Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Compound bow for huntingImage via Wikipedia
Many seasons open during holidays; 2011 hunting license required in January
PRATT — Many Kansas hunters look forward to the Christmas and New Year holidays as an opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy some of the best hunting of the season. Early January antlerless deer seasons are especially popular for hunters who have not filled a permit or who want to put more deer in the freezer. Unfilled permits purchased in the fall of 2010 are valid for these seasons, but all hunters should remember that a 2011 Kansas hunting license is also required once the new year begins.
For outdoorsmen and women, this is a special time to go afield in pursuit of their favorite game, not just deer. Cool weather often makes game easier to locate, and competition for places to hunt is lighter than earlier in the seasons. For those looking for a good holiday hunt, the following season dates remain or will be open in late 2010 and into 2011:
  • Fall turkey — Dec. 13-31 and Jan. 10-31, 2011;
  • Archery Deer — Sept. 20-Dec. 31;
  • Extended Firearm Season (whitetail antlerless only, open statewide) — Jan.1-9, 2011;
  • Special Extended Firearm Season (whitetail antlerless only, units 7, 8, and 15 only) — Jan. 10-16, 2011;
  • Extended Archery Season (whitetail antlerless only, Unit 19 only) — Jan. 10-Jan. 31, 2011;
  • Exotic Dove (Eurasian collared and ringed turtle doves only) — Nov. 20-Feb. 28, 2011;
  • Ducks, Early Zone — Dec. 18-Jan. 2, 2011;
  • Ducks, High Plains Zone — Oct. 9-Jan. 3, 2011 and Jan. 22-30, 2011;
  • Ducks, Late Zone — Oct. 30-Jan. 2, 2011 and Jan. 22-30, 2011;
  • Canada Geese (including Brant) — Nov. 10-Feb. 13, 2011;
  • White-Fronted Geese — Nov. 10-Jan. 2, 2011 and Feb. 5-13, 2011;
  • Light Geese — Nov. 10-Feb. 13, 2011 and by special conservation order from Feb. 14-April 30, 2011;
  • Pheasant — Nov. 13-Jan. 31, 2011;
  • Quail — Nov. 13-Jan. 31, 2011;
  • Prairie Chicken — East and Northwest zones, Nov. 20-Jan. 31, 2011 and Southwest Zone, Nov. 20-Dec. 31;
  • Squirrel — June 1-Feb. 28, 2011; and
  • Rabbits — open year round.
For detailed information on hunting units, bag and possession limits, and other information, consult the 2010 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary, available wherever licenses are sold or on the KDWP website,

Enhanced by Zemanta


Birding, star gazing, wetland van tours on the agenda
PRATT — The Kansas Wetlands Education Center — 10 miles northeast of the intersection of U.S. highways 281 and 156, northeast of Great Bend — will conduct a number of special events in the last weeks of 2010. On Thursday, Dec. 16, the Cheyenne Bottoms Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The public is invited to participate in this educational information-gathering activity. Participants will meet at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center at 8 a.m. The Nature Conservancy and the Kansas Wetlands Education Center will provide lunch. Those planning to participate should phone 620-786-7456, so planners will know how many to expect for lunch. Be sure to wear warm clothing.
On Sunday, Dec. 19, the center will host a waterfowl identification workshop at 2 p.m. Waterfowl enthusiasts of all ages, novice or experienced, are invited to come to attend this free workshop focusing on all things waterfowl. Tom Bidrowski, migratory bird specialist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, will present tips on identifying the numerous species of waterfowl seen in Kansas. In addition, Kansas waterfowl viewing opportunities will be covered.
On Monday, Dec. 20, the universe will unfold at the Wetlands Center with a star-gazing program at 7:30 p.m. If the weather cooperates, participants will have the opportunity to view a total lunar eclipse, constellations, planets, and clusters through telescopes. Fort Hays State University (FHSU) professors Dr. Paul Adams and Dr. Jack Maseberg, along with the FHSU Astronomy Club, will lead the evening activities. Participants will also be able to make a “Big Dipper star clock.” The program is free. Participation is limited to 30, with preregistration required. Register by calling 620-786-7456 or 877-243-9268. The registration deadline is Dec. 18. Participants should bring chairs and warm clothing.
In addition to these events, the center offers guided van tours of Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area every weekend, and by special arrangements during the week. These are 30-minute and 90-minutes tours in a 12-passenger van.
The Kansas Wetlands Education Center also has many great gifts to complete visitors’ Christmas shopping lists. This includes a wide selection of nature-based merchandise, wildlife-related toys, science kits, Kansas-made products, field guides, T-shirts, and Kansas Sesquicentennial (150th Anniversary) commemorative Christmas Ornaments.
For more information on any of the events or tours, phone the center toll-free at 1-877-243-9268 or email

Enhanced by Zemanta


Male mallard duckImage via Wikipedia
Four January events planned; Dec. 31 application deadline
MEADE — In January, Lake Meade State Park and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks will host four youth waterfowl hunts. Hunts will take place on a Saturday and will begin in the early morning. All participants will be required to attend a pre-hunt meeting.
Youth ages 8 through 15 are eligible for this hunt, which is designed to introduce waterfowl hunting to new or inexperienced hunters. KDWP employees will be on hand to assist in each hunt, which will include as few as two hunters. Previous hunting experience is not required, and arrangements will be provided to applicants who do not have access to their own equipment. An adult parent or guardian will be required to attend, but the adult may not hunt.
To participate, submit a 4-inch by 6-inch card with the name of youth, the name of parent or guardian attending, address, and phone number to Meade State Park, 13051 V Rd., Meade, KS 67864. All Applications must be post marked by Dec. 31. For more information, phone the Meade State Park Office at 620-873-2572 (8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday).

Enhanced by Zemanta


Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) in Modoc Count...Image via Wikipedia
Busy deer seasons, lack of funds curtail service during January antlerless seasons
TONGANOXIE — With the help of hunters, meat processors, and private donors, Kansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry (KSHFH) has been providing thousands of meals to those in need, but this year, the service will stop at year’s end. Because KSHFH's entire deer processing budget was used to process large numbers of deer donated in the early months of deer season, they will not be able to accept deer during any January whitetail antlerless season.
“It would take an estimated $15,000 of end of the year financial donations to cover the short but productive doe seasons,” says KSHFH director Tony DeRossett. “The program uses hunter harvested deer to supply meat to more than 140 food pantries across the state, and we’ve used our budget for this year.”
Just one deer can feed nearly 200 hungry people in the state. In 2009, 1,010 deer were donated through KSHFH, providing nearly 225,000 meals.
For more information on this program, go online to

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


1-877-427-3843 makes reporting wildlife crime easy
PRATT — Each year, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) natural resource officers (NROs) check approximately 60,000 hunters in the field, and about 96 percent of them are found to be law-abiding sportsmen and women. Although the vast majority of hunters are ethical, they have to deal with that small percentage who are not. KDWP has 73 NROs to cover the entire state, so they need the help of hunters — and anyone else who enjoys the outdoors — to keep their eyes out for those who don't take wildlife crime seriously.
There is an easy way to combat this problem: phone KDWP's Operation Game Thief hotline, 1-877-426-3843. Using this toll-free number, concerned hunters and landowners can quickly turn in wildlife criminals simply by picking up the phone. All calls received through the Operation Game Thief line are immediately relayed to the natural resource officer nearest the violation. The line is available anytime of day or night, every day of the year, and callers remain anonymous.
Nothing can spoil a good hunt more than that small percentage of unethical “hunters." Although they may seldom describe themselves as such, these people are more properly called poachers. These are the people who trespass, road hunt, litter, take more than their bag limit, drink while they hunt, use illegal equipment, take game out of season, take wildlife for which there is no season, or vandalize. While such behavior is the exception, poachers not only damage the natural resources they should be committed to conserving, they reflect poorly on all hunters in the eyes of the general public.
Operation Game Thief calls have resulted in arrests and convictions on violations ranging from public lands vandalism to deer poaching. In many cases, poachers have been arrested within minutes of the call. Even drug operations have been uncovered by alert hunters using this number.
Never confront suspects, but providing information such as vehicle descriptions and license tag numbers, descriptions of people involved, locations, and the time and location the incident occurred will greatly aid law enforcement. The more specific the information is, the easier it is for natural resource officers to investigate the case.
Remember, when you see someone violating wildlife laws, they are stealing from you and damaging the image of legal hunters. Help bring them to justice by phoning 1-877-426-3843.


Kansas Ornithological Society Christmas Bird Count runs Dec. 14-Jan. 9; Audubon count runs Dec. 14-Jan. 5
PRATT — It’s been a mild fall in Kansas, but winter has arrived, bringing bird watchers the opportunity to bundle up and participate in a Christmas bird count (CBC). Christmas bird counts are great for making new acquaintances, renewing old friendships, and learning more about birds and birdwatching in Kansas.
This is the 111th year for organized Christmas bird counts, and more than 2,000 counts are held across the nation each year. Kansas averages 50 counts per year, with 40 scheduled so far this year and others yet to be announced. Many counts are concentrated in the eastern and southern parts of the state, but in recent years, more have been conducted in western portions of the state — such as Elkhart and Ulysses — providing additional opportunities to participate.
Christmas bird counts are conducted in circular census areas with a 7.5 mile radius. This is consistent from count-to-count and year-to-year, always surveying the same location and ensuring that data collected is comparable for population trends over time.
CBCs are easy to prepare for, the best tools being a pair of binoculars, a good field guide, and appropriate clothing and footwear for possible extreme weather. For those counting in an area with a lake, a good spotting scope can be extremely helpful in identifying birds at a distance. It’s also a good idea to study what the expected species are for your location.
There are many count compilers in Kansas who only send data to the Kansas Ornithological Society (KOS), and these counts are free. The KOS will accept data collected on counts from Dec. 14 through Jan. 9, 2011, giving counters two more weekends to help survey their favorite areas. However, the official Audubon Christmas Bird Count period is Dec. 14 to Jan. 5 every year. The Audubon counts requir a $5 participation fee for persons 18 and older, with the money going toward the cost of data publication.
Information about Kansas CBCs can be found at the Kansas Ornithological Society website, For details, just click 2010-2011 Kansas Christmas Bird Counts.


(KDWP) Milford Nature Center, near Junction City, has recently been awarded the 2010 Master Front-Line Interpreter by the National Association for Interpretation (NAI). Silvosky received the award at an NIA national workshop in Las Vegas on Nov. 18.
The Master Front-Line Interpreter is presented annually to an NAI member who has worked for five or more years in the profession and whose current duties are at least 60 percent front-line interpretation. The recipient must demonstrate a mastery of interpretive techniques, program development, and design of creative projects.
Silovsky has been director of the Milford Nature Center since 1989, where she has developed and maintains dioramas of fish and wildlife, oversees exhibits of live animals, and conducts numerous educational workshops throughout the year, often using live animals — including both bald and golden eagles — that she cares for year-round. She also works throughout the state with interpretive events and nature education competitions such as Eco-Meets and provides classroom presentations, among many other activities.
“Pat demonstrates a mastery of interpretive techniques,” said Lisa Cole, education coordinator for the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area in Lewisville, Texas. Cole, who works in NAI Region 6 (Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas), nominated Silvosky for the award at the regional level, where she won before being honored nationally. “While her topics and themes are similar to what is available at many other nature centers, Pat’s programs are loaded with unusual props, live animals, and plenty of engaging activities,” Cole added. “In addition to being an excellent interpreter, she is a leader and mentor. Pat has served as Region 6 director and as the Kansas state coordinator. She is able to work with people of all ages and spark in them wonder and a greater awareness of Kansas’ natural resources.”
Through its awards program, NAI recognizes outstanding achievements and showcases the successes of NAI members and others working to advance the profession of interpretation. Members have been involved in the interpretation of natural and cultural heritage resources in settings such as parks, zoos, museums, nature centers, aquaria, botanical gardens, and historical sites for more than 50 years. For more information on NAI, go online

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


PRATT — To monitor the health of fisheries and help anglers find the best places to fish, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) fisheries biologists spend most of each fall sampling lakes throughout the state. In addition, the agency raises and stocks millions of fish throughout the state annually, providing anglers with special opportunities to catch a wide variety of species. Sampling lakes is the best way to determine population health and stocking needs, and fall is the best time to sample fish because it’s the end of the growing season.
Although KDWP biologists can't sample every lake in the state every year, periodic sampling results are assembled to show trends and multi-year averages for some lakes. This information is posted online with the KDWP Fishing Forecast, available on the KDWP website ( in January and published in the March/April issue of Kansas Wildlife & Parksmagazine. The forecast and lake data are valuable tools that can help anglers decide where to fish.
Across the state, 18 district fisheries biologists are responsible for 26 large reservoirs, 40 state fishing lakes, and more than 230 community lakes. KDWP biologists have completed the 2010 sampling and are in the process of compiling results. This data will be used for next year's stocking requests, recommendations for future length and creel limit regulations, other management recommendations, as well as the annual Fishing Forecast.
In September, fisheries biologists may use electroshocking for bass, and in October and November, gill-nets and trap nets are used to sample all sportfish. The nets are pulled onto a boat and the fish removed. Biologists then count, weigh, and measure each fish and record this information, taking care to get the fish back in the water quickly. Netting results are recorded on waterproof paper or a laptop computer.
With a laptop, biologists can enter data on the water, then enter it directly into the department's Aquatic Data Analysis System (ADAS) when they get back to the office, eliminating paperwork. ADAS also allows biologists to enter paper-recorded testing data into the system through a desktop computer. They can then compare results with past years' data, which lets them know the population dynamics of the lake tested and make management decisions, from stocking plans to length and creel limits.

Biologists also use Fisheries Analysis and Simulation Tools (FAST) software program, developed in conjunction with 20 other states. This computer application allows the field biologist to use data from the ADAS system and separate age and growth testing to predict what would happen if certain length or creel limits were imposed on a given lake. Tools such as this allow biologists to better manage fish populations and enhance angling opportunities.
Now that sampling is complete, anglers across Kansas can look forward to the 2011 Kansas Fishing Forecast, which will be available on the KDWP website,, in early 2011.


Trespassers face stiff penalties, damage landowner-hunter relations
PRATT — With the firearm deer season in full swing as of Dec. 1 — and other seasons ongoing — the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) reminds all hunters that it is illegal to hunt on private land, posted or not, without the owner's permission. Whether someone actually enters private land without permission or shoots onto it from the road or another landowner's property without permission, it is illegal.
Geese pouring into corn stubble or deer standing in an open field can be temptations to break the law, especially when hunters are driving country roads. Such temptations should be resisted; not only is trespassing illegal, but hunting from public roads requires permission of landowner adjoining the side of the road being hunted, the center of the road defining who must grant permission. Railroad rights-of-way require permission from the railroad. In addition, written permission is required to enter land posted with hunting and/or trapping "By Written Permission Only" signs or bordered by trees or fence posts painted purple.
In any situation, shooting from a vehicle is illegal unless legally hunting with a disability permit on land where permission has been granted. Shooting from a road is also extremely dangerous, threatening landowners, other hunters, livestock, and equipment.
According to KDWP’s Law Enforcement Division, Kansas convicted 210 poachers for trespassing-related violations in 2009. "This problem drives a wedge between all hunters and landowners, often making it difficult for hunters who once easily obtained permission and have not broken the law," said Mark Rankin, Law Enforcement Division assistant director.

Whether trespassing is accidental or intentional, it damages the hunting heritage. Because trespassing harms landowner-hunter relations — and because the penalties for trespassing can be severe — hunters should be aware of the following trespass issues:

  • landowner permission should be obtained before pursuing wounded game onto private property. If the landowner cannot be found, contact a local natural resource officer or sheriff's office;
  • hunting from roads or railways without legal permission is a form of trespassing called criminal hunting;
  • conviction of trespass or criminal hunting may prevent the convicted person from enjoying hunting privileges in other states. The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks is a member of the Wildlife Violator Compact, to which 34 other states currently belong. Under this compact, anyone who has had hunting, fishing, or furharvesting privileges revoked or suspended in a member state cannot hunt, trap, or fish in other member states;
  • conviction of simple criminal hunting can result in a maximum fine of $500, plus court costs, and one month in jail on the first conviction. Additionally, the court can suspend or revoke license privileges for up to a year. A second conviction requires at least a one-year suspension of privileges in addition to any fines or jail time;
  • if big game or turkey hunting is involved, the penalties get stiffer. Upon first conviction, the law states that the violator "shall not be fined less than $500 nor more than $1,000 or be imprisoned in the county jail for not more than six months, or both." The law requires fifth and subsequent conviction penalties of a minimum $1,000 fine and minimum 90 days in jail;
  • criminal trespassing is when the violator does not leave property when told;
  • it is illegal to hunt on land requiring written permission without having written permission on one's person;
  • in any of these cases, hunting privileges may also be revoked; and
  • by law, all hunters must have permission whether the land is posted or not.

Hunters can address this problem by always asking for permission courteously and accepting denial in the same manner. Hunters can also help by reporting trespassers. Take down the license tag number and all other details of the violation before phoning a local natural resource officer, sheriff's office, or KDWP's Operation Game Thief toll-free hotline, 1-877-426-3843. (Do not confront the violator.) A list of phone numbers for all natural resource officers, listed by counties they cover, can be found in the 2010 Kansas Hunting & Furharvesting Regulations Summary available wherever licenses are sold, or online at


New youth hunting and/or fishing licenses available Dec. 15
PRATT — Beginning Dec. 15, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) will offer a resident multi-year youth hunting and/or fishing license, providing convenience and saving money for young hunters and anglers. The new youth licenses will be available for resident youth age 16 through 20. After purchasing the multi-year license, no hunting or fishing license will have to be purchased until the person turns age 21. The one-time purchase, multi-year youth fishing or hunting license is $40. A one-time purchase multi-year youth fishing/hunting combination license is $70.
KDWP Secretary Mike Hayden believes the new youth license will encourage young hunters and anglers — and their parents — to get outside and enjoy what Kansas has to offer. “Hunting or fishing with a son or daughter is a wonderful way to build memories and spend time together as these skills are passed from generation-to-generation,” Hayden said.
All resident hunters and anglers age 16-64 must purchase an annual hunting, fishing, or combination license, so the new multi-year license is a great bargain. The cost of an annual resident hunting or fishing license is $20.50. The annual resident combination license is $38.50. Resident youth will save $62.50 if they purchase the multi-year fishing or hunting license when they turn 16. A 16-year-old will save $122.50 if they buy the multi-year combination license.
In addition to these licenses, all 2011 licenses and permits go on sale Dec. 15 and are valid for the remainder of 2010 and all of 2011. Online license and permit sales are available at the KDWP website,, under “License/Permits” at the top of the home page. Licenses and permits may also be purchased over-the-counter at sporting-good stores.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) and the Kansas State Fair will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010 at the public-use cabin on the grounds of the Kansas State Fair.
The cabin is a permanent structure on the fair grounds and is available for public use. The cabin is located on the north side of Lake Talbot and is a joint endeavor between KDWP and the Fair to provide the public with a new way to enjoy the fair grounds and the outdoors.
The cabin was made possible through a donation by Excel Industries and the cooperation of several organizations including the Kansas Wildscape Foundation, Gardner National Bank and the Kansas Department of Corrections. The cabin was constructed by the inmates at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility.
To reserve the Kansas State Fair cabin, call 620-669-3600 or visit reserve.ksoutdoors.


The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) will host a ceremony at 9:30 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010 at the public-use cabins at Kanopolis State Park.
The family of Terry Reynolds will present KDWP Secretary Mike Hayden a $5,000 donation in memory of Terry, who died in August of 2009. The money will help construct shades over two horse corrals in the Rockin' K campground.
Terry Reynolds and his girlfriend served as volunteer camp hosts at Kanopolis State Park.
For more information about the Kanopolis State Park ceremony, call the state park office at (785) 546-2565. To reserve a cabin at Kanopolis or at any cabin location, visit

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Input on Developing Wind Energy Habitat Conservation Plan

Icon of Wind TurbinesImage via WikipediaThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host an open house Tuesday, December 7, 2010, to gather comments and answer questions about development of a Habitat Conservation Plan for the proposed High Prairie Wind Energy Facility near the town of Queen City in Schulyer County.  The open house will be from 5 pm to 7 pm at the Days Inn in Kirksville.

Representatives from the Service and from High Prairie Wind Energy, a subsidiary of Wind Capital Group, will be on hand at the open house to answer questions about the planning effort and to hear ideas and opinions about potential impacts of the project on the Indiana bat, the little brown bat and the northern bat.  The Indiana bat is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and all three species occur at the site.

High Prairie is working with the Service to develop a Habitat Conservation Plan to address possible effects from the project on the Indiana bat.  The plan will describe project features, natural resources, and measures High Prairie Wind Energy will implement to protect and conserve bats.

A Habitat Conservation Plan developed by High Prairie and approved by the Service would include measures for long-term conservation of Indiana bats and other bat species and will be used by High Prairie to apply for a Service permit to exempt an otherwise lawful activity (construction and operation of a wind energy facility) from the prohibition of take under the Endangered Species Act.   Take, under the Act, means harming, harassing, or killing endangered or threatened species.

As part of the Service's review of the plan, and High Prairie’s request for an incidental take permit, the Service will prepare an Environmental Assessment evaluating effects of the project.

The Service encourages participation in the open house to solicit information on issues, concerns, or other information that should be considered in the Environmental Assessment.  The forum will also serve as an opportunity to identify or provide information on historic or cultural resources that should be considered in the assessment.

High Prairie’s proposed project will consist of wind turbine generators, transformers at the base of each turbine, access roads, a project operations and maintenance building, and other infrastructure.  All project facilities and infrastructure will be placed on private land.

The Indiana bat was listed as endangered in 1967, under the precursor to the current Endangered Species Act, because of large population declines believed to be from disturbance of caves where bats hibernate during the winter.  The Indiana bat is found across much of the eastern and central United States.   From late fall through winter Indiana bats in Missouri hibernate in caves in the Ozarks and Ozark Border Natural Divisions.  During the spring and summer, Indiana bats use living, injured (e.g. split trunks and broken limbs from lightning strikes or wind), dead or dying trees for roosting throughout the state.  Indiana bats forage for flying insects (particularly moths) in and around floodplain, riparian and upland forests.

For more information on the Indiana bat and habitat conservation plans, visit the Service’s website at

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit
Enhanced by Zemanta

How to Stay Warm When Camping in Winter

Winter camping in SwedenImage via Wikipedia
As I sit here on a cool, but not yet cold November evening, I am already contemplating our Winter camping trips. I enjoy them as much as I do any camping trips we take all year long. Of course Winter camping is not for everyone. If you simply detest cold weather, no matter how much preparation you make, and no matter how much gear you own, your trip will likely not be an enjoyable one. However, if the thought of camping in a snowy scene with a full moon and the stillness that snow on the ground brings does pique your interest, then read on.

First, it is my opinion that unless you are in a warmer climate region, simply camping out with no attendant activities may not fulfill your wishes and/or needs. We find that we enjoy our Winter camping trips the most when we are engaging in some other activity such as hiking, hunting, or fishing. This is in juxtaposition to trips we take in Fall Summer, and Spring when just hanging out at camp and getting some R&R may be just the ticket. Realistically, unless you brought enough wood for a perpetual bonfire, sitting around camp when the temperature is well below freezing may not be what you consider recreation.

Staying warm on your camping trip involves paying attention to the following areas. For the purposes of this article, we will speak in generalities as opposed to discussing specific gear or synthetic materials. We will save these more in-depth discussions for future treatment. Our discussion will delve into clothing and footwear, sleeping gear, tents, and campfires.

When it comes to clothing there are some basic principles to remember. First, insulation created by pockets of air are what help us retain body heat. The enemies of this principle are moisture and wind. Moisture hinders heat retention in two ways. First of all, many synthetic and natural materials loose their insulation potential to a great degree when moisture becomes present via environmental sources or from sweat from the body. The classic example is cotton fabrics. Blue jeans are an awful choice for example for outdoor activities in cold weather, especially when they might become wet. Other poor examples of Winter clothing are flannel shirts made only of cotton.

As far as natural materials go, wool is the best. Even when wet it retains a high percentage of its insulation potential. Also, there are a number of outstanding synthetics on the market. These materials can however be quite expensive. The advantage of some of the synthetics is their breathability.

A couple of structural issues bear mentioning as well. First, dress in layers. This allows you to shed layers as you warm and add them back as you chill. Also, remember that a very large percentage of your body heat is lost through your head. A cap in cold weather is a must. On the other end of things, good footwear is critical as well. Waterproof and insulated boots are great. Coupled with wool or synthetic socks, you should be in good shape.

When sleeping in your tent, a good sleeping bag is critical when Winter camping. Couple this with a good pad between you and your sleeping bag and the ground. This sleeping pad is vital. Even if you do not care about comfort, the heat transfer between you and the ground without the pad will cause rapid body heat loss. I like a mummy bag where is can cinch the top closed. This crates a situation where the bag keeps in not only my body heat but my breathing also helps with warmth. Take the time and make the effort to get your bag zipped properly and if equipped with a drawstring, that you draw the hood tight.

When it comes to your tent, depending on where you live, you may or may not be able to get by with a three season tent. We use 3-season solo tents (individual tents) during the Winter. With the fly attached, not much heat escapes, and with such a small area to heat, our body heat has to do less work to warm the tent area. For more extreme climates (we are in the Midwest), a more expensive four season tent will be a real plus or even a necessity. These 4-season tents can be bought realistically at the low end for around $200 all the way up to $1,000 or more.

Building a campfire can bring its own challenges in Winter weather. If there is snow, the dampness may make it hard to ignite the fire. We bring fire starter sticks that can be purchased at local stores for under a dollar. These sticks are infused with a fuel and burn hot for quite some time. They are easy to start. With a good layer of kindling you should be able to start a fire in most conditions. As a back-up, I like to bring a one-burner stove. I can boil water or heat chili or whatever we food we have should a fire not be an option.

Some of my favorite camping memories are from Winter trips. The invigorating aspect of awaking on a cold Winter morning makes me feel more alive. At another level, this activity makes me appreciate more my warm bed at home. At any rate, we hope these tips are a quality starting point for your Winter camping considerations.

Visit Family-Outdoors Camping

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Military veterans and celebrities to take part in event; Dec. 10 application deadline
GLEN ELDER — On Dec. 18-19, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) and Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors, Inc., will sponsor their annual pheasant hunt for youth and women at Glen Elder Reservoir. The event will begin early on both Saturday and Sunday mornings with a hunter breakfast followed by a pre-hunt safety meeting. Groups of hunters, guides, and mentors will then go to various areas around Glen Elder Reservoir and hunt until noon. A noon meal will also be provided for hunt participants each day.
Women of any age and youth ages 11 through 16 are eligible for this hunt, which is geared toward providing a comfortable and positive hunting environment for new or inexperienced hunters. Previous hunting experience is not required, and some shotguns and ammunition will be provided to applicants who do not have access to their own equipment.
A free trap shoot will be offered on Saturday afternoon from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. west of the Glen Elder Area Office. While designed for new and beginning shooters, the shoot will be open to anyone.
One highlight of this event is that each group will hunt pheasants with a military veteran and celebrity. This guest list is currently being developed, but these individuals may be former athletes, TV personalities, or servicemen and women have recently returned from deployment.
For more information and applications, phone the Glen Elder Area Office at 785-545-3345 (8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays) by Friday, Dec. 10. Forty applicants will be selected to participate in one of the morning hunts.

Family-Outdoors...a website designed to help folks enjoy the outdoors

Enhanced by Zemanta


Three types of small lead sinkersImage via Wikipedia
Ruling follows August denial to ban lead bullets
WASHINGTON, DC — On Nov. 11, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that they had denied a petition calling for a ban on the manufacture, use, and processing of lead in fishing gear. This decision follows an earlier denial of a petition to ban all lead shot and bullets.
On August 3, the American Bird Conservancy and a number of other groups petitioned EPA under Section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to "prohibit the manufacture, processing, and distribution in commerce of lead for shot, bullets, and fishing sinkers." On August 27, EPA denied the portion of the petition relating to lead in ammunition because the agency does not have the legal authority to regulate this type of product under TSCA.
In a letter to the petitioners, EPA indicated that the petitioners have not demonstrated that the requested rule is necessary to protect against an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment, as required by the TSCA. The letter further indicated that the increasing number of limitations on the use of lead fishing gear on some federal and state lands, as well as various education and outreach activities, call into question whether a national ban on lead in fishing gear would be the least burdensome, adequately-protective approach to address the concern, as called for under TSCA. EPA's letter also notes that the prevalence of non-lead alternatives in the marketplace continues to increase.
For detailed information on the petition, go online to .

Enhanced by Zemanta


Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) in Modoc Count...Image via Wikipedia
Hunters, meat processors, food banks provide meals to poor; KDWP offers $2 donation option with permit and license purchases
TONGANOXIE — With the help of hunters, meat processors, and private donors, Kansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry (KSHFH) annually provides thousands of meals to those in need. Just one deer can feed nearly 200 hungry people in the state. In 2009, 1,010 deer were donated through KSHFH, providing nearly 225,000 meals.
The Kansas deer firearm season — Dec. 1-12 this year — is the busiest time for the organization. Hunters donate hundreds of deer and occasionally an elk or even a bison. The organization supplies meat to nearly 100 food banks across the state through cooperating meat processors.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks makes supporting this important program easy. When outdoorsmen and women buy licenses, permits, or stamps, they can donate $2 to fund the program, which the agency collects for KSHFH.
To find the nearest meat processor involved in this program, go online and click on "Lockers." If you plan to take big game to a locker, be sure to contact them as soon as possible after harvest.

Enhanced by Zemanta


Venison from Seasonal Swiss HuntImage via Wikipedia
Shot selection, quick cool-down, clean conditions the key
PRATT — Deer hunters always enjoy the chase, but the ultimate satisfaction of taking a deer can be when the meat is served to family and friends. No hunter wants to waste weeks of practice, scouting, preparation, and bagged game, so once the deer is down and tagged and photos snapped, the work of caring for the meat begins.
No matter the weather, cooling a deer soon after the kill is critical. When weather is mild, hunters must take special care to ensure their hard-earned deer is pleasing table fare, and when cared for correctly, venison provides lean, healthy, gourmet-quality meat.
A quick, clean kill through the lungs or heart is important, and knowing one’s range and equipment combined with careful shot selection are the keys to a good shot. As soon as the deer is recovered, it’s also important to field dress the animal so that the carcass can cool quickly. Be careful to keep dirt, hair, and debris away from exposed meat while dressing and when moving the deer to the vehicle. Those who plan to process their own deer should hang the deer in a clean, cool building. It’s often best to remove the hide so that meat can continue to cool, particularly if the weather is warmer than usual. Hunters who plan to have the deer processed by commercial butchers should contact them as soon as possible to arrange for delivery.
A cool, clean place is essential for butchering. Many hunters like to age their deer, but a cooler is often needed for this. Aging is not necessary, but for those who prefer this method, venison should be aged at 35-39 degrees. Cooler than this, and the meat may freeze; warmer, and the meat may spoil.
With a little extra effort and time, successful deer hunters will enjoy months of rewarding venison meals. Remember: make a clean shot, field dress the deer quickly, cool the meat, and keep it clean.

Enhanced by Zemanta


A white-tailed deerImage via Wikipedia
PRATT — The 2010 Kansas firearm deer season runs Wednesday, Dec. 1, through Sunday, Dec. 12, and hunters are sighting in their rifles and practicing their shooting skills in anticipation of one of the state's favorite hunting seasons. Deer are plentiful, and a good season is expected.
In 2009, KDWP issued more than 80,000 Any-Season White-tailed Either-Sex Deer permits Kansas to residents. In addition, more than 27,000 Nonresident White-tailed Either-Sex Deer permits were issued. Combined with the number of Antlerless-Only Deer game tags issued, more than 174,000 permits and game tags to take deer were issued in Kansas last year, and hunters took approximately 87,000 deer. Kansas firearms deer hunters enjoy a phenomenal success rate of more than 50 percent, and a similar harvest is expected this year.
All deer hunters must have a deer permit to hunt deer in Kansas. Resident hunters 16 to 65 years old must also possess a hunting license, unless exempt by law. Nonresident hunters must apply for a nonresident deer permit in April, and the drawing is held in May. A nonresident hunting license is also required. Hunters must purchase a permit that allows the harvest of an antlered deer before they can purchase a Antlerless-Only White-tailed Deer permit, until after Dec. 30.
Other upcoming deer seasons include a Jan. 1-9, 2011, Extended Firearm Season (antlerless whitetails only) open statewide; a Jan. 10-31 Extended Archery Season (Unit 19, antlerless whitetails only); and a Jan. 10-16 Special Extended Firearm Season (units 7, 8, and 15, antlerless whitetails only). Archery season runs through Dec. 31 (hunter orange required during firearms season).
Resident whitetail deer permits are available online or at license vendors throughout the state. Hunters are reminded that landowner permission is required to hunt any private land, whether that land is posted or not.
The first Kansas deer season in modern times was held in 1965, and less than half of the state was open. Biologists estimated state deer numbers at about 30,000. Thirty-nine hundred permits were issued, and firearms hunters took approximately 1,340 deer. Today, deer can be found throughout the state. Many upland bird hunters are afield at this time, as well, and while they are always urged to wear hunter orange, it is especially important at this time.

Enhanced by Zemanta


Public input sought on Recreational Trails Fund Act projects
PRATT — The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) Trails Advisory Board will hold a public meeting Tuesday, Nov. 30, at the KDWP Operations Office, 512 SE 25th Avenue in Pratt, to discuss projects submitted for funding under the Recreational Trails Fund Act. The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. in the basement conference room. Signs on the premises will provide directions to the meeting room. Persons interested in commenting on projects should attend this meeting. Time for comments will be limited.
For more information, contact Kathy Pritchett, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, 512 SE 25th Avenue, Pratt, Kansas 67124, at 620-672-5911. If notified in advance, the department will have an interpreter available for the hearing impaired. To request an interpreter, call the TDD Service at 1-800-766-3777. An individual with a disability may request other accommodations by contacting Sheila Kemmis, Commission Secretary, at 620-672-5911.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


GPS receivers from Trimble, Garmin und LeicaImage via Wikipedia
KDWP offers Garmin GPS and Google Earth tools to locate Walk-In properties
PRATT — Are you one of those hunters who loves to use technology to help with the hunt? When it comes to finding out where to hunt, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) has just what you’re looking for. Both the Garmin GPS (global positioning) and Google Earth files provided on the KDWP website can help hunters find the locations of KDWP Walk-In Hunting Access (WIHA) properties. For all the details, click KDWP Info/Locations/Hunting & Fishing Maps by County/2010 Fall Hunting Atlas/GPS Information & Files. You’ll find instructions for adding WIHA maps to Garmin GPS units, instructions for adding WIHA to Google Earth (GE), and links for uploading necessary software.
Two different files are available for Garmin units. One file contains only the WIHA tracts and has a transparent background so that it can overlay existing maps (such as TopoUSA Quads). For those who do not have map layers for Kansas already on their GPS units, a second file available for download will add the WIHA tracts and a base map. This file includes all WIHA tracts, streams, lakes, roads, and incorporated cities within Kansas.
Downloading and using Google Earth software requires an active Internet connection. GE is a virtual globe, map, and geographic information program. The basic version of GE is currently available as a free software download. Once installed, GE will automatically connect to Google’s servers each time you open the program, streaming terabytes of geographical data (including seamless imagery) in the format of a 3-D globe to your Internet browser.
The file named “KS_WIHA_Fall_2010” is available for download and allows users to add the tract boundaries for WIHA properties to the digital globe. While the imagery on the 3-D globe is not real-time, it does provide a good idea of the terrain and, to an extent, the land-cover of the WIHA tracts.
WIHA tracts are available only during the access dates indicated on posted signs or in the 2010 Kansas Hunting Atlas, available at any KDWP office. In addition, landowners may opt out of the program after the seasons have started; in this case, signs will be posted marking the area as closed. Aside from access dates, some WIHA tracts have restrictions prohibiting firearm deer hunting. Restrictions will be posted on the areas and will take precedence over those listed or omitted in the maps. Citations can be issued for violating these restrictions. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and avoid entering areas questioned until you have checked with a KDWP official.
For more information, contact Jake George, private lands coordinator, KDWP, 512 SE 25th Ave., Pratt, KS 67124, phone 620-672-0760.
Enhanced by Zemanta


Twenty-five teams, 96 students, 20 high schools display conservation knowledge
GREAT BEND — On Nov. 4, the 12th Annual State Finals ECO-Meet competition was held at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center and Camp Aldrich, northeast of Great Bend in and around Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area. It was a great day for early November, with mild weather despite the typical Kansas wind. The competition proved to be an exciting, hard-fought contest, with the following results:
Overall Team Competition
  • First Place — Blue Valley North High School Team A, Olivia Cowen, Sam Parker, Carrie Remillard, Austin Rice, and team coach Eric Kessler — $300 student scholarship;
  • Second Place — Wakefield High School Team A, Brandi Bergmeier, Josh Keim, Matt Shandy, Spencer Mitchell, and team coaches Alby Adamson and Mark Mohler — $200 student scholarship; and
  • Third Place — Wilson High School Team A, Bryant Davis, Justine Dlabal, Lacey Major, Ashley Zelenka, and team coach Melanie Falcon — $100 student scholarship.
Individual Events
  • Herpetology — 1st Place, Sam Parker, Blue Valley North High School, $200 scholarship -- 2nd Place, Austin Rice, Blue Valley North High School, $100 scholarship;
  • Woodlands Ecosystem —1st Place, Sam Parker, Blue Valley North High School, $200 scholarship -- 2nd Place, Ben Cortes, St. Marys-Colgan High School, $100 scholarship.
Twenty-five teams consisting of 96 students from 20 high schools across the state competed at the event. An additional 10 students qualified as individuals from three other schools in the two test events. Nine Regional qualifying competitions determined who represented each location at the state competition. Regional locations were Wilson Reservoir, Sternberg Museum in Hays, Milford Nature Center, Lakewood Discovery Center in Salina, Great Plains Nature Center in Wichita, Dillon Nature Center in Hutchinson, Prairie Park Nature Center in Lawrence, Southeast Kansas Education Service Center at Greenbush, and Ernie Miller Nature Center in Olathe. The Kansas ECO-meet committee is considering at least two new locations for 2011 regional competitions, so there is potential for continued growth of this program.
Sponsors of the Kansas ECO-Meet include the Kansas Wildscape Foundation; the Kansas Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation; Pepsi Bottling of Hays; Simpson Farm Enterprises of Ransom; Manweiler Chevrolet and Superior/Essex of Hoisington; Great Bend CVB, Barton Community College, Sara Lee Bakery Outlet Store, Doonan Peterbilt/GMC, Wal-Mart, Dillon’s, and Golden Belt Bicycle, all of Great Bend; Marelcy of Hutchinson; Owls Nest Campground of Junction City; Friends of Milford Nature Center; Mid-America Awards of Salina; Goodwin Sporting Goods of Hays; and the Education Section of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) in Pratt.
To view the results from all regional events and the state competition or for more information about Kansas ECO-Meet, go online to or contact Mike Rader at KDWP’s Pratt Operations Office, email or phone 620-672-0708.

Enhanced by Zemanta


pheasantImage via Wikipedia
Military veterans and celebrities to take part in event; Dec. 10 application deadline
GLEN ELDER — On Dec. 18-19, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) and Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors, Inc., will sponsor their annual pheasant hunt for youth and women at Glen Elder Reservoir. The event will begin early on both Saturday and Sunday mornings with a hunter breakfast followed by a pre-hunt safety meeting. Groups of hunters, guides, and mentors will then go to various areas around Glen Elder Reservoir and hunt until noon. A noon meal will also be provided for hunt participants each day.
Women of any age and youth ages 11 through 16 are eligible for this hunt, which is geared toward providing a comfortable and positive hunting environment for new or inexperienced hunters. Previous hunting experience is not required, and some shotguns and ammunition will be provided to applicants who do not have access to their own equipment.
A free trap shoot will be offered on Saturday afternoon from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. west of the Glen Elder Area Office. While designed for new and beginning shooters, the shoot will be open to anyone.
One highlight of this event is that each group will hunt pheasants with a military veteran and celebrity. This guest list is currently being developed, but these individuals may be former athletes, TV personalities, or servicemen and women have recently returned from deployment.
For more information and applications, phone the Glen Elder Area Office at 785-545-3345 (8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays) by Friday, Dec. 10. Forty applicants will be selected to participate in one of the morning hunts.

Enhanced by Zemanta