One of Kansas’ newest and perhaps best prospective
hunting areas is a recently opened portion of the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant near Parsons.
This army installation, no longer an active ordnance production facility, sold approximately
3000 acres to Kansas Wildlife and Parks last year. Rob Riggin, KDWP Public Lands Manager,
is currently developing it as a public wildlife area.
“The Grand Osage Wildlife Area is one of our newer acquisitions for the Department
of Wildlife and Parks, and it’s a shared property between the army and Kansas Department
of Wildlife and Parks right now. We’re excited about allowing opportunities on this property.
Turkey numbers and deer numbers are exceptional. Years of army management for the resource
have produced an excellent age class of deer, and a large population. We’re working on
providing limited access for deer and turkey hunting by limited drawing.
“As a deer and turkey hunter myself, I must say, I’m very impressed with the property,
and it’s the type of place I think anybody would want to hunt.”
Habitat varies widely, from timbered draws, to pastures and brushy lots, to crop fields.
Deer density as measured by surveys is more than 50 whitetails per square mile. And eastern
turkeys are plentiful as well. Due to restricted access to the gated army base, all hunts are
currently by drawing only. “Hunting is allowed by drawing and permits
only. We allowed in the past 40 to 50 deer hunters in the fall, and 40 turkey hunters
in the spring.” Two special hunts, now closed, will allow
17 2-person groups to hunt two short seasons in 12 units during the upcoming spring turkey
season. Hunters must attend orientation classes to
hunt Grand Osage, since access remains through a base security checkpoint and requires a
badge. The area has a number of fishing ponds and lakes, with bass slot limits in force.
Other recreation will be developed as the base is transitioned completely to the Great
Plains Development Authority, which is taking over the decommissioned base in the near future.
The Grand Osage Wildlife Area has ongoing agricultural and livestock leases, and hunters
must be respectful and attentive to these interests while hunting. Drive-over spring
cattle guards help alert hunters where cattle will be encountered.
As the area is developed, Grand Osage promises to be a valuable recreational opportunity
for Kansas outdoors enthusiasts. Hunters interested in fall deer hunting on this new area should
contact the Mined Land Main Office in Pittsburg at (620) 231-3173.
I’m Mike Blair for Kansas Wildlife and Parks.