You read below for a few more details.
- Mike Oldham, refuge manager, said a total of 45-50 people attended their three public meetings in Stafford, Wichita and Great Bend last week.
-Ron Klataske, Audubon of Kansas director, commented in Wichita that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife staff promoting the meetings didn’t do an adequate job of notifying the public. I also expressed concern that The Wichita Eagle didn’t appear to have been notified. Fish and Wildlife personel at Wichita’s gathering said they followed normal procedures.
- After the three meetings, Oldham indicated he’d heard only from hunters more interested in keeping the North Lake region open to public hunting, than keeping other portions of the refuge open for hunting when whooping cranes are present. Under a current proposal, the refuge could remove the North Lake area from places open to public hunting.
As a trade, some areas previously closed to public hunting could be opened, thus allowing hunting when whoopers are present because they’re seldom in the proposed new areas. Oldham said the wetlands habitat within those units has been improved recently.
Several years ago, sportsmen at early planning meetings expressed a desire to keep the refuge open to hunting when whooping cranes are present. Since, U.S. Fish and Wildlife planners have been working to implement a plan for such desires.
- Oldham said federal regulations limit how much of Quivira can be opened to public hunting at about 40 percent.
My personal perspective -
- It appears that Oldham and other Fish and Wildlife staff members are indeed trying to include public desires into the 15 year management plan, though the good of the wildlife on the 22,000 acre refuge will come first…as it should be.
- Because of the small turnout at the meetings, it appears that a vocal minority may have the opportunity to help set the refuge’s future.
- It’s good to see consideration be given to the wildlife viewing quality at Quivira. In my opinion, it’s the top viewing/wildlife photography destination in Kansas, by far. On a good November afternoon I can shoot 300-700 frames of deer, wild turkeys, ducks, geese, sandhill cranes and, if I’m fortunate, whooping cranes.