“There's a place we hunt just south of town here that has a beautiful creek so high you can't get across it, and we stepped right across it this year. No water!” said hunter Todd Braschler.
Hunters say their sport is just brutal this year. That's because the drought has dried up water sources for wildlife. Instead geese are making their homes in neighborhood ponds, fields and inside city limits.
“Over the last 15-20 years they've really started moving into the cities,” said Kansas Dpt. of Wildlife supervisor Craig Curtis.
Hunters will tell you it's made hunting for ducks or geese much harder.
“Well they flock to Wichita because we have all these neighborhood ponds. In fact the field right behind my house here tonight will have 3,000 Canadians right here. But it's in the city so you can't do anything about it,” said Braschler.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife say the drought has driven birds into the city. Places like the wetlands in McPherson are quite dry. There are 52 pools there and officials say they've all dried up. All but two that is, but they've had to pump water into those to keep them wet. In a normal year, hunters will kill 3,500 ducks. This season, McPherson Valley Wetlands reports fewer than 200 duck kills.
“Normally we would take 5 guys and limit out. This season we have 3 guys and come home with 2 ducks so the numbers in terms of being able to hunt them in the wild have been way down,” said Braschler.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife says drought is periodical and hunters will have to adapt.
“You might need to do things different this year if you're a waterfowl hunter and you hunt the water. You might change tactics and look in the field,” said Curtis.
Adapting for some hunters means bringing home less game all together.
“Duck hunting is the least of my worries. The upland game, the deer hunting, and turkey hunting have been affected by it,” said Braschler.
Park officials point to one bright spot, saying land normally underwater may grow new vegetation now. That means food for ducks and geese in the future.
Hunters can still hunt for geese until February 10. The last day for antlerless dear hunting is January 13.