Late season hunts offer opportunities for waterfowl, small game, upland game, more
PRATT — Upland bird and waterfowl seasons have been open for more than two months now, but that doesn't mean it's time for hunters to put up their shotguns. Quail, pheasant, and prairie chicken (Northwest and East units) seasons are open through Jan. 31, and rabbit and squirrel seasons provide additional opportunities for the avid hunter.

Late-season hunting is a great time to go afield; hunting spots are uncrowded, and birds may hold in heavier cover, making dogs a real asset. Cold weather and snow may prevent birds from flushing early, providing closer shots. In most areas, crops have been cut, concentrating birds in draws and thick grass, such as CRP. And as hunting pressure eases, private landowners are often more receptive to hunters looking for new places to pursue game.

Heavy pressure can make public hunting areas less desirable than private land in early seasons, but public areas may provide better hunting in late season. Wildlife management practices on public lands usually provide excellent cover and food supplies, making them good late-season options as hunting pressure decreases.

Hunters looking for a place to stay can rent one of more than 70 cabins at state parks and wildlife areas across the state. Most cabins are open year-round and provide a range of amenities, many with full bathrooms and kitchens. Click "Cabin Reservations" in the upper right-hand corner of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks website, www.kdwp.state.ks.us, for more information.

A number of opportunities await hunters this winter. Those seasons still open or opening soon include the following:

  • ducks High Plains Zone (west of U.S. 283) — Jan. 23-31; and
  • ducks Late Zone — Jan. 23-31, 2010;
  • Canada geese — through Feb. 14;
  • white-fronted geese — Feb. 6-14;
  • light geese — through Feb. 14;
  • Light Goose Conservation Order — Feb. 15-April 30;
  • pheasant and quail — through Jan. 31;
  • prairie chicken (Northwest and East units) — through Jan. 31;
  • exotic dove (Eurasian collared and ringed turtle) — through Feb. 28;
  • squirrel — through Feb. 28;
  • rabbit — year-round;
  • extended archery antlerless only whitetail deer (management Unit 19 only) — through Jan. 31;
  • coyote — year-round;
  • furbearer hunting and trapping — through Feb. 15; and
  • beaver trapping — through March 31.

Sometimes the best things are saved for last. This winter, make it so with a late-season Kansas hunt. For detailed information, consult the Kansas Hunting & Furharvesting Regulations Summary, available at most license vendors, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks offices, or online at www.kdwp.state.ks.us.