Wednesday, November 9, 2011


The Common Pheasant, the most important bird f...Image via Wikipedia
Area set aside to increase young and new hunter participation
GLEN ELDER — After two years, the 1,000-acre Walnut Creek Mentor/Novice Area on Glen Elder Wildlife Area is receiving great reviews from hunters. Many youngsters, as well as a few new adult hunters, have harvested their very first pheasant or deer on the area. Other young hunters have taken advantage of the opportunity to build on their newly acquired outdoor skills and experiences.
The Mentor/ Novice Area is located on the southeast portion of the 12,500-acre Glen Elder Wildlife Area, near Glen Elder Reservoir in Mitchell County. The Walnut Creek area was chosen for this designation because of the wide range of hunting opportunities it provides. Pheasant and deer are found in good numbers, and the area also harbors small game, waterfowl, dove, furbearers, and turkey.
The purpose of the Mentor/Novice Area is to provide a public area for beginning hunters with a good opportunity for success while maintaining overall hunting opportunities on the entire property. “Novice” includes youth age 18 and younger and any person who has not previously purchased a hunting license or permit in any state for the particular game species they wish to pursue. For example, a veteran pheasant hunter can qualify as a novice deer hunter if that individual has never previously purchased a deer permit. Experienced adult hunters are allowed to hunt in this area if they are mentoring at least one youth or novice hunter.
In 2000, participation in Kansas’ first youth pheasant season was high at Glen Elder, with an estimated 78 youth and 74 adult hunters taking advantage of this new opportunity. In succeeding years, adults were not allowed to hunt with the youth, and annual participation dropped to an average of 15 youth. With this in mind, the concept of the Mentor/Novice Area was developed — a place for new hunters to learn and experienced hunters to recruit new hunters during regular seasons.
The Walnut Creek Cove of the lake is a popular duck hunting area. Waterfowl hunting without the Mentor/Novice requirement is still allowed, but hunters are only allowed to hunt and access the shoreline areas by boat. The nearby Walnut Creek boat ramp is open and available for this purpose.
In 2004, the Walnut Creek Area was designated as a survey area with free daily permits required of each hunter. Five years of baseline background data is available and provides a wealth of information on who uses the area, what they harvest, and how they rate their experience. Data collected from the Walnut Creek Area including the Mentor/Novice Area will supply data for a three-year study comparing information from before and after the designation. A decision will then be made to continue, modify, or eliminate the Mentor/ Novice Area based on data evaluation.
For more information on this special opportunity, phone the wildlife area office at 875-545-3345.

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