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Thread: Kenai Flats, State Park Rangers

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    Default Kenai Flats, State Park Rangers

    I have it under pretty good authority that State Park Rangers were on the Kenai Flats today taking down any blinds that hunters put up for opening day. I for one think this is a crock. Maybe they could publish their rules and regs for all to look at before they decide to enforce a regulation that is new to all of us. I think the man in charge on the Kenai is Jack Sinclair at 262-5581. Anyone else have thoughts on this?
    All I have ever done is cut willow branches from around my house and haul them out to the flats and stick them in the mud for a quickie blind. I find it hard to believe that this is a violation of much at all.

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    If you own the land, you can do whatever you want. If it's public land, your options are legally limited.
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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    This same "story" was circulated last year, too. It turned out to be BS. Perhaps someone should check the flats before getting everyone calling up F&G to complain?
    Winter is Coming...

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    Last year State Park Rangers did take down the blinds on the flats, and yes Joat, they did it again this year with the explanation that even tree branches stuck in the mud is considered a permanent structure and if not attended, will be taken down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtm9 View Post
    Last year State Park Rangers did take down the blinds on the flats, and yes Joat, they did it again this year with the explanation that even tree branches stuck in the mud is considered a permanent structure and if not attended, will be taken down.
    That sucks, but it doesn't suprise me. Our parks is run by a buncy of greenies. Natural cover is not a permanent structure. I am glad they have the time to go out and move sticks~Oue $$$$ at work!

    Take your concerns to the KSRMA board. Shoot me a PM sometime. I will be out for a couple days preparing for the duck opener but I will get back to youu..

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    Thanks for the update. My info on last year was from a friend that hunts out there who received an email from another hunter that all the blinds had been removed. He went running over there to check, all ticked off at the world, only to find that his blind was right where he'd left it the day before. I never heard that his blind was ever messed with or removed through the rest of the season. Perhaps his was missed or he was just lucky or something. I'm not even sure what he uses for a blind as I've never been there nor seen it.
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    Default to clear things up a bit

    Parks property on the Kenai Flats runs north along Bridge Access approximatley 600 yards (not quite to the pull out) then runs straight west for a bit over a half a mile. Thus, the old blinds that had stood for so many years were within Parks property. Parks elected to enforce the regulation prohibiting construction of permamnet structures just prior to the duck season opener last year. It is still not clear why they picked that time after more than 25 years of not bothering those blinds.
    At any rate, the remainder of the flats on that side of the road and including the other side of the River by the Kenai Landing, belongs to the City of Kenai. Those with blinds built on that property were not affected and the city supports the use of the flats for duck hunting.

    Additionally, there is a restriction in the Kenai River Special Management Area prohibiting the discharge of a firearm within 1/2 mile of any facility, and that includes a parking lot or an outhouse. Which puts the area west of the outhouses on the south side of the bridge off limits to hunting.

    When the blinds were remoeved last year it caused some of us local hunters to go to Parks and find out what was going on. In a nutshell, they stated they were enforcing a rule that had been in place and that they had never had time to do in the past. Now you can take that however you want but it felt like a push to remove hunters from the area.

    We had a meeting with Parks and through that determined they were open to some suggestions for changing some of the things that were restricting duck hunting. A proposal was submitted that requests a regulation change from 1/2 mile to 1/4 mile in that area. That proposal has been approved by the Kenai River Special Managment Area board and by Parks superintendent Jack Sinclair. It will be up for the change this fall and a public comment period will be set soon.

    Trying to keep this brief but Parks did remove a new blind that had been constructed where one of the old blinds was last week. I spoke with Jack Sinclair and he stated they were going to be enforcing the struture rule. I asked about putting up temporay blinds and he states there is no problem with that but they have to be removed when done for the day.

    This is a pretty quick explaination and I would be more than happy to discuss this with anyone interested. I think there are some positive things coming if we can present some reasonable things to parks but it isn't going to happen over night.

    Feel free to call me at 252-0071 ( but not tomorrow morning!)

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    I have a feeling there are a LOT of people who would be interested in any and all information you care to post right here. I wouldn't worry about being long winded, we'll read it all up!
    Winter is Coming...

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    Default okay, more on the flats and lower river

    All right, here is a lot more.

    Just prior to the opening of the 2008 waterfowl hunting season, Alaska State Parks Personnel removed two blinds from the Kenai Flats. These blinds had been on the flats, literally grown into them, since before Parks began managing that area in 1984. At the time the regulation prohibiting the construction of permanent structures was in place, however, it was not enforced and had not been an issue until the sudden disappearance of them last year. Looking at the regulation it is clear that Parks was within their authority to remove these structures but the way they went about it was clearly not much of a good faith effort towards waterfowl hunters.

    Myself and others had the immediate concern that something had triggered this and that it probably had something to do with yet another anti-hunting type issue. Contacted Jack Sinclair who assured me that was not the case and invited the local waterfowl hunters to attend the next KRSMA meeting. We did, expressed concerns and determined that a separate meeting should be scheduled that could focus just on the flats issue.

    The second meeting produced a fair number of local hunters and at times it became somewhat heated and part of that was due to the issue of enforcing the ½ mile rule that prohibited discharge of a firearm within a half mile of a developed facility, as I said before, this even includes parking lots. This was another regulation that had been in place since Parks took over management in 1984. Again it had not been enforced, waterfowl hunters had been using the areas up around Mud Island, and between Beaver Creek and Eagle Rock for years, safely and unhampered.

    Parks Superintendant Jack Sinclair and Park Ranger J. Kusto, were at the meeting and when asked if the use of those areas over the years for waterfowl hunting had ever produced a complaint they stated it had not. But, again for whatever reason they chose to begin enforcing the issue. To Parks credit, I am not aware of anyone who actually received a citation for any of these issues last year and they stated they were just trying to educate people to the law. But for the first time, hunters were being told not to hunt an area that they had traditionally used for years and evidently with no cause for public concern.

    After a fair amount of bantering back and forth the suggestion that changing the regulation from ½ mile to ¼ would open most of that area and was a more reasonable figure for shotgun hunting. Parks agreed that this seemed reasonable but it would have to go through the process.

    At the next KRSMA meeting a proposal to change that regulation was presented and it was past on to a committee for study. In a follow-up meeting where numerous individuals spoke in favor of the regulation, including the Refuge Manager for USFW, Robin West. The board passed the proposal at that point and it was sent to Parks administration for review. It was subsequently placed on the regulation change agenda for this fall and will be coming up for public comment soon. Thus far, I have heard one complaint regarding the regulation change and that came from a property owner concerned about noise, which probably won’t hold much weight when you consider the noise of the boat traffic that is so relentless in the summer.

    As to the blind issue. Thus far there is no hint of Parks budging on this issue. Prior to someone building the blind that was torn down this past week I had requested to build two temporary blinds to use for the kids that we have had in the Delta Waterfowl Hunting Course. This request was denied. I don’t necessarily think that it is out of the question to change that regulation but it does not seem promising.

    Many are not aware of the Parks boundaries and most of the Kenai River Flats, that part that you look out over from the bridge, are not actually controlled by Parks. The entire flat on the west side, across from the Port of Kenai is all City of Kenai. Most of the flat accessed from the pull out on Bridge Access Road is also City of Kenai. They support hunters and waterfowl hunting and have no issue with the construction of normal, traditional type blinds.

    Probably the best way to determine where you can build is go to this website:

    http://mapserver.borough.kenai.ak.us/kpbmapviewer/

    Zoom into the Kenai River flats area and you will see the property parceled off in section lines. At the top of the screen, click on identify and then go to the parcel you want look at, left click to highlight and left click again to see who owns it. This is a really helpful site for this area and for areas all around the borough if there is a question of ownership and rights to hunt.

    Hopefully this makes sense and hopefully those of you interested in keeping the hunting tradition alive on the flats will stay in touch. Please do feel free to call me at 252-0071, I don’t have every answer but I have been following this, attending all the meetings and maintain contact with Parks on a regular basis trying to keep us alive out there.

  10. #10

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    Couldnt hunt this morning but as I drove by I saw the park ranger at the outhouse pullout with his boat watching the other side with binos then at 9:30 there were 3 of them parked there with boats. Were they out enforcing the half mile rule?

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    Default yes

    They were enforcing the half-mile rule as well as the blind issue. Parties that constructed a blind on the big pond out about a half mile and another another couple hundreds further and close the the river bank took theirs down this morning. Far as I know, no citations yet. USF&W was out on the first, which is the first time I've seen those guys out there in a long time, good to see them.

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    Default South side, peninsula

    What is the status for hunting on the peninsula neck of land on the south side of the river. I see from the map that it is municipal land with one small parcel of private land at the tip. Is it huntable or not? Access?

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    Default south of river

    That land south and west of the river is open to hunting.........but, the half mile rule applies there as well and in order to be a half mile from outhouse you have to go several hundred yards beyond that big tide cut to the west. THere are several decent ponds back there and birds do dump into them sometimes.
    Last night there were four hunters over there and they were doing a little shooting but it did not appear they had quite gotten beyond the half mile point.
    Hopefully the new regulation for a 1/4 mile will go through and will make that area much more inviting and usable.
    Although it seems close to the highway and some of those residences when you get back on the ponds, it really isn't. If you stay along the river and don't go more than 500 yards past the big tide cut you have plenty of buffer zone.

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    Member sameyer's Avatar
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    Default south side again

    Re-read your post Sayak and I think I misunderstood where you were talking about at first. The peninsula across from the Port of Kenai is city land and is open to hunting. The small area that is privately owned there is not posted but it probably doesn't make much difference as far as duck hunting goes because it doesn't see any duck traffic to speak of.

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    Default Yup

    Quote Originally Posted by sameyer View Post
    Re-read your post Sayak and I think I misunderstood where you were talking about at first. The peninsula across from the Port of Kenai is city land and is open to hunting. The small area that is privately owned there is not posted but it probably doesn't make much difference as far as duck hunting goes because it doesn't see any duck traffic to speak of.
    That's what I meant.

    When you say, "... it doesn't see any duck traffic to speak of.", are you referring to the whole peninsular area, or just the tip I spoke of?

    I used to hunt ducks and geese alot when I lived out in Bristol Bay, but have not hunted much on the Kenai due to the crowds (only China Poot and some lake hunting). Therefore, I am pretty ignorant of the local waterfowling.

    Thanks for the response.

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    Default morning fog

    Left me not explaining all so well. I was referring to the small piece of private property out on the peninsula. The rest of that peninsula, as you head out toward the port, has minimal ponds and unfortunatly the seagulls have overtaken this area to the degree that very few local ducks inhabit it. There are however some ducks around there and if you don't mind spending some time you can pick up a few. There is also some feed off of the other side of the flats when the pressure is on and ducks are looking for another place to go. Later in the season, when the seagulls have moved on and new birds come in there is better hunting. The flood tides coming around the 17th-20th will fill up some of the dry ponds and that will help some as well. At best though, it certainly isn't great waterfowl hunting and is why most don't bother too much after the opening. But that makes it better for those of us who just love being out there, even when the hunting is very slow.

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    Default Thanks for the comeback

    Quote Originally Posted by sameyer View Post
    Left me not explaining all so well. I was referring to the small piece of private property out on the peninsula. The rest of that peninsula, as you head out toward the port, has minimal ponds and unfortunatly the seagulls have overtaken this area to the degree that very few local ducks inhabit it. There are however some ducks around there and if you don't mind spending some time you can pick up a few. There is also some feed off of the other side of the flats when the pressure is on and ducks are looking for another place to go. Later in the season, when the seagulls have moved on and new birds come in there is better hunting. The flood tides coming around the 17th-20th will fill up some of the dry ponds and that will help some as well. At best though, it certainly isn't great waterfowl hunting and is why most don't bother too much after the opening. But that makes it better for those of us who just love being out there, even when the hunting is very slow.
    OK, I'll be honest: Hunkered down, a spread in front of me at daybreak with a buddy and a thermos of coffee is most of it for me. I enjoy bringing home birds as much as the next guy, but as I get older, I find that the hunting is more important than the catching. If I can get away from the crowds, even though it means fewer birds... not a big deal anymore. I've killed my limits.

    I may just be there tomorrow morning... if I can keep my son-in-law from hauling me out after moose.

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    Default sayak

    sent a you a PM

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