The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) manages more than 400,000 acres for public hunting. That’s a relatively small number when compared to what’s available in surrounding states, so KDWPT Public Lands staff are dedicated to making what we have the best it can be. One tool staff use to guide management practices and improve hunter satisfaction is data collection through Daily Hunt Permits. In the past, select wildlife areas required hunters to fill out a card when they arrived to an area and keep a portion of that card with them while hunting. At the end of the outing, hunters then completed a survey, marking what they were hunting, what they harvested, and their overall satisfaction with the experience before placing the remaining portion of the card in a lock box.
The data collected gave managers an accurate view of hunting pressure, preferred game species and harvest. On some areas, this data was much different than managers’ assumptions and allowed them to change management goals to better serve hunters. However, collecting paper cards was labor intensive, requiring as much as a day or more per week and many miles of travel. Then the data had to be entered into a database by hand before it could be analyzed, which often took months.
To make the data collection process more efficient and make data available more quickly, Public Lands staff implemented the electronic iSporstman Daily Hunt Permit system on several wildlife areas in 2014. Thirty wildlife areas now require iSportsman Daily Hunt Permits. Those areas are listed on Page 39 of the 2017 Kansas Hunting & Furharvesting Regulations Summary, available wherever licenses are sold.
To use the iSportsman system, first register for an account at kdwpt.isportsman.net or call (620) 672-5911. Once a permit and PIN number has been issued, you can “check in” and check out” from a smartphone, computer or by calling 1-844-500-0825 each time you hunt on an iSportsman-designated wildlife areas. It’s easy and convenient because you can check in the night before a hunt and check out at any time the day of your hunt. No more standing in the cold at a wildlife area kiosk at dark, filling out a dank paper card with a dull pencil.
As easy and convenient as iSportsman is for hunters, it’s even more efficient for wildlife area managers. Staff no longer have to visit each kiosk lock box to get the paper cards every week, and the data is entered into the database automatically, providing managers with real-time information. If you hunt public lands and haven’t registered with iSportsman, do it today.