Milford Wildlife Area

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Milford Wildlife Area Waterfowl Report
Milford Wildlife Gallery
Milford Reservoir Fishing Information
Milford Alert

Use caution while driving along roads around the wildlife area.   There are a lot of roads closed due to high water.  Turn around, don't drown.

There are approximately 19,000 acres of public land surrounding Milford Reservoir on the west side and the upper end. All 19,000 acres are open to public hunting. The Steve Lloyd refuge contains an additional 1100 acres. Both the public hunting area and the refuge are managed to maximize the production of various wildlife species.

There are currently 8 newly formed wetlands, the first of which was created in 2001. These wetlands are located along the Republican River all north of the Milford Reservoir. They surround the Steve Lloyd Refuge area. They are primarily filled with natural vegetation but there are a few that are comprised of flooded food plots. They range in size from 60 to 250 acres making-up approximately 2300 acres of wetlands when all pools are full.

Numerous opportunities exist for those who wish to observe or photograph wildlife on the area. The abundant and diversified habitat at Milford supports many species of nongame birds, mammals, reptiles and aquatic life.

Hunters will find a variety of game including quail, pheasant, prairie chicken, duck, goose, rabbit, turkey, deer and squirrel. Trappers are also active throughout the season in pursuit of raccoon, muskrat, beaver and other furbearers .

1782 10th Road
Clay Center,KS    67432
Area News - Updated: 04/28/2020
Delayed Seasonal Road Openings

Several of the seasonal roads were damaged by the flooding this past year and will not be open by March 1st.  Martin Bottom, Beichter, River weirs west of the broughton bridge and the youth area seasonal roads were hit especially hard and are waiting on heavy equipment to arrive to make repairs or for the silt deposits to dry before it can be removed.  Other seasonal roads are being graded and some rock is being hauled to improve conditions and will be opened throughout the first week of March.

Seasonal Road Update:
As of April 27th all seasonal roads are open to vehicle traffic with the exception of Martin Bottom (east of broughton bridge).  This road has considerable flood damage and may take several months to get opened up to vehicle traffic.
2020 Steve Lloyd Refuge Expansion

The refuge area will be expanded to include an additional 200 acres along the southwest corner to the private property line.  This change will take effect Match 1, 2020.  The previous boundary was difficult to distinguish and thus enforce.

In addition to the refuge expansion, the seasonal road leading to the river known as "High Banks" will be open year-round also starting March 1, 2020.

2019 Dove Fields
Milford Dove Fields 2019 (PDF 1.52 MB)

Due to extreme flooding (30 feet above conservation pool) this year only two of the sunflower dove fields survived and are shown on the map link above.  Six other fields were flooded out.  KDWPT has conducted several small summer burns throughout the wildlife area that may attract some doves and provide some additional hunting opportunity.

2019 Wetland Conditions

The Republican River began flooding the first weekend of September in 2018 and has continued to flood since. Milford Lake reached 30 feet above conservation pool and has caused substantial damage to the wildlife area: flooded/closed roads, wetland pumps submerged, electrical pump hook-ups damaged, trees dying, hundreds of acres of native vegetation drowned out, most agriculture fields were/are under water and were unable to be planted, etc.  It will take years to recover from this level of damage.

As of August 20th, all wetland dikes are still submerged.  Damage estimates cannot be accurately made yet.  No pumping is expected to be needed or even possible at this point.  Needless to say, the waterfowl hunting opportunities on the area may be extremely poor this year.

2019 Burning Season Totals:

15 prescribed spring burns were conducted between March and early May this year totaling 1,825 acres. This should provide good brood rearing habitat near nesting habitat in many locations this year as well as provide more desirable nesting habitat in the next couple of years on the grasslands that were burned this spring. Prescribed fire is used as a habitat management tool to reduce woody invasion of trees and shrubs in native grass stands, minimize invasive grass species such as brome and promote fire tolerant desirable tree species in timber stands, all without using herbicides.  10 brush piles were burned this past winter providing for safer spring burning conditions.  Many of these brush piles had been sitting for several years waiting for adequate snowfall to burn them safely.

12 prescribed summer (growing season) burns were conducted on Milford this year between late July and mid September totaling 219 acres.  The primary goals of the summer burns depends on the site but typically they are intended to reduce woody encroachment of trees and shrubs, temporarily reduce native grasses in effort to stimulate more forb (wildflower) growth and to reduce seed production of noxious weeds, particularly sericea lespedeza.  A summer burn often stays void of cover throughout the winter which provides a longer window for the removal of trees and brush within the burn area during the dormant season.

Due to this year's extreme flooding, we've been able to focus on tree and brush removal in some of the upland areas.  Pictured below are two areas we've been working commonly referred to as Sugarbowl and south of the timber creek bridge.  These areas were summer burned, remaining brush was then mowed or mulched, trees were cut with chainsaws and patches of invasive cool season grasses such as brome and fescue were sprayed after the killing frost put the native warm season grasses into dormancy so they wouldn't be harmed. Herbicide applications will be done this next spring and summer as needed to kill the brush as it continues to sprout.


Sugarbowl Brush Removal


Apple Orchard Tree and Brush Removal
2018 Projects

Mall Creek Wetland:

The eroded spillway was repaired (again) in July when the water levels were low.

North Smith Wetland:

A new culvert was installed to move pump water from the pump canal to the wetland area.  The old culvert had developed a hole which hampered management access.

Portable Pump Repairs:

A new electric drive has been ordered to replace one the burned up on one of the portable pumps.  This will make all 5 pumps operational.

Timber Stand Improvement (TSI)

Efforts are being made to improve the quality of our timber stands.  Chainsaws,herbicides, prescribed fire and mulching/mowing are being used in various areas to reduce undesirable tree species (Locust, elm, hackberry, cedar) and promote desirable species (Oak, walnut, hickory).  We recently completed some work near North Smith, Mall Creek, Quimby Creek and Beichter Bottom.  Undesirable trees were cut or girdled and left standing.   Several other timber stands, particularly creek drainages, have been targeted as areas in need of improvement.  In many areas, the majority of our desirable trees such as oaks are dying out or being shaded out by undesirable tree species.  Oaks are not a shade tolerate species meaning they require some sunlight to grow.  Many of the areas where TSI has been done will look pretty bare for the first several years until the seedlings develop into young trees.  In the meantime, the downed trees and increased growth of the understory will provide cover for many wildlife species including deer, quail and turkeys.

4th Road TSI removing cedars


4th Road TSI oak trees
Handicapped Vehicle Access Permits Available For Two Designated Areas on Milford Wildlife Area

Both areas will remain open to regular public hunting but will also be available for handicapped vehicle access by special permit.

A valid state issued handicapped permit and a permit from Milford Wildlife Area is required.

Please call the Milford Wildlife Area office for more information 785-461-5402.

North Area: Southwest of 13th Road and Rainbow Road Intersection

South Area: Northeast of Ava Road and Rebecca Road Intersection

Year-Round Prescribed Burning

The Milford Wildlife Area will be conducting prescribed burns throughout the year. The timing of these burns varies according to our management goals for each burn. Overall, we aim to control/reduce woody invasion, noxious weeds and promote more forbs in our grass stands to provide better brood rearing and nesting habitat for upland game birds and provide other benefits to many wildlife species.

Resprouting Hedgerows

Over the past several years we have been cutting mature hedgerows in hopes of promoting new growth that will offer a good quality of cover for numerous wildlife species, particularly upland birds.  We will move around the area periodically to cut hedgerows to promote various stages of vegetation growth on these hedgerows. Firewood permits are required to cut any dead AND down wood and are available free of charge by calling our office at 785-461-5402. Firewood is for personal use only and may not be sold commercially. Vehicles are not allowed off of maintained roads or inside gates or "no vehicles allowed" signs. Trees will be piled along roadways where practical. 

Gates and Parking Areas

Gates and parking areas have been installed on the area for several years now. These parking areas are meant to provide a safe area to park vehicles off of roadways while visiting the area. A few dead end roads have been closed, many others will be open seasonally as posted from March 1-September 1 unless posted otherwise to provide more accessible fishing access. The primary objective of installing the gates is to improve the overall integrity of the wildlife area by restricting vehicle access to a few pieces of the wildlife area. These gates should not only improve constituents wildlife interactions, they will also help reduce the spread of the high volume of trash, off-road vehicle use, poaching and vandalism that has occurred on the area in the past. The Steve Lloyd upper and lower refuge is closed to all activities year round, while the rest of the Wildlife Area is open to foot traffic within the gated areas, in addition to the seasonal road vehicle access. 

General Information
1782 10th Road
Clay Center, KS    67432
Office Hours:
8am to 4:30pm However we are a field office so hours are subject to change

Milford Reservoir & WA (PDF 575.94 kB)

Manager: Kristin Kloft

Assistant Manager: Justin Wren

Phone: (785) 461-5402

Special Regulations

Camping, camp fires, off-road vehicle use, riding horses, and target shooting are prohibited activities. Camping can be done inside Milford State Park

Refuge areas are closed to all hunting and off-road activities throughout the year. There is one access road to the Steve Lloyd Overlook that is open year-round. Any off-road activities along this roadway are prohibited.

Use of an electronic hunter system called Isportsman is required for all hunting activities on Milford Wildlife Area.

No motorized boats are allowed in any of the wetland areas except Mall Creek/Peterson Bottoms.

Only non-toxic shot is allowed in the wetland areas. The perimeters of these areas are posted.

Special Features

The West Broughton area has been designated a Youth/Mentor Area for all activities. Each mentor age 18 or older must be accompanied by a youth 17 years old or younger.

Here is a complete list of Public Land Regulations or you can download the regulation summary.


Milford Reservoir began operation in 1965 and the former Forestry, Fish and Game Commission began operation of the public hunting area in 1967.

Milford Facilities
Zach Hudec Wetland Parking Area
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 18.482 W97 03.153

West Broughton Youth Marsh Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 19.143 W97 03.785

Upper Smith Wetland Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 16.680 W97 01.506

Sugarbowl Wetland Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 14.127 W96 58.986

Martin Bottom Wetland South Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 16.856 W97 02.581

Steve Lloyd Refuge Outlook
  • Type of Facility: Wildlife Viewing
  • Location of Facility: N39 15.405 W97 00.879

Quimby Creek Wetland Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 11.025 W97 00.188

Martin Bottom Wetland North Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 17.552 W97 02.626

Mall Creek Wetland Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 15.767 W96 59.884

Lower Smith Wetland Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 16.037 W97 00.802

Gatesville Boat Ramp
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • Location of Facility: N39 15.994 W97 00.726

Beichter Wetland Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N39 17.547 W97 03.181

Milford Wildlife Area Waterfowl Report - 01/23/2020
Waterfowl numbers

Duck season is open January 18-26.

Waterfowl counts given on this report are based on what was observed on the day the report is updated. Waterfowl numbers vary greatly from day to day and weather conditions and hunting pressure will affect the numbers of waterfowl on the area.

Approximately 2,500 ducks and 300 Canada Geese were observed using the reservoir.  All wetlands have been frozen with the temperature change.  


For more information, visit


Lake level Current Lake Level is 1141.55 and Conservation Pool is 1144.4 The dam is releasing 1,500 CFS. The inflow into the lake is unknown due to ice. 
Hunting conditions

Vegetation growth and seed production was not permitted this year due to the extent and duration of flooding we've experienced this past year.  The majority of the wetlands are still under water with little or no cover to provide favorable hunting conditions.  This will be a very difficult waterfowl season at Milford Wildlife Area.

Mall creek and Lower smith/Gatesville boat ramps are now open, most of the wildlife area roads are open, but use caution in some soft areas around the wildlife area due to silt and the ground moisture.

Be mindful of the silt that has moved into many of the flooded areas.  Even in areas where the water appears shallow the silt may be very soft and very deep.  Use caution in these areas.

No activites/hunting allowed in the Steve Lloyd Wetland/Refuge.

Motorized boats are only allowed in the Mall Creek wetland, electric motors are considered "motorized". All other public hunting wetlands are open to NON motorized boats and walk in hunting.

Expected hunting success Average.

Do NOT drive on dikes. Vehicles disrupt and discourage waterfowl from using the wetland areas. We have had several dikes being damaged due to unauthorized vehicles driving on them. Scouting is best done on foot to evaluate bird numbers and habitat conditions.

Please report any vehicles on dikes and anyone seen disturbing our pumps. Without the pumps in optimal condition we are unable to pump the wetlands to their greatest potential.

Do NOT drive on barricaded roadways.

Remember - an electronic permit/sign-in on Isportsman is required for all hunting on Milford Wildlife Area. All hunters (youth included) must first register online by creating an account.  Hunters can then check in using the I-sportsman system from any phone or internet device. The information collected and comments received are very useful in establishing future management goals for the area. for more information on seasons and limits.