By MIKE CORN
TOPEKA -- Proposed changes in where Cedar Bluff Reservoir falls in the mashup of waterfowl zones might mean an extra 23 days of duck hunting.
The changes will first have to be approved by the Central Flyway Council and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
How the proposal will fare is uncertain, according to Faye McNew, the waterfowl biologist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, due to recent personnel changes at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
FWS has the final say on the change; a decision should be made by sometime in June.
What's being proposed is shifting a patch of land that includes Cedar Bluff from the Low Plains zone over into the High Plains zone.
That would effectively give hunters an extra 23 days to go after ducks, most notably mallards.
McNew said the early zone season closes just as the peak of the mallard migration hits the Cedar Bluff area.
"I have a constituent who is very happy about the change in Cedar Bluff," said Debra Bolton, a Garden City member of the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission. McNew reported on the change last week.
Currently, the High Plains zone covers everything west of U.S. Highway 283.
The proposal would have that region jog to the east on Interstate 70, down Kansas Highway 147 on the east side of Cedar Bluff and then back to U.S. 283 via Kansas Highway 4.
"It's just a little 6-mile jog around the area," she said.
The split was made based on research dealing with migration on either side of the 100th Meridian, close to the U.S. 283 dividing line.
"So they may not want any changes to the scientific lines," McNew cautioned.
The Cedar Bluff change is among several being suggested, including changes in where the McPherson wetlands would fit and a new zone in the southeast part of the state.
All the changes should be acted on by June.