Trapping Season


OFA Officers

Jonathan Coleman

Chris Kimble
Vice President

Bart Russell

Shane Bullard

Rob Huber

OFA is an affiliate of the North American Falconers' Association

OFA is a proud contributor to The Falconry Fund


OFA Is a proud contributor to Quail Forever



The KHC/OFA Annual Friends Meet!

March 2nd - 4th, 2018

Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area

204 NE 60 Rd

Great Bend, KS 67530

Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area lies two miles east of U.S. Highway 281, midway between Great Bend and Hoisington. Access is also available from K-156, or by turning off K-4 Highway at Redwing.

Cheyenne Bottoms is a wetland in the central Great plains of North America. Occupying approximately 41,000 acres in central Kansas, it is the largest wetland in the interior United StatesThe Bottoms is a critical stopping point on the Central Flyway for millions of birds which migrate through the region annually.

According to legend, a battle in 1825 between the Cheyenne and the Kiowa (or Pawnee) turned one of the streams blood red. Blood Creek now flows into the lowlands. Greyhound racing in the United States traces its start to a coursing event in the bottoms in 1886.

In 1900, a project known as the Koen Ditch attempted to divert Arkansas River water 12 miles to the Bottoms so that it could be used for irrigation. The ditch washed out in a flood. During the 1920s, various plans were put forth to drain the Bottoms and convert it to farmland. However, residents downstream in Hutchinson, KS protested that doing so would create flooding problems for them.

In 1925, the Kansas Forestry, Fish and Game Commission was created to develop and care for the Bottoms. In August 1927, 14 inches (36 cm) of rain upstream turned it overnight into "Lake Cheyenne" and caused flooding downstream of Little Cheyenne Creek. Kansas politicians including Clifford Hope, Charles Curtis, Henry Allan, and Arthur Capper made an unsuccessful plea to get federal money to convert it into a National Wildlife Refuge. Following the Pittman–Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, which taxed sporting arms and ammunition, funds became available to develop the Bottoms.

In 1952, after the construction of dikes, roads and hunting blinds, part of the area was opened to public hunting. In 1957, a new canal from the Arkansas River was built. However, relatively little water from the Arkansas was pumped into the wetland because of drought and claims by other entities on the water supply. In the 1990s, an extensive renovation subdivided the marshes. 

Cheyenne Bottoms is especially noted for the concentration of migratory shorebirds that go there to feed on the mudflats. As many as 600,000 shorebirds from 39 species pass through Cheyenne Bottoms during spring migration and up to 200,000 in fall. About 45 percent of all shorebirds in North America utilize the area. Cheyenne Bottoms is critical habitat for many endangered species, including the whooping crane.  At least 340 species of birds have been observed at Cheyenne Bottoms.

As a critical habitat for threatened and endangered bird species, Cheyenne Bottoms is one of 29 places in the United States on the List of Ramsar wetlands of international importance.

Hunting Information

Hunting is not allowed in the refuge areas (see map). Hunting pressure on the Bottoms can be heavy during waterfowl season, particularly on weekends. Hunters planning trips to the Bottoms should consider weekday hunts. Prior to hunting any species on Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, all hunters are required to obtain and complete a Daily Hunt Permit. These permits can be found at all entrances to the wildlife area, at all parking lots and most boat ramps. Silver colored, iron dispensers are located at these points. Each permit is a two piece card. Before hunting, complete the top portion of the card and separate it from the lower portion and place it in the permit box. Carry the lower portion of the permit with you while hunting. Upon completion of your hunt, fill out the lower portion and place it in a permit box. Each hunter must complete one for each day hunting at Cheyenne Bottoms. Pools 1, 5 and a portion of Pool 2 are refuge areas and closed to all activities. Exceptions to this occur for some special hunts. Check with wildlife area personnel for more information. In addition to waterfowl, other game may be legally taken at Cheyenne Bottoms. Pheasant hunting is usually good. Snipe and rail hunting is good along the shallow marsh margins. Quail and deer are also present in fair numbers. A handicapped accessible hunting/photo blind is available by reservation. Call the office for additional information and reservations. In the event of whooping crane activity, the pool the birds are in is closed to all hunting and the goose hunting zones are closed to crane and light goose hunting.

General Information

Vehicles are permitted only on established roads and parking areas. Camping is permitted only in the primitive campground located 1 mile west of the area office (which is where we will all be staying!). The use of watercraft is restricted. Watercraft are not permitted in the refuge areas. During the waterfowl season, in-water propeller-driven boats and hand powered boats can be utilized in Pools 2, 3 and 4. Airboats are not allowed at any time. Outside the waterfowl seasons, only hand-powered boats are allowed. From April 15 to August 15, hand powered watercraft are not permitted between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Life jacket laws will be enforced. Littering is prohibited. Take all trash with you. Boats, decoys, ammunition, binoculars and other supplies are not available at the area office. The Mitigation Marsh, located in the southeast portion of the Wildlife Area, is managed as a youth hunting area. It is open to hunters less than 16 years old hunters accompanied by no more than two adults. Non-toxic shot is required for all shotgun hunting. The possession of lead shot in the field is prohibited. No shooting is allowed on or from the dikes. No holes or pits may be dug for any purpose. Portable blinds and temporary blinds made of native vegetation may be used but must be removed within 10 days after the close of the hunting season or after the last day of use.

Meet Information

I've mentioned hunting in the refugee above, mainly just for informational purposes.  Honestly, I havn't even looked to see if any actual hunting will be open in the WMA during the meet dates, so if that's something that sounds appealing to you, please make sure and check out all of the regulations (specific to Cheyenne bottoms) PRIOR to arriving at the meet. As always though, the majority of our hawking will be done on the private property our Kansas buddies have been working so hard on securing.  We will all be staying at the free campsite, which is a mile west of the refuge.  If you don't want to camp, then you will have to jump on google and figure out where the closest hotels are, as I have no earthly idea where they are.  This is generally a relaxed, not very formal meet.  It's how we signal the end to another great hawking season for both of our clubs, is an opportunity to hang out and swap lies about all of the great hunts we had this year, and a chance to catch up with all of our long time buddies.  Duck hawking should be out of control, cotton tail and jack numbers seem high, and there will be plenty of game around to keep everyone happy and satisfied.  I know i'm looking forward to the meet, and I hope to see everyone there!

All the best,




Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area


This year's change of venue is Eric Pribil approved!


Chris Ly is psyched to put the hammer down on some ducks


Cheyenne Bottoms offers a great, free campsite.


View down the campsite during mid summer


Cheyenne Bottoms trapping trip photo, containing a freshly caught merlin!


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Upcoming Events

March 2nd - 4th, 2018
KHC/OFA Friends Meet - Cheyenne Bottoms

June 2nd, 2018
Annual Picnic & Business Meeting

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January, 2018

Bob Clark

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January, 2018


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