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Print

Later duck season in SE Kansas sparks controversy

September 06, 2012 at 09:45 AM

The Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Kan. (AP) — The state’s decision to start the duck hunting season later in southeast Kansas than in other regions of the state has divided hunters and those whose businesses depend on the season.

Duck hunting season generally starts in October, but some waterfowl arrive in the southeast region of Kansas later, prompting a push from some hunters and businessmen for a later season, The Joplin Globe reported Monday (http://bit.ly/Q2lQfA )

After much discussion and controversy, the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission decided in August to start the season Nov. 15 and close it Jan. 27. The duck hunting season will still start in October in the other hunting regions of the state.

“For several years, we have had requests from folks in southeast Kansas for a later season, mostly from those who hunt mallards,” said Mike Miller, a spokesman for the state wildlife department and editor of Kansas Wildlife & Parks Magazine.

Mallards generally migrate later than early-season waterfowl like teal and gadwall, which don’t respond as well to hunters’ calls.

Roy Carter, whose family has had waterfowl leases along the Neosho River since 1886, supports the later start of the duck hunting season.

“If there’s no ducks, I can’t sell any hunts, and if I can’t sell hunts, the tire shop down the road’s not selling tires, the gas station isn’t selling gas, the state isn’t selling out-of-state stamps,” Carter said. “If our dates aren’t when the ducks are here, there’s no opportunity for the sportsman. And there’s no sense in having a 74-day season if there’s no opportunity for the sportsman.”

Carter’s Big Island Duck Club rarely books hunters before about Nov. 20, so he said it makes sense to push the season back so it ends in January.

“Last year in January, there were still mallards in North Dakota on Devils Lake,” Carter said. “Opening it any earlier than that can waste two or three weeks of a season, because you lose about 21 days if they’re not here yet.”

A survey of about 6,000 hunters indicated that 30 percent wanted the latest possible opening date.

But Tom Correll, a Cherokee County waterfowl hunter, said he wanted to keep the season as it was.

He said he has helped develop a marsh in the Neosho River bottoms east of Chetopa, where farmers have enrolled more than 700 acres in the Wetland Reserve Program. That kind of development has enticed waterfowl to the region and they often don’t go any further south.

“There are more refuges now than there were years ago; we hold a lot more waterfowl in those areas than we used to,” Correll said.

The other hunting seasons will be: High Plains Unit: Oct. 6-Dec. 30 and Jan. 19-27; Low Plains Early Zone: Oct. 6-Dec. 2 and Dec. 15-30; and Low Plains Late Zone: Oct. 27-Dec. 30 and Jan. 19-27.

___

Information from: The Joplin Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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