January 3, 2013

While the drought has left many bird hunters disappointed, late-season hunts can still be productive

PRATT—It’s a mistake to overlook late-season hunting opportunities, even this year. Most of our hunting seasons will close in January, but many hunters may have already hung up their gear for the year because of disappointing conditions and bird populations. However, the late season still has hunting opportunities worth pursuing.

While the drought has left many shallow wetlands without water, waterfowl have been using reservoirs, and many northern-Kansas lakes have enough ducks and geese to provide good hunting opportunities. Mallards and Canada geese are the primary waterfowl present, and hunters who scout roosting, loafing and feeding areas can have excellent hunting in January.

The extended whitetail-only antlerless season opened Jan. 1 and runs through Jan. 13, 2013. The special season is open statewide and allows hunters to use any unfilled permit to take white-tailed antlerless deer, using any legal equipment. Unit restrictions listed on the permits are still in effect. While all hunters must have a permit that allows the harvest of an antlered deer before purchasing antlerless-only permits during the regular seasons, whitetail antlerless permits can be purchased over the counter by anyone during the extended season.

Unfilled either-sex permits and the first whitetail-only antlerless permits purchased are valid statewide, including department-managed lands. And hunters may purchase up to four additional whitetail antlerless-only permits; however, subsequent whitetail antlerless-only permits are valid only in units and department-managed lands listed on the permit.

Hunters with permits valid in Units 7, 8 and 15 get another seven days to hunt whitetail antlerless deer during the Jan. 14-20, 2013 special whitetail antlerless season.

Upland bird hunting has been disappointing in most areas of the state as a result of below average populations due to prolonged drought and extreme summer heat. However, there are some bright spots, and for the hunter willing to travel and work, birds are there. Late season can be especially good because fewer hunters are afield and birds will be more concentrated in heavier cover.

Don’t forget your 2013 hunting license, and hurry. January will be gone before you know it, and next fall will be a long wait.