Mid-creek musings: Outcry over Kansas’ new coyote regulations a bit overblown
Mid-creek musings as I try to figure out who will win the Kansas Bass Fishing High School Team of the Year honors next week.
• It's been an incredible and unusual fishing season for the high schoolers and youths across the state and I feel blessed to be able to cover them. Best of luck to everyone as the state tournament approaches next month and congrats to everyone who made the all-state team.
• The big news last week was that the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission passed a new regulation allowing the use of artificial lights, as well as night-vision optics and thermal imaging, to hunt coyotes at night in Kansas.
• The move was highly contentious, with some speaking very much in favor of the move and others staunchly opposing it.
• Imagine that, people disagreeing on something in 2020. I’m just glad folks were, mostly, civil about it.
• I certainly understand both points of view, though. Ranchers want to prevent coyotes from attacking their livestock, while those against the move are worried it will lead to poaching and other safety issues within the state.
• For what it's worth, I think the fears of people flooding into our state to poach deer at night because all of a sudden this equipment is fair to use for coyotes are a bit unsubstantiated. KDWPT biologist Matt Peek had a pretty solid presentation about the safety of the technology in being able to see your shooting path, as well.
• Night-time coyote hunting already is a staple in Kansas, and I don't think adding some high-tech gear to the mix is going to change much. If anything, it should make the sport safer because you can better see what you’re shooting at.
• At the end of the day, the people who are poaching deer at night would probably be using lights or other equipment anyways, regardless of if it's legal for other species. Game wardens are smart enough to know the difference and will sniff out any poachers who might use that as an excuse.
• I do like the idea that was floated from a member of the public during the meeting, however, that those who are hunting coyotes at night let the game wardens in their area know ahead of time where they will be hunting that night. Saves the KDWPT time and resources from having to go check on every report of a gunshot at nighttime out in the country.
• These days here in Topeka, we're just kind of used to hearing gunshots at night, unfortunately. I’m guessing they’re not coyote hunting in town, though.
• I've long joked that our official city pastime should be a game I call "Gunshot or Fireworks?"
• In happier news, I'm hearing word that the Pomona Marina is under new management and that there will be a customer appreciation day on Sept. 5. Be sure to stop by and check it out if you're in the Vassar area!
• Dusty had surgery earlier this month and she has been reportedly recovering at home. Happy to hear that things went well!
• For those in the Hays area, the 20th annual Hays Bass Anglers Association Big Bass Challenge is coming up Sept. 12 at Wilson Reservoir. Check-in is at 5 a.m., and entry is $130 per two-person boat prior to Sept. 6 ($150 after).
• You can sign up for the event at https://www.haysbass.com/.
• Also, a hearty congrats to Brock Wadkins, of Ottawa, for winning the Bassmaster Big Bass Zone Junior State Championship. He now qualifies for the national championship event Oct. 2-3 on Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho.
• Topekan Parker Still, a member of the C-J's first Kansas High School All-State Bass Fishing Team, took fifth at that event in 2019.
• Let’s see if you can do even better, Brock!