A new year brings with it new opportunities to get out and enjoy the Kansas outdoors. Extended deer firearms season begins statewide January 1, 2017 offering the opportunity to harvest antlerless whitetail deer and to use any unfilled deer tags from the regular 2016 firearms season. These season dates change from year to year according to deer populations in each deer management unit. Check the website www.ksoutdoors.com to be certain of your deer management unit; this year the schedule is as follows:
January 1-2, 2017 – units 6, 8, 9, 10, 16, 17
January 1-8, 2017 – units 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14
January 1-15, 2017 – units 10A, 15, 19
Remember this season allows taking of only whitetail antlerless deer, (and you must possess a new 2017 resident hunting license.)
A new year also brings with it the requirement for new 2017 licenses and permits. Resident general hunting licenses, fishing licenses and fur harvesting permits must all be renewed in order to use them in 2017. Remember that if you have turned 65, you are now eligible to purchase a lifetime combination hunting/fishing license for $42.50, a great deal for sure. The Kansas State Parks Passport purchased at your county treasurer’s office when you renew your vehicle tags is good until time to renew your tags again. All other state park passes and camping permits expire December 31 and must also be renewed to use them in January 2017.
We might tend to forget about upland bird hunting once deer season has come and gone and the weather gets cold and snowy, but some of the best pheasant and quail hunting of the season can still be had now. For starters, you may just have the fields to yourselves as the crowds of hunters will generally be gone after the second weekend of the season, leaving only dedicated bird hunters afield. This can prove especially beneficial on public and walk-in-hunting land that is sometimes covered with hunters at the beginning of season. It seems like it’s also easier to get permission to hunt private land this time of the year as landowners also know any hunters out now will probably be serious hunters and more dependable. Landowners may also be more apt to grant hunting permission this time of the year because hunting parties will most likely number only 2 or 3 and not a dozen guys piling out of pickups.
Cold snowy weather often causes birds to hole-up in thick cover, making them a challenge to flush without a dog, but making their whereabouts fairly predictable. Cool temps and the moisture from a little snow also helps dog’s noses find more birds. The pheasants and quail found this time of year will be more skittish though, so more stealth and strategy will be needed in pursuing them. After all, they didn’t survive until now by being stupid or impulsive.
Ice fishing also heats up this time of year, especially this year with the recent extreme cold snap resulting in good ice. I have not ice fished for a few years now and feel like I’m kinda’ out of the loop concerning what baits work well, so my advice to you is to find a friend who’s an avid ice fisherman and ask them to take you along. They will be more likely to offer advice when you actually accompany them onto the ice than if you just pump them for information. What I can tell you about ice fishing is to BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN the ice is thick enough and solid enough before you venture out,(possibly even consider wearing a life jacket) and that fish caught from the cold water beneath the ice are the best tasting fish on earth.
By the time you read this, Christmas 2016 will be in the history books and New Years will be knocking at the door. I’m not big on new year’s resolutions, but this coming year, why not resolve to spend more time in the outdoors and take a kid along as you Explore Kansas Outdoors!
Steve can be contacted by email at [email protected]