Elk City Wildlife Area News
PRAIRIE RESTORATION - Native grassland restoration continues with the use of a skid steer mounted saw to remove trees from existing blocks of native grass. Brush is being piled and stumps treated to prevent resprounting. These work areas are scattered across the area and have targeted native grasslands as well as quail habitat areas.
DOVE SEASON - The Elk City Unit harvested just over 4,000 doves in 2011, 2400 in 2012 and only 700 in 2013. The data was collected from Elk City, Dove Flats WA and the Buffalo Ranch plots. Due to wet weather and other factors, sunflower stands were poor, and little migration occured prior to season opening.
ALL DOVE MANAGEMENT SUNFLOWER FIELD AREAS ON ELK CITY WILL BE NON-TOXIC SHOT ONLY IN 2014. Information will be provided at the registration boxes regarding the management boundaries. No Lead will be allowed in posession in these areas. The non-toxic requirement is in response to the concentrated hunting of doves and accumulation of lead in the fields, available to wildlife while feeding. Non-Toxic shot is required on numerous dove management areas across the state.
A reminder to dove hunters, the buffalo ranch is open to hunting on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday only. The dove season opener is on Monday the 1st of September and the Buffalo Ranch will be opening on the 2nd of September.
The outlook for the dove fields in 2014 is good. Sunflowers were planted in a timely manner and weather conditions allowed for a great stand. Mowing of sunflowers will begin the first week of August. Wheat planted directly adjacent to the sunflowers was poor, but some standing wheat will be manipulated early to provide feed or local dove. Dove numbers are dependent upon local populations as well as birds migrating through the area in the fall.
Hunters looking for public land managed dove sunflower fields across the state should check out the department website for this information prior to season.
WETLAND MANAGEMENT - Following a dry spring, wetlands received adequate summer rainfall and were manipulated to capture standing water. This resulted in irrigated moist soil plants that have responded well. Some vegetation was measured over 8 feet tall and good seed production should result. All these wetlands are filled by rainfall only and cannot be pumped. Due to wet conditions, no soil manipulations were conducted. Vegetation may be rank in some areas of the pools.
AREA RESERVOIR WATERFOWL HUNTING CONDITIONS: The reservoir was held up above conservation pool this summer due to the forecast of drought conditions. Shoreline areas were inundated early in the summer due to flooding. Water levels were up 8 ft. Some moist soil responses were seen after drawdown.
The Chetopa Creek / Quaker Cemetary - Road will be seaonally closed (September to April) and will be re-opened during the duck hunting seasons in 2014. Vehicle access will be allowed during early teal, youth and all of regular duck season. This is to decrease vehicle disturbance while increasing wildlife utilization and improve hunting opportunities in the Chetopa Creek area for deer and turkey.
DEER HUNTING: Hunters are reminded that changes were made for public land hunters regarding baiting and the use of blinds. No individual may use more than two portable blinds or tree stands on any single department owned or managed property. Portable blinds or decoys shall not be left unattended overnight. Each portable blind or treestand shall be marked with the users name and address or the users department issued identification number in a visible, legible and weather proof manner.
No person may place or use bait while hunting on department lands. Bait is defined as any grain, fruit, vegetable, nut, hay, salt, sorghum, feed, other food or mineral that is capable of attracting wildlife. Liquid scents and sprays are not considered bait. Hunting is prohibited within 100 yards of any baited site for up to 10 days after removal of the bait. Hunting is not prohibited over standing crops or food plots found on the area.
Commercial guiding on public land is not allowed without a commercial guide permit issued by the department for a specific area. An annual report must be submitted before July 1 on a form provided by the department.