Saturday, July 30, 2011


Sunflower (Helianthus L).Image via Wikipedia Little River native brings nationwide grant-writing experience to organization
LAWRENCE — Kansas Wildscape Foundation, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to creating and enhancing outdoor opportunities in Kansas, recently named Lynn Gentine as director of development. Gentine will work to advance both development and outreach goals for the foundation. In addition, she will be responsible for operation of Wildscape’s O.K. Kids Program and WildLifer Challenge.
A native of Little River, Gentine has used her grant writing and project-management experience in the Topeka, Las Vegas, and Detroit-Metro areas. As a former employee of the U.S. Forest Service, Gentine worked within the cultural resource management division in Montana, providing project assessments and impact statements. She has a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Kansas.
“I am very excited to have Lynn working with Wildscape as we seek to not only strengthen and grow our existing youth programs but also develop other aspects of our organization,” said Charlie Black, Wildscape executive director. “Wildscape must grow to be effective, and with Lynn's experience, we are heading in the right direction."
The Kansas Wildscape Foundation was founded in 1991, in coordination with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, to identify projects involving all aspects of outdoor recreation and education in Kansas and to fund those projects, in whole or in part, with tax-deductible donations. The foundation was instrumental in funding the $5 million restoration of 2,300 acres of wetlands near Milford Reservoir and is currently raising money to build public-use cabins at state parks throughout Kansas.
Wildscape’s Outdoor Kansas for Kids Program (O.K. Kids) has assisted nearly 50 sites statewide and engages more than 12,000 children and families in outdoor recreational activities each year. The WildLifer Challenge,, was created in 2010 and currently has more than 500 youth enrolled in the fun and simple online program that leads participants to complete outdoor challenges. Visit for more information.


There are imaged colonies of the blue green al...Image via Wikipedia Cheney added to Warning list, Advisory lifted at Perry, conditions improve at Milford
TOPEKA — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is continuing to monitor and test Kansas lakes for the presence of harmful blue-green algae. Blue-green algae are natural, common bacteria in all waters of Kansas. Ordinarily, they are not harmful to humans or aquatic life, but under certain conditions — especially during the heat of the summer — they can multiply rapidly, resulting in a “bloom.” When this happens, blooms may release toxins that are dangerous to fish, pets, and humans. Some algae blooms look like foam or thick slurry. They can be blue, bright green, brown, or red and may look like paint floating on the water. Some blooms may not affect the appearance of the water. At some locations, this summer’s prolonged heat spell may have created better than normal conditions for algae blooms.

Samples from some areas of Cheney Reservoir showed high levels of blue-green algae and prompted KDHE to add Cheney to the Warning list late Friday afternoon. The good news is that the advisories for Perry Lake in Jefferson County and Marion Lake in Marion County have been lifted. Officials still advise lake users to remain alert and use caution. Conditions at Milford Lake in Geary County have improved, and most of Milford Lake has been downgraded to an Advisory. Two areas at Milford are still under a Warning – Wakefield Beach and Timber Creek Ramp.

Based upon the latest sampling results and established health risk levels, KDHE issues Warnings and Advisories. A “Warning” is issued when high levels of toxic blue-green algae have been detected. A “Public Health Warning” indicates that water conditions are unsafe, and direct water contact (wading, skiing, and swimming) should not occur.

Current concentrations of algae in the following waters exceeded the KDHE recommended level of less than 100,000 cells/ml for recreational water use and are currently under Warning:

  • Cheney Reservoir, Kingman, Reno and Sedgwick counties (new listing)
  • Riggs Park Lake, Haysville, Sedgwick County (new listing)
  • Santa Fe Lake Augusta, Butler County;
  • Memorial Park Lake, Great Bend, Barton County;
  • Meade State Lake, Meade County;
  • Milford Lake’s Wakefield Beach (Entire lake is under an Advisory, see below.)
  • Milford Lake’s Timber Creek Ramp (Entire lake is under an Advisory, see below.)

When a warning is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:

  • do not drink lake water;
  • do not swim, wade, or do anything with full-body contact of lake water;
  • clean fish well, consume only the fillet portion, and discard all other parts; and
  • keep pets from having contact with or drinking lake water.

An “advisory is issued when harmful blue-green algae have been detected. A “Public Health Advisory” indicates that a hazardous “condition” exists, but water activities such as boating and fishing may be safe. However, direct contact with water (wading, swimming) is strongly discouraged for people and pets.

KDHE has issued an Advisory for the following Kansas public waters:

  • Big Hill Reservoir, Labette County;
  • Marion County Lake, Marion County;
  • Logan City Lake, Phillips County; and
  • Milford Lake, Geary County

In addition, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:

  • do not drink lake water;
  • clean fish well, consume only the fillet portion, and discard all other parts; and
  • keep pets from having contact with or drinking lake water.

KDHE will continue to monitor these public waters and will update statements as conditions warrant. More information on algae and algae blooms, including up-to-date advisories and warnings, can be found at online at

Friday, July 29, 2011


A campfireImage via Wikipedia Safe Kids Kansas offers families important outdoor safety tips
TOPEKA — Sleeping bag? Check. Hiking boots? Check. Safety guidelines? While the preparations for a family camping, boating, or hiking trip usually include a review of the necessary gear, parents should also review safety guidelines with their children, paying special attention to potential hazards specific to outdoor recreation.
Campfires, portable stoves, heaters, and fuel-burning lanterns all produce carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless and odorless gas that can poison a child very quickly. About 30 campers each year die of CO poisoning in the U.S. Never use any of these devices in an enclosed area, even a tent. In addition, make sure these devices — as well as campfires — are clear of flammable material, from paper napkins to dry grass.
Safe Kids Kansas recommends these safety guidelines around campfires and portable heating devices:
  • keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children;
  • always supervise children near a campfire or portable stove; and
  • keep a bucket of water and a shovel near the fire at all times and extinguish the fire completely before going to sleep or leaving the site.
In addition, when camping and hiking keep these guidelines in mind:
  • keep first aid supplies and emergency phone numbers handy and know where the nearest land-line phone is located;
  • let friends and relatives know where you are going and when you are coming home;
  • never let children hike alone;
  • dress children in layers of clothing to help prevent heat-related illness and hypothermia;
  • do not push kids to go on a longer or more strenuous hike than they can handle;
  • use SPF 15 or higher sunscreen when outside;
  • bring plenty of drinking water or sports drinks and high-energy snacks; and
  • wear hiking boots and clothing that offers protection from scrapes and poisonous plants, as well as insect repellent.
Everyone loves the water in summer, so safety measures are in order here, too. Follow these guidelines whether wading, swimming, or boating:
  • always supervise young children near water;
  • insist that everyone wear personal flotation devices on boats;
  • small children should wear PFDs whenever near open bodies of water;
  • when boating, be able to recognize buoy markings and know how to use proper navigation lights;
  • make sure boats have current safety inspections; and
  • do not overload boats.
For more information about outdoor recreation safety, call 785-296-1223 or visit

Thursday, July 28, 2011


A cell in the Alcatraz federal prisonImage via Wikipedia Cases related to recent convictions originating in Comanche County
WICHITA — Two Texas hunters have been indicted on federal poaching charges, according to U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom. Justin Klein, 29, of Center, Texas, was indicted on three counts of transporting deer across state lines after the deer were illegally taken in Kansas. Johnny Risinger, 43, of Mt. Enterprise, Texas, was indicted on one count of the same offense. The indictments allege the deer were taken in violation of Kansas hunting laws in 2005, 2006, and 2007 in Comanche County, Kansas.
Both men are charged under the Lacey Act, which is a federal law that makes it illegal to knowingly transport or sell in interstate commerce any wildlife taken or possessed in violation of state law or regulation.
The indictments are related to a federal investigation that led to the convictions of James Bobby Butler, Jr., and Marlin Jackson Butler on charges of conspiracy and interstate trafficking of game illegally taken in Kansas. James Butler was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and Marlin Butler was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison.
If convicted, Risinger and Klein face maximum penalties of five years in federal prison and fines as much as $20,000 on each count.


Recurve archers shooting in outdoor competition.Image via Wikipedia Shotgun, rifle, archery shooting and fishing and furharvesting demonstrations highlight event
HAYS — On Aug. 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Hays area conservation groups, businesses, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism will offer a free day of target shooting and outdoor activities for youth ages 17 and younger. Called the 14th Annual Youth Outdoor Festival, the event will be held at the Hays City Sportsmen's Club 1/4 mile north of I-70, Exit 157.
All targets, shooting materials, and equipment will be supplied for the event. Trap, skeet, archery, air rifle/BB gun, muzzleloader, small-bore rifle, computerized laser shot target, and paintball shooting will be offered. Furharvesting demonstrations will complement the event.
This is an excellent opportunity to introduce youth to the world of shooting sports, hunting, and furharvesting. Hunter education certification is not required, but youth participants must be accompanied by an adult. Volunteers specializing in their field of shooting will closely supervise youth at each shooting station. Registration for the event will be completed on site, and participants can enjoy a free lunch.
In addition to the free shooting opportunities and lunch, several door prizes, guns, fishing tackle, and other outdoor equipment will be given away. For more information phone Kent Hensley at 785-726-3212, email, or phone Troy Mattheyer at 785-726-4212.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


The Great Seal of the State of KansasImage via Wikipedia Leon, Salina, Kansas City natives tabbed to replace outgoing commissioners
TOPEKA — Governor Sam Brownback has appointed three new commissioners to the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission. The terms of commissioners Kelly Johnston, Doug Sebelius, and Sheri Wilson expired June 30, 2011, and all have been replaced.
Replacing Johnston, Randy Doll, Leon, is currently the president and managing partner of Doll Real Estate Services, L.L.C. He is a lifelong Kansan and an avid outdoorsman. Doll has over 25 years of experience in business and governmental arenas, giving the commission a well-rounded background that has focused on excellence in performance and quality of product and service.
Replacing Sebelius, Tom Dill, Salina, is currently a financial advisor at Edward Jones. He received his degree in accounting and agricultural economics from Kansas State University. Dill has more than 30 years of bowhunting experience and has incorporated a wildlife and quality deer management program on his farm.
Replacing Wilson is Kansas City native Donald Budd Jr. Budd is an entrepreneur and owner of Budd Enterprises, an agricultural and real estate firm. Budd has been a small business owner in Kansas for more than 30 years. An avid waterfowl and deer hunter, Budd is also a life member of the Kansas Trap Shooters Association and the National Amateur Trap Shooters Association.
Gerald Lauber, Topeka, is the new chairman of the commission, and Frank Meyer, Herington, is vice-chairman.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is administered by Secretary Robin Jennison and is advised by the seven-member Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission. All positions are appointed by the Governor with the commissioners serving staggered four-year terms. Serving as a regulatory body for the agency, the Commission is a non-partisan board — made up of no more than four members of any one political party — that advises the Secretary on planning and policy issues regarding administration of the department.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Algae Close-Up IIImage by Lake Improvement Association via Flickr Perry Reservoir areas reopened; some areas at Milford Reservoir closed
TOPEKA — Blue-green algae are natural, common bacteria in all waters of Kansas. Ordinarily, they are not harmful to humans or aquatic life, but under certain conditions — especially during the heat of the summer — they can multiply rapidly, resulting in a “bloom.” When this happens, blooms may release toxins that are dangerous to fish, pets, and humans. Some algae blooms look like foam or a thick slurry. They can be blue, bright green, brown, or red and may look like paint floating on the water. Some blooms may not affect the appearance of the water. Algae blooms should be considered Nature’s warning signs saying, “Stay out of the water.”
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) samples recreational bodies of water for blue-green algae when they are alerted to a potential algae bloom. When problems arise, they cooperate with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) and federal officials to inform the public.
Based upon the latest sampling results and established health risk levels, KDHE is currently issuing warnings and advisories, and lake users should understand these two terms.
A “warning” is issued when high levels of toxic blue-green algae have been detected. A “Public Health Warning” indicates that water conditions are unsafe, and direct water contact (wading, skiing, and swimming) should be avoided. Current concentrations of algae in the following waters exceeded the KDHE recommended level of less than 100,000 cells/ml for recreational water use and are currently under warning:
  • Milford Lake (new listing);
  • Santa Fe Lake in Augusta (new listing);
  • Marion County Lake;
  • Memorial Park Lake, Great Bend, Barton County; and
  • Meade State Lake, Meade County.
When a warning is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:
  • do not drink lake water;
  • avoid swimming, wading, or other activities with full-body contact of lake water;
  • clean fish well, consume only the fillet portion, and discard all other parts; and
  • keep pets from having contact with or drinking lake water.
As a result of the warning at Milford Reservoir, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and KDWPT have closed Military Marina Cove/Boat Ramp, Timber Creek Boat Ramp, Milford State Park Swim Beach, and Wakefield Boat Ramp Area/Swim Beach. Milford Reservoir is open, and the parks, marinas, and lakeside businesses around Milford Reservoir are open for business as usual, including camping and other recreational activities. The drinking water and showers are safe and not affected by the algae bloom.
An “advisory is issued when harmful blue-green algae have been detected. A “Public Health Advisory” indicates that a hazardous “condition” exists, but water activities such as boating and fishing may be safe. However, direct contact with water (wading, swimming) is strongly discouraged for people and pets.
KDHE has issue an advisory for the following Kansas public waters:
  • Big Hill Reservoir, Labette County;
  • Perry Reservoir (the entire lake), Jefferson County;
  • Marion Reservoir, Marion County;
  • Old Herington City Lake, Dickinson County; and
  • Logan City Lake, Phillips County.
In addition, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:
  • do not drink lake water;
  • clean fish well, consume only the fillet portion, and discard all other parts; and
  • keep pets from having contact with or drinking lake water.
Previous warnings for Perry Lake Rock Creek Arm and the Perry Lake Old Town Public Use Area on Perry Reservoir have been lifted. Perry Reservoir remains under an advisory status, but the lake and Perry Lake State Park Swim Beach have reopened.
KDHE will continue to monitor these public waters and will update statements as conditions warrant. More information on algae and algae blooms, including up-to-date advisories and warnings, can be found at online at


PheasantImage via Wikipedia Jacobs sees Kansas as national model for upland habitat and conservation
ELLIS — Pheasants Forever has named Tony Jacobs of Wichita as the organization’s new regional representative for western Kansas. Jacobs will raise funds for wildlife habitat and conservation education working with local, state, and federal natural resources agencies on behalf of Kansas Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever chapters.
Jacobs looks to grow Pheasants Forever’s presence in Kansas, which is currently home to more than 50 Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever chapters and nearly 7,000 Pheasants Forever and/or Quail Forever members. Due in part to strides made by Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, and their partners, Kansas is recognized as a national leader in upland hunting opportunities. Jacobs, a lifelong pheasant hunter, wants to continue this trend by working with regional and national partners to improve and increase the amount of quality habitat for both upland birds and upland hunters.
"This state has such a great hunting heritage, so it’s important that we get out on the ground and provide more high-quality habitat for pheasants and quail populations," Jacobs says. "It’s an uphill battle in a lot of the country, but here in Kansas we have the opportunity to showcase what is possible when time, talent, and resources are dedicated to wildlife and habitat conservation. I am very proud to be a part of the nation's leading upland conservation organization, and I look forward to fostering, promoting, and growing the Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever mission.”
Pheasants Forever empowers county and local chapters with the responsibility to determine how 100 percent of their locally-raised conservation funds will be spent. As a result, chapter volunteers are able to see the fruits of their efforts locally while belonging to a larger national organization with a voice in federal and state conservation policy.
Jacobs earned a B.S. in hospitality management from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Friends University. He will work out of his office in Ellis and can be reached at 785-764-6240.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Trego County, KansasImage via Wikipedia Youth ages 10-16 invited to participate in guided hunt
ELLIS — Thanks to the success of last year’s TJ’s Memorial Youth Deer Hunt, Hunting Heritage Group and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) will host the 5th Annual TJ’s Memorial Youth Deer Hunt during the special youth and disabled hunting season. This year, the hunt will be held Sept. 10-11. Hunters will hunt from a blind with an experienced guide/mentor on private land that adjoins Cedar Bluff Wildlife Area, in Trego County. Two young hunters will hunt in specially-designated areas on Cedar Bluff Wildlife Area.
The first morning will consist of classroom instruction along with a trip to the range to sight in rifles. Once rifles are sighted in and everyone has had lunch, guides and youth hunters will go afield. All hunters will return to the meeting area that evening. Those youth who are unsuccessful that day will be invited to hunt the following day.
Youth participants for this hunt must be residents of Kansas ages 10 through 16. In addition, candidates for the hunt must complete and submit an application form by August 13. Application forms may be obtained at the KDWPT website, (type “TJ’s” in the search box) or by contacting Natural Resource Officer II Jason Hawman at 785-743-2942. There is no charge for the hunt.
Special hunts like this are part of the Kansas Hunter Recruitment and Retention Program called "PASS IT ON." This program addresses the need to recruit new hunters and retain existing hunters in order to ensure the future of hunting in Kansas.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Kanopolis State Park. I took this myself. Cate...Image via Wikipedia Coca-Cola project to present $500,000 to park voted best in nation
TOPEKA — Every summer, families from around the nation visit Kansas state parks to camp, boat, fish, and just have a great time together. Parks are important for an active, healthy lifestyle. To encourage people to visit parks and also help their favorite park receive badly needed additional funding, Coca-Cola is sponsoring the second annual America Is Your Park campaign.
Through Sept. 6, Kansas state park enthusiasts have the chance to support their favorite state park with just the click of a button. Visit to vote for your favorite park, and the park with the most votes wins the title of “America’s Favorite Park,” along with a $100,000 recreation grant from the Coca-Cola Live Positively initiative. The second-place park wins a $50,000 grant, and the third-place park gets a $25,000 grant. Coca-Cola is providing these recreation grants to parks around the country to help restore, rebuild, or enhance activity areas in the park
How to Vote
From now through Sept. 6, visit to vote for your chosen park to win big. Show your support by voting in the following ways:
  • vote online at, or click on the Coca-Cola logo on the KDWPT website, to visit the Live Positively site;
  • upload photos from your favorite park to;
  • check in through Facebook Places from your favorite park; and
  • upload videos of activities in your favorite park to (starting Aug. 10).
You can also visit to download and share videos featuring fitness icon Jake Steinfeld, founder of “Body By Jake,” and popular TV and radio host Ryan Seacrest.
Spreading the Word also has digital toolkit materials you can use to get your community involved, including the following:
  • sample Facebook and Twitter posts;
  • an article that you can adapt and place in your community newspaper, blogs and/or newsletters ; and
  • downloadable poster to print and hang in your favorite park to encourage people to vote.
Kansas state parks are great places for families to be active and have fun this summer. So get out and bike, hike, swim, fish, or play games – just get active in the park!


Anas discors (Blue-winged Teal), St Mary's Wet...Image via WikipediaPRATT — Duck hunters will find plenty to cheer about in the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) annual breeding population and habitat survey, released in early July. Conducted each May by USFWS and the Canadian Wildlife Service, this year’s survey reveals the second-highest pond count and a record 45.6 million ducks, the most since the survey was started in 1955. Blue-winged teal, shovelers, and redheads soared to record levels, and mallard, pintail, canvasback, and gadwall numbers rose substantially from 2010.
Across the U.S. side of the region, the last three years have been the wettest since pond counts began. The 3.2 million ponds inventoried in the U.S. this spring were the most on record. The 4.9 million ponds in prairie Canada were 43 percent more than the long-term average, which dates back to 1955, and brings the total pond count across the traditional survey area to 8.1 million, second only to the 8.3 million recorded in 1974.
Not surprisingly, all that water attracted a record number of ducks. The 12.5 million breeding ducks that settled in the eastern half of the Dakotas was the most ever and was 172 percent above average.
The Canadian prairies got drenched this year and also attracted significantly more ducks than last year. Alberta saw a 60-percent jump in pond numbers and 66 percent more ducks; Manitoba was 72 percent wetter with 41 percent more ducks; and Saskatchewan’s pond count rose 18 percent and attracted 56 percent more ducks.
Species reaching all-time highs include blue-winged teal at a whopping 8.9 million, northern shovelers at 4.6 million, and redheads at 1.4 million. Mallards improved to 9.2 million; pintails jumped to 4.4 million, the highest level since 1980; gadwalls rose to 3.3 million; canvasbacks climbed to 692,000, and scaup improved slightly to 4.3 million. Only American wigeon and green-winged teal saw declines although green-winged teal are still well above their long-term average.
The following chart reveals the changes in number of ponds from last year, as well as the changes in numbers of the 10 most common duck species in the Central Flyway, as well as the change from long-term averages.

Species 2011 (millions) 2010 % Change from 2010 % Change long-term ave.
May Ponds (U.S. & Can.) 8.132* 6.665 +22 +62
Total Ducks 45.554* 40.895 +11 +35
Mallard 9.183* 8.430 +9 +22
Gadwall 3.257 2.977 +9 +80
American Wigeon 2.084 2.425 -14 -20
Green-winged teal 2.900 3.476 -17 +47
Blue-winged teal 8.948* 6.329 +41 +91
Northern shoveler 4.641 4.057 +14 +98
Northern Pintail 4.429* 3.509 +26 +10
Redhead 1.356 1.064 +27 +106
Canvasback 0.692 0.585 +18 +21
Scaup 4.319 4.244 +2 -15

*Indicates significant change from 2010
An uninterrupted wet cycle that began in the U.S. in 1994, millions of acres of dense nesting cover provided by the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), and an outbreak of mange that has kept fox numbers in check are factors contributing unprecedented duck numbers in recent years.
The importance of CRP on the U.S. side of the “duck factory” becomes more apparent with each passing breeding season. For the third year in a row, more pintails settled in the eastern Dakotas (1.5 million) than in prairie Saskatchewan (1.1 million). Pintail numbers in the eastern Dakotas were a whopping 209 percent higher than average. The 8.9 million blue-wings were the most ever, and 61 percent of those ducks set up housekeeping on the U.S. side of the region. Redheads have also taken advantage of nesting conditions in the U.S. The 1.4 million breeders recorded this year set yet another record, and 654,000 of them — 241 percent more than average — settled in the U.S. Northern shovelers also set a record at 4.6 million, 98 percent higher than the long-term average. Shoveler numbers actually dropped across the eastern Dakotas, but rose dramatically in the prairie provinces and the western Dakotas.
The mallard breeding population rose less than some observers expected, still a very respectable 9.2 million, with 3.4 million of those in the U.S. Surveyors counted 18 percent more canvasbacks than a year ago; gadwalls were the third highest ever; and scaup climbed to the highest level since 1999, which is still 15 percent below average.
Species of concern are the American wigeon, which fell 14 percent from last year to 2.1 million and is now 20 percent below average, and green-winged teal, off 17 percent to 2.9 million but still 47 percent higher than average.
While the USFWS Fall Flight Forecast has yet to be completed, the number of nesting ducks bodes well for strong numbers once birds migrate south in the fall. Kansas hunters only need to hope for rain to ensure that birds stop as they migrate south this fall.


Clouds in northeastern KansasImage via Wikipedia KDWP offers youth, novice hunts of a lifetime; first application deadline Aug. 15
PRATT — The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Special Hunts Program offers a variety of limited hunts, many designed to introduce youth and novices to hunting in an uncrowded setting with good opportunity for success. Three types of hunts are offered: youth hunts, mentor hunts, and open hunts.
New this year is that only youth will be able to apply for youth hunts. KDWPT will no longer consider an application from an applicant over the age restriction for a youth hunt. Mentors may apply for youth/mentor hunts. Open hunts are open to anyone, and some non-draw special hunts are also offered.
Also new this year is that applicants for draw hunts are required to choose the dates they want for special hunts. In the past, the choice of “Any” was offered, but this is no longer an option. Hunters must select the hunt dates that are offered.
The first application deadline — for special hunts in September and October — is midnight Aug. 14. A random drawing for these hunts will occur the week of Aug. 15, with email notification to successful applicants. The permit and map will be included with this email notification.
The application period for November, December, and January hunts will begin Sept. 1 and run through midnight Sept. 30, with the draw occurring the week of Oct. 3. Successful applicants for these hunts will also receive email notification with a permit and map.
Each special hunt targets specific game species, including doves, upland game, waterfowl, and deer. Some take place during the special youth/disabled deer season Sept. 10-18, some during the youth upland game season Nov. 5-6, and others during special youth waterfowl seasons, which have yet to be set. Still others occur during regular hunting seasons. Special hunts will be conducted in all regions of the state on both public and private land.
Youth hunts are generally open to hunters 15 or younger who must be accompanied by an adult 18 or older, who may not hunt. Mentor hunts are open to youth 17 or younger or anyone who hasn’t hunted in the last three years, and each must be accompanied by a licensed adult mentor. Mentors may participate in mentor hunts. Requirements for each special hunt are outlined in the hunt narratives on the website.
Many veteran hunters find new satisfaction in serving as mentors, introducing a relative, friend, or neighbor to the wonder of the hunt in a wildlife-rich setting. Parents or grandparents may take children or grandchildren who have never hunted but are now showing an interest, but mentors and novices do not have to be related.
Hunter education is not required for youth 15 and younger accompanied by an adult 18 or older. However, persons 16 and older must have a hunting license and hunter education certification. Those 16 and older who do not have hunter education may still participate by obtaining a one-time apprentice hunting license, which exempts them from the hunter education requirement through the calendar year in which it is purchased.
For more detailed information or to apply, go online to and click "Hunting/Special Hunts Information." Those who do not have computer access may apply by telephone at 620-672-0791.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae): Arthrospira ...Image via Wikipedia Blue-green algae look like simple aquatic plants but they’re really a type of bacteria called Cyanobacteria. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) samples recreational bodies of water for blue-green algae when they are alerted to a potential algae bloom. Contact with high concentrations of the cyanobacteria can cause illness. KDHE issues a Public Health Advisory or Public Health Warning based on either the presence of a certain toxin or on the number of cyanobacteria cells in the water.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT); the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation cooperate with KDHE when an Advisory or Warning is issued to alert the public about potentially harmful algae blooms.

Important Information

KDHE Blue-Green Algae News Releases


The Great Seal of the State of KansasImage via Wikipedia Improved course offers access from KDWPT’s website
PRATT — For several years, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Hunter Education Program has offered a two-part alternative to the all-classroom hunter education course, called an “Internet-assisted” course. The course has used the International Hunter Education Association’s Internet program for the first portion of the class — the online portion — but now the agency has replaced this with its own internet-assisted portion of the class.
For Internet-assisted courses, all students must complete an online course before they can attend a field day and testing session, which is the second portion of the course. To begin, go to the Internet assisted field day and testing schedule link found on the KDWPT website, under “Other Services/Education/Hunter/Internet-assisted Course.” Then click the buffalo logo to find contact information for a field day that fits the student’s schedule. After registering for the field day and testing session of choice, the student is ready to begin the course.
Within 90 days of the chosen session, students log onto the KDWPT website listed above. Students need access to a printer to work through this course. As each chapter is completed, students answer the review questions for that chapter and print the page with answers. These must be brought to the second portion of the course, the field day and testing session.
The end of the online portion of the course features a course completion test. This test is important because students see the same material covered on the pretest required to continue the course with the field day and testing session. Students cannot access the completion test until they have completed all the chapter review questions. They must present these chapter review pages and the course completion test to the instructor to get into the field day and testing session. The whole process takes a few hours, from the comfort of home.
The next step is to show up at the designated field day and final testing site. First, students hand in their online tests and take a 25-question quiz to show that they have completed the online work. To continue with the course, students must correctly answer 22 of 25 questions, an easy task for anyone who has gone through the online material. Following the short quiz, students will spend a short time in the classroom discussing hunter ethics, laws, and game identification. Then it’s outside for the rest of the day as they participate in a simulated hunting trail walk, firearm handling, and live fire. The trail walk and live fire shotgun training are required.
The Internet-assisted course format is designed to meet the needs of those individuals with conflicting schedules. Like the traditional course, there is no required fee to take the KDWPT online course. KDWPT does accept two alternative Internet-assisted portions of the course, both of which charge a fee and may be linked to from the KDWPT Hunter Education page online.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Steven Sparks, 13, son of Ralph Sparks, manpow...Image via Wikipedia Postponed earlier because of high water, event now good to go
GLEN ELDER — Due to high water levels at Glen Elder Reservoir, the 7th Annual Glen Elder Youth Fishing Tournament, originally scheduled for June 4, was postponed until July 23. While the Marina boat ramp will be closed, the Osage, Granite Creek, Walnut Creek, Schoen’s Cove, and North Fork boat ramps will be open. The marina boat slips should also be reinstalled by then with all of the boats back in place.
The schedule of events will remain the same for July 23, with registration at the park office between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. and fishing until 3 p.m. Anyone who had originally signed up for the fishing tournament will still be on the list for July 23. Those who cannot make that date (kids or drivers) are asked to notify staff by phoning the park office at 785-545-3345.


PheasantImage via Wikipedia Western Kansas has one of strongest breeding populations in history; breeding season drought may offset good news
PRATT — Following the outstanding 2010-2011 pheasant season, spring surveys revealed good pheasant populations going into the 2011 nesting season. From April 25-May 15, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) conducted its annual spring survey of pheasants. As the mating season approaches, roosters increase crowing, and KDWP staff drive established routes to listen for the birds. Pheasant routes are set up along 20-mile transects, with at least 2 miles between each of 11 stops. At stops, observers listen for two minutes and count all the audible two-note crows heard from male pheasants. The average number of crows per stop across each management region is calculated and used to assess how population numbers have changed from previous years.
Observers start listening at the first stop along each route beginning 45 minutes before sunrise and progressing along the route until all 11 stops have been surveyed. Noise interference is taken into consideration, and data is censored if the observer feels noise is inhibiting their ability to count crows. Data from this survey, combined with the summer brood count survey in August and a rural mail carrier survey, helps determine the outlook for the fall pheasant hunting season.
All 62 established routes were surveyed this year, and an average of 20.5 crows were counted per station, an apparent increase of 17 percent from 2010, which is not considered statistically different.
The spring pheasant survey results can represent two important life stages for pheasant populations in Kansas. Changes in spring survey indices can reflect over-winter survival for a population. Often, winter can be a bottleneck for some upland game populations. However, in western Kansas, winters are often much more mild than more northern latitudes, and pheasant survival is usually high throughout much of the state. When this is the case, spring surveys can also reflect the reproductive success of the previous breeding season.
In the 2010 breeding season, pheasant productivity was high across most of the state, which carried over to the 2011 Pheasant Crow Count because of a fairly mild winter for Kansas’ best pheasant range. The southcentral and northeastern parts of the state showed declines, likely due to poor productivity last summer as a result of less than ideal weather conditions in those areas. Northeast Kansas has also had some severe winters recently, which has suppressed populations.
Overall, western Kansas has one of the strongest pheasant breeding populations in its history this year, which is reflected by the extremely high crow counts for 2011. However, extreme drought has created unfavorable breeding season conditions across most of southwestern and southcentral Kansas. Thus, the 2011 fall pheasant population will likely be down substantially from last fall in those areas. Conditions appear to have been much more favorable for productivity in other regions of the state, but it is still too early to make accurate predictions about the fall population in those areas.
Across Kansas’ pheasant range, those areas with good interspersion of grassland and cropland showed the highest densities of pheasants again this spring. Many of the hens in these regions use green wheat for nesting, and the condition of the wheat crop usually has a strong influence on pheasant productivity. The wheat crop was generally poor across western Kansas this year, which meant less vertical structure for nest concealment and an early harvest date. The early harvest likely increased direct mortality of nests and young from farm equipment. Additionally, the ongoing drought in that region will also negatively affect chick survival because dry conditions reduce the availability of insects, which are the primary food source for those developing young.
KDWPT’s late summer brood surveys in July and August will provide better projections of fall populations.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Lesser Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicin...Image via Wikipedia
Computer modeling system reveals previously unknown breeding grounds
PRATT — The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) recently used Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) modeling software to target searches for lesser prairie chicken leks (breeding grounds) outside their current range in northwest Kansas. MaxEnt modeling can identify areas with a high probability of lek occurrence by analyzing presence-only data (not absence data), making it an ideal method for analyzing lek survey data.
"We used MaxEnt to identify areas that had a relatively high probability of occurrence outside the lesser’s known range and targeted those areas to survey," says Jim Pitman, small game coordinator for KDWPT. "Finding chickens outside the known range allows us to more accurately delineate the range and better target conservation programs to ensure they are being implemented in areas where chickens have the best chance to benefit."
The targeted surveys were successful in locating new lek sites and resulted in KDWPT extending the historic lesser prairie chicken range 30 miles north. Despite high winds making it difficult to detect leks, the biologists found both lesser and greater prairie chickens and greater/lesser prairie chicken hybrids, called "guessers," present on 11 leks well outside the current known range of the species. They also located 23 leks occupied solely by greater prairie chickens and three leks in which species composition could not be identified.
To determine the probability of lek occurrence, the MaxEnt model compares a given set of landscape characteristics at known lek sites to areas where lek occurrence is unknown. The landscape characteristics include features that could influence lek site selection by the lesser prairie chicken, such as vegetation type, anthropogenic features, and elevation. The results showed that both biological type — such as vegetation — and anthropogenic features — such as highways — were important in predicting where leks occur.
To identify areas for new lek surveys, the MaxEnt results were filtered to include only areas with a high probability of lek occurrence that overlapped native grassland or CRP in Ellis, Trego, Graham, Sheridan, Rawlins, and Thomas counties. These high-probability areas were then connected creating 15- to 20-mile routes that biologists could search.
Historically, the lesser prairie chicken was found throughout western Kansas, but over time its range receded due to habitat loss and degradation. The federal Conservation Reserve Program is given much credit for the species’ apparent stability in western Kansas, and the new software model is helping identify the extent of that stability, or perhaps even growth.
"MaxEnt is working really well, and we feel comfortable that this model is doing a good job of predicting where lessers occur," Pitman explains. "Since we don’t have the manpower to survey every square inch of potential range, MaxEnt will be very useful for targeting our surveys, and most importantly, conservation programs in the future."
Because of the success of the KDWPT MaxEnt model, the Western Governors Association (WGA) is supporting state wildlife agencies from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado in developing a range-wide lesser prairie chicken support system that incorporates MaxEnt modeling results, along with other products.

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Bullfrog Season

Bullfrog - Rana catesbeianaImage via Wikipedia
Season runs July 1-Oct. 31; fishing license required
PRATT — As the old song goes, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog, was a good friend of mine...” Well, no one’s planning on eating Jeremiah, but he’d probably make some mighty fine fry. And for those who think viewing bullfrogs as drinking buddies is absurd, they’re right. But hunting them is a great way to beat the summer heat in the cool of the night with a fun outdoor adventure for young and old alike. And the resulting table fare will make the most hardcore “oldies” fan get up and dance. So get ready to boogie; the season begins July 1.

Bullfrog hunting, or "frogging," as many people call it, is a great way to enjoy the outdoors after days have sweltered close to 100 degrees through much of June. The freedom of summer nights beckons with the call of the bullfrog in July. At this time, shorts and a T-shirt are all that's needed to cool off in the water and pursue this popular quarry.

Froggers enjoy a season that runs July 1 through Oct. 31 although most frogging activity is in the hotter months of July and August. The daily creel limit is eight, with a possession limit of 24. While bullfrogs may be taken by hook and line, dip net, gig, bow and arrow, or crossbow (firearms not allowed), many froggers prefer to take them by hand. All that's needed is a flashlight or headlamp, a mesh sack, an old pair of tennis shoes, and some stealth. The only other necessary ingredient is access to a local pond, lake, or stream. A valid fishing license is needed, if required by law.

The best method is to walk quietly through the water at night and shine a bright light along the bank until a pair of glowing eyes appear. Temporarily blinded by the light, frogs can be grabbed or netted.

The fruits of this effort are not only fun times but good food. Frog legs are regarded as a delicacy and have a taste and texture resembling a cross of shrimp and fish. A popular way to cook them is to dip the legs in egg and then into a mixture of flour and corn meal, seasoning salt, and pepper. Then the legs are fried to a golden brown in oil. This gourmet meal is a bonus to a great summer evening that both kids and adults will always remember.
Add a great old Three Dog Night song written by Hoyt Axton, and you’ll be singing “joy to the world.”

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Sunday, July 3, 2011


State parks are perfect venue for July 4 outdoor fun, but check local regulations on fireworks
PRATT—Baseball; apple pie; red, white and blue; and state parks – what could be more American? The July Fourth Holiday weekend is a big one for Kansas’ 26 state parks. Kansans love summer outdoor fun, and it’s a time-honored tradition to celebrate our nation’s birthday outdoors with family and friends. Kansas state parks are popular because most have easy access to lakes and host a variety of other outdoor recreation opportunities. Some parks also host spectacular fireworks displays for patrons to enjoy. However, if you want to shoot your own fireworks, check the list below or call the park office first. For safety and fire risk reasons, many parks do not allow personal fireworks, and those that do have designated areas for shooting them. Below is a list of state parks with events and personal fireworks policies.
Cedar Bluff State Park will host a fireworks show on July 3. No personal fireworks allowed.
Cheney State Park: No personal fireworks allowed.
Clinton State Park: No personal fireworks allowed.
Crawford State Park will host a fireworks show along with homemade ice cream, pie, free watermelon, face painting, kids games and a live band on July 2. No personal fireworks allowed.
Cross Timbers State Park will host a fireworks show on July 2. No personal fireworks allowed.
Eisenhower State Park: No personal fireworks allowed.
El Dorado State Park: No personal fireworks allowed.
Elk City State Park: Personal fireworks are allowed only in parking lot near entrance.
Fall River State Park: No personal fireworks allowed.
Glen Elder State Park will host a public fireworks show on July 3. No personal fireworks allowed.
Hillsdale State Park: No personal fireworks allowed.
Kanopolis State Park patrons can enjoy a fireworks display at the Tower Harbor Marina on July 2. No personal fireworks allowed.
Kaw River State Park: No personal fireworks allowed.
Lovewell State Park: Personal fireworks are allowed on July 2-3 in Pioneer Playground only.
Meade State Park: No personal fireworks allowed.
Milford State Park: No personal fireworks allowed.
Mushroom Rock State Park: No personal fireworks allowed.
Perry State Park: Personal fireworks are allowed July 1-4 only in the Lakeview Boat Ramp area until 11:00 p.m. each day.
Pomona State Park will feature a band and fireworks show at the marina on July 2. No personal fireworks allowed.
Prairie Dog State Park will host a fireworks show on July 4 with watermelon feed and music beginning at 8:00 p.m. No personal fireworks allowed.
Prairie Spirit Trail State Park: No personal fireworks allowed.
Sandhills State Park: No personal fireworks allowed.
Scott State Park: No personal fireworks allowed.
Tuttle Creek State Park: No personal fireworks allowed.
Webster State Park: Personal fireworks allowed July 1-4 in designated areas only -- Townsite Beach and Goose Flats Boat Ramp.
Wilson State Park visitors can view a fireworks show sponsored by the Wilson Lake Homeowners Association from the Otoe Area on July 2. No personal fireworks allowed.
For more information on Kansas state parks and contact information for each state park office, go to It’s always a good idea to call the park office before you visit to learn more about events, site availability and current conditions.

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Saturday, July 2, 2011


Apply online for Elk and Firearm Either-Species/Either-Sex deer permits
PRATT — The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) reminds resident hunters that 2011 Firearm Either-Species/Either-Sex Deer permit applications are due July 8. Applications are available online and must be submitted online or by phone, 620-672-0728. No paper mail-in applications will be accepted. These permits allow firearm hunters to take a mule deer or white-tailed deer of either sex. General resident permits cost $37.50. Landowner/tenant permits cost $22.50, plus internet processing fees. Unsuccessful applicants will be charged a $6.50 application fee and receive one preference point for next year's drawing.
There are two mule deer zones for resident firearm hunters. In the West Zone (Deer Management Units 1, 2, 17, and 18), 1,290 permits are allocated. In the East Zone (Deer Management Units 3, 4, 5, 7, and 16), 1,000 permits are allocated.
Applications for limited resident elk permits valid in units 2A (Ft. Riley), 2, and 3 (most of Morton County closed) are also due July 8 through online application. Ten Either-Sex and 15 Antlerless-Only Elk permits are allocated for this drawing.
A unlimited number of Hunt-Own-Land Antlerless Only Elk and Hunt-Own-Land Either Sex Elk permits will be available for most of Kansas, except a portion of Morton County, which is closed to elk hunting. A Hunt-Own-Land Elk permit is valid during any elk season, and the bag limit is one elk as specified on the permit. These permits will be available July 25, 2011, through March 14, 2012.
An unlimited number of general resident Antlerless-Only Elk permits and Either-Sex Elk permits will be available over the counter. These permits are valid in Unit 3 (most of Kansas except Fort Riley and Morton County) only. The bag limit for each unlimited over-the-counter elk permit will be one elk as specified on the permit. These permits are also available July 25, 2011, through March 14, 2012. While most elk in Kansas inhabit the Fort Riley area, some small populations may be found in western Kansas on private land. KDWPT recommends that hunters make sure they have permission to hunt before purchasing a permit.
General resident Either-Sex Elk permits cost $252.50, and landowner/tenant Either-Sex permits are $127.50. General resident Antlerless-Only Elk permits cost $102.50. Landowner/tenant Antlerless-Only Elk permits are $52.50. The fee to apply for an elk permit is $7.69. Those unsuccessful in the drawing for limited permits valid on Fort Riley will receive a bonus point.
Applicants for limited elk permits valid on Fort Riley must apply online or by phone, 620-672-0728, by July 8. For more information, visit the KDWPT website,, or phone the nearest agency office. Elk and deer season information may be found on the website at Hunting/When to Hunt/Big Game.

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