Many Kansans think the state has too many furry predators, particularly raccoons, Matt Peek said.
Peek, a wildlife biologist with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, said he often hears people complain that the abundance of fur-bearing animals in the state has negatively affected populations of popular Kansas game birds. , such as pheasant and quail.
Peek recommended March 31 to the Kansas Parks and Wildlife Commission to add 13 days to the hunting and trapping season accordingly for raccoons, badgers, bobcats, mink, muskrats, opossums, swift foxes, red foxes, foxes, gray foxes, weasels and striped skunks.
That season, which will begin on November 15 this year, would end on February 28 instead of February 15, its current end date.
“By extending the harvest season, those who complain that there are too many furriers will have ample opportunity, 3.5 months, to harvest furriers,” Peek told The Capital-Journal on Thursday.
The wildlife and parks commission won’t be able to vote on the recommendation until September at the earliest, Peek said Thursday.
Commission Chairman Gerald Lauber suggested at least expanding raccoon season during the commission’s March 31 meeting.
The state had seen an “almost detrimental” increase in that population, Lauber said.
Kansas also maintains a separate beaver and otter harvest season, which begins on November 15 this year and ends on March 31.
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Collectors want more time for bobcat, badger, muskrat and possibly skunk
Peek said he personally cannot document a direct link between the populations of fur-bearing animals and game birds, though some say there is a direct correlation between the two.
Peek said he supports extending the season to hunt or trap most fur animals “because there’s been a reduced harvest of fur animals in recent years due to low prices for fur, so animal populations of fur, which are usually plentiful anyway, won’t be negatively affected by the additional season.” days.”
“At the same time, many in the public believe that fur-bearing animals, especially raccoons, are plentiful and negatively impacting game bird populations, so the move to extend the dates of the season appears to have strong support,” Peek said.
Some have suggested that the state offer bounties and/or extend fur production seasons into the last year, he told The Capital-Journal.
“We are responding by recommending extending the harvest season to cover almost as long as most species have marketable fur,” Peek said.
Many fur collectors support ending the season on February 28 instead of February 15 for catching raccoons, badgers, bobcats, mink, muskrats, opossums, swift foxes, red foxes, gray foxes, weasels and striped skunks, told wildlife and parks. commission.
“The main reason they wanted that extra time is for the bobcat, the badger, the muskrat and possibly the skunk,” Peek said. “These are species that are still prime and/or have fur value at the time.”
While raccoon pelts are past their prime this time of year, raccoon hunting demand is still high in mid- to late-February from a nuisance perspective, he said.
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Raccoons formed the bulk of the fur trade in Kansas
The prime period for raccoons was the primary thing the state kept in mind when scheduling its current fur collection season for raccoons, badgers, bobcats, mink, muskrats, opossums, swift foxes, red foxes, gray foxes, weasels, and striped skunks, Peek said.
“The raccoon was our most important fur carrier, accounting for 50% to 75% of the total value of the fur trade in Kansas, so they were significantly important,” he said. “In the last few years, with the price going down, two of the last three years have accounted for less than 5% of the total value of furs caught in Kansas.”
In the last two years, it’s gotten “a little difficult to sell a lot of (raccoon pelts),” Peek said.
“So the concern once expressed by fur collectors themselves, about taking what was perceived to be the most valuable fur resource at a time when it was worthless, has passed, for the time being anyway,” he said. .
Hunting seasons scheduled for youth, disabled, active military
For now, the harvest season for raccoons and the other 10 fur animals ends on February 15 and the beaver and otter season ends on March 31, according to information the KDWP has posted on its website to share harvest dates. upcoming hunting seasons.
That site says that junior quail and pheasant hunting season will be Nov. 5-6 statewide.
Youth and disabled individuals will be able to hunt deer statewide September 3-11 and Fort Riley October 8-10.
Duck Seasons for Youth, Disabled and Active Military will be October 1-2 in the State’s High Plains Duck Area and Early Low Plains Duck Area, October 22-23 in the State of late ducks from the low plains and on October 29 and 30 in the southeastern zone of the low plains.
Schedules for hunting seasons for deer, pheasant, quail and more in Kansas
Archery deer season will be September 12-December 31 statewide, muzzleloading deer season September 12-25 statewide, and regular deer firearm season September 30. from November to December 11 throughout the state.
For information on other deer hunting opportunities that are available, visit the KDWP website.
Duck season will be October 8-January 1 and January 20-29 in the High Plains Duck Area, October 8-December 4, and December 17-January 1 in the High Plains Duck Area. of early lowland ducks, Oct. 1. from January 29 to 1 and from January 21 to 29 in the late zone of the low plains and from November 5 to January 1 and from January 14 to 19 in the southeastern zone of the low plains.
Antelope Archery Seasons will be September 24-October 2 and October 15-31, Antelope Muzzleloading Season will be October 3-10, and Antelope Regular Firearm Season will be from October 7 to 10, all only in KDWP areas 2, 17 and 20.
Prairie chicken season will be from September 15 to January 31 at the KDWP prairie chicken unit.
An archery and shotgun season for Turkey runs from October 1 to November 10 in KDWP units 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 only.
Squirrel season began June 1 and runs through February 28 statewide.
Bullfrog season kicked off Friday and runs through Oct. 31 statewide.
Hunting seasons for coyotes, rabbits, and exotic pigeons last year-round throughout the state.
For more information, go to KDWP’s online athlete calendar.
Tim Hrenchir can be reached at email@example.com or 785-213-5934.