Drivers may be surprised at an upcoming driver's license checkpoint in south central Kansas in early December when officers not only ask to see their driver's license but also want to know if they hunters and if they are transporting harvested game.
A joint venture between the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and local law enforcement will result in not only checking for proper licenses but also providing KDWPT with valuable information about wildlife populations and other important data, said Ron Kaufman, KDWPT director of information services.
The checkpoint will last about three hours and are not expected to cause major delays for drivers unless they are found to be in violation of the law.
Additional checkpoints will be held during the fall and winter hunting seasons.
The checkpoint will initially look like a regular driver's license checkpoint but once local law enforcement has gathered their information, they will enquire about hunting.
If a driver is either a hunter and-or transporting harvested game they will be directed to another line where KDWPT law enforcement officers will check for valid licenses and legally taken game, Kaufman said.
If any violations are found at either station, appropriate action will be taken.
Besides checking licenses and harvested game, KDWPT law enforcement officers will also be asking about populations, health and location.
Hunting is ramping up this time of year and many hunters are out and traveling to hunting destinations.
The KDWPT resources are limited and that restricts the number of people they can put in the field. With all the hunting across the state, it gives KDWPT a way to collect valuable wildlife data.
"It just gives us a better way to manage the wildlife populations," Kaufman said.
This is the first time checkpoints have been advertised so extensively. It gives the checkpoints a higher profile and hopefully helps increase the number of hunters in compliance with licenses and permits, Kaufman said.
With the checkpoint coming in December it will give KDWPT offices better data. The first weekend of hunting season was very windy and hunters had very little success. Since then the department has gotten mixed results with population numbers really down.
While the wildlife data is valuable, determining if hunters are violating license regulations is also a vital part of the checkpoint.
If a violation is found, the KDWPT officers will issue a citation. Then it will be up to the county attorney to determine what fines, if any, will have to be paid.
The money from the fines all goes to the county. It does not go to KDWPT.
The numbers of some upland game birds have been dropping because of drought conditions. The checkpoint will help KDWPT get a better idea the status of bird populations.
Page 2 of 2 - While populations are down, the drought will eventually break and upland game birds are expected to rebound when the rains return.