PRATT – A place to hunt. Ninety-eight percent of Kansas is privately owned, so providing Kansas hunters with access to land for hunting is an important part the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) mission. Because purchasing land for public access is both cost prohibitive and complicated, KDWPT has focused on leasing private land to give the public a place to hunt.
In 1995, the Walk-In Hunting Access program (WIHA) was born. The program, which opens private land to public hunting is popular and has grown to include more than 1 million acres. However, one of the most difficult issues has been providing access near urban areas due to landowner concerns about the amount of hunting pressure their land may endure.
To address the urban access issue, KDWPT has begun a pilot program called iWIHA. This program limits access to a tract of land through the iSportsman application. iSportsman is currently used on several KDWPT Wildlife Areas where it replaces paper daily hunt permits. Hunters check in and out and submit harvest reports by phone or computer using iSportsman. Land tracts enrolled in the iWIHA program have limits set on the number of hunters allowed access on a given day. Hunters can log on electronically the night before or the morning of a hunt and check in to hunt an area if slots are available. iWIHA will also be applied to Special Hunts on private lands, allowing access to hunts that didn’t fill up during the online application process.
Six tracts of land in northeast Kansas are enrolled in the iWIHA pilot program for the spring turkey season. To view maps of the iWIHA tracts, go to www.ksoutdoors.com, click on “Hunting,” “Hunting Programs,” then “iWIHA limited access Hunts.”
To register for iSportsman (if you don’t already have an account), and to view and check in or out of iWIHA locations, visit www.kdwpt.isportsman.net.