Anyone else going to this on 7/29?


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It probably won't be fun, given the weather forecast, but I'm planning to show up.

The weather turned out pretty nice. There was cloud cover and spotty rain that kept the temps down until we were done--about 12 or so.

As for the property, it's a very cool piece of sand prairie that should offer decent quail hunting for those willing to burn boot leather. Every place we stopped to hang a sign we heard quail whistling, and we saw 3 different pairs of birds. Most teams also reported seeing some quail. The Nature Conservancy bought it last winter, I think. OnX shows them as the owner; it's not hard to find. Per TNC's wishes, it will be a November-January iWIHA allowing two groups of up to four people per day: one group on the east side, one on the west. The boundary is two-track that runs from the south edge to the north edge. It would be a great dove spot too, but that's not in the cards right now.

The challenge for hunters will be poor access from the parking area. There's no "frontage" along a public road. A county road dead-ends on the south edge, and hunters must walk from there. It's the only way in or out without permission from a neighboring landowner. I worked with a KDWP guy to post the blue line on the image below. Walking as straight as possible from the parking area to the far end of the stuff I posted while staying on the tract is about 4 miles. I would guess the north part of the east unit will see very little pressure except for people with connections to the adjoining landowners.

I plan to hunt it once or twice, assuming I can "sign in" early enough to be one of the parties.

Good on y’all for getting out there and putting in the effort to help the birds out! Sounds like a nice piece of land, with good potential for bird hunting!
Very cool! Thanks for volunteering. Couple questions, BHA advertised the piece to be signed as 7,700 acres. The outline in your screenshot is roughly 1,000 acres shy of that depending on what’s going on just west of the county line on the SW corner. OnX shows the northwest corner of your screenshot as the same primary parcel and that TNC owns a few more parcels bordering the river not included in your outline. KDWP even owns 40 acres just west of the far northern corner. Any reason given that those are not part of what you have outlined?

I haven’t messed with iWIHA yet, but was thinking there was a lottery system each night rather than a first come/first served process you’re suggesting? It’s possible I dreamt that up or confused it with a different state’s program, but can’t find anything online stating exactly how it works.

Imagine the deer hunters will be very intrigued with this ranch as well. When I first saw the flier I was thinking it would be the R9 ranch (owned by Hays and Russell) just a few miles north. Hopefully the department can get that opened up in the future as well.
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It is a little short of the 7700 acres shown on the flier. The handout they gave us that day showed 3100+/- in the west unit and 3900+/- in the east unit. KDWP's guys didn't really give a reason for exclusion of the other TNC properties shown on OnX. I could only speculate, which wouldn't do anyone any good.

I haven't messed with iWIHA either. KDWP guys weren't 100% sure how it worked either. Some seemed to think it was first-come/first-served and open at maybe 7:00pm the night before, but I also heard at least one mention of lottery. I'm not much of deer hunter anymore, but I would think that deer hunters would be a little put-off by the uncertainty of access on any particular day. They will also face the same long-hike challenges as bird hunters. A 3 mile pack-out through sand dunes and plum thickets of even a medium sized deer sounds miserable.

Funny you mentioned the R9 Ranch (to me it's the Circle K). I guess there is some movement on getting that signed up too, but nothing definitive yet. I've wanted to hunt that ranch ever since I read about the city of Hays buying it for water rights. Don't be surprised if there is another BHA event later this fall to put up signs on that one.