Four approved bills enact a variety of outdoor recreation changes
TOPEKA -- The 2007 Kansas Legislature and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius have approved several new laws affecting the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and outdoor recreation in the state. Following are summaries of the bills approved in this year’s legislative session.

House Bill 2046
This legislation officially applies the name “Kaw River State Park” to the newest addition to the Kansas state park system. The bill was sponsored by legislators from Shawnee County, where the park is located. Gov. Sebelius signed the bill April 9.

Senate Bill 192
This bill, signed by Gov. Sebelius April 18, enacts several changes, including the following:

  • permits a person who is 16 or older to obtain a one-time deferral of hunter education completion. Individuals will be able to purchase an apprentice hunting license to obtain the deferral and must be accompanied by a licensed adult 18 or older while hunting. The deferral will be valid through the end of the license year in which the apprentice license is purchased;
  • removes the requirement that bowhunters under 14 complete a bowhunter education course prior to obtaining a big game permit;
  • authorizes the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission to annually issue as many as 10 youth “Hunt of a Lifetime” deer permits. The permits are designated for youth younger than 21 who are handicapped or experiencing life threatening illnesses; and
  • modifies requirements in state law relating to the seven-member Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission. The new law requires that at least one member of the commission come from each of the department’s five administrative regions.

Senate Bill 188
This legislation allows holders of game breeder permits to recapture any game bird that has escaped from confinement if the escaped bird is one the breeder is permitted to raise and sell. The bill also increases the minimum values of certain wildlife used in determining whether illegal commercial acts were committed and whether the illegal acts constitute felony crimes. The bill was signed by Gov. Sebelius April 18.

House Bill 2437
This legislation, signed April 16 by Gov. Sebelius, enacts a broad range of changes regarding issuance of deer permits. The changes will take effect in 2008. Among the changes incorporated are the following:

  • allows issuance of resident whitetail either-sex permits that are valid statewide during any season with equipment legal for that season;
  • makes resident Either Species, Either Sex Archery permits valid statewide;
  • eliminates transferable nonresident permits;
  • establishes a half-price fee for big game or turkey permits for residents younger than 16;
  • authorizes issuance of special Hunt-Own-Land deer permits to a landowner’s or tenant’s siblings and lineal ascendants or descendants and their spouses, regardless of residence;
  • establishes a formula for determining the total number of nonresident deer permits issued annually, based on demand, as well as biological adjustment factors;
  • restricts nonresident deer hunters to two adjacent deer management units;
  • requires nonresident hunters to select one season (archery, muzzleloader, or firearms) at the time of application; and
  • allows nonresident hunters applying for whitetail either-sex archery or muzzleloader permits in designated units to also apply for one of a limited number of mule deer stamps (if successful in both drawings, the applicant would be issued a permit that allows the take of either a whitetail deer or a mule deer in that unit).