Kansas City, KS– The Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission will hold its last public meeting of 2022 on November 17. The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. with an introduction of Commissioners and guests, a review of agenda items, approval of past minutes, and public comment on items not listed on the agenda. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) Secretary Brad Loveless will then provide an agency and state fiscal status update, followed by a General Discussion period (items not yet being voted on) covering:
- Regulation promulgation process. Significant changes in the state’s regulation process have had a major impact on KDWP’s internal procedures and practices. Commissioners will hear about those changes, and ideas for adjustments.
- Review of annual camping permits and procedures. As a result of increased camping occupancy, staff will review the number of permits sold, how they are used, and what changes are necessary to resolve challenges associated with RV campers.
- Colby-Villa High Lake renovation. KDWP provided technical guidance, $78,000 in financial assistance through two Community Fisheries Assistance Program grants, and stocked fish at this newly-renovated waterbody open to the public.
- South Fork Republican River restoration. Commissioners will hear about invasive tree removal work taking place along the South Fork of the Republican River in Cheyenne County.
- Kansas Birding Trail project update. Staff will present information pertaining to the all-new Trail, including the development and implementation of this special initiative.
- Prairie Dog State Park update. Staff will cover recent trends in visitation and associated revenue for Prairie Dog State Park in relation to the reservoir’s water level.
Commissioners will then hear several Workshop Session items, which may be voted on at a future date:
- Antelope seasons, bag limits and permits. Poor production in Kansas, and rangewide, have caused apparent declines in pronghorn populations. As such, KDWP is considering several approaches to reducing hunter harvest.
- Elk seasons, bag limits and permits. During this annual review, staff do not anticipate any changes to season structure, bag limits or permit types.
- Big Game Permanent Regulations, including modifications to proof-of-sex regulations for antlerless deer and elk; Legal equipment and taking methods; Updating firearm management units for deer to reflect recent road name changes; Modifying the big game permanent regulation review cycle for fiscal year 2023; and, the status of either-species antlerless-only deer permits will be covered by KDWP’s big game program coordinator, Levi Jaster.
- Deer hunting dates for the 2023-2024 season.
- Turkey seasons, bag limits, permits and game tags. Staff will discuss a slight adjustment to the description of turkey management Unit 2 and will recommend suspending the fall season statewide, beginning with the 2023 season; Reduced bag limits in Unit 1 and Unit 2 by one bird during the spring season; A 25 percent reduction in permits allocated for non-resident turkey hunters during the spring season through a draw system; Changes to the total number, and distribution, of permits allocated in Unit 4; and, prohibiting the use of Unit 4 permits in adjacent units.
- Big game and wild turkey permit applications. Staff will propose creating an application period in January/February for non-resident turkey hunters to apply for a specific unit in which to be entered for a draw.
- Fish creel limits, size limits, possession limits and open seasons. Staff will propose a change to length and creel limits at individual waters, adding King Lake-Emporia and OJ Watson Park as “Type 1” trout waters and removing Wichita KDOT-East from the trout program.
- Importation and possession of certain wildlife; prohibition, permit requirement, and restrictions. Staff will propose adding Rusty Crayfish to the prohibited species list.
- Fishing, special provisions. Staff will propose adding Lebo City Lake as an Aquatic Nuisance Species designated water due to the occurrence of Zebra Mussels; Adding McPherson State Fishing Lake to the prohibited species list, given that Rusty Crayfish are added to the prohibited species list; and, changing the term “Asian Carp” to “Silver Carp” and “Bighead Carp” to be more descriptive.
- Public Lands reference document annual review. Several revisions will be proposed related to refuge areas, check-in/check-out requirements, electronic daily use permits, and Special Hunts Program eligibility. Complete details can be found HERE.
Staff and Commissioners will recess at 5 p.m. and reconvene at 6:30 p.m. to commence the Public Hearing portion of the meeting, hear public comment on items naot listed on the agenda, and vote on the following:
- Cabin rates. Utility rates, cleaning and upkeep of cabins is requiring an increase in nightly cabin rates.
- Legal equipment, taking method, and general provisions for furbearers and coyotes. Staff propose allowing the use of laser lights when taking furbearers treed with the aid of dogs; Extending the furbearer season through the last day of February; Increasing the season bag limit of otters from 5 to 10; and, increasing the unit bag limit in the Lower Neosho and Marais des Cygnes units to 10, and the Verdigris and Missouri units to 5.
- Updates to regulations related to the commercial harvest, salvage, and sale of freshwater mussels.
The public is welcome and encouraged to participate in the meeting in person at the Colby Event Center, 1200 South Franklin in Colby, or virtually via Zoom. Virtual participants may access login instructions, here https://ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Commission/Instructions-to-Participate-in-Virtual-Meeting or watch live video/audio stream of the meeting, here https://ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Commission/Watch-Meetings-Here.
To download the Nov. 17, 2022, meeting agenda and briefing book, visit https://ksoutdoors.com/KDWP-Info/Commission/Meeting-Schedule/November-17-2022.
An interpreter for the hearing impaired can be requested by calling the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at 1-800-432-0698. Any individual with a disability may request other accommodations by contacting the Commission secretary at (620) 672-0702.