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Outlook good for pheasant hunters

By John Curtis
Dodge City Daily Globe
The pheasant outlook for southwest Kansas at the start of the season Saturday looks real good said Scotty Baugh, an officer in the Dodge City division of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

"It looks like most counties are going to have more birds than they had in recent years," Baugh said. "We're anticipating that hunters are going to have a very good opening weekend. If the weather is reasonably cool, then I think it will be pretty good."

The latest outlook from the National Weather Services calls for a chance of snow Saturday with temperatures remaining in the 30s all day, and mostly cloudy conditions on Sunday with a high of 41 and a low of 35.

Baugh said safety is always something the KDWP stress at the beginning of the season, with hunters making sure to take steps to not get injured during a hunt.

"We recommend that young kids have their hunter safety training course, and that the adults be careful, too, especially if they're hunting in large groups," Baugh said. "We also recommend a blaze orange cap and a vest, so that they stand out a little bit better and people are more apt to recognize them and not fire in haste at something and not certain what it is."

Wildlife and parks officers will also be out in force making sure people are legally hunting. A hunting license costs $19 for a resident and $71 for a license for someone out-of-state, but bonds and fines for those caught hunting illegally are substantially higher.

"If you're old enough that a hunting license is required, then you have to have it, unless you're a landowner hunting on your own land," Baugh said.

The department also reminds people that properties marked with purple paint means hunters must have written permission from the landowner, or they will be charged with a misdemeanor.

"The fines very by county," said KDWP officer Jeff Clouser. "There are laws that you can get charged for: criminal trespass, where someone tells you to get off their land and you refuse; intentional criminal trespass, which is more severe and a new law this year; and criminal hunting, where if you don't get permission from the farmer or landowner, then go and hunt on the property.

"(And) if you go on somebody's property and you discharge a family, there's a criminal discharge of a firearm statute that you can be charged with."

For bonding purposes, criminal discharge at a firearm is $806, to hunt without written permission is $135, criminal hunting is $606, and intentional criminal trespass is $600.

"You're looking at paying some very hefty fines," Clouser said.

Baugh suggests that hunters get a copy of maps where walk-in hunting is allowed and a copy of the Kansas Hunting and Fur Harvesting Regulation pamphlet. Both are available at the department's Dodge City headquarters, 1001 W. McArtor Rd.

"They need to make sure they familiarize themselves with the bag limits and shooting hours, especially if they are thinking about also quail hunting and making sure they are in an open zone," Baugh said.

Copyright 2004, Dodge City Daily Globe. All rights reserved. This document may be distributed electronically, provided it is distributed in its entirety and includes this notice. However, it cannot be reprinted without the express written permission of the Dodge City Daily Globe.

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