Shooting hours also are extended to one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Hunters will still need to carry a valid hunting license, Kansas HIP stamp, State Waterfowl Stamp and Federal Waterfowl Stamp in order to hunt. Canada geese, white-fronted geese and ducks all will be out of season as of Monday and can’t be legally taken during this time. Squirrel season also ends this month in Kansas, on Feb. 28.
The extended season takes advantage of the spring migration, during which time the light geese will travel back north through the Mississippi Flyway to Canada after spending the winter in the southern part of the United States, especially Louisiana and Mississippi. On their trip back, they often take on some cinnamon-like coloring on their plumage, especially on their head, from gathering food in mud that contains iron oxides.
Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge — located in Mound City, Mo., near the Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri border — said the area has seen several thousand snow geese coming and going in the area, but none are settling down as the wetlands are still covered in ice. These geese are mostly residential, as the spring migration is still a few weeks away for this part of the country. Jeffrey Energy Center near St. Marys, Kan., reported fewer than 5,000 snow geese as of Feb. 13, with part of the lake remaining frozen and numbers fluctuating drastically depending on hunting pressure and time of day.
On the northwest side of the state, Norton Wildlife Area reported 300,000 birds as of Jan. 29, and Webster noted up to 100,000 snow geese at times last week, as well. In northcentral Kansas, Glen Elder Wildlife Area, located about two hours west of Manhattan, reported 220,000 light geese as of Feb. 8. These geese are flying on the Central Flyway, which goes down into Texas and parts of Mexico, which accounts for the difference in timing of the migration. Kansas is split basically in half by these two waterfowl flyways.
There are two additional flyways, the Pacific Flyway and the Atlantic Flyway. Geese traveling on the Pacific Flyway fly from southern California all the way north through Alaska and into Russia for nesting — a 3,100-mile migration route, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission — while Atlantic Flyway geese will nest in Greenland and part of the arctic. Geese on the Central Flyway nest in the Victoria Islands and along the Hudson Bay, where Mississippi Flyway geese also settle down.