KDWPT wants statewide crossbows, liberalization of deer hunting cartridges

A few details from Thursday’s Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission meeting in El Dorado.

- The agency wants regulation changes to allow all hunters, statewide, to use crossbows through the archery deer seasons.  For many years crossbows have been allowed for those with physical limitations that won’t allow them to shoot a vertical bow. Last year the commission approved letting those 15 and younger,  and 55 and older, use crossbows during the statewide archery season. Legislative mandate also required the agency to start, last year, a two year pilot program to try crossbows for all ages in four deer management units through the archery deer season.

- Lloyd Fox, Wildlife and Parks big game program coordinator, also told commissioners and the public  the agency would like to liberalize regulations so all centerfire rifle and handgun ammunition could be used for legally killing deer in Kansas. Currently, only cartridges of at least .23 caliber, and 1.28 inches or longer     are legal. Fox said the department wants to liberalize crossbows and cartridges to give hunters more choices when going afield.

Both items saw considerable discussion in El Dorado, and probably will again before going to commission vote March 21 in Topeka.

- Tim Donges, of the Bluestem Quality Deer Management Association, again asked the department to consider regulations that would require hunters to keep their rifles in cases when on public roads. He said such a law could greatly reduce the problem of people illegally shooting at deer and coyotes from public roads, especially on to lands where they do not have permission to hunt.

- Commissioners drew the names of conservation or shooting organizations that won one of seven special commissioner big game hunting permits. The permits can now be sold to a hunter, often at inflated prices, to raise money for educational, habitat and hunting projects approved by Wildlife and Parks. This year 86 groups applied for the seven permits, of which no more than one can be for an elk or one for an antelope. Once sold, the permits are valid during any hunting season for the species, as long as the season-specific weapon is used.

Started in 2006, the commission permit program has raised about $265,000. The top was about $23,000 paid for an elk permit the first year.

For more information, including the names and contact information of the winning groups, call Sheila Kemmis at 620-672-0702 or sheila.kemmis@ksoutdoors.com.

More details will be available on Sunday’s Wichita Eagle Outdoors page and at www.kansas.com/outdoors.