Thursday, June 25, 2020

KDWPT Considers Closing Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area Due To Safety Concerns

PRATT – Concerns over high numbers of visitors, illegal activities, and complaints from area residents have staff from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) Public Lands Division considering a temporary closure of Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area. The 59-acre area – which sits on Deep Creek just seven miles southeast of Manhattan – was donated to KDWPT in 1967. For more than 50 years, the area has provided day-use visitors with public access to one of the most scenic areas in the northern Flint Hills region, complete with a natural low-water crossing and waterfall. However, in recent years, the wildlife area has become a hot spot for activities not permitted on the premises, including alcohol consumption, off-road vehicle use, trespassing and other public disturbance-related issues. The recent uptick in visitation has also led to traffic congestion and overflow parking issues, which impact local traffic and first responders’ ability to quickly access the area in an emergency.

“This is a scenic area that was intended to be a peaceful spot for families to enjoy, but crowds are getting larger and alcohol-related issues are becoming common occurrences,” KDWPT Public Lands Division director Stuart Schrag said. “While our law enforcement staff continue to manage the area to the best of their abilities, Pillsbury Crossing may very well be closed if visitors continue to disregard posted notices and area regulations.”

Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. During normal stream flow, the area creek makes for a scenic half-mile float by canoe or kayak. Birdwatching, hiking, and fishing are also popular activities allowed on the area.

“We want everyone to enjoy Kansas’ public lands,” Schrag added, “But we’ll never place access over safety. We need area visitors to follow the public lands regulations in place and think twice before they engage in activities not permitted on the area. If we can’t get compliance, we’ll be forced to temporarily close off access.”

Activities not permitted at Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area that have led to staff and public concerns include:
-The consumption of alcohol and cereal malt beverages
-Accessing the area between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
-Operating vehicles outside of maintained roads

To view a complete list of regulations for KDWPT-managed lands and waters, visit

For more information on Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area, see

Friday, June 12, 2020

KDWPT Considers Allowing Lights, Night Optics for Hunting Coyotes

PRATT – Though Kansas coyote hunters can already hunt at night year-round without the aid of lights, a new proposal will be discussed at the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Commission’s June 25 virtual meeting that would allow the use of lights, night vision, and thermal imaging to hunt coyotes. Parties interested in commenting on this proposal may do so by participating in the meeting through Zoom (details here: or emailing Commissioners directly (contact information here:

“Most other Midwest states allow this activity in some form with apparently no more legal or safety issues than other types of hunting,” said KDWPT furbearer biologist Matt Peek, ”And pressure from hunters, and in some cases livestock producers, for us to allow this has really grown in recent years.” 

In response to requests from the public, Commissioners asked the department to develop recommendations for future consideration. KDWPT’s proposal – which will likely be voted on at the Commission’s August meeting – includes the following options:  

Allowing the use of artificial lights, night vision and thermal imaging equipment for hunting coyotes only, not furbearers like bobcats and fox.
  • Season dates for use of this equipment would be Jan. 1 – March 31. 
  • Use of this equipment would not be allowed from a vehicle. 
  • Use of this equipment would be prohibited on department lands and waters, including Walk-In Hunting Area (WIHA) properties.
  • And, a $2.50 permit would be required initially so that the department may learn more about demand and frequency of use.
For a complete June 25 meeting agenda – including specific instructions on how to participate virtually – visit

Monday, June 1, 2020

New Fisheries Program Logo Designed by El Dorado Resident

PRATT – Jarrett Deen of El Dorado was recently recognized by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s Fisheries Division for his artistic talents. Out of 94 qualifying entries, Deen’s design was selected as the winner of KDWPT’s Walk-In Fishing Access (WIFA) logo contest, earning him $2,500 and statewide display of his work later this year.

“After four hours of reviewing entries, the Fisheries Access Committee chose Jarrett’s logo to represent the newly-renamed Walk-In Fishing Access (WIFA) program,” Ely Sprenkle, KDWPT fisheries biologist and committee chair, said. “We had many great entries and it was difficult to narrow the logo down to one. Ultimately, we decided Jarrett’s logo best depicted the program and our branding goals.”

WIFA, formerly known as KDWPT’s Fishing Impoundments and Stream Habitats (FISH) program, was introduced in 1998. It was modeled after KDWPT’s highly successful Walk-In Hunting Access (WIHA) program, with the goal of increasing public fishing opportunities in Kansas.

In early 2019, Fisheries Division staff made the decision to rebrand the program in an effort to increase angler awareness and participation, as well as expand the total number of properties enrolled.

Thanks to fishing access programs like WIFA, Kansas anglers are able to enjoy nearly 57 miles of streams, 1,850 acres of private ponds and lakes, and eight river access sites that lead to public fishing that may not have been available otherwise.

For more information on fishing in Kansas, and to buy a license, visit

Monday, August 15, 2016

Commission To Discuss 2017 Turkey Hunting Regulations

PRATT – The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission will conduct a public meeting in Clay Center at Life’s Finer Moments, 1285 16th Road, on August 11, 2016. The afternoon session will begin at 1 p.m. and recess at 5 p.m. The evening session will convene at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend both sessions and time is set aside for public comment at the beginning of each for discussion of non-agenda items.
The afternoon session will begin with Secretary Robin Jennison’s report on the agency and state fiscal status and an update on pertinent 2016 legislative actions. The General Discussion portion of the meeting will include a review of big game regulations, a Tourism Division update, discussion on the Flint Hills Nature Trail Project, and an update on Ducks Unlimited wetlands projects in the state.
The evening portion of the meeting will convene at 6:30 p.m. for the Workshop Session where topics include 2017 turkey regulations, park regulations, fishing regulations, and regulations pertaining to threatened and endangered species will be discussed.
If necessary, the commission will reconvene at the same location at 9 a.m., August 12, to complete any unfinished business. Information about the Commission, as well as the August 11 meeting agenda and Briefing Book, can be downloaded at
Live video and audio streaming of the August 11 meeting will be available at If notified in advance, the department will have an interpreter available for the hearing impaired. To request an interpreter, call 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 Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission secretary at(620) 672-5911.
The next Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commission meeting is scheduled for October 20, 2016, in Liberal.

Register for Mentored Dove Hunt On Clinton Wildlife Area

PRATT – The Jayhawk Chapter of the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation (QUWF) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) invite youth age 16 and younger to register for the 9th Annual Youth Dove Hunt. The Sept. 1 opening-day hunt will take place at Clinton Wildlife Area west of Lawrence and will begin at 3 p.m. Mentors will accompany all participants, but non-hunting family members are encouraged to attend, as well.
Non-toxic shells, and eye and ear protection will be provided to participants, who are encouraged to dress in camouflage or dark-colored clothing. Shotguns may be provided upon request.
Participants age 16 must have a Kansas hunting license, unless exempt by Kansas law, and a Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit. For more information, visit and click “Services / Education / Hunter.”
For more details and to register, contact Dr. John Hill at (785) 841-9555 or (785) 550-5657, or by e-mail at
The 2016 hunting season for mourning, white-winged and exotic doves (Eurasian collared and ringed turtle) is Sept. 1-Nov. 29. The season for exotic doves only is Nov. 30, 2016 - Feb. 28, 2017 for the exotic dove season. For information regarding migratory bird hunting regulations, license and stamp requirements, legal methods of take, non-toxic shot and more, visit and click “Hunting,” “Hunting Regulations,” then “Migratory Birds.”

Youth Outdoor Festival In Hays August 20

ELLIS – If you’re interested in introducing your child to the world of shooting sports, hunting, fishing and other outdoor-related activities, mark your calendar for Saturday, August 20. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Hays area businesses, conservation groups and shooting sports groups will offer a free day of target shooting and outdoor activities for youth 17 and younger at the 19th Annual Youth Outdoor Festival. The event will be conducted at the Hays City Sportsman’s Club, ¼ mile north of I-70 Exit 157.
Youth will learn about and experience trap and skeet shooting, archery equipment, air rifles and BB guns, muzzleloaders, small-bore rifles, and more. There will also be a casting competition, paintball target shooting, and a furharvesting demonstration.
Youth will be closely supervised at each station by expert volunteer instructors, and all equipment will be supplied. Hunter education certification is not required, but youth must be accompanied by an adult. Registration for the event can be completed onsite prior to participation. Lunch will be provided, and youth will have a chance to win prizes, including guns, fishing tackle and other outdoor equipment.
For more information, contact Kent Hensley at (785) 726-3212 or Troy Mattheyer at (785) 726-4212.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Become A Certified Fishing Instructor In Salina

SALINA – The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) and Fishing's Future will host an Angler Education Instructor Certification Course on Saturday, August 20. Class starts at 9 a.m. and concludes at 12 p.m. at the Lakewood Discovery Center, 250 Lakewood Dr., in Salina. It is free to any angler aspiring to teach fishing techniques to youth and families.
All participants are required to go online to and complete the KDWPT Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Certification Course, and bring their ANS certification card with them to class. Students will also be asked to sign a release allowing KDWPT to run a background check to ensure the safety of the children.
Participants will receive valuable information regarding working with children, sample curriculums, and tips for preparing a class or clinic. Other subjects covered in the three-hour class include current fishing regulations, species identification, fishing ethics, equipment, knot tying, casting, fish habitat, aquatic nuisance species, and conservation practices.
Teens between the ages of 12 to 17 may attend and receive a Junior Ambassador card, the youth equivalent certification, upon completion. This requires a permission form to be signed by a parent or legal guardian.
For more information and to register for this class, please visit