The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

September 3, 2012

Southeast Kansas duck hunters adjusting to new season dates

ST. PAUL, Kan. — After Labor Day, hunters in Southeast Kansas typically begin gearing up for duck season: They touch up the paint on decoys, repair their blinds, haul their waders out of storage.

But recent studies by biologists indicate some species of waterfowl that use the Central Flyway are arriving in this area later than in decades past — meaning hunters have to wait a little longer to harvest them. The state’s southernmost hunters noticed the trend, prompting them to petition for a change in the decades-old hunting season that traditionally opened the last weekend in October.

Last year, they lobbied for — and were granted — pushing the opening date to Nov. 5. This year, at its August meeting, the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission opted to make this year’s season even later. It opens Nov. 15 and closes Jan. 27.

“For several years, we have had requests from folks in Southeast Kansas for a later season, mostly from those who hunt mallards,” said Mike Miller, a spokesman for the state wildlife department and editor of Kansas Wildlife & Parks Magazine.

Mallards are later migrators, following early-season waterfowl like teal and gadwall that don’t respond as well to hunters’ calls.

But it’s not just about bagging a particular species of duck for the dinner table. Whether hunters are successful also has significant economic ramifications.

Hunting pumps an estimated $270 million into the Kansas economy from an estimated 78,500 hunters. A study by the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies shows that Kansas waterfowl hunters alone account for $30.5 million in retail sales, for a total multiplier effect of $62 million. They pay for $15.5 million in salaries and wages of the 5,408 hunting jobs in the state, 763 of which are specific to waterfowl. They pay $1.7 million in sales and motor fuel taxes.

Many come from out of state — waterfowl hunters alone account for 103,667 visits and 644,668 days of hunting. Those hunters won’t come, owners of hunting clubs say, if the season doesn’t allow for the optimum harvest of ducks.

Roy Carter, whose family has had waterfowl leases along the Neosho River since 1886, said the shift in the duck season will “help us a lot, not only for our benefit but the whole area and the state as a whole.”

“If there’s no ducks, I can’t sell any hunts, and if I can’t sell hunts, the tire shop down the road’s not selling tires, the gas station isn’t selling gas, the state isn’t selling out-of-state stamps,” he said. “If our dates aren’t when the ducks are here, there’s no opportunity for the sportsman. And there’s no sense in having a 74-day season if there’s no opportunity for the sportsman.”

Since it opened a guide service in 1986, it’s been rare for Carters Big Island Duck Club to book hunters before about Nov. 20. Carter lobbied last year to push the season later so that the federally allotted 74 days would stretch through January.

“We just don’t have our ducks yet,” Carter said of the early weeks in previous seasons. “With our weather getting warmer, it’s slower for these ducks to get down here. Last year in January, there were still mallards in North Dakota on Devils Lake.

“Opening it any earlier than that can waste two or three weeks of a season, because you lose about 21 days if they’re not here yet.”

Text Only
Top Stories
  • r072414msw.jpg VIDEO: Carterville company expands to third generation

    What began as Ray “Mac” McCoy’s side job in his home 55 years ago has grown not only in square footage and reach, but in generations. This summer, a third generation took over the reins of MSW — Mac’s Specialty Woodwork — that now exceeds 90,000 square feet and creates custom furniture for chain restaurants coast to coast.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • r072314techcenter4.jpg Southeast Kansas schools, businesses get behind new technical center

    When Galena Superintendent Brian Smith looks at the millions of dollars of construction projects going on in his district, not to mention similar projects underway in Joplin, Carthage and elsewhere, he sees the need to train masons.

    July 24, 2014 4 Photos

  • Landfill opponents seek answers

    The Baxter Springs High School auditorium was filled with hundreds of Cherokee County residents Thursday night as Galena city officials answered questions and listened to comments regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 24, 2014

  • Neosho athletes bring home silver

    For 19-year-old Dominque Dechant, it was the trip of a lifetime. She and three other athletes from Neosho traveled last month to Newark, New Jersey, as part of the Missouri Special Olympics girls basketball team.

    July 24, 2014

  • Hospital Shooting_Cast.jpg Doctor fired back at gunman in hospital attack

    A doctor grazed by gunfire from a patient who had entered his office in a suburban hospital’s psychiatric unit stopped him by returning fire with his own gun and injuring him, authorities said.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Three things coming your way in Friday’s Joplin Globe.

    July 24, 2014

  • APTOPIX Vatican Pope.jpg Pope meets Sudanese woman sentenced to death

    Pope Francis met privately Thursday with a Sudanese woman who refused to recant her Christian faith in the face of a death sentence, blessing the woman as she cradled her infant daughter born just weeks ago in prison.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Box Turtle.jpg Getting reacquainted with garden dwellers

    Visitors to my garden this week find me covered in dust and dirt with bits of wood, leaves and who knows what else caught in my hair; stinky, sweaty gloves; grimy sweat pants and rivulets of dirty perspiration running down my face.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • mug_sarah-coyne-112613-c.jpg Sarah Coyne: Older kids still find joy in toys

    When she crawled under her covers, she buried her head in her pillow. Then she looked up at me and whispered, "But what if I can't stop thinking about that spider?"

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072414_annie1.JPG Child's play: Kids comprise the cast of 'Annie Jr.'

    The kids are getting a kick out of playing adults. While most of the main characters in "Annie Jr." are orphan children, some, such as Daddy Warbucks, Miss Hannigan and President Roosevelt, are squarely past adulthood.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo