Kansas Commission to discuss 2023 game seasons at upcoming meeting

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) — Some changes to the 2023 game season are being discussed at the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission meeting, including suspending the fall turkey season and increasing basket and size limits for anglers.

The Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission says it will hold its final public meeting of 2022 on Thursday, November 17 at 1 p.m. She will review the agenda and hear public comments on items not on the agenda. A fiscal update will also be given, followed by a general discussion period.

During the general discussion, the commission announced that they are discussing the ordinance promulgation process, annual camping permits and procedures, the Colby-Villa High Lake reservation, the restoration of the South Fork of the Republican River, updates to the Kansas Birding Trail, and updates to the Prairie Dog State Park.

The commission also said it would consider several approaches to reduce hunting of antelope in the sunflower state. The move comes as poor production in Kansas — and throughout the range — has led to a decline in the pronghorn population.

Changes are also expected for the Big Game Licensing Regulations, including changes to the sex verification regulations for antlerless deer and elk, changes to the review cycles for the Fiscal Year 2023 Permanent Big Game Regulations, and Levi Jaster, KDWP Big Game Program Coordinator, will cover the status of permits for antler-only deer of either species.

For the turkey season, the commission noted that it would recommend suspending the fall season statewide beginning in 2023, reducing catch limits by one bird during the spring season, a 25 percent reduction in spring nonresident permits, changes to the total number of permitted permits and prohibiting the use of a Unit 4 permit in adjacent units.

The staff also said they would propose changes to the length and basket limits on individual bodies of water, the addition of King Lake in Emporia and OJ Watson Park as trout waters, and the deletion of Wichita KDOT – East from the trout program.

The commission indicated that it would recommend the listing of the rusty crayfish on the list of prohibited species for importation and possession. Due to this change, the addition of McPherson State Fishing Lake to the prohibited species is also being discussed. It will also propose adding water designated as an aquatic nuisance species to the Lebo City Lake due to the high number of zebra mussels.

The commission stated that it does not expect any changes for moose season.

KDWP staff and commissioners said they will take a break at 5:00 p.m. and reconvene at 6:30 p.m. to begin the public hearing portion of the meeting and hear comments on unlisted items. Finally, they will discuss an increase in the nightly cabin rate for state parks, allowing later lights and dogs for furbearers, and increases in season and bag limits for otters, and updates to regulations for the commercial harvest, salvage, and sale of freshwater mussels.

The public is encouraged to attend in person at the Colby Event Center, 1200 S. Franklin Ave. To join the virtual session, click HERE.

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