Waterfowl slowly filing into Kansas as cold front comes through
Some waterfowl hunters in northeast and south-central Kansas will get their first taste of the season this weekend, while others will need to wait a week.
The youth/veteran/active military duck season in Kansas’ Low Plains Late Zone will take place this weekend, with the first segment of the regular season kicking off on Halloween.
That duck zone contains most of northeast and south-central Kansas, as well as parts of north-central Kansas, including Cedar Bluff, Webster and Kirwin reservoirs.
The regular season is already underway in the High Plains Unit and Low Plains Early Zone, with the Southeast Zone kicking off in November. The Early Zone, which winds through central Kansas, includes the McPherson Wetlands and Cheyenne Bottoms. The High Plains Unit includes everything west of US-283 highway.
Also kicking off on Halloween will be the first segments of goose season, with both dark and light geese able to be hunted Oct. 31 to Nov. 1 and white-fronted geese from Oct. 31 to Jan. 3, 2021. The second segments for light and dark geese kick off just a few days later, Nov. 4, and last until Feb. 14, 2021.
The first segment of the sandhill crane season also kicked off in the West Zone on Oct. 17 and runs until Dec. 13.
Duck and goose migration through Kansas so far has been a bit limited, but a recent cold front has helped push some birds into the state, joining residential birds already in the area.
Perry Reservoir in Jefferson County reported good numbers of gadwall and pintail on Oct. 14, while Clinton Reservoir has a few dozen mallards and wood ducks in the Lawrence area, as well as 250 Canada geese and nearly 1,000 coots, according to Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism reports. McPherson had approximately 450 ducks as of Oct. 15.
Cedar Bluff had a total of about 3,000 total ducks as of Oct. 19, with roughly 400 mallards and 300 widgeon, as well as approximately 400 Canada geese.
Cheyenne Bottoms reported between 12,000 and 17,000 ducks as of Oct. 15, with around 500 geese, mostly white-fronted.
In other state waterfowl news, the Hays chapter of Ducks Unlimited recently changed its annual banquet to a Fun Shoot to accommodate COVID-19 social distancing requirements. The event will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Hays City Sportsmen's Club. Tickets will be $35 for single shooters, $20 for the pre-event dinner gun raffle, $250 for bronze sponsors and $750 for corporate sponsors. Tickets may be purchased online at ducks.org/kansas/events or by calling John Lang at 785-650-1543.
The Hutchinson DU chapter also will have an event from 5:30 to 10 p.m. at Lakeside Event Center in Inman. More info on that event is available in the Outdoor calendar.