McPherson Valley Wetlands Wildlife Area

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McPherson Valley Wetlands Waterfowl Report

Currently the area holds 51 independently managed wetland pools, two refuges that include approximately 650 total acres and approximately 350 acres of water when full, and provides a total of approximately 1,750 surface acres of water when full for migrating waterfowl. The area is managed intensively for waterfowl, but also provides good opportunity for pheasant, quail, and dove hunting. The spring migration is a spectacular sight for viewing migratory birds in full plumage. Many species common to the central flyway can be found at the wetlands during this time. Most notably, for the first time in 100 years, whooping cranes visited the area in 1995. In the spring of 2016, 17 whooping cranes were observed in the Big Basin marshes.

Address:
967 Mohawk Rd.
McPherson,KS    67460
County/Counties:
Area News - Updated: 08/11/2020

Area News

ATTENTION: 

McPherson Valley Wetlands does not have any managed sunflower fields for the 2020 dove season; however, dove numbers are good across the property and scouting for natural food sources and watering holes will provide some hunting opportunities.

As of 11 August 2020, water levels in the wetlands are in fair shape.  We will begin mowing holes in wetland vegetation and start pumping efforts in the Big Basin the week of 10 August 2020.  The Little Sinkhole Marshes near Inman have received a couple of good runoff rains and have fair to good water at this time.

The Shirk Marsh wetland construction project at 9th and Navajo is complete, and approximately 80 acres has been planted to millet.  Now we need a good runoff rain to fill the new wetland. 

The west unit at the Chain of Lakes will be kept dry during the 2020 - 2021 season for renovation and water control structure replacement.   

In September 2016, McPherson Valley Wetlands completed the transition to the i-Sportsman electronic hunt permit system.  There will only be one paper daily hunt permit box on the entire property, and it is located at 967 Mohawk Road near the area headquarters. Hunters that use paper cards from this box are asked to return their hunt permits to this box as well, as all other hunt permit boxes on the property will either be removed or closed.  Please plan accordingly and register for i-Sportsman prior to the September 1st opener of hunting season.  For those of you who have already set up an account with i-Sportsman, this is a good time to make sure you remember those user names and passwords!

You can find a link to i-Sportsman on the KDWPT web page, and all hunters are strongly encouraged to set up an account and begin using the electronic system, as i-Sportsman usage will be enforced this season.

For additional information please contact the McPherson Valley Wetlands office at (620) 241-7669.

Newsletter:

Staff at the McPherson Valley Wetlands will be producing a newsletter that will include season results, upcoming projects, special opportunities, fall flights, and other information that hunters / users may need to know if planning to visit the area. The newsletter will be produced bi-annually, prior to hunting season (mid August to mid September) and following waterfowl season (mid March to mid April). This document will be distributed electronically, and if you are interested in getting on the mailing list Click here.

The newsletter is an attempt to get information to more of our constituents since attendance at our public information meetings has been very low.

Wildlife Violations:

In the past, area staff has been informed of regulation violations during the hunting season. Even though KDWPT Law Enforcement staff are routinely at the wetlands, they can't be everywhere all the time. If you witness a violation, please call the McPherson County Game Warden, Operation Game Thief, or the McPherson Valley Wetlands area office and leave a description of the violation including the vehicle tag number if possible.

General Information
Address:
967 Mohawk Rd.
 
McPherson, KS    67460
County/Counties:

Manager: Jason K. Black; (620) 241-7669; jason.k.black@ks.gov

Due to low attendance at our annual public informational meetings, area staff is in the process of producing a bi-annual newsletter. If you are interested in recieving this newsletter CLICK HERE. The newsletter will include information about forecasted fall flights, upcoming projects, special hunting or other opportunities, harvest totals, and other information hunters / users need to know if planning a trip to the area. The newsletter will be distributed electronically, so you may "catch up" on area news at your leisure.

McPherson Valley Wetlands Brochure/Map

Location: McPherson Valley Wetlands are situated in three main units, the Big Basin Marshes, Chain of Lakes, and Little Sinkhole Marshes. The units start approximately 3.5 miles northwest of McPherson and expand to approximately 1 mile south and 1 mile east of Inman. The McPherson Valley Wetlands Complex lies within a 50-mile radius of Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. McPherson Valley Wetlands will offfer a hunting alternative and supplemental habitat when water availability is limited due to drought.


McPherson Wetlands WA (PDF 409.01 kB)

Manager: Jason K. Black; (620) 241-7669; jason.k.black@ks.gov

Due to low attendance at our annual public informational meetings, area staff is in the process of producing a bi-annual newsletter. If you are interested in recieving this newsletter CLICK HERE. The newsletter will include information about forecasted fall flights, upcoming projects, special hunting or other opportunities, harvest totals, and other information hunters / users need to know if planning a trip to the area. The newsletter will be distributed electronically, so you may "catch up" on area news at your leisure.

McPherson Valley Wetlands Brochure/Map

Location: McPherson Valley Wetlands are situated in three main units, the Big Basin Marshes, Chain of Lakes, and Little Sinkhole Marshes. The units start approximately 3.5 miles northwest of McPherson and expand to approximately 1 mile south and 1 mile east of Inman. The McPherson Valley Wetlands Complex lies within a 50-mile radius of Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. McPherson Valley Wetlands will offfer a hunting alternative and supplemental habitat when water availability is limited due to drought.


Special Regulations

REFUGE AREAS:

THE NORTH AND SOUTH REFUGE AREAS IN THE BIG BASIN ARE OFF-LIMITS TO ALL ACTIVITIES, AND THIS INCLUDES DUCK HUNTING.  THERE IS NO HUNTING OR PUBLIC ACCESS OF ANY KIND ALLOWED IN THE REFUGES!!

MPWL has transitioned to a new daily permit system called i-Sportsman.  Hunters will need to register via PC prior to hunting at MPWL.  Hunters will be able to login from PC, smartphone, or call in from a cell phone or landline phone each day prior to hunting to get a daily permit, and report back harvest similar to the paper daily permits.  Please visit https://kdwpt.isportsman.net/to register prior to hunting season.

Hunters must be aware of posted refuges, and stay out of these areas.

All hunters must use non-toxic shot for all species.

The entire McPherson Valley Wetlands Wildlife Area is now located in the Low Plains Early Waterfowl Zone. For exact season dates contact the area headquarters or CLICK HERE.

The Wetlands are open to the public year-round, and all areas, with the exception of posted refuges, may be entered on foot. Vehicles are allowed on maintained roads only.

Camping is not available but can be found only a few miles away in McPherson or Hutchinson.

Additionally, all statewide public land regulations, Secretary's orders, and posted notice regulations apply on the Wetlands.

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

History

Before their destruction by ditching, the wetlands of west central McPherson County comprised more than 9,000 surface acres of water in at least 52 separate wetlands, and were equal in importance to Cheyenne Bottoms. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT) recognized the need to restore portions of this vital wetland complex and started buying land for development in 1989. To date, the area is 4,455 acres. KDWPT is currently interested in acquiring land from willing sellers when funding exists. Several tracts of land have recently been acquired through a North American Wetland Conservation grant. Development has been completed on these tracts, and will provide additional acreage and opportunity for hunting and wildlife viewing. KDWPT has set a goal to eventually acquire and restore 5,000 acres of this vital wetland complex.

McPherson Valley Wetlands Waterfowl Report - 11/19/2020
Waterfowl numbers

ATTENTION:  i-Sportsman is REQUIRED to hunt this area.  All hunters MUST use the electronic daily hunt permit system!  Please check in, report your harvest, and check out using i-Sportsman for each and every hunt.

Thursday, 19 November 2020: 

The first split of the Low Plains Early Zone duck season closes 06 December 2020.

Goose season is open.

Approximately 1,800 ducks and 500 geese were observed on the area Thursday morning.  The three most abundant duck species were mallards, gadwall, and greenwings.  Goose numbers are highly variable and fluctuate daily. The majority of the ducks and geese are in the Big Basin Refuge.

See "Water Levels" below for more information. 

Remember that all activities in both the north and south refuges are prohibited.  

Current Information  The warm, dry, windy weather continues.  Many of the pools still have little to no water in them, so scouting will be key.   The water allotment for the groundwater pumps has been pumped, except for 20 acre feet to pump late season at the Little Sinkhole unit.
Water levels

Big Basin:  The wetlands north of Moccasin Road are looking the best at this time.  The center complex (Pools 7, 9 and 10) is almost completely dry, and Pool 8 is at about 25% capacity.  The area needs to see a good runoff rain event! 

Chain of Lakes:  The west unit of the Chain of Lakes will likely be kept dry during the 2020 - 2021 season for continued cattail control and replacement of a water control structure.

Little Sinkhole Unit:  The south and west sides of this unit are looking the best relative to water, although a few of the other wetlands have a huntable amount of water at the time of this update.

Hunting conditions Waterfowl food production (native moist soil vegetation) has been fairly good across the area this year, and approximately 240 acres of millet was planted in various wetlands.  The wetlands are in serious need of a good rain with abundant runoff!  The roads were in good shape at the time of this update.
Expected hunting success Fair if water levels stabilize.
Comments

ATTENTION:

MPWL has transitioned to a new daily permit system called Isportsman.  Hunters will need to register with i-Sportsman prior to hunting at MPWL.  Hunters will login (or call) each day prior to hunting to get a daily permit, and report harvest similar to the paper daily permits.  Please visit https://kdwpt.isportsman.net/ to register prior to hunting season.

Kansas hunters should be aware that iSportsman Electronic Daily Hunt Permits are required on 25 wildlife areas, including McPherson Valley Wetlands (check the 2020 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary or kdwpt.isportsman.net for a list).

iSportsman replaces the old paper permits and allows hunters to conveniently check in and out using a telephone, smartphone or home computer. As with the old paper system, information gathered helps area managers tailor management practices specific to an area and hunter preference. The paper system was inconvenient for hunters and labor intensive for managers. 

**THERE IS A "NO TRASH POLICY" IN EFFECT AT MCPHERSON VALLEY WETLANDS.  PLEASE CARRY OUT WHATEVER YOU CARRY IN, INCLUDING EMPTY HULLS AND OTHER TRASH.  PLEASE TRY TO LEAVE YOUR HUNTING SPOT AS CLEAN OR CLEANER THAN IT WAS WHEN YOU ARRIVED.  THANKS!!!

REFUGE AREAS:   THE SOUTH REFUGE AREA IN THE BIG BASIN IS OFF-LIMITS TO ALL ACTIVITIES, AND THIS INCLUDES DUCK HUNTING.  THERE IS NO HUNTING OR PUBLIC ACCESS OF ANY KIND ALLOWED IN THE REFUGE!!

The Little Sinkhole/Farland Lake marsh unit is included in the EARLY low-plains duck zone (as is the rest of MPWL).

All shotgun hunters at McPherson Wetlands are required to use non-toxic shot for all hunting. This includes upland birds.