Friday, October 28, 2011

COLD-WATER BOATING REQUIRES ADDED PRECAUTIONS

Life Jacket (PSF)Image via Wikipedia
Anglers and hunters can protect themselves against hypothermia
PRATT — While pleasure boaters have winterized and stored their watercraft, avid waterfowl hunters and cold-weather anglers are gearing up for fall hunting and fishing seasons. But fall can be a dangerous time on the water. Most single-boat accidents take place this time of year, and with water temperatures cooling, these accidents can be deadly.
One common mistake is overloading a small boat with people and equipment. Overloaded boats are unstable and can easily capsize or cause passengers to fall overboard into frigid water. Sudden immersion into cold water delivers a brutal shock to the body, triggering a spontaneous inhalation reflex — deadly if one’s head is under water. But wearing a life jacket can be enough to keep your head above water during an involuntary gasp, keeping lungs from filling with water.
In addition, the body loses heat 25 times faster in water than in air of the same temperature. Hypothermia begins with shivering and a loss of feeling in the extremities. Within minutes of being immersed in cold water, a person can become confused and lose muscle control. By keeping capsized boaters afloat, life jackets also enable them to conserve energy and get out of the water or be rescued.
The following simple steps can make a cold water boating expedition much safer:
  • always wear a life jacket — new styles and camouflage patterns, including float coats, make wearing a life jacket much more comfortable;
  • dress properly for the cold — layered clothing can provide insulation and trap air to hold warmth;
  • avoid cotton clothing — wool and many synthetic materials are good choices, but cotton wicks cold water in toward the body;
  • never boat alone; and
  • let family members or friends know where you’re going and when you plan to return.
Boating can be an excellent way to hunt or fish in cold weather, but be safe. Planning ahead for the possibility of a cold water accident can save a life.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

OCTOBER OPENS BARGAIN SEASON AT KANSAS STATE PARKS

A small, two-person, backpacking tentImage via Wikipedia
Reduced prices, uncrowded conditions make parks attractive in fall and winter
PRATT — If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure bargain close to home, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has a deal for you. The state park off-season runs Oct. 1-March 31, and during this time, you can enjoy parks at reduced prices. Kansas is well into autumn, and many outdoorsmen and women consider this is the best time of year to visit a Kansas state park. Hunters and anglers — and even campers looking for a cool-season adventure — take advantage of these lower prices while relaxing in cool weather and uncrowded conditions.
Hunters and anglers probably use parks more than other visitors during the off-season, and the growing number of cabins in parks makes a stay more inviting — and comfortable. Many cabins provide the amenities of home and proximity to popular outdoor activities. Cabin rental fees vary depending on size, days of the week, and time of year. Visit reserve.ksoutdoors.com for cabin information and reservations.
Standard off-season state park permit fees are as follow:
  • Daily Vehicle permit — $3.70 (senior/disabled, $2.60);
  • Annual Vehicle permit — $19.70 (senior/disabled, $11.10);
  • Daily Camping permit — $7.50; and
  • 14-Day Camping permit — $87.50.
Costs listed include applicable service fees (an online purchase convenience fee is not included). Annual permits purchased in either the off-season or the prime season are valid for the remainder of the calendar year. 2011 permits go on sale Dec. 15.
KDWPT’s Parks Division operates a system of 26 parks. In addition to cabins, most state parks provide utilities and primitive camping and are located adjacent to lakes or reservoirs. Utility fees remain unchanged year-round.
In addition to camping facilities, parks offer boat ramps, courtesy docks, shelter houses, trails, and a variety of other amenities. More information on cabin reservations and state park fees is available at the KDWPT website, www.kdwpt.state.ks.us.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

MOTORISTS BEWARE: DEER ON THE MOVE IN NOVEMBER

Kansas State TrooperImage via Wikipedia
Kansas deer-vehicle collisions peak in November
TOPEKA — Deer can be spotted near Kansas roadways any time of year, but motorists should be especially vigilant in the fall. Deer breeding season, called the “rut,” peaks in mid-November, and this is when deer-vehicle collisions are most likely. That’s why the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), the Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) are working together to raise awareness and help drivers avoid collisions with deer.
According to KDWPT biologist Lloyd Fox, the increase in deer-vehicle crashes at this time of year is strongly influenced by the rut. During rut, deer travel more than in other seasons and pay less attention to hazards such as vehicles. Also during the fall, many deer move to new locations as crops are harvested and leaves fall from trees and shrubs, limiting cover.
Not only are deer more active during the fall, shorter days mean dusk and dawn — when deer are more likely to be on the move — occur when commuter traffic is busiest. According to KDOT spokesperson Steve Swartz, there were 9,109 deer-vehicle collisions reported to KDOT in 2010. Deer-vehicle collisions occur in every Kansas county. In most cases, counties with high human populations and high traffic volumes record the most deer-vehicle crashes. Sedgwick County reported the most crashes with 391, followed by Johnson County with 346 and Butler County with 287.
Motorists should observe the following tips to avoid deer collisions:
  • be especially watchful at dawn and dusk when deer are particularly active;
  • watch for more than one deer — if one crosses the road, others may follow;
  • reduce speed and be alert near wooded areas or green spaces such as parks or golf courses and near water sources such as streams or ponds;
  • don’t swerve to avoid hitting a deer — the most serious accidents occur when motorists swerve and collide with another vehicle or run off the road and hit an obstacle;
  • heed deer crossing signs;
  • always wear a seat belt; and
  • use bright lights and slow down whenever the reflective eyes of deer are spotted.
According to Technical Trooper Josh Kellerman of KHP, if you hit a deer, pull onto the shoulder, turn on your emergency flashers, and watch for traffic before exiting your vehicle. Do not try to remove a deer from the roadway unless you are certain it is dead; an injured deer is dangerous. If you have a cellular phone and are on a Kansas highway, dial *47 (*HP) for a highway patrol dispatcher or *582 (*KTA) for assistance on the Kansas Turnpike, or dial 911 from anywhere.
Anyone involved in a deer-vehicle crash that results in personal injury or property damage that totals $1,000 or more is required to immediately report the crash to the nearest law enforcement agency. Failure to report any traffic accident is a misdemeanor and may result in suspension of driving privileges.
If you are involved in a non-injury crash on an interstate or U.S. highway, or any divided or multi-lane road in the state of Kansas, and if you are not transporting hazardous materials, you are required by law to move your vehicle out of the lane of traffic. This law is intended to help keep drivers and passengers safe by getting them out of the lane of traffic, and away from oncoming vehicles. Make sure you and your passengers are buckled up and are using the appropriate child safety seats, practices which help prevent injuries or death should you be involved in a crash.
For more information, phone Swartz (KDOT) at 785-296-3585 or email stevesw@ksdot.org; Kellerman (KHP) at 785-296-6800; or Ron Kaufman (KDWPT) at 785-296-2870 or email ron.kaufman@ksoutdoors.com.

Monday, October 24, 2011

TROUT SEASON OPEN, SOME STOCKINGS DELAYED


Weather stalls cold-water species stocking
PRATT — From Oct. 15 through April 15, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) stocks rainbow trout in select waters across the state. During this time, some waters stocked with trout require a $12.50 trout permit for all anglers 16 or older, whether they are fishing for trout or not (Type 1 Waters). Other waters require a trout permit only for anglers fishing for or possessing trout (Type 2 Waters).
Type 1 trout waters are Cedar Bluff Stilling Basin, Dodge City Lake Charles, Ft. Scott Gun Park Lake, Garnett Crystal Lake, Glen Elder State Park (SP) Pond, Kanopolis Seep Stream, KDOT East Lake in Wichita, Lake Henry in Clinton SP, Mined Land WA Unit No. 30, Pratt Centennial Pond, Sandsage Bison Range and WA Sandpits, Vic’s Lake and Slough Creek in Sedgwick County Park, Topeka Auburndale Park, Walnut River Area in El Dorado SP, Willow Lake at Tuttle Creek SP, and Webster Stilling Basin.
Type 2 trout waters are Atchison City Lake No. 1, Belleville City Lake (Rocky Pond), Cimarron Grasslands Pits, Ft. Riley Cameron Springs, Ft. Riley Moon Lake, Great Bend Veterans Memorial Park Lake, Holton-Elkhorn Lake, Hutchinson Dillon Nature Center Pond, Lake Shawnee, Salina Lakewood Lake, Scott State Fishing Lake, Scott State Park Pond, Sherman County Smoky Gardens Lake, and Solomon River between Webster Reservoir and Rooks County No. 2 Road, and Syracuse-Sam’s Pond.
Trout fishing at Mined Land Wildlife Area Unit No. 30 requires a trout permit year-round. Trout permits are valid for the calendar year, so permits purchased last January or later are valid through Dec. 31. All residents 16-64 years old and all nonresidents 16 and older must also have a valid fishing license.
The daily creel limit is five trout unless otherwise posted (two trout for anglers 15 and younger who do not have a trout permit). The possession limit is three times the daily creel.
While most designated trout waters in the state will be stocked with trout in time for opening day, the following waters will be delayed (see following text for details):
  • Cedar Bluff Reservoir Stilling Basin;
  • Cimarron Grasslands Fishing Pits;
  • Lake Charles in Dodge City;
  • Glen Elder Park Pond — second week in November;
  • Great Bend Veteran’s Park;
  • Kanopolis Reservoir Seep Stream;
  • Pratt Centennial Pond;
  • Rocky Pond in Belleville — second week in November;
  • Scott State Fishing Lake; and
  • Sedgwick County Park Slough Creek — low water.
Other areas may have to delay stocking, as well. Before a trout fishing expedition, anglers are encouraged to check for updated information on stocking of trout waters by visiting the KDWPT website, www.kdwpt.state.ks.us. Type "trout stocking schedule" in the search box.
As of Oct. 10, the Cedar Bluff Stilling Basin had yet to experience fall turnover, which occurs as surface water cools. When this happens, dissolved oxygen levels in the water can drop, and it takes time for the system to recover and provide conditions safe for trout. Rather than risk a fish kill for newly stocked trout, biologists have decided to delay the stocking. Conditions will be monitored, and if the basin is ready, trout will be stocked in late October.
Trout stocking at Cimarron Grasslands Fishing Pits, Dodge City-Lake Charles, Great Bend Veteran’s Park, Pratt Centennial Pond, and Scott State Fishing Lake will be delayed, but the recent cool weather should allow stocking early during the week of October 17.
The Kanopolis Reservoir Seep Stream is currently laden with duckweed and filamentous algae, creating water-quality problems. The seep stream is closed to all fishing, with plans to stock trout in early November, provided conditions have improved.
Smoky Gardens and the Sand Sage Bison Range Pond are currently dry. Both will need precipitation before trout can be stocked.
The Solomon River above Webster Reservoir is not stocked in the fall, nor is it stocked each year. Stocking is dependent upon flows. In years when flows are adequate, stocking generally occurs in January, February, and March.
The Glen Elder Park Pond is not stocked in October. The first stocking of the season is scheduled for mid-November each year in order to allow time for the water to cool.
Trout permits are available at the KDWPT website, at KDWPT offices, and license vendors.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

ANGLERS TACKLE FALL FISHING

P. annularisImage via Wikipedia

Lull between hunting seasons a great time to be on the water
PRATT — Before long, the Kansas hunting seasons will be in full swing, but there’s still time to enjoy some excellent fishing. There’s a lull after the fast action of the opening dove, early teal, and youth deer and duck seasons, but avid outdoorsman are still itching to get out. This is a time of year when many take advantage of hungry fish, feeding continually in preparation for a long winter. Fall is a great time to be outdoors.

In the state’s larger lakes and reservoirs, gizzard shad are the preferred prey of most sport fish. In the fall, young-of-the-year shad are about 2-3 inches long, and a white or chrome, fat-bodied crankbait is the perfect imitation of a gizzard shad. Cast a deep- or medium-diving crankbait along rocky points and rip-rapped shorelines, and retrieve it quickly, so it gets near the bottom and bounces off the rocks. A deep-diving crankbait may be the best choice even when fishing relatively shallow water. The lure’s long lip deflects off rocks and other snags, and this action can trigger strikes. If the lure does hang up, give it some slack, and it will often float free. Using light monofilament or a small-diameter braided line will allow a crankbait to dive deeper.

Later in fall, when water temperatures cool to the low 50s or high 40s, it’s time to catch Kansas crappie. Reservoir crappie congregate in large schools over deep brushpiles and creek channel dropoffs at this time. Jigs or jigging spoons fished vertically in 12-25 feet of water are most effective. If too many small crappie are biting, try a larger jig with a 2- or 2 1/2-inch shad-type plastic body. The larger bait will more closely resemble shad and may discourage smaller fish. When concentrations of crappie and white bass are found, use landmarks or GPS to mark their location. If the state experiences a frigid winter and safe ice forms, you can return to the spots that held fish before freeze-up and catch them through the ice.

Even though autumn weather may be mild, always wear more layers of clothing than you think necessary when fall fishing. No matter how warm it feels on land, it will be much cooler on the water, especially if the wind blows. And don’t forget to wear a life jacket; it will keep you warm and may save your life.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

FINDING DUCKS IN DRY WEATHER

Male mallard duckImage via Wikipedia
KDWPT waterfowl reports help hunters even when water is scarce
PRATT — Duck seasons in the High Plains and Low Plains Early zone are in full swing, and it won’t be long until hunters are able to pursue their favorite waterfowl statewide. The good news is that record numbers of waterfowl should be migrating through the state, but drought has persisted throughout the summer and into early fall, making Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) waterfowl management areas more important than ever.
KDWPT offers waterfowl reports on its website,www.kdwpt.state.ks.us. Reports on waterfowl numbers, migration status, habitat conditions, hunting success, and phone and email contacts are provided for major public waterfowl hunting areas in the state’s five regions. Waterfowl numbers at these areas can change overnight, so it is recommended that hunters phone area offices for the latest information.
Hunters should note that duck season does not begin in much of central and eastern Kansas until Oct. 29, and not until Nov. 5 in the Southeast Zone (new this year). Consult the KDWPT website or the 2011 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Summary for details on dates and zone boundaries.
Peak migration is still far north of Kansas, but hunters are finding ducks in many areas. As of mid-September to mid-October, KDWPT wildlife areas list the following reports:
Region 1 (northwest Kansas)
  • Cedar Bluff — fair hunting conditions but no flooded shoreline vegetation and about 200 ducks;
  • Glen Elder — fair hunting conditions, exposed mud flats, and approximately 3,000 ducks;
  • Jamestown — good hunting conditions with approximately 500 ducks;
  • Lovewell — reservoir 1.3 feet below conservation pool with very few ducks at this time;
  • Norton — good hunting conditions with some flooded vegetation and about 600 ducks at this time;
  • Smoky Hill/Kanopolis — poor hunting conditions and only about 100 ducks;
  • Webster — water level is about 6.1 feet below conservation pool with only a few ducks; and
  • Wilson — good flooded vegetation and several hundred puddle ducks.
Region 2 (northeast Kansas)
  • Benedictine — good habitat conditions with about 500 teal and some bigger ducks;
  • Clinton — low water and poor hunting conditions with few ducks;
  • Hillsdale — low water and fewer than 100 ducks;
  • Jeffery Energy Center — poor hunting conditions and few ducks;
  • Milford — habitat and food resources scarce in most wetland areas with few ducks on the area;
  • Perry — fair to good hunting conditions with about 640 ducks; and
  • Tuttle Creek — 400-500 ducks but marshes will be full at opener.
Region 3 (southwest Kansas)
  • Cheyenne Bottoms — pools 3B and 4B have been flooded, and 20,000-30,000 are reported;
  • Isabel — main lake full but others dry with about 50 teal and gadwall; and
  • Texas Lake — good hunting conditions with about 300 ducks.
Region 4 (southcentral Kansas)
  • Byron Walker — very dry hunting conditions with no ducks reported at this time;
  • Cheney — poor hunting conditions with about 45 teal reported as of Sept. 23;
  • Council Grove — fair hunting conditions but few ducks so far;
  • El Dorado — poor hunting conditions with no ducks ;
  • Kaw — few ducks and poor hunting conditions;
  • McPherson Valley Wetlands — fair habitat but little water and few ducks;
  • Slate Creek — no ducks and poor hunting conditions; and
  • Marion — poor hunting conditions and no ducks.
Region 5 (southeast Kansas)
  • Elk City — hunting conditions fair but few ducks as of Sept. 20;
  • Fall River — good hunting conditions with about 100 ducks as of Sept. 19;
  • John Redmond — poor hunting conditions as of Sept. 8 with few ducks;
  • Marais des Cygnes — should have fair hunting conditions by late October, 2,000-5,000 ducks reported;
  • Melvern — fair hunting conditions but few ducks as of Sept. 22;
  • Neosho — fair habit conditions with approximately 650 ducks; and
  • Toronto — good hunting conditions but fewer than 100 teal as of Sept 19.
Much more detail is available on the waterfowl reports pages for each of these areas, and as the weather cools and ducks begin moving south in greater numbers, many areas reporting poor conditions could turn into waterfowl hotspots if they receive rainfall. Visit these pages regularly to keep abreast of water conditions and migrations as they unfold. Duck season dates and zones include the following:
  • High Plains Zone — Oct. 8-Jan. 2, 2012, and Jan. 21-29, 2012;
  • Low Plains Early Zone — Oct. 8-Dec. 4, and Dec. 17-Jan. 1, 2012;
  • Low Plains Late Zone — Oct. 29-Jan. 1, 2012, and Jan. 21-29, 2012; and
  • Low Plains Southeast Zone — Nov. 5-Jan. 8, 2012, and Jan. 21-29 2012.
Canada goose season (includes Brant) runs Oct. 29-Nov. 6 and Nov. 9-Feb. 12, 2012. White-fronted goose season runs Oct. 29-Jan. 1, 2012, and Feb. 4-12, 2012. Light goose season runs Oct. 29-Nov. 6 and Nov. 9-Feb. 12, 2012, and a light goose conservation order allows hunting through April 30, 2012.

Friday, October 21, 2011

YOUTH PHEASANT AND QUAIL SEASON NOV. 5-6

Oct. 20, 2011

Youth pheasant and quail season Nov. 5-6; regular season opens Nov. 12

PRATT — Do you know a kid who has never been quail or pheasant hunting but might really like the opportunity? Whether it’s a niece or nephew, son or daughter, or just a young friend, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT) asks you to make a date with a youngster for Nov. 5-6 — the Kansas youth pheasant and quail season. The season is a chance to honor the hunting tradition and “Pass It On” to youth, and many adult hunters also see this as time to stretch their legs, scout fields, and work dogs. But youth are the focus.


During these two days, youth 16 and younger may hunt under the supervision of an adult 18 or older, but the adult may not hunt. It’s a great time to get kids out before the birds are stirred up, improving the opportunity of bagging game in uncrowded conditions. The daily bag limits during this season are two rooster pheasants and four quail (half the regular season limit).


For those who don’t have access to private land to hunt, KDWPT maintains wildlife areas and more than one million acres of Walk-In Hunting Access lands throughout the state. For more information on these areas, go the KDWPT website, www.kdwpt.ks.us, and click “Hunting/Where to Hunt in Kansas.” Explore public wildlife areas throughout the state and download the 2011 Kansas Hunting Atlas, also available in printed form at most license vendors. For information on where the best bird hunting may be found, click on “Hunting/Upland Birds” and go the Upland Bird Regional Forecast.


So there’s no excuse; take a kid pheasant and quail hunting Nov. 5 and 6, and enjoy yourself. If you’re an avid upland bird hunter, you may be back the following Saturday, Nov. 12, when resident and nonresident hunters hit the field for the opening of the regular pheasant and quail seasons, which run through Jan. 31, 2012. Prairie chicken season opens the following Saturday, Nov. 19. This season runs through Jan. 31, 2012, in the Northwest (north of I-70 and west of U.S. 281) and East (all Kansas east of U.S. 281) units. In the Southwest Unit (south of I-70 and west of U.S. 281), prairie chicken season runs Nov. 19 through Dec. 31.


The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) reminds all hunters to avoid standing crops during upland game bird seasons. Although most milo is expected to be harvested before the seasons open this year, some milo and other crops may not, and most farmers do not want these unharvested fields disturbed. Permission is required to hunt private land, whether it is posted or not.


During the regular seasons, the daily bag limit on pheasants is four roosters, and the daily bag on quail is eight birds of either sex. The daily bag limit on prairie chicken in the East and Northwest units is two, and the daily bag in the Southwest Unit is one. The possession limit on all three species is four times the daily bag limit.


A valid Kansas hunting license is required of all residents ages 16 through 64. Nonresidents must purchase a $72.50 nonresident hunting license, except that those nonresidents younger than 16 may purchase a youth nonresident license for $37.50. Anyone born on or after July 1, 1957, must have completed a certified hunter education course, except that youth 15 and younger may hunt under direct adult supervision without hunter education certification. Youth 12 through 15 may hunt without adult supervision (during the regular season only) if they have completed a certified hunter education course. Anyone 16 or older may purchase a one-time deferral of hunter education, called an “apprentice hunting license,” for the same price as a regular hunting license. This license is valid only through the calendar year in which it is purchased, and the holder must be under the direct supervision of a licensed adult 18 or older. A hunting license and hunter education are not required while hunting one’s own land.


For complete hunting regulation information, consult the2011 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary, available wherever licenses are sold or online at the KDWP website under “Hunting/Hunting Regulations.”


“If you were fortunate enough to have been introduced to hunting at an early age, you know the magic,” says KDWPT Information Production Section chief Mike Miller. “It rests in your memories forever, and it drives a basic desire to experience the outdoors each fall. Hunting is a valued natural heritage, but it’s one that must be passed on from one generation to the next. Hunter numbers are decreasing, and younger generations are in danger of missing these treasured experiences. And fewer hunters reduces the financial, social, and political support needed for effective wildlife management. We hope everyone 18 or older who likes to hunt will take a youngster hunting this fall.”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

KDWPT TO AUCTION GARDEN CITY BISON

FAMILY-OUTDOORS

Oct. 20, 2011
Older bulls to be sold through sealed bids submitted to the Pratt Operations Office
GARDEN CITY — In recent years, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT) Sandsage Bison Range, near Garden City, has sold excess animals at an auction in Salina. However, this year, the area has a handful of adult and 3 ½-year-old bulls that must be removed from the herd. Because the Salina auction does not accept bulls older than 2 ½ years, area managers have decided to sell these older bulls through a sealed bid auction.

KDWPT is accepting sealed bids for the purchase of five bison bulls from this herd. Three of the bulls are mature adults 12-13 years old, originating from herds in the Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota and the National Bison Range in Montana. The other two are 3 ½-year-old sub-adults originally from the Ft. Robinson, Neb., herd. All animals will be tested for brucellosis; no other testing will be done.

Bids must be submitted to the Kansas Dept of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Attention: Purchasing, 512 SE 25th Ave., Pratt, KS 67124. Bids may also be faxed to 620-672-6020. Animals will be sold in dollars per pound live weight, so the bidder must indicate the dollars per pound for each animal bid on. Completed bid sheets must be received no later than noon on Friday, Nov. 4. Purchasers may bid on more than one animal, and each animal will be awarded to the highest bidder.

Successful bidders will be notified within seven days, at which time arrangements to pick up the animals will be made with the area manager. The purchaser is responsible for transporting the animals off the bison range. Animals may be picked up from Nov. 18 through Nov. 23. Payment must be cash or personal check if accompanied by notarized authorization letter from the issuing bank. Payment is due at the time of pick up once the animals have been weighed.

For more information, write Tom Norman, Herd Manager, Sandsage Bison Range and Wildlife Area, 785 S. Hwy 83, Garden City, KS 67846, or phone 620-276-8609 or 620-474-3645.

For a bid submittal form or to view photos of these buffalo, go online to http://kdwpt.state.ks.us/news/KDWPT-Info/Locations/Wildlife-Areas/Region-3/Sandsage-Bison-Range/Brochures/Bison-Auction .

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

KDHE LIFTS ADVISORIES AND WARNINGS FROM MILFORD, SOME OTHER WATERS

There are imaged colonies of the blue green al...Image via Wikipedia
Blue-green algae abating with cooler weather
TOPEKA — Recent samples taken by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) have concluded that hazardous blue-green algae levels at Milford Reservoir (Clay, Geary and Dickinson counties); Dillon Park Lake (Hutchinson and Reno counties); Harvey County Camp Hawk Lake (Harvey County); and Santa Fe Lake (Augusta and Butler counties) have abated, and public health advisories and warnings for these waters have been lifted.
“Our testing showed that there are no high areas of concern at the moment,” explained Tom Langer, director for the Bureau of Environmental Health. “That said, if anyone sees green material floating in the water, they, and especially their pets, should avoid it.”
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.
KDHE samples recreational bodies of water for blue-green algae when the agency is alerted to a potential algae bloom. When harmful algae blooms are present, KDHE, in cooperation with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, responds by informing the public of these conditions.
Health effects from exposure to blue-green algae can vary. The most common complaints after recreational exposure include vomiting, diarrhea, skin rashes, eye irritation and respiratory symptoms. These toxins also cause deaths in pets.
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:
  • Warnock Lake, Atchison County (upgraded from an Advisory); and
  • Memorial/Veterans Park Lake — Great Bend, Barton County.
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 with 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:
  • Augusta City Lake — Augusta, Butler County (downgraded from Warning);
  • Logan City Lake — Phillips County (downgraded from Warning);
  • Harvey County West Lake — Harvey County; and
  • Harvey County East Lake, Harvey County.
When a Advisory is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:
  • do not drink lake water;
  • avoid swimming, wading, or other activities with full body contact with 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 www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/index.htm.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

WESTAR ENERGY GREEN TEAM OFFERING YOUTH DEER HUNTS

Modern Hunting Rifle "Heym Keilerb├╝chse"Image via Wikipedia
December and January hunts for youth who have never harvested a deer; application deadline Nov. 2
ST. MARYS — During the regular firearms season — Nov. 30-Dec. 11 — and the extended antlerless whitetail season — Jan. 1-8, 2012 — Westar Energy's Green Team will offer guided deer hunts at Jeffrey Energy Center near St. Marys. The hunts are for youth 12 years and older who have not harvested a deer. Youth must be accompanied by a parent or mentor who, ideally, doesn't have deer hunting experience. The hunt will take place from blinds in mornings or afternoons during the rifle season. Experienced Westar Energy employees will serve as volunteer guides.
Antlerless deer harvest is encouraged (and only antlerless deer are legal during the January season). Youth will need a deer permit, but a hunter education certificate is not required if the youth is 15 or younger. Youth are encouraged to bring their own rifles, but rifles will be provided if needed.
A pre-hunt seminar covering safety, deer biology, and orientation to the area will be held on Saturday, Nov. 19. Rifles can be sighted in then, and guides will be available to answer questions.
Deer are abundant in this area, and success rates are always high. A permit valid in Unit 9 is required for every hunter, but a hunting license is only required for hunters 16 or older. Hunters 16 and older must also have completed a hunter education course. Applications for this hunt will be accepted through Nov. 4, with hunters notified by Nov. 7.
To apply, contact Barb Cornelius at 785-575-8125.

Monday, October 17, 2011

KANOPOLIS SEEP STREAM OPEN FOR FISHING

Rainbow troutImage via Wikipedia
Trout stocking delayed until early November
PRATT — On Oct. 12, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism announced the Oct. 15 opening of trout season with a news release outlining the rules, regulations, and areas that will be stocked with trout, including those waters where stocking will be delayed.

However, there was information indicating that the Kanopolis Seep Stream was closed to all fishing due to water-quality problems. This was in error. The Kanopolis Seep Stream is open to fishing although it won’t be stocked with trout until early November.

Anyone planning to fish Kanopolis Seep Stream for species other than trout before trout are stocked are free to do so with the proper licenses and permits. Kanopolis Seep Stream is a Type 1 water, so a trout permit is required of anglers 16 and older whether fishing for trout or not.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

FALL TURKEY HUNTING: TIME FOR THE BIG BIRDS

Is a photo of a wild turkeyImage via Wikipedia
Wild turkeys offer special fall hunting opportunity
PRATT — The wild turkey was once extirpated from Kansas, but today, wild turkey populations have been growing for years, offering hunters the opportunity to pursue them in fall and spring. While the season opened Oct. 1, it runs long enough to add this traditional game bird to the Thanksgiving and Christmas tables.

All of Kansas except Unit 4 (westcentral and southwestern Kansas) is open to fall hunting, and the seasons are long. This year, the seasons run Oct. 1-Nov. 29, Dec. 12-31, and Jan. 9-31, 2012. One turkey permit per hunter is allowed, valid in Unit 1 (northwestern Kansas), Unit 2 (the eastern one-half of the state), and Unit 3 (central Kansas). In addition, hunters may purchase as many as three additional turkey game tags valid in Unit 2 only. One turkey of either sex may be taken with each permit or tag. Hunters may use legal shotguns or archery equipment.

Unit descriptions may be found in the 2011 Kansas Hunting & Furharvesting Regulations Summary, available at the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) website — www.kdwpt.state.ks.us — KDWPT offices, and license vendors.

October offers some of the best hunting. Turkeys are in small groups, and many young birds have never been hunted. Often, a hunter can stalk the birds or break up a group, then hide and call them back. Public wildlife areas and Walk-In Hunting Access lands often hold large numbers of turkeys in October before hunting pressure moves them to private land.

The combination of good turkey populations, uncrowded hunting, and mild fall weather make October an excellent time to go turkey hunting, or keep a permit in hand while hunting upland game or deer. It's also a good time to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

HAYS AREA TO HOST YOUTH UPLAND, WATERFOWL HUNTS

A duck hunter with three mallards. A Labrador ...Image via Wikipedia
Hunts to include instruction on pointing dogs, field safety, waterfowl hunting, much more
HAYS — On Oct. 29, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), in cooperation with Smoky Hill Pheasants Forever No. 424 and the Hunting Heritage Group Inc. (HHG), will host the sixth annual youth upland hunt in memory of former volunteer Darrell Brown. The event will be held at the Hays City Sportsman’s Club, 5810 230th Avenue in Hays (Exit 157 off I-70).

The hunt is for youth 12 through 18 years old. Each youth hunter will have the opportunity to harvest at least four birds while hunting over seasoned pointing dogs. Upland bird hunters 16 and older must have a valid Kansas hunting license and hunter education certification.
Participants not only hunt but receive instruction on how to hunt with pointing dogs, field safety, hunting dog training, gun handling, how to clean and prepare harvested birds, and what type of habitat to look for when hunting upland birds. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program is also incorporated into the event.

For more information on this hunt, phone natural resource officer Jason Hawman at 785-743-2942. To register for the hunt, phone Shayne Wilson at 785-628-1415, 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. Monday thru Friday. There is no charge for the hunt.

In addition, KDWPT and HHG will host a waterfowl hunt on Oct. 22-23 for youth ages 12 through 18. The event will be held around Cedar Bluff Wildlife Area on both public and private land. Lodging for Oct. 22 will be at the Dream Camp Facility, near Cedar Bluff State Park.
Each hunting group will be accompanied by a guide. In addition to the hunt, participants will enjoy a variety of classes to further understand waterfowl hunting. Youth waterfowl hunters 16 and older must have a valid Kansas hunting license, a Federal Waterfowl Stamp, and Kansas Waterfowl Stamp, a Harvest Information Program (HIP) stamp, and hunter education certification.

To register for this hunt, phone Hawman at 785-483-0504or Jeff Woodworth at 785-650-8263. There is no charge for the hunt, but space is limited.

Special hunts like these 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.

Friday, October 14, 2011

TROUT SEASON OPENS OCT. 15

Rainbow troutImage via Wikipedia
Some stockings delayed because of warm temperatures
PRATT — From Oct. 15 through April 15, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) stocks rainbow trout in select waters across the state. During this time, some waters stocked with trout require a $12.50 trout permit for all anglers 16 or older, whether they are fishing for trout or not (Type 1 Waters). Other waters require a trout permit only for anglers fishing for or possessing trout (Type 2 Waters).

Type 1 trout waters are Cedar Bluff Stilling Basin, Dodge City Lake Charles, Ft. Scott Gun Park Lake, Garnett Crystal Lake, Glen Elder State Park (SP) Pond, Kanopolis Seep Stream, KDOT East Lake in Wichita, Lake Henry in Clinton SP, Mined Land WA Unit No. 30, Pratt Centennial Pond, Sandsage Bison Range and WA Sandpits, Vic’s Lake and Slough Creek in Sedgwick County Park, Topeka Auburndale Park, Walnut River Area in El Dorado SP, Willow Lake at Tuttle Creek SP, and Webster Stilling Basin.

Type 2 trout waters are Atchison City Lake No. 1, Belleville City Lake (Rocky Pond), Cimarron Grasslands Pits, Ft. Riley Cameron Springs, Ft. Riley Moon Lake, Great Bend Veterans Memorial Park Lake, Holton-Elkhorn Lake, Hutchinson Dillon Nature Center Pond, Lake Shawnee, Salina Lakewood Lake, Scott State Fishing Lake, Scott State Park Pond, Sherman County Smoky Gardens Lake, and Solomon River between Webster Reservoir and Rooks County No. 2 Road, and Syracuse-Sam’s Pond.

Trout fishing at Mined Land Wildlife Area Unit No. 30 requires a trout permit year-round. Trout permits are valid for the calendar year, so permits purchased last January or later are valid through Dec. 31. All residents 16-64 years old and all nonresidents 16 and older must also have a valid fishing license.

The daily creel limit is five trout unless otherwise posted (two trout for anglers 15 and younger who do not have a trout permit). The possession limit is three times the daily creel.
While most designated trout waters in the state will be stocked with trout in time for opening day, the following waters will be delayed (see following text for details):
  • Cedar Bluff Reservoir Stilling Basin;
  • Cimarron Grasslands Fishing Pits;
  • Lake Charles in Dodge City;
  • Glen Elder Park Pond — second week in November;
  • Great Bend Veteran’s Park;
  • Kanopolis Reservoir Seep Stream;
  • Pratt Centennial Pond;
  • Rocky Pond in Belleville — second week in November;
  • Scott State Fishing Lake; and
  • Sedgwick County Park Slough Creek — low water.
Other areas may have to delay stocking, as well. Before a trout fishing expedition, anglers are encouraged to check for updated information on stocking of trout waters by visiting the KDWPT website, www.kdwpt.state.ks.us. Type "trout stocking schedule" in the search box.

As of Oct. 10, the Cedar Bluff Stilling Basin had yet to experience fall turnover, which occurs as surface water cools. When this happens, dissolved oxygen levels in the water can drop, and it takes time for the system to recover and provide conditions safe for trout. Rather than risk a fish kill for newly stocked trout, biologists have decided to delay the stocking. Conditions will be monitored, and if the basin is ready, trout will be stocked in late October.

Trout stocking at Cimarron Grasslands Fishing Pits, Dodge City-Lake Charles, Great Bend Veteran’s Park, Pratt Centennial Pond, and Scott State Fishing Lake will be delayed, but the recent cool weather should allow stocking early during the week of October 17.

The Kanopolis Reservoir Seep Stream is currently laden with duckweed and filamentous algae, creating water-quality problems. The seep stream is closed to all fishing, with plans to stock trout in early November, provided conditions have improved.

Smoky Gardens and the Sand Sage Bison Range Pond are currently dry. Both will need precipitation before trout can be stocked.

The Solomon River above Webster Reservoir is not stocked in the fall, nor is it stocked each year. Stocking is dependent upon flows. In years when flows are adequate, stocking generally occurs in January, February, and March.

The Glen Elder Park Pond is not stocked in October. The first stocking of the season is scheduled for mid-November each year in order to allow time for the water to cool.
Trout permits are available at the KDWPT website, at KDWPT offices, and license vendors.