Benedictine Bottoms Wildlife Area
The area is a 2,112 acre wildlife area in the flood plain of the Missouri River. The river borders the area on the south and east. This site is managed for 3 habitat types that existed in the area before development, timber, native grass and wetlands. During construction more than 175,000 trees were planted, 550 acres of native grass were planted and 450 acres of wetlands were developed.
Construction on the area started with tree planting consisted of a variety of hardwoods and shrubs. These varieties will provide mast as well as escape and winter cover for many wildlife. Though most of the hardwood trees are still small many Cottonwood trees are mixed in and are doing quite well.
The grasslands were created from a mixture of big bluestem, Indian, eastern gama and switch grasses along with wildflowers and legumes. Most of the grasslands have done very well and is providing valuable nesting and escape cover as well as a source of food.
The 450 acres of wetlands were built using low-profile earthen berms and using the natural contour of the land. Three well and distribution pipe provide water to approximately 45 acres. Water control structures were placed on the wetlands to allow for control of water depth.
Currently the area has a great variety of wildlife. Many species of song birds use the area and can be seen throughout the year. Many water birds also use the wetlands including shorebirds, wading birds, and waterfowl.
Many game species are common to the area. Good numbers of deer stay on the area with several large bucks seen every year. A large population of pheasant are found on the area and is a favorite of the locals. Good numbers of quail and rabbits can also be found.
After the prolonged 2019 spring and summer flooding, the Benedictine Bottoms has rebounded back with some of the best vegetation and habitat seen since the 2011 flood. Annual smart weed, barnyard grass, sunflowers, and fox-tail flourish. Quail and pheasant numbers on the area seem to be good, several covey's have been spotted, although pheasant number's seem to be less than before the 2019 flood. The deer population has not been affected and a youth hunter harvested a very impressive 16 point whitetail buck during September youth season. The vegetation in the wetlands is ideal for waterfowl, and we have started pumping for Teal season. Expectations are high for a great waterfowl season.
- The area is open to the public from April 1 through September 30. From October 1 Through March 31 an access/hunting permit is required. These permit are by computer draw only. Applications period will start in July and will be acepted on-line only at http://www.ksoutdoors.com, look for "Special Hunts"
- Off road vehicle, ATV and horse use is prohibited.
- No alcohol or cereal malt beverages of any kind are allowed on the area.
- non-toxic shot required for all shotgun hunting
The US Army Corps of Engineers purchased the area as a Missouri River Fish and Wildlife Mitigation Project in 1993 and 1994. This area was purchased under authorization of Congress through the Mitigation Project in Section 334(a) of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1986. The 2,112 acre Benedictine Bottoms was then leased to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks for management in 1999 after development.
|Waterfowl numbers||Mallard Migration Rank: 1 (Estimate of potential mallard numbers. 1=lowest, 10=highest)|
|Water level|| |
A map of our wetlands is now available under the Wetland Map tab to the right.
Waterfowl have been seen using the wildlife area in moderation. The refuge wetlands are holding some waterfowl, mainly Mallards and Canada Geese.
The large wetland west of the shop and refuge wetland are both holding good amounts of water. Minimal waterfowl activity is occurring at both sites, although numbers are increasing with the cold coming in. Snow and Canada Geese flocks are moving in greater numbers in the area and were seen on the refuge wetland last week.
The smaller wetlands on the west end of the wildlife area are NOT being pumped at this time due to pump failure. This issue will more than likely not be resolved before the end of the waterfowl season.
Refuge(NOT open to hunting)
October 1 through March 31 the area can only be accessed with a special permit obtained through a drawing. Look for "Special Hunts" on our home page under "HUNTING".
|Hunting conditions||Very good wetland vegetation in all complexes. Native vegetation such as annual smart weeds, barnyard grass, and sunflowers are the most common vegetation.|
|Expected hunting success||Currently waterfowl numbers have been low. Some waterfowl have been using the large wetland southwest of the shop.|
|Comments||The wetlands have some of the best food source vegetation possible. REFUGE IS CLOSED TO HUNTING.|