Neosho Wildlife Area News

Area News

Neosho Wildlife Area

 2023 Habitat conditions: September 21,2023

This years growing season was very similar to last year. Extreme drought persists throughout this area. We have missed most of the bigger rains here at Neosho, with storms missing the area by about 10 miles to the south or the east. Beginning in the spring we started missing our normal early growing season rains leaving the refuge very low form last years draw down. We have held water all spring and summer and just recently finished pumping for a week into the refuge. It currently sits a few inches higher than where we finished last season, but still over 2 foot below full pool. For reference without some help from rainfall and runoff it would take at least 60 days, 24 hours a day to fill the refuge pumping at the current rates we are able to pump.    

No row crops were planted in the wetland pools with anticipation of the drought persisting and budgetary constraints. We got a phenomenal moist soil response with highly desirable smart weeds and wild millets. Unfortunately we turned extremely hot and dry in May and June and some of our vegetation started showing drought stress in late June and early July. The pump was turned on July 9th and ran into the hunting pools the remainder of the month until we finally got some help from mother nature when we received 4.5" of rain over a weekend in the early part of August. The pump was shut down as we had put as much water in the wetlands that we could without hurting the plants. The moist soil vegetation responded great with tremendous seed production and growth. For the month of August, after the pump was shut off, every pool was losing around 2" per week to evaporation and plant uptake. The pump was started back up last week (September 15th) with most of the water going into the refuge. After conversations with Kansas Division of Water Resources (DWR) we are expecting protection orders to be sent out Friday September 22 for the entire Neosho Basin (Council Grove to the state line); meaning we will be shutting pumping efforts down no later than the morning of Wednesday September 27th and there will be no further pumping until significant rainfall occurs (6-10" of rainfall = significant) north of the wildlife area or DWR grants permission. The Neosho River comes out of John Redmond Reservoir, John Redmond is dropping fast and is currently over 2 feet lower than it was all of last year. Water levels are currently better in the hunting pools and refuge than this time last year but unfortunately it may be all we have for the season. The vegetation looks very promising for a great duck season but if we do not get some help from Mother Nature it may be a very long, tough duck season due to lack of water. 

We have already had a couple of issues with drones this year.  They are not allowed on public land in Kansas.  


Hunters can check-in / check-out here, using your licensing login credentials. 

 NO ACCESS (FOOT, BOAT, ETC.) into the wetlands BEFORE 5:00AM, and MUST be out of the wetlands within an HOUR AFTER SUNSET (LEGAL SHOOTING HOURS).    

Other regulations to keep in mind are parking in designated parking areas ONLY, boats must operate at no wake speeds in the boating canals, and watercraft are not permitted within the hunting pools until the day of waterfowl season at 5:00am. Also Pools 4A and 4B are open to NON-MOTORIZED boats only (Note: An electric trolling motor is a motor and will not be allowed). 

Area staff has had a lot of questions on how the main parking area is going to work for this fall.  Parking will be allowed only where the gray curb stops are located.  The curb stops that are painted red symbolize no parking.  The most efficient use of the parking area will be to travel counter clockwise as the curb stops are angled for this direction of travel.  We realize that there are places in the parking area where there are no curb stops that look very appealing for parking but they are not designated areas to park and parking in such areas is not allowed and will not be tolerated.  We want to make sure there is ample room for every user whether it be trucks with trailers, cars or just  regular trucks.  All parking areas will be marked and are in the new area brochure.  Parking along roadsides will no longer be tolerated for safety reasons.  It is each users responsibility to know the regulations, so if you have questions or are unsure please feel free to contact us. 

South Unit 

Boards have been in structures since mid May, there has been no run off or any water within the wetlands from vertical rainfall. We will have to receive very significant rainfall in order to pump the South Unit, our water right is a "Junior" water right. The river will have to have significant flow for several weeks to be able to pump any water for 2023.

Pool 9 Construction -Construction of a new 35 acre wetland is complete. This wetland will be located just east of the "Tin Barn" and south of 47 Hwy. Parking WILL NOT be allowed along Hwy 47. Parking will be allowed at the "tin barn" or along the road going to the "tin barn". This wetland will rely heavily on rainfall BUT we will be able to supplemental pump from Brogan creek when conditions allow

Hunting Pool Habitat 2023-2024

Pool Acres Beans Corn Millet mix Moist Soil Greentree Buckwheat
1 350 60 50 15 160 65 0
2A 155 0 0 0 155 30 0
2B 190 0 0 10 155 30 0
4A 90 0 0 0 90 0 0
4B 65 0 0 0 65 0 0
5 85 0 0 35 30 20 0
6 15 0 0 0 0 15 0
7 7 0 7 0 0 0 0
8 33 0 0 0 33 0 0
9 40 15 0 15 30 0 0
South Unit 100 10 0 0 50 40 0

As always, if you have questions please feel free to call the office at 620-449-2539.  We are always happy to take your calls and please keep in mind that this is a field office, so if we do not answer please leave a message and we will get back in touch with you as soon as we can.