native grasslands, and cropland.

Waterfowl and wetland management, and hunting recreation are primary objectives for this area.  Marais des Cygnes is best known for waterfowl hunting, but also provides quality white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and squirrel hunting.  Archery deer hunting is very good and can be very productive.  All hunters, regardless of species pursued, are required to check-in before hunting and check-out after the hunt (regardless of success).  Go to:  https://ksoutdoors.com/checkin for registration and check-in.

Although the primary focus of the area is wetland and waterfowl management, angling for catfish in the Marais des Cygnes River and tributary streams can be excellent. In addition, fishing is allowed in marsh units from April 15 through September 15. Fish salvages are allowed by posted notice when marsh units are dewatered for wetland management.

Birding and wildlife watching are popular activities. Birding is particularly spectacular during spring migrations (April through mid-June). Pecan picking and mushroom hunting are also seasonally popular.

Users of the Wildlife Area may also be interested in the adjacent Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Click link to NWR Home Page for more information.

For a full-color map of both the state Wildlife Area and federal National Wildlife Refuge click Map link.

To receive the Marais des Cygnes News click the newsletter link.

Phone:
Address:
16382 Vail Rd
Pleasanton,KS    66075
County/Counties:

 Manager: Jacob Coulter:
 Phone: (913) 352-8941
 

6 mi N of Pleasanton on US Hwy 69

Area News - Updated: 08/31/2022

Area News

River boat ramp:  The new river boat ramp has been completed and is located south of 1700 rd, on the west side of the river, adjacent to the main pumping station.  

General Information
Phone:
Address:
16382 Vail Rd
 
Pleasanton, KS    66075
County/Counties:

 Manager: Jacob Coulter:
 Phone: (913) 352-8941
 

6 mi N of Pleasanton on US Hwy 69


Special Regulations

All hunters, regardless of species, are required to check-in before hunting and check-out after the hunt (regardless of success).  Go to: https://ksoutdoors.com/checkin

Trees stands may not be placed more than 14 days prior to the season and must be removed within 14 days of the end of season.  Portable blinds may not be left unattended overnight.  Only two blinds or stands are allowed per hunter.  Blinds and stand must be clearly marked with owners name and address or KDWPT number.

No person shall place, deposit, expose, or scatter bait for hunting.

Closed areas (refuge) are closed to all activities year-round.

Non-toxic shot is required for all hunting.

Target shooting is prohibited.

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

History

Most of the wildlife area was purchased in 1953-55, with additions through 2008. The area currently encompasses over 7,650 acres.

Marais des Cygnes Facilities
Unit C-South Boat Ramp
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • Location of Facility: N38 13.576 W94 41.657
  • Click for more information
    • Shallow Water Access for waterfowl hunting. 
    • Outboard motors prohibited.

WA Headquarters
  • Type of Facility: Information Center
  • Location of Facility: N38 15.790 W94 40.788
  • Click for more information

    Information kiosk with brochures, regulations, etc.


Unit G campsite
  • Type of Facility: Primitive camping
  • Location of Facility: N38 17.116 W94 44.032
  • Click for more information

    Closed Sept. 15 through April 15


Unit A campsite
  • Type of Facility: Primitive camping
  • Location of Facility: N38 15.256 W94 42.161

Unit A campsite
  • Type of Facility: Primitive camping
  • Location of Facility: N38 14.844 W94 41.608

Unit G West Boat Ramp
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • Location of Facility: N38 17.051 W94 44.981
  • Click for more information
    • Shallow water access for waterfowl hunting. 
    • Outboard motors allowed.

Unit G South Boat Ramp
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • Location of Facility: N38 16.818 W94 44.027
  • Click for more information
    • Access to waterfowl hunting and fishing. 
    • Outboard motors allowed.

Unit F Boat Ramps
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • Location of Facility: N38 13.640 W94 41.970
  • Click for more information
    • Shallow water access to Units F-East and F-South for waterfowl hunting. 
    • Outboard motors prohibited.

Unit A Boat Ramps
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • Location of Facility: N38 15.149 W94 42.173
  • Click for more information
    • Shallow Water Access to Units A-East and A-North for waterfowl hunting. 
    • Outboard motors allowed in A-East boat lane. 
    • Outboard motors prohibited in A-North.

Marais des Cygnes Waterfowl Report - 09/23/2022
Waterfowl numbers

ATTENTION HUNTERS: There is a new check-in system 

All hunters must check-in daily To check-in / check-out. Hunters, go to this site: https://ksoutdoors.com/checkin Use your licensing login credentials to access the check-in / check-out functions. 

 LOW numbers of teal in the area. Caution: HIGH number of wood ducks in the area with some pintails and shovelers showing up.     

Water levels

Pumps have been running off and on since June.  Water can be found in the lowest elevations of : A-North, A-East, C-South, F-East, F-South, and F-West.  Although there is some water in the lower elevations of these units, much of it will not be visible do to tall dense vegetation.  Unit G won't be pumped until later.  Unit E has no water in it and will require a large rain event for that to change.  

Good water in the southern refuge by the office, the northern refuge has water in the lower elevations and is holding a few birds.

Over 1,000 ac/ft of water has been pumped since June.  The ground is still very dry, plants are still growing, temperatures are high, and water is being soaked up.  The Wildlife Area is authorized to pump a limited amount of water each year.  Pumping will be managed to ensure water availability for November and December. 

This year we are going to try something new:  Water level gauges are set in almost every unit.  Staff use these gauges to help manage water levels through both pumping and drawdowns.  We will try to provide the level of water as it reads on the gauge.  Hunters should keep in mind this value should be used as an index.  If the gauge reads 1'3", it doesn't mean there's 1'3" of water across the whole unit the gauge reading should be used as a reference. Over time it should help provide a better answer to one of the most common questions we get. "How much water is in  _____ unit?"   Stay tuned,  more to come on this later.   

Hunting/ Habitat conditions

Early flooding and late droughts made for an adverse growing season. In spite of these factors, wetland food production across the area was only slightly below average.      

Fair to decent moist soil can be found in most units.  Japanese Millet was planted in a few small areas.  Buckwheat was planted in the highest elevations of A-North, but needs a rain.  

There is no flooded corn or milo this year.  

Unit G: Tired of cocklebur in Unit G? So are we. We are undertaking a large scale stump and woody vegetation removal project in the southwest corner of the unit.  Old tree stumps are the primary reason ground equipment hasn't been able to get in the unit to spray and control undesirable vegetation.  One good thing about it being so dry is that it allows us to work in places, we wouldn't normally get a chance to. This effort will have Unit G looking more open then in previous years, but the long term benefits far exceed the short term impacts.  In addition to the stump removal, we are also working to restore the old creek channel that meanders through the southern end of the unit. This not only we help with dewatering, but also may help provide better access from boats using the south ramp.  After completion, the channel will be marked for easier use by hunters.  Pumping is anticipated to begin late October or early November.   

Season Dates

LOW PLAINS TEAL: Sept. 10-25, 2022

SOUTHEAST ZONE YOUTH/VETERAN: Oct. 29-30 2022 

SOUTHESAT LATE ZONE DUCK SEASON OPENS Nov. 5,2021 - Jan. 1, 2023 and Jan 14 - Jan. 29, 2023

WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE OPENS Oct. 29,2022 - Jan 1, 2023 and Jan. 21 - Feb. 12, 2023

DARK GOOSE SEASON OPENS Oct. 29 - 30, 2022 and Nov. 2 - Feb. 12, 2023 

Light GOOSE SEASON OPENS Oct. 29 - 30, 2022 and Nov. 2 - Feb. 12, 2023

Conservation Light Goose season is from February 14  - April , 2022

Comments

Gas motors are restricted to Unit G and the boat lane in Unit A-East. Outboards cannot be used in any other wetland units. Electric trolling motors are unrestricted.

Waterfowl report is updated only if there are significant changes in waterfowl numbers or hunting conditions.

Atv's of any kind are not allowed on the area (side by sides, utv's, amphibious vehicles, "argos", this also means no electric bicycles)

Campgrounds on the area are primitive. (No electric, No water) Take your trash with you!

Please remember to fill out the daily permit with accurate information. THIS INFORMATION IS VERY IMPORTANT TO THE CURRENT AND FUTURE MANAGEMENT OF THE AREA. FILL OUT ONLY YOUR INDIVIDUAL HARVEST EFFORTS, each individual hunter needs to check in/out and report his/her harvest totals. i.e., NOT A GROUP HARVEST TOTAL.