WIHA Area Rules
The Walk-In Hunting Area (WIHA) program is an expansion of a pilot project started in 1995. The Department of Wildlife and Parks leases private land and opens it to public hunting. A survey of both landowners and users of the WIHA tracts the first year found great acceptance by both groups. Much of the success of the program the first year was due to the responsible behavior of hunters.
The WIHA program promises every hunter who purchases a Kansas hunting license the opportunity to enjoy the state's diverse wildlife resources. Common sense and ethical behavior will ensure that the program may be expanded for all to enjoy in the future.
The following guidelines will assist sportsmen in using WIHA tracts:
- Obey the safety zone concept. Allow a buffer around livestock and buildings. Be sure of your target, as other hunters may be using the area and will likely be in camouflage.
- If the WIHA property is bordered by a hedgerow or creek, hunt only on the side which is on the WIHA tract. Do not walk, hunt, or park on adjacent property. Hunting on the wrong side of the WIHA property boundary is a trespass violation and jeopardizes the future of the program.
- Do not damage standing crops.
- Obey all Kansas hunting rules and regulations and respect the rights of the landowners and others using the area. Treat the land as if it were your own and act responsibly. Your behavior will decide the future of these areas.
- Take all your trash with you when you leave. If someone using the area before you left trash, remove it also.
- WIHA tracts are for walk-in traffic only. Do not open gates or enter properties with vehicles. Park along the road or in areas designated as parking areas. Do not block access to fields, or along county roads. Landowners are working fields with big equipment so please allow them to pass. Avoid stretching fences when crossing them.
- Department leases for Walk-In Hunting Areas are for hunting only. Other activities are prohibited, unless specifically allowed by the property owner. Do not enter abandoned or maintained buildings.
- Do not attempt to contact cooperating landowners for the purpose of hunting on other portions of their land. Enrollment of land in the WIHA program may have been done to reduce the landowner's direct contact with hunters.
- Spring Turkey Walk-In Hunting Areas are accessible April 1 through May 31. The spring turkey season is April 12 through May 31.
- The following public land regulations are enforced on Walk-In Hunting Area (WIHA) properties: no target practice, no trapping (unless specifically allowed by property owner: KAR 115-8-1), no baiting (KAR 115-8-1), no commercial or noncommercial hunting dog training (KAR 115-8-4), no discharge of fully automatic rifles or fully automatic handguns (KAR 115-8-5), no camping (KAR 115-8-9), no horseback riding (KAR 115-8-11), no stocking or releasing of wildlife (KAR 115-8-12), no operation of vehicles (KAR 115-8-13), no discharge of fireworks (KAR 115-8-14), no fires (KAR 115-8-15), no littering (KAR 115-8-18), no cereal malt beverage or alcoholic liquor (KAR 115-8-19), no destructive acts, including digging, destruction or removal of signs or vegetation (KAR 115-8-20).
- Do not leave game remains in parking areas, roads, or roadside ditches. (Complete Regulations can be seen HERE)
- Report violations to Natural Resource officer. Resource officer contact information is listed by county under County Information.
On occasion, sites enrolled in the program are removed at the landowner's request or due to poor habitat conditions. Make sure the land you are entering is posted with Walk-In Hunting Area signs, like the one illustrated in this atlas. Areas that don't have the WIHA signs are not open.
If you arrive at a Walk-In Hunting Area and find that it has been cultivated or is planted to a crop such as winter wheat, don't be too concerned. Most likely these areas have essentially been donated to the program for the purpose of rounding out an area to make it easier to place the signs or gain access.
Funding for Walk-In Hunting Access has been provided by a combination of hunting license fees and Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration funds. This is a fairly new concept. Let us know what you think.
WIHA contracts were written some time before the season started. On rare occasions the environmental conditions may reduce the habitat value of any given area. When the contracts were signed, these areas exhibited good habitat.