Kansas Wildlife Board Addressing Increased ‘Pressure’ Due to Out-of-State Hunters

by Jon D. B.

Kansas hunters are amidst solving a new issue: increasing “pressure” from out-of-state hunters in their public hunting areas.

On January 14, The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission quickly found a common thread amidst public discussion. Hunters in the state are noticing a “concerning” influx of out-of-state hunters in their public hunting areas – specifically those used for waterfowl hunting.

Kansas hunter Nicholas Boehm was first to broach the subject. Boehm offered up his own concerns over the recent crowding of his state’s limited public hunting sites.

“This year in particular, myself and friends who hunt public lands for waterfowl across the state have noticed a great increase in hunting pressure on public areas, a lot of it coming from out-of-state hunters based on, of course anecdotally, license plates and just conversations at boat ramps,” Boehm tells his peers. “I feel, at least, the volume of hunters, especially nonresidents during the week, has reduced the hunting quality substantially.”

After his statement, other public commenters were quick to echo. Soon, the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission knew a real issue was at hand.

Opinions Clash over Kansas Hunting’s “Overcrowding”

Boehm didn’t come with just complaints, however. The Kansas hunter wishes to solve the problem for himself and his peers, not just call attention to it. As such, “Boehm suggested increasing the cost of the state waterfowl stamp for residents by $20, as well as implementing a nonresident stamp or permit that is at least $50,” The Topeka Capital Journal reports. Moreover, he suggests “those funds go toward creating or acquiring new public waterfowl habitat.”

For Boehm, his concern stems into Kansas hunting guides who take large tours out daily during the season. “Twelve hunters every day from October through March,” he says, is a lot for locals to compete with.

“The impact on the resource that a guide has is not necessarily equitable to the take, so to speak,” Boehm adds. 

Following public comment from Boehm and his peers, Assistant Secretary for Wildlife, Fishing and Boating Mike Miller took the floor. Attempting to shed light on the situation, Miller states that “one of the reasons the state believes more out-of-state waterfowl hunters are showing up in Kansas’ public areas is because of Canada’s border shutting down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.” As a result, many waterfowlers who typically seek out hunting in Canada are instead sticking closer to home. And considering Kansas’ excellent waterfowl hunting conditions of the past year, it’s become a prime candidate.

For Miller, however, the issue is “a relative thing,” which may not sit well with Kansas hunters like Boehm. While Miller says the state will be looking more into the issue, he also notes that “seven or eight boat trailers in a parking lot is heavy pressure” for some, “while others would think nothing of it.”

“There is no question that the public is fired up…”

“There is no question that the public is fired up over nonresident deer hunters and nonresident duck hunters,” responds Commission Chairman Gerald Lauber, of Topeka. “I think it’s probably more than just an isolated issue. I’m not sure I know how to fix it, but I think it’s a real problem, and I think that’s why we’re getting so many emails and phone calls and comments, because I think it is a legitimate issue.”

Another state official, Commissioner Troy Sporer, of Oakley, “was also concerned about the perceived influx of out-of-state waterfowl hunters in Kansas.” His suggestion? Dropping the limit on Canada geese from six birds to three. Moreover, he says raising out-of-state hunter fees may deter large swaths. Limiting season dates, too, was broached.

But Secretary Brad Loveless isn’t sure any of this is a good idea. To Loveless, all of these changes spell a mass decrease in revenue for local communities who rely heavily on revenue from out-of-state hunters. In addition, Loveless points to the majority of Kansas’ waterfowl being temporary residents – as most migrate across the country throughout the seasons.

“If members of the Legislature were listening in on the meeting, those are the questions that they would be asking of the commission,” CJonline adds of Loveless.

Kansas Hunters’ Big Game Seasons Proposed for 2021 & 2022:

In addition, the meeting served as an opportunity for commissioners to propose big game hunting seasons for 2021-22.

For Kansas hunters looking for approval of these dates, each will be voted on during the commission’s June meeting. During, deer hunting seasons on military bases will be approved, as well.

Proposed dates for big game hunting in Kansas are:

  • Antelope — Archery: Sept. 18-26 and Oct. 9-31; Muzzleloader: Sept. 7-Oct. 4; Firearm: Oct. 1-4
  • Deer — Youth/Disability: Sept. 4-12; Early Muzzleloader: Sept. 13-26; Archery: Sept. 13-Dec. 31; Pre-Rut Whitetail Antlerless-Only: Oct. 9-11; Regular Firearm: Dec. 1-12; Extended Whitetail Antlerless Only: Jan. 1-9, Jan. 1-16, Jan. 23; Extended Archery (DMU 19): Jan. 24-31
  • Elk (Fort Riley) — Archery: Sept. 1-30; Muzzleloader: Sept. 1-30; Firearm: First segment, Oct. 1-31; second segment, Nov. 1-30; third segment, Dec. 1-31
  • Elk (outside Fort Riley) — Muzzleloader: Sept. 1-30; Archery: Sept. 13-Dec. 31; Firearm: first segment, Aug. 1-31; second segment, Dec. 1-12; third segment, Jan. 1-March 15, 2022.

For all the latest in hunting headlines, your fellow Outsiders will always have you covered. Up next for our Kansas hunters:

[Source: The Topeka Capital Journal]