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 Post subject: Kansas’ Walk-In Hunting Access
PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2019 4:26 pm 
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https://shootingsportsman.com/kansas-wa ... ff0e541252

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By Curtis Niedermier

Diverse species in a variety of habitats is the best way to describe the upland hunting experience in Kansas. To illustrate: In the past three seasons I have made eight trips to the Sunflower State and hunted publicly accessible land in four of seven small-game management units for four species of upland birds in months spanning September to January. Still I have only scratched the surface of what a public-land upland hunter can do there.

While Kansas offers a number of state- and federally owned public hunting areas for freelance bird hunters, the real draw in terms of public access is 1.2 million acres of private property enrolled in the state’s Walk-In Hunting Access (WIHA) program.

WIHA (pronounced “wee-haw”), which was piloted in 1995, offers a cash incentive to landowners to open their properties to licensed hunters, who can access them for free. Wildlife Division Assistant Director Wes Sowards, who coordinates WIHA for the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Department, says about 75 percent of the funds for WIHA come from the Wildlife Restoration Fund, while the remainder are provided for by license sales.

Early on, says Sowards, the program focused on expanding upland-hunter access and keyed on Conservation Reserve Program lands mostly in the western part of the state. Since then WIHA has evolved to also provide more opportunities for waterfowl, turkey and deer hunters. It has become more geographically diverse, too, with land enrolled across the state.

“CRP makes up about 60 percent of our [WIHA] lands statewide,” Sowards said. “Now we’re taking rangeland, riparian areas and agricultural lands with some sort of hunting opportunity. We’ve really opened it up a lot more than some other states, realizing the dynamic landscape we have here in Kansas.”

A team of 29 field biologists evaluates WIHA applications and selects properties to enroll based on criteria such as proximity to major population centers where hunter access is more difficult and the size and type of property (rangeland, wetland and so on). Most importantly, the program favors quality habitat.

Kansas has some of the best public-land bobwhite quail hunting in the US. Bobs can be hunted in sandhills pocked with plum thickets in select western areas, patches of weeds and forbs within CRP fields, or brushy fencerows that intersect ag land. Pheasants are most prevalent in the grasslands of the central and western thirds of the state, where a bird dog with real stamina is invaluable. About three-quarters of the state is open to prairie chicken hunting, and there is enough overlap in the birds’ ranges that a skilled pointer could lock up on all three species not just in one day, but in one field. Bonus opportunities are found in pockets of habitat that harbor snipe, woodcock and scaled quail, plus there’s great early season dove hunting.

Traveling hunters can access the digital WIHA Atlas online or pick up a hardcopy from a Kansas license vendor. The Atlas includes rules and a map for hunting WIHA land. There’s also a new limited-access iWIHA (“i” for “interactive”) program in 20 eastern counties designed to manage hunting pressure in high-demand areas. Through the Kansas iSportsman online permitting system, hunters can sign in and guarantee they’ll be the only ones on those properties.

It’s just another way that Kansas has figured out how to diversify its hunting opportunities. As if having more than a million acres to hunt a smorgasbord of species wasn’t already enough.



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 Post subject: Re: Kansas’ Walk-In Hunting Access
PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2019 4:56 pm 
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Location: SE Ohio...where ruffed grouse were
And Iowa and North Dakota and....the beat goes on.

Not all areas are created equal tho...especially in times of drought and allowed grazing, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Kansas’ Walk-In Hunting Access
PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:44 pm 
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Multiflora wrote:
And Iowa and North Dakota and....the beat goes on.

Not all areas are created equal tho...especially in times of drought and allowed grazing, etc.


And Ohio is the "Gold Standard" everyone aspires to...


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 Post subject: Re: Kansas’ Walk-In Hunting Access
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:28 am 
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Location: SE Ohio...where ruffed grouse were
uglydog wrote:
Multiflora wrote:
And Iowa and North Dakota and....the beat goes on.

Not all areas are created equal tho...especially in times of drought and allowed grazing, etc.


And Ohio is the "Gold Standard" everyone aspires to...


I wholeheartedly agree with the sarcasm and the sad reality here....the reason for the the first tho is odd and I can only hope that you feel better on Father's Day.


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 Post subject: Re: Kansas’ Walk-In Hunting Access
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:25 pm 
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BUT, Ohio has managed to give us more turkey and deer then we need or deserve. They just don't really care about small game hunters anymore.Very,very sad! :(


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 Post subject: Re: Kansas’ Walk-In Hunting Access
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:43 pm 
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Location: SE Ohio...where ruffed grouse were
Well, in Ohio, NF management is a portion of the problem as much as the NF creation was a portion of the blessing back in the 60s heyday.

Granted, Deer and turkey require little management from the ODNR, comparable to upland game bird for example, so they will indeed remain popular and an out-of-state draw.
Deer and turkey hunters as well as Leasing tho are the real culprits driving many measures of hunting decline in this state.
But, if the ODNR had not left the ACGRP participation early in the study, that would have been nice and showed a level of concern but alas, some species have been written off here....by the ODNR as well as the RGS.
Lot of blame and reality to go around in Ohio...the ODNR attitude is but one.

We also just had a change in Columbus re Forestry and how the new fella or fellerette will treat the few state woodlands is...a wait and see.
Fingers crossed that a little bit of wise management begun, will continue.

To the comment tho...I hope the state does not care about the small and upland game hunters.....I would prefer them to care about the diversity brought by concern for the small and upland game.
Hunters...should never, ever come first.

WIHAs can serve as a nice win-win program if everything works out as it should.


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 Post subject: Re: Kansas’ Walk-In Hunting Access
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:14 pm 
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Multiflora wrote:
And Iowa and North Dakota and....the beat goes on.

Not all areas are created equal tho...especially in times of drought and allowed grazing, etc.


The sarcasm was in response to the comment above regarding the OP's post. Rather than disparage the post by commenting other states do similar programs and it is no big deal (the general meaning of the phrase,"the beat goes on) you could have stated you wish Ohio would/could have followed suit.

Multiflora wrote:
I wholeheartedly agree with the sarcasm and the sad reality here....the reason for the the first tho is odd and I can only hope that you feel better on Father's Day.


Father's Day has no meaning for me, I honor and recognize my father and step father every day of the year. I do not need a made up holiday to remind me to do so one day of the year.


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 Post subject: Re: Kansas’ Walk-In Hunting Access
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:33 pm 
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Location: SE Ohio...where ruffed grouse were
Wow!....when the OP noted one state with a walk-in program, I noted there were two other states, at a minimum.
The idea was to help others who may be wishing for other state options....and I explained why one might wish to do just that...the recent drought and that WIHAs can experience haying and grazing, ie cover is gone.
It would take quite an attitude to see disparagement, especially when based upon a Sonny & Cher off-hand reference.

But no, I do not wish Ohio would have a comparable WIHA program.
I do wish they would concentrate on more set-aside type enrollment on some state land. Comparable WIHAs, imo, would not work in Ohio due to a vastly different nature of land ownership as well as parcel size....not to mention human population and distribution.

"Made up holiday", you say...I reckon it is, as I reckon we all consider our fathers and mothers throughout the year.
Considering the entirety of the sentiment tho, your disparagement(????) of the Father's Day celebration strikes me as sad.
I understand it likely means nothing to you, Uglydog...but, you have my sympathy.
Keep a good thought....any pain of doing so, is fleeting.


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 Post subject: Re: Kansas’ Walk-In Hunting Access
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:57 pm 
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I only posted an article from Shooting Sportsman about this program; personally I did not know about the other states, so THANKS for mentioning them! {hs#

Only hoping to offer some options for folks looking to hunt.

_________________
The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory, Aldo Gucci

Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience, George Carlin


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 Post subject: Re: Kansas’ Walk-In Hunting Access
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:03 pm 
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That article paints a very glowing picture and maybe, overall, it is but, in my experience, the WIHA's in SE Kansas are useless for upland hunters. All I can say is that the landowner's saw a chance to make some cash off the taxpayer and took it.




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