PRATT – In an effort to protect the health of Kansans and prevent the spread of COVID-19, Governor Laura Kelly, with the support of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), is suspending sales of general nonresident turkey permits effective immediately. The suspension is made possible via Executive Order No. 20-21, signed today by Governor Kelly.
“During this unprecedented crisis, we must take every measure possible to protect Kansas lives,” Kelly said. “While turkey hunting is largely a solitary activity, the potential for inadvertent spread of COVID-19 due to travel associated with nonresident participation is something we simply cannot risk. Secretary Brad Loveless and his staff have done a tremendous job maintaining safe spaces for us all to enjoy, and I’m confident they’ll continue their good work as we encourage everyone to enjoy recreational activities locally this spring.”
“We’ve received a tremendous amount of feedback from concerned individuals and at the end of the day, we want to do what’s right by our fellow Kansans,” Loveless said. “Initially, this issue seemed self-limiting as nonresident permit sales lagged behind last year’s sales year-to-date. However, recently, as opportunities in other states began to diminish, nonresident demand increased at a rate we are no longer comfortable with.”
Nonresident hunters who made their spring turkey purchase prior to the order’s effective date may still participate in Kansas’ spring turkey season; however, because Kansas’ regular turkey season has yet to open (April 15, 2020), only a small percentage of the nonresident permits normally purchased have been sold. Hunters traveling from states listed on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s “Travel Quarantine List,” referenced here http://www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus, must self-quarantine upon arrival for 14 days prior to hunting and/or checking into a state park cabin.
KDWPT is offering refunds and KDWPT gift cards in an effort to lower participation rates even further. Nonresident hunters may obtain a refund or KDWPT gift card by sending an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“There’s no doubt this will come as a disappointment to many of our out-of-state hunters and outfitters, and rightfully so. Kansas’ spring turkey season is something a lot of us look forward to,” Loveless said. “But I’m also confident many of these same individuals will understand and join us in ‘recreating locally’ this year until we can once again travel without fear of spreading COVID-19.”
For all other KDWPT updates, visit https://ksoutdoors.com/COVID-19.
For current information on COVID-19 in Kansas, and to sign up for updates, visit the KDHE COVID-19 Resource Center at kdheks.gov/coronavirus.