Late-season hunting: The best is yet to come
Excellent waterfowl, small game, upland game, more await winter hunters
PRATT — Upland bird and waterfowl seasons have been open for more than two months, but there’s still time for quality hunts. Quail, pheasant, prairie chicken (Northwest and East units), and fall turkey seasons are open through Jan. 31, and rabbit and squirrel seasons provide additional opportunities for the avid hunter.
Late-season hunting is a great time to go afield; hunting spots are uncrowded, and weather may cause birds to hold in heavier cover, making dogs a real asset. In most areas, crops have been cut, concentrating birds in draws and thick grass, such as CRP. Late-migrating geese and ducks, especially mallards, are often abundant where open water can be found. And as hunting pressure eases, private landowners are often more receptive to hunters looking for new places to pursue game.
Heavy pressure can make public hunting areas less desirable than private land in early seasons, but public areas may provide better hunting in late season. Wildlife management practices on public lands usually provide excellent cover and food supplies, making them good late-season options as hunting pressure decreases.
Hunters looking for a place to stay can rent one of more than 90 cabins at state parks and wildlife areas across the state. Most cabins are open year-round and provide a range of amenities, many with full bathrooms and kitchens.
A number of opportunities await hunters this winter. Those seasons still open or opening soon include the following:
- ducks High Plains Zone (west of U.S. 283) — Jan. 22-30;
- ducks Late Zone — Jan. 22-30;
- Canada geese (including Brant) — through Feb. 13;
- white-fronted geese — Feb. 5-13;
- light geese — through Feb. 13;
- Light Goose Conservation Order — Feb. 14-April 30;
- pheasant and quail — through Jan. 31;
- prairie chicken (Northwest and East units) — through Jan. 31;
- fall turkey — through Jan. 31;
- exotic dove (Eurasian collared and ringed turtle) — through Feb. 28;
- squirrel — through Feb. 28;
- rabbit — year-round;
- extended archery antlerless only whitetail deer (management Unit 19 only) — through Jan. 31;
- coyote — year-round;
- furbearer hunting and trapping — through Feb. 15; and
- beaver trapping — through March 31.
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