Hunting a privilege on post
December 1, 2008
By Lyndsey Born
FORT RILEY, Kan. - Hunting season is here and although Fort Riley may be in Kansas, there are some additional rules hunters need to know before they can hunt on the installation.
Any person who would like to hunt on Fort Riley not only has to have their Kansas hunting licenses but also their Fort Riley hunting licenses, although there are some exemptions.
"The state of Kansas hunting licenses - if you are under the age of 16 you don't have to have a hunting license, and if you are over 65 you don't have to," said Alan Hynek, supervisory fish and wildlife biologist with Public Work's Environmental Division. "It's the same with the Fort Riley hunting license; if you are under 16 and over 65 you don't have to have one. And the same conditions - for Soldiers who are E-1 to E-5 - don't have to have one."
Those who are required to have a hunter's license can purchase them at Fort Riley's Conservation Office, Building 407 on Main Post. They also can be purchased over-the-counter at Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks offices, some local vendors or on the KDWP Web site at www.kdwp.state.ks.us.
When a hunter decides to hunt on Fort Riley they must first check in at Building 407 for a briefing about where they may hunt.
"I can't stress enough that they need to come here before they go out hunting," Hynek said. "We will go through the whole process. We will ask them what they want to do, will give them the details for a certain area they are interested in. They will get the maps they need, the forms, the licenses; they will get everything down here."
If a hunter decides to hunt out of a deer stand, the stand cannot be permanent. The stand can't be fastened to the tree by nails, screws, spikes or other penetrating objects. They can't be placed in an area more than 30 days prior to the start of the season and must be removed no later than 30 days after the season ends.
When hunters are not in the area they are supposed to be in or do not follow the rules they could get suspended, Hynek said.
"There are civilian and military game wardens here on Fort Riley. It wasn't long ago that we didn't have any," Hynek said. "Those guys are out there all the time. If you are doing something you aren't supposed to, there is a good chance you are going to get caught. Plus the state of Kansas can come out here, their game wardens."
When not in a vehicle, a hunter must have at least 200 square inches of blaze orange on their chest and back and a hat during any firearms deer season, including the muzzleloader season.
When a hunter decided where they'd like to hunt, it's important for them to double check on whether or not that area is open to what they'd like to hunt. Ten hunter check stations around Fort Riley offer that information for hunters.
"On the board at the check station it says which areas are open for rifle hunting and which are open for shotgun hunting," Hynek said.
Open areas, designated by Alpha, Delta, Hotel, etc., will be marked at the check stations.
For instance, if Alpha is open there is no military training taking place in the area and rifle hunting is allowed. If an area is open for shotgun hunting, troops may be in the area and hunters must stay 200 meters away from them. If an area is closed, it means troops are participating in a live fire exercise and hunter should stay away from that area.
All areas are outlined by tank trails or black top and the map shows what roads vehicles can be driven on, Hynek said. The only exception for a motorized vehicle being off of the road is to retrieve a large game animal.
"That brings up a really good point," Hynek said about where vehicles can be driven.
"Something that is different, and this catches people who aren't paying attention, you can't just drive anywhere out there. You have to stay on the trails that are marked on the map; it's only the solid or dotted lines that you can drive on."
Areas that are always off limits include the impact area and Multi-Purpose Range Complex, both of which are marked on maps given to hunters when they check in or located at any of the check stations.
When any game animal is being transported it must be covered so it cannot be seen by those passing the vehicle.
When transporting a weapon, a hunter must carry it in a case with the ammunition in a separate case. Firearms also must be registered on Fort Riley regardless of the hunter's military or civilian status, Hynek said.
"In Kansas, if you are off post, you can drive around with a loaded rifle all day and it's not illegal. But her, you have to have it in a case unloaded and your ammunition in a separate container," Hynek said. "Probably 90 percent of (the tickets written) are for driving off road or driving around with your firearm uncased. Those are probably the two main things. I can't stress enough; you can't just drive around with a firearm like that."
Fort Riley is a place a lot of hunters would like to hunt, Hynek said.
"A lot of Soldiers come here, so it's a pretty big deal to be able to come here and hunt all the things Fort Riley has to offer," Hynek said. "We have elk, prairie chickens and things you don't get to hunt anywhere else ... It's is a privilege to be able to hunt out here; it's not anybody's right to hunt here."
At Fort Riley a hunter has a bag limit of three white-tailed deer for all seasons combined. Once a deer is harvested, it must immediately be affixed with a valid Kansas deer tag. To help improve the antler size of mature bucks, hunters should let any buck that is one and a half to two and a half years grow for another year.
For more information about hunting on Fort Riley, contact Fort Riley's Environmental Office at 785-239-6211 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
First day to receive mandatory pre-hunt briefing is Aug. 20.
Early Youth/Disabled Season: Sept. 13-21
Muzzleloader Season: Sept. 22-Oct. 5
Archery Season: Sept. 22-Dec. 31
Regular Firearms Season (DoD ID Card Holders Only) Nov. 28-30
Regular Firearms Season (Lottery Draw) Dec. 19-23 and Dec. 27-30.