PRATT – Creating more quality opportunities for youth hunters will be just one of many items discussed by Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commissioners during their Jan. 14, 2021 virtual meeting. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) is considering raising the maximum age to participate in the state’s special youth seasons to 17.
To date, state regulations have allowed hunters age 16 and younger to participate in special youth seasons for deer, turkey and upland birds. Meanwhile, federal regulations previously only permitted hunters age 15 and younger to participate in special youth waterfowl seasons, causing much confusion for the public.
Recently, federal regulations have raised the maximum age limit to participate in youth seasons to 17. In an effort to avoid confusion, create consistency among seasons, and allow more young hunters to benefit from the highly-successful youth seasons, KDWPT will seek to mirror the new age limit established by federal regulation.
Other items of note to be discussed by commissioners during the Jan. 14, 2021 virtual meeting include:
Migratory Bird Seasons
Tom Bidrowski, KDWPT migratory game bird program manager, will present the framework for the 2021-22 waterfowl seasons for ducks and geese. Proposed season dates, limits and management unit boundaries closely resemble Kansas’ 2020-21 waterfowl regulations. This topic will again be discussed during the Commission’s March 25 public meeting, followed by a final vote at the Commission’s April 29 public meeting.
KDWPT migratory game bird coordinator Rich Schultheis will present proposed seasons and regulations for webless migratory birds, which include species like sandhill cranes, doves, snipe and rails.
Upland Game Bird Seasons
KDWPT small game coordinator Kent Fricke and KDWPT small game specialist, Jeff Prendergast, will present updates on pheasant, quail and prairie chicken seasons, as well as proposals for 2021-22 seasons and limits that are expected to follow traditional season framework. Fricke will also share research on the effects of livestock grazing on Conservation Reserve Program grasslands.
State Park Permits Via Kiosks
Linda Lanterman, KDWPT state park director, will discuss the possibility of installing electronic payment kiosks at Kansas’ state parks. State park staff are confident these electronic self-service kiosks could make it easier for state park visitors to purchase assorted vehicle and camping permits at the user’s convenience.
Elk, Antelope Seasons
Proposed season dates and permit allocations for upcoming antelope and elk seasons will be presented by Matt Peek, KDWPT wildlife research biologist.
Levi Jaster, KDWPT big game program coordinator, will propose staff recommendations for Kansas’ 2021-2022 deer seasons, which largely resemble recent seasons.
Landowner and Tenant Deer Permits
Chris Tymeson, chief legal counsel for KDWPT, will give an in-depth explanation of Kansas’ current regulations surrounding landowner and tenant deer permits.
For a complete commission agenda and to view the briefing book, visit https://ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Commission/Meeting-Schedule/January-14-2021.
Commissioners will begin the Jan. 14 meeting at 1:30 p.m., recess at 5 p.m., then reconvene at 6:30 p.m. for a public hearing, during which time items will be voted on. Public input is welcomed during both the afternoon and evening sessions and time is set aside at the beginning of both sessions for comments on items not included on the meeting agenda. For specific instructions on how to participate, visit https://ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Commission/Instructions-to-Participate-in-Virtual-Meeting.
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) 672-5911.
The next KDWPT Commission meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 25, 2021, at Lake Shawnee Reynolds Lodge in Topeka.