Kansas duck hunters don’t have long to wait before seasons open. The early teal season runs Sept. 15-23 in the High Plains (west of U.S. 283) and Sept. 8-23 in the Low Plains (east of U.S. 283), and there should be plenty of birds migrating through Kansas. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates green-winged and blue-winged teal numbers at 3.5 million and 9.2 million, respectively, 20 percent and 3 percent above 2011 numbers. Both species continue to remain well above long-term averages by 74 percent and 94 percent, respectively.
Although drought throughout much of the state has left many prime waterfowl marshes dry, Jamestown Wildlife Area, in northcentral Kansas, reports that timely rains throughout the summer have provided water for hunting as well as excellent habitat conditions. Managers are expecting an increased number of hunters for the teal opener.
Although traditional hotspot Cheyenne Bottoms, near Great Bend, is currently dry, nearby Quivira National Wildlife Refuge reports that 5 inches of rain fell throughout the refuge in late August. This brought water into most areas within the hunting zones.
If the state gets more rain soon, conditions at any of the state’s waterfowl management areas could turn around overnight, and many private waters could hold ducks for the teal opener.
For weekly updates on public waterfowl management areas, visit the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) website, www.ksoutdoors.com, and click “Hunting/Migratory Birds/ Waterfowl Reports.” KDWPT biologists begin updating these reports in early September. Phoning the nearest KDWPT office may be the best way to decide where to hunt. These numbers may be found on the website under “KDWPT Info/Locations.”
Duck season dates and zones for the regular seasons include the following:
- High Plains Zone — Sept. 29-30;
- Low Plains Early Zone — Sept. 29-30;
- Low Plains Late Zone — Oct. 20-21; and
- Low Plains Southeast Zone — Nov. 3-4.
Regular Duck Seasons
- High Plains Zone — Oct. 6-Dec. 30 and Jan. 19-27, 2013;
- Low Plains Early Zone — Oct.6-Dec.2 and Dec. 15-30;
- Low Plains Late Zone — Oct. 27- Dec. 30 and Jan. 19-27, 2013;
- Low Plains Southeast Zone — Nov. 15-Jan. 27, 2013.
During youth seasons, hunters 15 and younger may take ducks, geese, coots, and mergansers while hunting under the supervision of an adult 18 years or older. The adult may not hunt.
In both youth and regular seasons, six ducks is the daily bag limit, which may include no more than five mallards (only two of which may be hens), one canvasback, two redheads, two pintails, or three wood ducks. The daily bag may comprise six of any other duck, such as six teal, six gadwall, or six wigeon.
The 2011 goose seasons are as follow:
- Canada and Brant — Oct. 27-Nov. 4 and Nov. 7-Feb. 10, 2013, daily bag limit three, possession limit six;
- white-fronted — Oct. 27-Dec. 30 and Feb. 2-10, 2013, daily bag limit two, possession limit four; and
- light (Ross’, snow, blue) — Oct. 27-Nov. 4, and Nov. 7-Feb. 10, 2013, daily bag limit 20, no possession limit.
By special conservation order, light geese may also be taken from Feb. 11-April 30, 2013. During this period, there will be no bag or possession limit on light geese. In addition, participants will be allowed to use unplugged shotguns and electronic calls and take light geese from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset during this conservation order.
For a detailed map of the duck boundaries, as well as other duck and goose regulations, pick up a copy of the 2012 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary, available in early September at all KDWPT offices and most license vendors, or download the booklet now from the KDWPT website. Click “Hunting,” then “Hunting Regulations.”
Image courtesy Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism