January 16, 2014
Public hearing held for wildlife and park regulation changes
WINFIELD – The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission conducted a public hearing in Winfield on Jan. 9 to consider amendments to several wildlife and park regulations. Public hearings are held to discuss and vote on regulation changes after recommendations have been proposed in two previous commission meetings.
In first action, Commissioners listened to recommendations on increases for utility and seasonal camping fees. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) staff recommended camping fee increases to accommodate rising utility rates. Current utility camping fees are $7.50 for one utility, $9.50 for two and $10.50 for three utilities per camping night. The commission approved raising the rates to $9 for one utility, $11 for two and $12 for three utilities per night.
Seasonal camping fees, which are charged by the month, were increased $30.50 to $270.50 for one utility, $330.50 for two utilities and $390.50 for three utilities per month at all parks except El Dorado, Milford and Tuttle creek state parks. The seasonal monthly fees at El Dorado, Milford and Tuttle Creek state parks were increased $30.50 to $310.50 for one utility, $370.50 for two utilities and $430.50 for three utilities.
Commissioners approved the recommended increases.
The second public hearing item was a house-cleaning issue on the regulation defining the scoring system used to determine restitution for big game animals taken illegally. The recommendation more clearly defined a measurable point to “a projection on the antler of a deer or elk at least 1 inch long as measured from its tip to the nearest edge of the antler beam and the length of which exceeds the width at one inch or more of length.” The commission approved this recommendation.
And in final action, the commission approved changes to the fall turkey season bag limits. Turkey populations declined in most regions from 2004-2008 because adverse weather impacted spring nesting success and brood survival. Success rates for spring hunters dropped accordingly, triggering a change in regulations. KDWPT staff recommended reducing the fall turkey bag limit from four turkeys to one turkey in Turkey Management Units 3, 5 and 6. The fall limit remains one turkey for Unit 1 (northwest) and the season bag limit will remain four turkeys in Unit 2 (northcentral). Unit 4 (southwest) is closed to fall turkey hunting. Commissioners approved the season bag limit change, as well as proposed season dates of Oct. 1-Dec. 3, 2014 and Dec. 16, 2014-Jan. 31, 2015.