Sixteen-day teal season approved for Low Plains Zone
PRATT -- The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks presented recommendations for early the early teal season and early migrant seasons to the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission at its public hearing on June 26. Migratory bird seasons are set according to frameworks provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the early teal season frameworks depend on the results of a blue-winged teal breeding population survey. If the population of breeding bluewings is more than 4.7 million, the USFWS allows for a 16-day early teal season. If the population is below that number, a nine-day season is allowed.

Teal season frameworks were not available at the time of the public hearing, but survey results have been released recently, reporting 6.6 million bluewings on the breeding grounds. The commission approved the 16-day season if allowed by frameworks.

In the Low Plains Zone, which is that portion of Kansas east of U.S. Highway 283, the early teal season will be Sept. 13-28. In the High Plains Zone, which is west of Highway 283, the early teal season will be Sept. 13-20. The shorter season in the High Plains is mandated by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act’s 107-day limit on total duck season days. Under the liberal duck season frameworks, 97 days are available for regular duck seasons in the High Plains Zone. When the two-day youth season is added, that leaves only eight days for an early teal season. The daily bag limit for early teal is four and possession is eight.

In final action of the evening, the commission approved a recommendation for standard seasons and bag limits for Wilson’s snipe, rail and woodcock. Those seasons have been considered annually because there was potential for change as a result of USFWS frameworks. However, the USWFS frameworks for these species have not changed in many years. The commission approved a snipe season of Sept. 1 through Dec. 16, with a daily bag limit of eight and a possession limit of 16. The rail season will open Sept. 1 and run through Nov. 9. The daily bag and possession limit for rails is 25. The woodcock season will open Oct. 11 (the Saturday nearest Oct. 14) and close Nov. 24 (45 days). The daily bag on woodcock is three and the possession limit is six.