Elk City Wildlife Area News

AREA NEWS

AUGUST 2019

Elk City Reservoir flooded twice this summer, reaching levels 3.5 ft above emergency spillway levels, increasing the reservoir pool from 4000 acres to over 14,000 acres of water.  Severe impacts occurred to wildlife habitat.

PRAIRIE RESTORATION - Native grassland restoration continues with the use of a skid steer mounted saw to remove trees from existing blocks of native grass. Brush is being piled and stumps treated to prevent re-sprouting. These work areas are scattered across the area and have targeted native grasslands as well as quail habitat areas. Extensive spraying of invasive weeds has occurred on several areas above flood stage water levels.  

DOVE SEASON -  Sunflower fields WERE PLANTED this spring ON ELK CITY WILDLIFE AREA.  Due to extensive flooding, no sunflowers survived and very little agricultural crops are found on the area.  WE WILL NOT HAVE ANY MANAGED DOVE FIELDS ON ELK CITY WA FOR 2019.  Dove harvest from past years has been variable with just over 3400 harvested in 2014, 700 in 2013, 2400 in 2012 and just over 4000 in 2011. Since 2008, over 24,000 dove have been harvested on managed fields.  The only surviving sunflowers is a 15 acre field on Dove Flats WA.

No Lead shot is allowed on dove management hunt areas while posted.  The non-toxic requirement is in response to the concentrated hunting of doves and accumulation of lead in the fields, available to wildlife while feeding.  Non-Toxic shot is required on numerous dove management areas across the state.  SUNFLOWER fields will be available at Mined Land WA and Grand Osage.  Please check the department web site for additional information on managed sunflower hunting opportunities across the state.

A reminder to hunters, the Berentz-Dick Wa (Buffalo Ranch) is open to hunting on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday only.   Mandatory registration before hunting is in effect and I-Sportsman is now available for registration. It will be MANDATORY for use for all hunting.  No paper registration cards are to be used by hunters.  NO SUNFLOWERS SURVIVED EXTENSIVE RAINFALL AND COOL TEMPERATURES ON THE BUFFALO RANCH.

WETLAND MANAGEMENT - The majority of the small wetlands and ponds and shoreline near the reservoir were impacted by the summer flooding.  The larger Widgeon/Simmons wetlands further west up the watershed survived and do have extensive stands of moist soil plants and are already partially filled.  We will continue to capture water as rain allows.  Expect thick cover as we were unable to do any ground preparation and vegetation manipulations this summer due to extensive rainfall and wet conditions.

ROADS:  Several roads on the area were heavily impacted by flooding, primarily siltation and flood debris.  We will be attempting to remove as much of this as possible when drying conditions allow as the water has finally receded.  Please be patient, as some access may be difficult especially during wet conditions.  Drivers are cautioned to avoid driving on wet, silt laden roads, as it is extremely soft and slick.

The Chetopa Creek / Quaker Cemetery Road: This road will be seasonally closed (September to April) The road WILL BE OPEN during duck hunting seasons. Vehicle access will be allowed, when silt and flood debris is removed, during early teal, youth and all of regular duck season, and will be closed immediately following duck season. This is to decrease vehicle disturbance while increasing wildlife utilization and improve hunting opportunities in the Chetopa Creek area for deer and turkey.

DEER HUNTING: Hunters are reminded that changes were made for public land hunters regarding baiting and the use of blinds. No individual may use more than two portable blinds or tree stands on any single department owned or managed property. Portable blinds or decoys shall not be left unattended overnight. Each portable blind or tree stand shall be marked with the users name and address or the users department issued identification number in a visible, legible and weather proof manner.  Stands are to be removed two weeks after season closes.

No person may place or use bait while hunting on department lands. Bait is defined as any grain, fruit, vegetable, nut, hay, salt, sorghum, feed, other food or mineral that is capable of attracting wildlife. Liquid scents and sprays are not considered bait. Hunting is prohibited within 100 yards of any baited site for up to 10 days after removal of the bait. Hunting is allowed over standing crops or food plots found on the area.

Two deer permits are allowed per person on Elk City Reservoir, including the either sex permit and primary antlerless deer permit only. No vehicles are allowed off maintained roadways.  All terrain vehicles are not allowed on department maintained roadways or any of the property.

Elk City WA Deer Hunters should expect very little vegetation and crops on the wildlife area due to the extensive flood damage.  Department staff will attempt to plant food plots across the area starting in August if dry weather allows and after we remove flood debris.  Some agricultural fields will be planted to wheat by our Ag tenants.  Many of our deer have left the wildlife area due to high water and lack of food, and we are attempting to provide food resources to draw them back onto the property as conditions improve.

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