Hunting at Cheyenne Bottoms
Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area is a premiere destination for waterfowl hunters. Hunting pressure on the Bottoms can be heavy during waterfowl season, particularly on weekends. Hunters planning trips to the Bottoms should consider weekday hunts. Waterfowl numbers and hunting conditions for Cheyenne Bottoms can be found in the Region 3 Waterfowl Report.
The concrete boxes you can see in the pools are hunting blinds, built in the 1950s. They have been used by thousands of sportsmen, who come to Cheyenne Bottoms to enjoy the area’s fine duck and goose hunting.
In addition to waterfowl, other game may be legally taken at Cheyenne Bottoms. Pheasant hunting is usually good. Snipe and rail hunting is good along the shallow marsh margins. Quail and deer are also present in fair numbers.
Trapping is permitted on the wildlife area. Special permit are required and available at the area office free of charge. Trapping is not permitted at any time in the refuge area nor during waterfowl seasons. Visit the Kansas Wetlands Education Center for a copy of the Kansas Hunting Atlas and If you have further questions contact Wildlife and Parks personnel at Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area.
Daily Hunting Permit
Prior to hunting any species on Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, all hunters are required to obtain and complete a Daily Hunt Permit. These permits can be found at all entrances to the wildlife area, at all parking lots and most boat ramps. Silver colored, iron dispensers are located at these points. Each permit is a two piece card. Before hunting, complete the top portion of the card and separate it from the lower portion and place it in the permit box. Carry the lower portion of the permit with you while hunting. Upon completion of your hunt, fill out the lower portion and place it in a permit box. Each hunter must complete one for each day hunting at Cheyenne Bottoms.
Many of the world’s whooping cranes migrate through central Kansas. In fact, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials have designated the Cheyenne Bottoms as critical habitat for these endangered cranes. When Whooping Cranes are present, the pool the birds are in is closed to all hunting and the goose hunting zones are closed to crane and light goose hunting. The fall migration begins in mid-September and they normally reach their wintering grounds by early December.
Test your identification skills with the Crane Test
- Vehicles are permitted only on established roads and parking areas.
- Camping is permitted only in the primitive campground located 1 mile west of the area office.
- The use of watercraft is restricted. Watercraft are not permitted in the refuge areas. During the waterfowl season, in-water propeller-driven boats and hand powered boats can be utilized in Pools 2, 3 and 4. Airboats are not allowed at any time.
- Outside the waterfowl seasons, only hand-powered boats are allowed. From April 15 to August 15, hand powered watercraft are not permitted between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Life jacket laws will be enforced.
- Littering is prohibited. Take all trash with you.
- Boats, decoys, ammunition, binoculars and other supplies are not available at the area office.
- Non-toxic shot is required for all shotgun hunting. The possession of lead shot in the field is prohibited. No shooting is allowed on or from the dikes.
- No holes or pits may be dug for any purpose. Portable blinds and temporary blinds made of native vegetation may be used but must be removed within 10 days after the close of the hunting season or after the last day of use.
Youth Hunting Opportunities
The Mitigation Marsh, located behind the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, is managed as a youth hunting area. It is open to hunters less than 16 years old hunters accompanied by no more than two adults.
A handicapped accessible hunting/photo blind is available by reservation. Call the wildlife area office for additional information and reservations (620)-793-3066.
Money from hunting license and duck stamp sales helps to pay for work that benefits wildlife at Cheyenne Bottoms and elsewhere. Many of the funds for rebuilding and protecting Kansas wetlands come from the sale of duck stamps. The Kansas State Duck Stamp, first issued in 1987, has provided nearly $300,000 to benefit marshes. Waterfowl hunters over the age of 16 must purchase a Federal Duck Stamp if they want to hunt migratory waterfowl. Stamps are purchased by hunters, bird enthusiasts, stamp collectors, and conservationist raise money for America’s wetlands. The land for Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area was acquired through such funds.
Interested in supporting conservation education programs? The Junior Duck Stamp Program teaches students about the importance of waterfowl and wetlands conservation. The Kansas Junior Duck Stamp Program has an annual contest for K-12 students.
Click here for more information on waterfowl licenses and fees.