Wildlife and Parks to ask commission for later duck, goose seasons

Aug. 21, near Great Bend, biologists will ask the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission that many of the 2014-15 Kansas duck and goose seasons run a bit later than suggested in the past.

Tom Bidrowski, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism waterfowl biologist, said the department’s recommendations are based on migration trends, hunter participation in recent seasons, top duck and goose harvest dates and the results of a recent survey sent out to waterfowl hunters. Opening dates of the late plains late zone, southeast zone duck seasons, and goose seasons could open a week later, and have more January and February days than previous recommendations.

Retrievers may face colder conditions if the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission honors the department's requests for later duck and goose seasons.

Retrievers may face colder conditions if the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission honors the department’s requests for later duck and goose seasons. this fall and winter.

The following dates will be recommended -

Southeast duck zone – Nov. 8-Jan. 4 and Jan. 10-25.

Low plains late zone – Nov. 1-Jan. 4 and Jan. 17-25.

Low plains early zone – Oct. 11-Dec. 7 and Dec. 20-Jan. 4.

Canada and light goose – Nov. 1-Nov. 9 and Nov. 12-Feb. 15.

White-fronted geese – Nov. 1-Dec. 14 and Jan. 17-Feb. 15.

Bidrowski said the way weekends fell on the calendar this year played a role in pushing some seasons to their latest starting dates in decades. Traditionally the low plains late zone opened the last Saturday of October. He felt Oct. 25 possibly could be too early.

“We also did it to appease some of the interests in the later season dates,” Bidrowski said. “and it works very well with overlapping our dates for goose seasons, too.”

The last three years the August commission meetings have been the most continuous of the year because of debate over setting waterfowl seasons, particularly for the southeast duck zone. The past two years Commissioner Don Budd, of Kansas City, has countered with seasons that ran mostly from mid-Nov. through the last weekend in January, and gotten commission approval.

At the upcoming meeting at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, Bidrowski will explain the results from a waterfowl survey sent to about 7,100 Kansas duck and goose hunters earlier this year. While statistically valid, he said the 2,100 responses means the survey had less than a 30 percent response rate.

“We believe we’re seeing some fatigue in our surveys,” he said. “I think some people are just getting tired with the battle of the seasons we seem to have every year.”