Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Regular season April 13-May 31; youth/disabled, archery seasons April 1-12
PRATT — The chill of winter clings to the Kansas landscape, but avid outdoorsmen and women are already preparing for spring turkey season, which runs April 1-12 for archery-only and youth/disabled hunters and April 13-May 31 for everyone. The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks makes early preparation easier by offering spring turkey permits online in January.
Turkey permits allow hunters to use a shotgun, crossbow, or bow throughout the April 13-May 31 season. Resident youth permits are valid statewide, including Unit 4, and a turkey permit/game tag combination is available through March 31 at a reduced price. By purchasing the combination early, hunters save $7.50 over the cost of purchasing each separately after March 31.
Turkey permits for units 1, 2, and 3 may be purchased online from the Kansas KDWP website,, or from license vendors across the state. In addition, hunters may apply online for resident-only, limited-draw permits in Unit 4 (southwest Kansas). A total of 500 permits will be issued for Unit 4. Fifty percent of these permits are reserved for applicants who qualify as landowner/tenants in that unit. Applications for Unit 4 permits must be received online or by phone at 620-672-0728 no later than Feb. 18. There will be no paper applications or mail-in forms. All draw applications must be submitted through the online application process or by phone.
In addition, any individual with a spring turkey permit may purchase one game tag valid only in Units 2 and 3.
Archery hunters, anyone 16 years old or younger, and those with disability permits may hunt April 1-12. (All youth must have an adult supervisor during the youth season.) Hunters younger than 16 are not required to have hunter education certification to hunt while they are supervised by a person 18 or older, but they must have a turkey permit. During the regular season, persons age 12 and older may hunt without adult supervision if they have completed a certified hunter education course. Hunter education certification may not be obtained until age 11, and all hunters younger than 12 must have adult supervision to hunt at any time. Hunters who are 16 must have a valid Kansas hunting license.
Huntable populations of wild turkeys exist in nearly every Kansas county. The Rio Grande subspecies dominates the western two-thirds of the state, and the eastern subspecies is common in the eastern regions. Hybrid Rio Grande/eastern birds may be found where the two ranges converge.
Spring turkey permit and game tags fees are as follow:
  • Resident General permit — $22.50;
  • Resident Combo permit/game tag (available through March 31) — $27.50;
  • Resident Youth permit — $12.50;
  • Resident Youth Combo permit/game tag (available through March 31) — $17.50;
  • Resident game tag — $12.50;
  • Landowner/Tenant permit — $12.50;
  • Landowner/Tenant Combo permit/game tag — $17.50 (available through March 31);
  • Nonresident General permit — $32.50;
  • Nonresident Combo permit/game tag (available through March 31) — $47.50;
  • Nonresident game tag­ — $22.50;
  • Unit 4 Resident General permit­ — $27.50;
  • Unit 4 Resident Landowner/Tenant Permit — $17.50; and
  • Unit 4 Preference Point — $6.50.
A Spring Turkey Atlas showing all public hunting lands and spring Walk-In Hunting Access (WIHA) lands will be available at KDWP offices and the KDWP website in late March.

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Popular Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program now offered twice a year; applications for spring workshop now being accepted
PRATT — The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks' (KDWP) Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program has become so popular that KDWP is offering a second, spring workshop to complement the traditional fall workshop that has been offered each year since 1994. This year’s spring workshop will be held May 13, 14, and 15 at Rock Springs 4-H Center, near Junction City, the same location as the fall workshop.
The program is designed to provide women a chance to learn about hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation in a friendly, supportive environment. During the three-day workshop, volunteer instructors teach participants a variety of skills, including fishing, wingshooting, camping, orienteering, rifle marksmanship, botany, dog handling, archery, and more.
“The fact that we have been filled to capacity three months before the fall workshop for the past two years demonstrates how much this fun and educational program connects women with the outdoors," says Ross Robins, KDWP's Education Section chief. "It also reflects well on long-time program coordinator Jami McCabe and on the skill and experience of our volunteer instructors.”
Studies have shown that many women do not participate in outdoor recreation because they have not had an opportunity to learn the skills that make outdoor activities enjoyable. The popularity of BOW proves that when given the opportunity, many women take advantage of it with enthusiasm. Women who participate in this program learn the outdoor skills that allow them to fully enjoy the natural environment while building self-confidence.
Registration for the May 2011 workshop is now open. The deadline for registration is April 15. Women wishing to ensure themselves a spot should mark their calendars and register early. For more information, go online or phone 620-672-5911.

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Excellent waterfowl, small game, upland game, more await winter hunters
PRATT — Upland bird and waterfowl seasons have been open for more than two months, but there’s still time for quality hunts. Quail, pheasant, prairie chicken (Northwest and East units), and fall turkey seasons are open through Jan. 31, and rabbit and squirrel seasons provide additional opportunities for the avid hunter.
Late-season hunting is a great time to go afield; hunting spots are uncrowded, and weather may cause birds to hold in heavier cover, making dogs a real asset. In most areas, crops have been cut, concentrating birds in draws and thick grass, such as CRP. Late-migrating geese and ducks, especially mallards, are often abundant where open water can be found. And as hunting pressure eases, private landowners are often more receptive to hunters looking for new places to pursue game.
Heavy pressure can make public hunting areas less desirable than private land in early seasons, but public areas may provide better hunting in late season. Wildlife management practices on public lands usually provide excellent cover and food supplies, making them good late-season options as hunting pressure decreases.
Hunters looking for a place to stay can rent one of more than 90 cabins at state parks and wildlife areas across the state. Most cabins are open year-round and provide a range of amenities, many with full bathrooms and kitchens. Click "Cabin Reservations" in the upper right-hand corner of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks website,, for more information.
A number of opportunities await hunters this winter. Those seasons still open or opening soon include the following:
  • ducks High Plains Zone (west of U.S. 283) — Jan. 22-30;
  • ducks Late Zone — Jan. 22-30;
  • Canada geese (including Brant) — through Feb. 13;
  • white-fronted geese — Feb. 5-13;
  • light geese — through Feb. 13;
  • Light Goose Conservation Order — Feb. 14-April 30;
  • pheasant and quail — through Jan. 31;
  • prairie chicken (Northwest and East units) — through Jan. 31;
  • fall turkey — through Jan. 31;
  • exotic dove (Eurasian collared and ringed turtle) — through Feb. 28;
  • squirrel — through Feb. 28;
  • rabbit — year-round;
  • extended archery antlerless only whitetail deer (management Unit 19 only) — through Jan. 31;
  • coyote — year-round;
  • furbearer hunting and trapping — through Feb. 15; and
  • beaver trapping — through March 31.
Sometimes the best things are saved for last. This winter, make it so with a late-season Kansas hunt. For detailed information, consult the Kansas Hunting & Furharvesting Regulations Summary, available at most license vendors, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks offices, or online

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Where to fish, how to fish legally, what’s new for 2011 included
PRATT — Printed copies of the 2011 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summarybooklet are now available at offices of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) or wherever licenses are sold, the agency has announced. Copies may also be downloaded from the KDWP website, Click the “Fishing” icon at the top of the page, then “Fishing Regulations” in the left-hand column.
Among other things, the publication lists new regulations that took effect Jan. 1, 2011. From new regulations expanding handfishing for flathead catfish to weigh-in regulations for black bass tournaments, the booklet has everything the angler needs to know during the 2011 fishing year.
The booklet also provides the latest information about aquatic nuisance species (ANS) in Kansas waters. Two pages are dedicated to this subject, complete with detailed illustrations and tips on how to prevent the spread of ANS plants, mollusks, and fish.
Anglers who want to contact a district fisheries biologist will find a listing of names and phone numbers of the nearest biologist, as well as regional supervisors. A listing of natural resource officer contacts is also included.

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Seven permits to be sold to raise money for conservation projects
LAWRENCE — Seven Kansas conservation organizations were awarded 2011 Commission Big Game permits in a drawing conducted at the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission meeting Jan. 6 at the Dole Institute, 2350 Petefish Drive in Lawrence. Ninety-one eligible applications were submitted for the seven available permits.
Winners of the permits include the following:
Qualified applicants must be local nonprofit conservation organizations or Kansas chapters of national organizations based or operating in Kansas that actively promote wildlife conservation and the hunting and fishing heritage.
Commission Big Game permits were first awarded in 2006. Winners purchase the permits and typically auction them at their respective conventions and banquets to raise funds for conservation projects. After a permit is sold by an organization, the amount of the permit is subtracted, and 85 percent of the proceeds are sent to KDWP to be used on approved projects. After the projects are approved, the money is sent back to the organization for the project. The other 15 percent may be spent at the organization’s discretion.
Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks regulations allow someone who buys a Commission Big Game permit at auction to also purchase another deer permit valid for an antlered deer or, if the Commission Big Game permit is for an elk, to also draw (or have drawn in the past) an antlered elk permit. These would be the only situations in which an individual could have valid permits for two buck deer in one year, or to have previously drawn an antlered elk permit and still be able to obtain another one. One antelope and one elk Commission Big Game permit are offered in the drawing.
In 2010, permits were won by two National Wildlife Federation Chapters — Bonner Springs (elk permit sold for $9,500) and Mound City (deer permit sold for $5,500); Ottawa Pheasants Forever (deer permit sold for $3,500); Oberlin Gun Club (deer permit sold for $5,500); Ark Valley Ducks Unlimited (deer permit sold for $5,500); National Mule Deer Foundation (deer permit sold for $14,000); and Cowley County Friends of NRA (deer permit sold for $3,500). The permits sold for $47,000 — just $2,000 shy of the record, the first year the drawing was held.

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Small wildlife enhancement project application deadline Feb. 18
PRATT — The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) Chickadee Checkoff Program has funded hundreds of nongame species projects through the years. These range in scope from small species survey projects of $500 or less to efforts of $100,000 or more using matching federal funding sources such as the Endangered Species Act and the State Wildlife Grants Program.
This small grants program reserves $20,000 of annual contributions to the Chickadee Checkoff for small grant projects. As in the case for large projects as well, these small grant project proposals (for up to $5,000) must address elements in Kansas' Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan (CWCP), "A Future for Kansas Wildlife," or identified elements in endangered species recovery plans and prioritized issues for this year’s small grants funding, which include the following:
  • refinement of bird and bat monitoring efforts, particularly related to wind power development and gray myotis bat populations in Kansas; and
  • characterization of the micro-habitat of the Scott optioservus riffle beetle (an endangered species found only at Scott State Park in Scott County).
For information on the Chickadee Checkoff Program, go to the KDWP website,, then click “Other Services/Wildlife Diversity/Chickadee Checkoff.” More information on the Kansas CWCP may be found by clicking “Other Services/Kansas CWCP” on the KDWP website.
Applications should be no longer than two pages and include project title, name of applicant and contact information, purpose of the project, and how the project relates to the stated priorities and “A Future for Kansas Wildlife.”
Proposals may be submitted online or emailed to Ken Brunson, wildlife diversity coordinator, at or phone Brunson at 620-672-0792. The deadline for submission is Feb. 18. Requests may be made to fund a portion or all of a proposed project.

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Free salvage permit required; salvage allowed from Jan. 15-Feb. 15
TOPKEA — Before leaving office Jan. 11, former Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks Secretary (KDWP) Mike Hayden issued a mussel salvage order for Toronto Reservoir due to low water conditions. The lake is currently 2.5 feet low, and many mussels have been stranded along the exposed banks of the reservoir. The order will be in force from Jan. 15 to Feb. 15.
To salvage mussels, people must apply for a free salvage permit from the KDWP Pratt Operations Office; phone 620-672-5911 and ask for the Fisheries Division. Only dead shells of mapleleaf, bleufer, threeridge, and three-horn wary-back mussels on the exposed banks of the reservoir may be collected. After collections are completed, individuals will be required to obtain a holding permit from their local natural resource officer. A commercial harvest permit will be required if they wish to later sell the shells.
A list of natural resource officers by county may be found in the 2011 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary, available at the KDWP website,, or wherever fishing licenses are sold.

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Kansas Historical Marker at Big Basin Prairie ...Image via Wikipedia
Program provides technical assistance and financial incentives to enhance wildlife habitat on private land in Kansas; March 31 deadline
PRATT — Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) officials have announced the State Wildlife Grant (SWG) Private Landowner Program has, to date, awarded $235,444 of SWG funds to 22 private landowners. Projects funded include removing invasive woody plants from native mixed-grass prairie, constructing alternate watering facilities to help with native short-grass prairie management, and construction of perimeter fencing on expiring CRP fields to help maintain those fields in native grass. These projects will improve more than 5,000 acres of habitat for “species of greatest conservation need” (SGCN) in Kansas.
KDWP originally received $400,000 of SWG funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to aid in the protection and management of priority habitats for SGCN, so applications are still being accepted, with a deadline of March 31. This is the third sign-up for this project during which KDWP may distribute the remaining $164,556 from the original $400,000 of SWG funds and an additional $83,000 in non-federal funds to private landowners interested in implementing habitat projects.
Those landowners receiving funding will be required to match a minimum of 25 percent of total project costs. This match can either be a cash contribution from a non-federal source or contributions of labor, materials, or equipment use.
Applications will be accepted until available funds have been committed.
To be eligible, applications must address issues and strategies identified in the Kansas Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan, found on the KDWP website,, under “Other Services/Kansas CWCP/Kansas CWCP.” Applications will be scored based on established criteria to ensure all applicants are considered fairly and that the highest ranking projects are selected. Higher priority consideration will be given to proposals that specifically address restoration and enhancement activities that will contribute to the development or maintenance of large grassland blocks capable of supporting area-sensitive wildlife species, the restoration or maintenance of areas supporting high densities of playa lakes surrounded by grasslands, and the restoration or enhancement of streams and associated riparian buffers.
Interested landowners should contact any KDWP regional office or private lands biologist for application materials or to schedule a consultation concerning a proposed project. Questions regarding program administration can be addressed to Roger Wolfe, KDWP Region 2 Office, 300 SW Wanamaker Road, Topeka, KS 66606, or by phoning 785-271-7388. Persons with special communication needs may use the Kansas Relay Center, 1-800-766-3777.

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Comments on Draft Environmental Assessment on Farming and the Use of Glyphosate-tolerant Corn and Soybeans on National Wildlife Refuge System Lands

In the picture you can see a wheat field at dawn.Image via WikipediaThe Midwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is inviting public comment on a draft Environmental Assessment that considers two issues: 1) the use of row crop farming as a technique to manage National Wildlife Refuge System lands in the Midwest Region, and 2) the use of glyphosate-tolerant corn and soybeans on these lands.
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Latest rules; how, where, and what to fish for; much more included
PRATT — Printed copies of the 2011 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary booklet will be available in early Jan., according to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP). Among other things, the publication lists new regulations that take effect Jan. 1, 2011. From new regulations expanding handfishing for flathead catfish to weigh-in regulations for black bass tournaments, the booklet has everything the angler needs to begin the New Year right.
The following information details Kansas fishing regulation changes for 2011:
Fishing where Kansas and Missouri share a common Missouri River boundary
  • five fish daily creel limit on blue catfish, and flathead catfish;
  • 15-inch minimum length limit and 10 fish daily creel limit on channel catfish;
  • 15-inch minimum length limit on sauger and walleye;
  • 15 fish daily creel limit on yellow bass, striped bass, white bass, and their hybrids, single species or in combination;
  • two fish daily creel limit on paddlefish; and
  • six fish daily creel limit on black bass (largemouth, spotted, and smallmouth bass; single species or in combination).
Black bass tournaments
Anglers holding a Tournament Black Bass Pass (TBBP) during a weigh-in tournament are allowed to cull fish once they have reached their five-fish daily creel limit. In addition, they may possess two short bass over 15 inches on waters with special length limits above the statewide 15-inch minimum length limit (to be released after weigh-in) from Sept. 1 through June 15. Only five fish may be kept.
District fisheries newsletters
Anglers can sign-up to receive seasonal email newsletters produced by district fisheries biologists. Go to, click on the “Fishing” link at the top of the page, then click on the “Newsletter Request Forms” in the Fishing Quick Links box on the right-hand side of the page.
Handfishing, for flathead catfish only, is legal from sunrise to sunset June 15 through Aug. 31 on the entire length of the Arkansas River in Kansas, all federal reservoirs from beyond 150 yards of the dam to the upper end of the federal property, and on the Kansas River from its origin downstream to its confluence with the Missouri River.
Resident youth multi-year license
A multi-year resident youth hunting and/or fishing license is valid from time of purchase through the year the holder turns 21. The new youth licenses will be valid for youth age 16 through 20 years of age and offers considerable savings. The one-time purchase, multi-year youth fishing or hunting license is $40. Combination license is $70.
Trout fishing
Four new Type 2 locations have been added: Holton-Elkhorn Lake, Atchison City Lake #1, Syracuse-Sam’s Pond, and Belleville City Lake (Rocky Pond). The Cimarron Grasslands Pits will change from a Type 1 Water to a Type 2 Water. (From Oct. 15-April 15, Type 1 waters stocked with trout require a $12.50 trout permit for fishing. Type 2 waters require a trout permit only for anglers fishing for or possessing trout.)
The 2011 booklet also features state park and cabin information and detailed regulations for each body of water managed by KDWP.
In addition, a full-color fish identification guide lists all the state's sportfish, complete with text descriptions and detailed illustrations by renowned fish illustrator Joseph Tomelleri. Look-alike species are grouped together with complementary text to help the angler discern the difference between such closely-related species as white bass and wipers; blue catfish and channel catfish; the state's three black basses; black and white crappie; and pallid, shovelnose, and lake sturgeon.
The booklet also provides the latest information about aquatic nuisance species (ANS) in Kansas waters. Two pages are dedicated to this subject, complete with detailed illustrations and tips on how to prevent the spread of ANS plants, mollusks, and fish.
Anglers who want to contact a district fisheries biologist will find a listing of names and phone numbers of the nearest biologist, as well as regional supervisors. A listing of natural resource officer contacts is also included.
For more information, contact the nearest KDWP office, pick up a copy of the 2011 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary wherever licenses are sold in early Jan. Copies may also be downloaded from the KDWP website,, in early Jan.. Click the “Fishing” icon at the top of the page, then “Fishing Regulations” in the left-hand column.
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Live streaming audio available; turkey, big game regulations highlight workshop
TOPEKA — The Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission will conduct a public meeting and hearing on Thursday, Jan. 6, at the Dole Institute, 2350 Petefish Drive in Lawrence. The afternoon session will begin at 1:30 p.m. and recess at 5 p.m., and the evening session will begin at 7 p.m. For the first time ever, live streaming audio of the meeting will be broadcast over the internet. A link will be provided on the KDWP website,, for anyone who wants to follow along with the proceedings.
The afternoon session will begin with an overview of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks’ (KDWP) 2011 Kansas legislative agenda, followed by a general discussion period on the following topics:
  • Commissioner Big Game permit update and drawing;
  • Kanopolis trapping update;
  • mountain lion sighting update;
  • Outdoor Recreation Management System (ORMS) update;
  • Kansas Wildlifer Challenge program;
  • natural resource planner demonstration; and
  • firearm magazine capacity request.
The afternoon will also include a workshop session discussion, in preparation for potential future regulatory action, of preliminary recommendations on the following topics:
  • KAR 115-25-5 — turkey, fall season, bag limit, and permits;
  • KAR 115-25-7 — antelope, open season, bag limit, and permits; and
  • KAR 115-25-8 — elk, open season, bag limit, and permits.
The commission will recess at 5 p.m., then reconvene at 7 p.m. at the same location to continue the workshop session, then complete the evening with a public hearing on regulations. Evening workshop session topics include the following:
  • KAR 115-25-Series – deer regulations;
  • big game permanent regulations;
  • potential regulation changes to address aquatic nuisance species; and
  • KAR 115-16-5 — wildlife control permit, operation requirements.
The evening will wrap up with a public hearing on Secretary’s Orders for Free Park Entrance and Free Fishing days.
Time will be set aside in both the afternoon and evening sessions for public comment on topics that are not on the agenda. If necessary, the commission will recess on Jan. 6 and reconvene at the same location at 9 a.m., Jan. 7, to complete unfinished business.
If notified in advance, the department will have an interpreter available for the hearing impaired. To request an interpreter, call the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at 1-800-432-0698. Any individual with a disability may request other accommodations by contacting the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission secretary at 620-672-5911.
The next commission meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 10, at the KDWP Region 2 Office, 300 SW Wanamaker Road in Topeka.
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Three whitetail antlerless deer seasons usher in the New Year
PRATT — The regular Kansas firearm deer season is over and archery deer season closes Dec. 31, but deer hunters can still look forward to hunting one or more of three January whitetail antlerless-only seasons. The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) will conduct an extended firearm whitetail antlerless season Jan. 1-9 (open statewide); a special extended firearm whitetail antlerless season Jan. 10-Jan. 16 (open in Units 7, 8, and 15 only); and an archery extended whitetail antlerless season Jan. 10-31 (in Unit 19 only).
Many hunters who did not fill a deer permit during one of the regular 2010 seasons (muzzleloader, early firearm, archery, regular firearm) may use that permit during these seasons. However, all permits revert to Antlerless-Only White-tailed Deer permits, and unit restrictions listed on the permit apply.
For those who have not purchased a permit but would like to hunt the January season, Antlerless-Only White-tailed Deer permits for the Jan. 1-9 season may be purchased through Jan. 8. For the Jan. 10-16 season, permits may be purchased through Jan. 15, and for the extended archery season, permits may be purchased through Jan. 30. After Dec. 30, hunters may purchase whitetail antlerless permits without first purchasing an antlered deer permit.
These rules are clarified in the 2010 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary, available wherever licenses are sold or online at
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Search for drowning victim prompts lowering of lake level
TULSA — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced that the lake level at John Redmond Reservoir is being lowered approximately 2 feet below normal conservation pool level to help facilitate recovery efforts of a drowning victim missing since Dec. 4, 2010. Current releases are 5,000 cubic feet per second, and the drawdown is expected to be completed by late Jan. 5 or early Thursday, Jan 6.
Increased flows downstream of the dam will cause Neosho River levels to rise quickly. Recreational users of the lake should also be aware because lower than normal lake elevations may expose boating hazards around the lake that may have been submerged with normal water elevations. Boaters are urged to use caution while launching boats and while on the lake.
For more information about current lake levels, visit the Water Control Data System or the daily report link under the Lakes and River Information section of the Corps of Engineers Tulsa District website,
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Popular annual bird watchers' event Jan. 13-16
PRATT — For many people, Christmas and New Year’s festivities are followed by weeks of letdown and gloomy weather. But for those who feed birds in their backyards, winter in Kansas is a joy, and the pleasure is multiplied for those who participate in the Kansas Winter Bird Feeder Survey.
As snow and frigid winter temperatures entice finches, cardinals, juncos, woodpeckers, and a variety of other birds to backyard bird feeders across the state, both avid and casual bird watchers participate in the Kansas Winter Bird Feeder Survey. The Winter Bird Feeder Survey is a partnership among the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP), the Kansas Ornithological Society, and Kansas University Center for Science Education (KUSCIED). It is sponsored by the Chickadee Checkoff Program and helps biologists monitor songbird species.
This year, Kansas bird watchers are asked to choose two consecutive days from Jan. 13-16, then observe and record the number and species of birds visiting their backyard feeders. Watchers then report the results online at KUSCIED’s website,, or go to the KDWP website for a hard copy form that can be mailed. Information gleaned from this survey helps KDWP track songbird population trends and types of feed that are most attractive to backyard birds. This long-term survey was expanded several years ago through the University of Kansas to include surveys around the nation. Information is reported by state, so Kansas results are separate.
During the two days viewers choose, they record the times of day observed, list the numbers of each species seen, and describe their feeders using the online or printed form. In spaces provided, they list the highest number of each species seen together at any one time. For example, if 10 juncos are seen at 9 a.m., 11 at noon, and seven at 4 p.m., the number recorded is 11.
Observers are asked to count only during the two consecutive days and record only birds seen at their feeders, under their feeders, or in cover around their feeders. Birds that fly past a house and do not use feeding areas should not be counted.
For more information, phone 620-672-0792.
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Eagle Days organized to educate participants about state’s largest raptor
PRATT — Perhaps nothing piques the interests of both novice and seasoned Kansas bird watchers more than the sight of the nation’s symbol, the bald eagle. While some bald eagles nest in Kansas, numbers often surge during January and February, providing excellent opportunities to observe these magnificent raptors. To improve bald eagle viewing opportunities, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) — in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and local Audubon chapters — has scheduled a number of "Eagle Days" across the state.
The Tuttle Creek 2011 Eagle Day will be held Jan. 8 from 9 a.m. until approximately noon. The program is free and open to the public. Participants will meet at in the large assembly room at the Manhattan Fire station, 2000 Denison (the corner of Denison and Kimball) in Manhattan. At that time, Dan Mulhern, biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will offer a short presentation on the nesting habits of bald eagles in Kansas. Pat Silovsky, director of KDWP’s Milford Nature Center, will then display several live raptors in her discussion of eagles and other birds of prey.
Following the two presentations at the fire station, members of the Northern Flint Hills Audubon Society will take participants on a bus tour through the area downstream of Tuttle Creek Dam, with the goal of watching bald eagles in the wild.
All participants should dress appropriately for the weather. Everyone is encouraged to bring binoculars, spotting scopes, and cameras. Sponsors of the bus service include the Northern Flint Hills Audubon Society and the Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau. For more information, phone Steve Prockish at 785-539-8511, ext. 3167.
Similar Eagle Days events are scheduled at the following locations:
  • F.L. Schlagle Library on Wyandotte Lake on Jan. 15, phone 913-299-2384;
  • Milford Reservoir on Jan. 15-16, phone 785-238-5323;
  • Lawrence Free State High School, 6th and Wakarusa in Lawrence, on Jan. 23, phone 785-843-7665; and
  • Chaplin Nature Center, 27814 27th Drive in Arkansas City, on Jan. 29 and Feb. 5, phone 316-442-4233.
KDWP staff are reporting eagles at El Dorado State Park, but no events are scheduled. Eagles frequent several large reservoirs in eastern Kansas, and other Eagle Days may be scheduled in the near future. For more information, contact the nearest office of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

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White-tailed deer taken in Decatur County Nov. 7; complete results due in spring
PRATT — The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) has announced the first confirmed case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) found in a deer taken during a 2010 deer season. The animal was the only one of 90 tested by KDWP as of Dec. 8 to show a “presumptive positive” result. Samples of deer tissue taken by KDWP are sent to the K-State Diagnostic Veterinary Lab in Manhattan for preliminary testing. If the K-State lab determines the sample is a presumptive positive, the sample is then sent to the National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, Iowa, for confirmation.
This deer was a 3 ½-year-old male taken in Decatur County by an archery hunter on Nov. 7. Because samples from the January whitetail antlerless only seasons have yet to be collected, complete results of testing won’t be available until March. Last year, 2,738 animals were tested for CWD, including 17 elk, 289 mule deer, and 2,428 white-tailed deer, and four unknown species. Of those samples, 15 were confirmed positive.
Annual testing is part of ongoing effort by KDWP to monitor the prevalence and spread of CWD. The fatal disease was first detected in a wild deer taken in Cheyenne County in 2005. Three infected deer were taken in Decatur County in 2007, 10 tested positive in 2008, and 15 in 2009, all in northwest Kansas.
CWD is a member of the group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Other diseases in this group include scrapie in sheep and goats, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or Mad Cow Disease) in cattle, and Cruetzfeldt-Jacob disease in people. CWD is a progressive, fatal disease that results in small holes developing in the brain, giving it a sponge-like appearance under the microscope. An animal may carry the disease without outward indication but in the later stages, signs may include behavioral changes such as decreased interactions with other animals, listlessness, lowering of the head, weight loss, repetitive walking in set patterns, and a lack of response to humans. Anyone who discovers a sick or suspect deer should contact the nearest KDWP office.
There is no vaccine or other biological method that prevents the spread of CWD. However, there is no evidence that CWD in the natural environment poses a risk to humans or livestock. Still, precautions should be taken. Hunters are advised not to eat meat from animals known to be infected, and common sense precautions are advised when field dressing and processing meat from animals taken in areas where CWD is found. More information on CWD can be found on KDWP’s website, or at the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website,
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While most fish is safe, caution urged for certain species, waters
TOPEKA — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) have issued revised fish consumption advisories for 2011. The advisories identify types of fish that should be eaten in limited quantities or, in some cases, avoided altogether because of contamination found in tested fish. It should be recognized that eating fish is considered an integral part of a healthy and balanced diet. Concerned consumers should educate themselves by seeking further information about the health benefits and risks of eating fish.
The water body-specific advisories listed below are based on mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in fish, lead and cadmium in shellfish, and perchlorate in all forms of aquatic life. Data from most long-term monitoring sites show an overall gradual decline in PCB levels. Although PCBs have not been produced in the U.S. since the 1970s, these compounds degrade very slowly and take decades to be completely removed from the environment. Kansas data show no clear increasing or declining trends in mercury concentrations in fish.
Kansas counties with current fish consumption advisories include Cherokee, Douglas, Johnson, Leavenworth, Reno, Sedgwick and Sumner counties.
Fish consumption advisories are formulated using EPA risk assessment methods. Cancer risk assessment is a method to determine the added increase in cancer levels in a human population if fish in the advisory areas are consumed regularly (one 8-ounce serving per week) over a 70-year period. Assessments that estimate the increased risk of cancer as greater than one in 100,000 persons are regarded as unacceptably high. Risk assessments for contaminants assessed as non-carcinogens (mercury, lead, cadmium) are based on 8-ounce serving size for adults and 4-ounce serving size for children nine to 18 years of age. For further technical information, go online to
Waterbody specific advisories
The Kansas agencies recommend not eating specified fish or aquatic life from the following locations:
  • the Kansas River from Lawrence (below Bowersock Dam) downstream to Eudora at the confluence of the Wakarusa River (Douglas and Leavenworth counties) because of PCB levels in bottom-feeding fish (carp, blue catfish, channel catfish, flathead catfish, freshwater drum, bullheads, sturgeons, buffalos, carpsuckers and other sucker species);
  • Horseshoe Lake located in units 22 and 23 of the Mined Lands Wildlife Area (Cherokee County) for all forms of aquatic life including fish because of perchlorate levels;
  • Spring River from the confluence of Center Creek to the Kansas/Oklahoma border (Cherokee County) for shellfish (mussels, clams, and crayfish) because of lead and cadmium levels;
  • Shoal Creek from the Missouri/Kansas border to Empire Lake (Cherokee County) for shellfish because of lead and cadmium levels;
  • Cow Creek in Hutchinson and downstream to the confluence with the Arkansas River (Reno County) because of PCB levels in bottom-feeding fish; and
  • Arkansas River from the Lincoln Street dam in Wichita downstream to the confluence with Cowskin Creek near Belle Plaine (Sedgwick and Sumner counties) because of PCB levels in bottom-feeding fish.
The agencies recommend restricting consumption of any species of fish from the following locations:
  • Little Arkansas River from the Main Street Bridge immediately west of Valley Center to the confluence with the Arkansas River in Wichita (Sedgwick County) — limit of one 8-ounce serving per month for adults or one 4-ounce serving per month for children for all types of fish because of mercury and PCBs; and
  • Blue River from U.S. 69 Highway to the Kansas/Missouri state line (Johnson County) — limit of one 8-ounce serving per week for adults or one 4-ounce serving per week for children for all types of fish because of mercury.
General advice for eating locally-caught fish
  • women who are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are nursing and parents of children under twelve years of age may wish to consult with their physician about safe levels of fish consumption and mercury exposure. This sensitive group should restrict their total mercury intake as related to both supermarket fish and locally caught species. Kansas recommends that this sensitive group restrict consumption of locally caught fish, from waters not specifically covered by an advisory, to one 8 oz. meal per week for adults or one 4 oz. meal per week for children;
  • people who regularly consume locally caught fish (more than one meal/week) can reduce their mercury intake by limiting their consumption of large predatory fish such as largemouth bass, walleye, and wiper. Larger/older fish of all types are more likely to have higher concentrations of mercury;
  • available data comparing contaminant levels in whole fish versus fillets indicate that higher concentrations of PCBs and some other fat soluble contaminants are associated with whole fish. Kansas recommends avoiding the consumption of parts other than fillets, especially when eating bottom feeding fish; and
  • consumers can reduce their ingestion of fat soluble contaminants such as PCBs by eating fillets only, trimming fat from fillets, and cooking in a manner in which fat drips away from the fillet.
Mercury in Kansas, monitoring efforts and results
Since 2004, KDHE and KDWP have been collecting additional fish tissue samples from both lakes and streams to evaluate mercury levels in Kansas fish. KDHE monitors the listed advisory sites, a number of large river sites, and randomly selected stream and river sites throughout the state each year. KDWP collects samples from the 17 largest and most heavily fished/harvested reservoirs every other year and from a number of randomly selected smaller public fishing lakes each year.
Kansas has decided to include new precautionary statements this year regarding mercury because monitoring results from some randomly selected streams and lakes exceed KDHE’s one-meal-per-week threshold. Advisories are normally based on three-year (six-sample) averages and examination of longer term trends. However, randomly-selected stream and lake sites are sampled only once unless randomly selected again and are used to interpret mercury levels geographically instead of on a site-by-site basis. Kansas lacks the resources to conduct follow-up investigations of all randomly-selected sites that exceed the above mentioned consumption thresholds. Follow-up studies are being conducted and will be conducted at locations where preliminary data indicates the occurrence of unusually high concentrations of mercury in fish.
Details of monitoring efforts and protocols may be found in the Fish Tissue Contaminant Monitoring Program Quality Assurance Monitoring Plan on the KDHE website at .
Information on the Kansas Fish Tissue Contaminant Monitoring Program can be found at . Advisories are also posted on the KDWP website, .
For further information about mercury in fish, national advisories, and advisories in other states, visit the EPA website, .
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