Monday, December 17, 2012


English: Rainbow trout

Trout season is in full swing, providing great winter fishing fun
PRATT – The Kansas state record rainbow trout weighed 15.43 pounds. That’s not a typo; the official state record really weighed more than 15 pounds. Nicole Wilson caught it last March while fishing at Lake Shawnee in Topeka.
Kansas trout fishing is a wintertime activity. With one exception, the cold-water fish won’t survive a Kansas summer, but they do fine when stocked from November-April. There is a strip-mined lake on the Mined Land Wildlife Area in Cherokee County where cool spring flows allow trout to survive year-round. All other Kansas trout waters are stocked periodically throughout the trout season, Nov. 1-April 15, 2013.
Trout fishing is a great way to get out of the house on a warm winter day and enjoy some fishing. If you’re 16 or older, you’ll need a Trout Permit, which is $12.50 and valid through the calendar year. All resident anglers 16-75 (anglers 65-74 need a fishing license beginning Jan. 1, 2013) will also need a fishing license. Anglers 15 and younger may fish for trout without a trout stamp, but they may only keep two trout per day. An angler with a Trout Permit may keep five trout per day, unless a more restrictive creel limit is posted.
More than 30 waters are stocked with trout, and they are divided into two categories, listed in the Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary. All anglers 16 and older fishing on Type 1 Trout Waters must have a Trout Permit. On Type 2 waters, only anglers fishing for or possessing trout must have a Trout Permit.
Revenues from the sale of Trout Permits allow the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to purchase trout from contracting hatcheries for stocking. Contracts require catchable-sized trout along with a percentage of larger fish, so there is always the chance to catch a lunker. Most trout stocked are rainbows, but there are some brown trout stocked in the Kanopolis Seep Stream and Mined Land Unit No. 30.
Anglers use a variety of techniques to catch Kansas trout. Many still-fish commercial baits such as Berkley PowerBait, usually on or near the bottom. Others prefer to cast small spinners, spoons, or jigs on light tackle. And others choose to use fly tackle. Winter water is clear, so light line and ultra-light tackle is recommended. Even though these fish have been raised in hatcheries, they can be as finicky as their wild counterparts. Keep switching lures, flies and presentation until you find the combination that works. No matter how you catch them, winter trout are great fun and tasty when slow grilled or smoked fresh.
For more information on Kansas trout fishing, consult the 2012 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary, available wherever licenses are sold and online at A complete list of stocking schedules can be found online at:

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Online reservation system allows reservations up to a year in advance
PRATT – If you’re making plans for next year’s state park fun, you can reserve your favorite campsite or cabin up to a year in advance, beginning at 12:01 a.m., Dec. 15. You can also purchase your 2013 permits and licenses beginning Friday, December 14, 2012, and all issuances will be valid through the rest of 2012 and all of 2013.
Camping and cabin reservations guarantee the holder their spot will be open and ready when they arrive at the park. All Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) 121 cabins can be reserved year-round. About half of each individual park’s sites may be reserved for the camping season which is April 1-Sept. 30, 2013.
It’s never been easier to reserve a cabin or campsite. Last spring, KDWPT unveiled its Outdoor Recreation Management System (ORMS), which provides reservation services and much more.
In addition to allowing customers to make reservations from the comfort of home, photos of each campsite and whether it’s available will be hosted online. In most cases, ORMS will save park users money through reduced service fees and more efficient management. The system also will allow staff to mark sites with problems — such as broken hydrants or electrical issues — until these issues can be fixed. ORMS data will show which sites are used the most, making management planning more efficient. ORMS will allow park staff to look within the system to see what sites are full and who is on that site, making emergency notifications much faster.
For those who still prefer using a phone, park staff can use ORMS to help callers with reservations.
Payment in full is required at the time a reservation is made. Reserving a cabin requires a non-refundable $14 reservation fee. Reserving a campsite requires a non-refundable $3 reservation fee per campsite.
And remember the $15 Kansas State Parks Passport annual vehicle permit will be available during your vehicle registration process in 2013. It saves money and is convenient. Regular annual state parks vehicle permits for $25 are still available at KDWPT offices, and daily vehicle entrance permits are $5. Annual vehicle permits for seniors and persons with disabilities are still available through department offices for $13.75.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Permits help conservation groups raise money
PRATT – Seven numbers will be drawn by Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commissioners at their scheduled public meeting in January. The numbers will represent state conservation organizations that applied for the coveted Commission Big Game permits, which can be auctioned off to raise money for conservation projects.
Any Kansas-based nonprofit organization that actively promotes wildlife conservation and the hunting and fishing heritage is eligible to apply. Only one permit per organization will be awarded; however, individual chapters of the same organization may receive permits. A chapter or organization is eligible to receive only one Commission Big Game permit in a three-year period.
Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commissioners will conduct the drawing when they meet on January 10, 2013 at Butler County Community College in El Dorado. Applications must be received no later than Jan. 1, 2013.
To apply, organizations must submit an application that includes a copy of their 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, articles of incorporation, and mission statement, as well as the organization’s preference for an elk, antelope or deer permit. Applications can be downloaded from KDWPT’s website,; enter “2013 Commission Big Game Permit” in the search box. Mail applications to Sheila Kemmis, Commission Secretary, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, 512 SE 25th Ave., Pratt, KS 67124.
Seven permits will be issued, which may include one elk, one antelope and up to seven deer, depending upon the preferences of the drawn organizations. Organizations that draw a permit must pay KDWPT the permit fee, and they will be issued a voucher. The final recipient must remit the voucher to KDWPT’s licensing section to receive the big game permit. Permits may be issued to resident or nonresident hunters and are valid in management units and seasons listed on the permits.
Once an organization sells a permit, not less than 85 percent of the amount is returned to KDWPT to be spent on mutually agreed-upon projects. The remaining 15 percent can be spent at the organization’s discretion. (If Kansas Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (KFHFH) receives a permit, not less than 15 percent of the funds raised is remitted to KDWPT with 85 percent staying with KFHFH.)

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Kansas Ornithological Society Christmas Bird Count runs Dec. 9-Jan. 13, 2013
PRATT — The long tradition of Christmas bird counts provide people interested in birds opportunities to make new acquaintances, renew old friendships, and learn more about birds and birdwatching in Kansas. The counts also provide important information about bird migration and population trends.
Christmas bird counts have been conducted for more than 100 years, and more than 2,000 counts are held across the nation each year. Kansas averages 50 counts per year, with more than 40 scheduled so far this year and others yet to be announced. Many counts are concentrated in the eastern and southern parts of the state, but in recent years, more have been conducted in western Kansas — such as Elkhart and Ulysses — providing additional opportunities to participate.
Christmas bird counts are conducted in circular census areas with a 7.5 mile radius. This is consistent from count-to-count and year-to-year, always surveying the same location, ensuring data collected is comparable for population trends over time.
Count events are easy to prepare for; the best tools being a pair of binoculars, a good field guide, and appropriate clothing and footwear for possible extreme weather. For those counting in an area with a lake, a good spotting scope can be extremely helpful in identifying birds at a distance. It’s also a good idea to study species expected in your location.
There are many count compilers in Kansas who send data to the Kansas Ornithological Society (KOS), and these counts are free. The KOS will accept data collected on counts conducted from Dec. 9 through Jan. 13, 2013. The official Audubon Christmas Bird Count period is Dec. 14 to Jan. 5 every year and this year, there is no longer a $5 fee for field participants.
Information about Kansas Christmas bird counts can be found at the KOS website, For details, just click “2012-2013 Kansas Christmas Bird Counts.” For more information about Audubon Christmas Bird Counts in Kansas, go to

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Operation Game Thief provides safe, fast way for citizens to help catch poachers
PRATT — You see a blatant wildlife law violation and it makes you angry, but what can you do? You assume the local game warden is miles away and couldn’t get here in time. What can you do? You follow the laws and regulations and hunting ethics are important to you, but what can you do? The answer is Operation Game Thief.
Operation Game Thief (OGT), 1-877-426-3843, is a program that provides a toll-free number for anyone witnessing wildlife-related violations to call immediately and make a report. All calls received through the OGT line are immediately relayed to the natural resource officer nearest the violation. The line is available anytime of day or night, every day of the year, and callers may remain anonymous.
Each year, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) game wardens check tens of thousands of hunters in the field, and about 96 percent of them are law-abiding. Unfortunately, many non-hunters don’t distinguish between the small percentage of those who break wildlife laws and the majority who hunt legally. KDWPT game wardens work long hours during the fall, but most have large territories to cover, and they are much more effective with help from hunters and landowners who witness illegal activity.
When reporting a wildlife crime, remember these two important reporting rules:
• never confront suspects; and
• provide as much specific information as possible, such as vehicle descriptions and license tag numbers, descriptions of people involved, locations, and the time and location the incident occurred.
OGT calls have resulted in arrests and convictions on violations ranging from public lands vandalism to deer poaching. In many cases, poachers have been arrested within minutes of the call. Even drug operations have been uncovered by alert hunters using this number. Remember, when you see someone violating wildlife laws, they are stealing from you and damaging the image of all hunters. Help bring them to justice by calling OGT at 1-877-426-3843.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


English: A Coast Guardsman demonstrating the h...

Boating during the winter requires added precautions to ensure safety
Following basic safe boating rules is necessary whenever you’re on the water, but it takes on a new level of importance when the water is cold. As a rule of thumb, if the sum of the air and water temperatures added together equals less than 100 degrees and you fall into the water, you could be looking at a hypothermic situation.
Hypothermia occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce it, and cold water robs the body of heat 25 times faster than cold air. When your core body temperature drops below normal (98.6 degrees F), you become hypothermic. Your preparation and how you handle yourself following a fall into cold water will determine your odds of survival.
Remember the “1-10-1” rule. If you fall overboard, you usually have one minute to get your breathing under control. An involuntary gasp occurs when your body encounters the cold water, and this can cause you to breathe in a large amount of water, which can lead to drowning. After the initial shock, you will experience about one minute of deep and uncontrolled breathing. Calming yourself will be easier if you're wearing a life jacket because it will keep your head above the water line and help you avoid breathing in mouthfuls of water.
Over the next ten minutes, your blood flow will start to move away from your hands and feet in order to keep your body’s core warm. The body instinctively attempts to keep vital organs warm and functioning. This affects nerves and muscles farther away from your core, limiting their ability to function. It is during this crucial time that any attempt at self rescue should be made. Get out of the water. Even if your boat is capsized and upside down, crawling onto the part of the boat that is still above water will increase your odds of survival. If you are not wearing a life jacket and can’t get out of the water, you will eventually lose the ability to tread water or swim due to the lack of response from your arms and legs.
Keeping your core protected can help keep you conscious longer, and using the Heat Escape Lessening Position (HELP) will keep your core warmer longer. Wearing a life jacket makes the HELP position easier; you just pull your legs up to your chest and hug your knees. This keeps your body compact and surrounds your chest with protection. If you are in the water with other people, you can huddle together and share warmth. Most people will lose consciousness in one hour, but if you are wearing a life jacket, your face will be above the water and you will still be able to breathe even if you start to fade.
Always dress for the weather by wearing layers that can be removed if the weather warms, and avoid cotton clothing. Cotton will keep the water trapped by your body instead of wicking it away, and it takes a long time to dry. But if you do end up soaking wet, never remove your clothing and shoes unless you have a dry set to change into. Even though the clothes are cold and wet, they provide insulation to your body and will actually keep you warmer. By understanding how hypothermia affects your body and the 1-10-1 rule -- one minute to control your breathing, 10 minutes to rescue yourself and one hour before you lose consciousness -- you can increase your chance for survival if you run into problems while boating in cold water. Of course, wearing life jacket is always the smart choice while boating during any time of the year.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Law doesn’t allow hunters to radio or phone the location of game animals
PRATT—You see a big buck moving in the direction of your buddy’s deer stand. You want him be ready, so you grab your cell phone and without thinking you send him a text: “Big buck coming your way!” Unfortunately, you’ve just broken the law.
The law has been on the books for years, and many hunters are aware that two-way radios can’t be used to give the location of a game animal for the purpose of taking such animal. However, the law prohibits the use of “a radio or other mechanical device,” which includes cell phones. And a text is the same as a call. Don’t do it.
Other common violations that can be easily avoided include wearing the required amount of hunter orange, which is a vest with 100 square inches visible from the front and 100 square inches visible from the back and an orange hat. Remember to sign, date and affix your carcass tag to the deer before you move it from the site of the kill. And always have the proper permit and your hunting license on your person while hunting.


Enrolled private waters can benefit from fish stocking and habitat management
PRATT--The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s F.I.S.H. Program, which stands for Fishing Impoundments and Stream Habitats, was patterned after the very successful Walk-In Hunting Access Program with a goal of increasing public fishing opportunities in Kansas. First introduced to Kansas anglers and landowners in 1998, F.I.S.H. leases private waters from landowners for public fishing. Landowners participating in F.I.S.H. receive payments, and F.I.S.H. provides anglers with a place to fish while leaving the land in private ownership. The deadline for landowners to enroll for 2013 is December 15, 2012.
Special regulations are in place for F.I.S.H. properties, and KDWPT officials periodically patrol the areas. Violators will be ticketed or arrested for vandalism, littering or failing to comply with fishing regulations. Access is limited to foot traffic, except on roads designated by the landowner in the case of very large tracts of land. Additionally, under this program some landowners are eligible for fish stocking, habitat management, fence crossers, cattle guards, rock boat ramps, or rocked parking areas.
Each year, KDWPT publishes a fishing atlas featuring maps that show each body of water enrolled in the program, boating allowance, and fish species available. F.I.S.H. sites are open for public access from March 1 to October 31 or year-round. Landowners allowing year-round access receive a 10 percent lease increase.
Pond Leasing
The program leases privately-owned ponds for public access by the acre. Base lease rates range from $75-$125 per/acre/year, depending on where the pond is located in. Boating allowance bonuses are available as well. Ponds allowing carry-in boats only will receive an additional $10/acre/year and properties allowing all boats access (adequate launching site must be present) will receive an additional $25/acre/year.
Stream Leasing
Another focus of the F.I.S.H. program is to increase access to streams for fishing and paddlesports. Depending on the quality of the stream's fishery, annual lease rates for fishing access range from $500 to $1,500/mile. Stream stretches that allow paddlesport access could receive an additional annual payment of $500-$750/mile. To be eligible for the additional paddlesports payment, the stream stretch must be at least one-mile, with put-in and take-out spots (bonus applies only between put-in and take-out spots), and signed up for a long-term lease (minimum five years).
Big River Access Leasing
The Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri Rivers are considered navigable waters and are open to public access. However, public land access points are limited. To increase public access to these rivers, the F.I.S.H. program leases access sites from willing landowners. Landowners with adequate launch facilities, can annually receive $1,500/site. If the site is within 10 river miles of any other public access site a landowner can annually receive $2,000/site.
For more information about enrolling your water in the F.I.S.H. program contact your nearest KDWPT office, or the Operations office in Pratt, 620-672-5911. You can also learn more about F.I.S.H. at
This program is made possible by the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Act, the sale of fishing licenses, and the Farm Bill.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Cougar / Puma / Mountain Lion / Panther (Puma ...

Ninth Kansas mountain lion confirmed in modern times
EMPORIA—A deer hunter who was using a remote trail camera to scout for deer in Stafford County was surprised recently when he plugged the SD card in and found the image of a mountain lion. He hadn’t checked the camera for several weeks, and the photo was taken in October, but there was no doubt about the identification. A Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism wildlife biologist visited the site Nov. 16 and confirmed the photo’s validity. This is the first report documented in Kansas since last January when tracks of a mountain lion were found in Washington County.
The Stafford County lion is the ninth to be officially confirmed in Kansas since 2007. While there have been many sightings reported, KDWPT staff investigate if evidence, such as tracks, a photo, or cached kill, is present. According to ongoing research by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, dispersing mountain lions, which are primarily young males, feed mostly on medium-sized animals such as raccoons, raptors, coyotes, and turkeys. They feed on deer less frequently, which take days to consume and likely hinder their movement across the landscape as they search of the opposite sex and an area in which to establish a permanent home range. There is no evidence of a resident population of mountain lions in Kansas.
The use of remote, motion-triggered cameras by deer hunters to monitor deer in their hunting areas has become common in recent years. These cameras have been responsible for five of the nine Kansas mountain lion confirmations.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Twelve-day season provides opportunities for hunters to put venison in the freezer
PRATT—Kansas deer hunters will hit the field on Nov. 28 with hopes of putting venison in the freezer or getting a chance at a trophy-size buck. The regular firearm season runs through Dec. 9. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Any unfilled permit is valid during the firearm season; however, either-species, nonresident and some antlerless permits are restricted to the deer management units listed on the permit. In addition to their deer permit, all hunters, unless exempt by law, must also have a Kansas hunting license.
Resident permits may be purchased wherever licenses are sold and online. Hunters must possess a permit that allows the harvest of a buck before they are eligible to purchase antlerless permits. Nonresident deer permits are limited and awarded through a lottery draw, which was held in May. Permits left over after the drawing were available on a first-come, first-served basis, and those were sold out.
All legal equipment types are allowed during the firearm season; however, hunters with archery permits must use archery equipment and hunters with muzzleloader permits must use muzzleloaders, crossbows are archery equipment. All hunters hunting deer during the firearm season must wear hunter orange clothing consisting of an orange hat and an orange vest that shows 100 square inches from the front and 100 square inches from the back. Camouflage orange clothing is legal if the number of square inches of orange is visible.
Hunters should remember that all deer must be tagged before moving the carcass from the kill site. Certain permits, such as an antlerless whitetail permit, require that the head remain attached to the carcass during transport for sex identification. However, KDWPT offers a voluntary option that allows hunters to register their deer through the Internet, using photos taken at the harvest site. Once registered, the hunter may then transport the carcass without the head attached. If Internet access is unavailable at the kill site, the hunter can retain the photographs while in transit and a registration number can be obtained later. To access the electronic deer check-in, go online to the KDWPT website,, and click “Hunting/Big Game/Deer/Deer Check-in.”
To ensure everyone enjoys a safe deer hunt, hunters must remember basic firearm safety rules including knowing their target and what lies beyond it and always wearing the required hunter orange. Hunters must have permission to hunt on any private land, whether it is posted or not. The 2012 Kansas Hunting Atlas features maps showing all public and Walk-In Hunting Access areas is available wherever licenses are sold and online at

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Joint effort will check for drivers’ licenses and possession of wildlife
TOPEKA–The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) and local law enforcement officials will conduct a joint checkpoint in southcentral Kansas in early December. The regular firearm deer season starts November 28, and upland game bird seasons are underway. The checkpoint is intended to help enforce state and federal wildlife laws, as well as the state’s driver’s licensing laws.
Local law enforcement officers will operate the first stage of the checkpoint to be sure drivers are properly licensed to be driving. If a driver does not have a valid license, appropriate enforcement actions will be taken. Travelers should not expect major delays from this portion of the checkpoint.
Occupants of vehicles in the first check lane will be asked if they are hunters or are transporting wildlife. If yes in either case, drivers will be directed to a nearby check lane where KDWPT natural resource officers will check for required licenses and permits, count the game and gather biological, harvest, and hunter success information. This portion of the checkpoint should also cause minimal delay.
Additional wildlife checkpoints will occur around the state during the fall and winter hunting seasons.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Fruits of the hunt!

Special hunt open to youth and women by application
PRATT--The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) and Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors, Inc. is sponsoring their annual pheasant hunting event for youth and women Dec. 8 at Waconda Lake, also known as Glen Elder Reservoir. The event will begin at 7:15 a.m. on Saturday with breakfast at the Hopewell Church basement in Glen Elder State Park. Breakfast will be followed by a pre-hunt safety talk before participants are divided into hunting groups. The hunters, guides, and mentors will then head out to various hunting areas around the lake. A noon meal will be provided by the Waconda Lake Association.
Women of any age and youth 11–16 are eligible and encouraged to apply for this hunt. This hunt is geared toward providing a comfortable and positive hunting environment for new or inexperienced hunters. Previous hunting experience is not required, and shotguns and ammunition can be provided. To apply, contact the Glen Elder Area Office at 785-545-3345 (8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. weekdays) by December 3, 2012. Forty applicants will be selected to participate in the Saturday hunt. If there are more applicants, an additional hunt may be scheduled for Sunday morning, December 9.
A free trap shoot will also be offered on Saturday afternoon from 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm. The trap shoot, which will be held just west of the KDWPT Glen Elder Area Office, is open to the public and is intended for new and beginning shooters.
Another unique aspect of this event is that each group of pheasant hunters will get to hunt alongside a special guest who has been invited to serve as a hunting mentor for their group. This list is currently being put together, but these individuals may be professional athletes, television personalities, or military personnel that have recently returned from deployment.
There will be a hunter’s banquet on Saturday night at 6:00 p.m. at Memorial Hall in Downs. The banquet will include a meal, prizes for the hunters, and more opportunity for the hunters to interact with the special guests. All participants are invited to attend and will be asked to RSVP for the banquet when they sign up for the hunt.
For more information, contact Chris Lecuyer at the KDWPT Glen Elder Area Office 785-545-3345.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Registration number allows hunters to process deer in the field
PRATT — Nearly 100,000 hunters will pursue deer in Kansas this fall, and those numbers will peak from now through early December. The archery season is open, and November is the most popular month with bowhunters. The regular firearm season is Nov. 28-Dec. 9. One important regulation hunters should be aware of is deer must be tagged before being moved from the site of the kill. Unless a hunter has an either-sex permit, the head must remain attached to the carcass while in transit to a residence or place of commercial processing or preservation. However, the agency does offer a voluntary option for transporting harvested deer that allows hunters to register their deer through the Internet, using photos taken at the harvest site. Once registered, the hunter may then transport the carcass without the head attached. If Internet access is unavailable at the kill site, the hunter can retain the photographs while in transit and a registration number can be obtained later. To access the electronic deer check-in, go online to the KDWPT website,, and click “Hunting/Big Game/Deer/Deer Check-in.”
This is not a telephone registration system and it is not required.
The hunter is walked through the registration process and given the necessary instructions. The registration process requires the hunter to submit two digital photographs — one close-up clearly showing the completed tag attached to the deer and a second showing the entire body of the deer with the head still attached. Once logged on to the KDWPT website, a hunter must submit the photos and enter the KDWPT number from their permit, time and date of the kill and the county where the deer was taken. A confirmation number will be issued by email when the photos and data are successfully received. This confirmation number must be retained during transportation.
Once these steps are completed, the deer head may be removed and the carcass prepared for transportation. The system allows KDWPT staff to see the deer and the hunter’s completed tag without the time and expense of maintaining a check station. This flexibility is a benefit to both the hunter and KDWPT.
This option was developed to address two important issues regarding deer carcass transportation. The first concern is about the movement of any material from a deer that may contribute to the transmission of chronic wasting disease (CWD). It is believed that spread of CWD could be diminished if certain body parts affected by the disease are not moved from the site where the deer is taken. Because CWD affects the brain and central nervous system, the transportation of a deer head and skeleton from one location to another is considered a likely means for the disease to spread. The new registration system allows a hunter to leave these items at the kill site, minimizing the possibility of spreading CWD.
The second concern is directly related to the first. Many states have adopted strict regulations to prevent the spread of CWD. Typically, these regulations do not allow the transportation of a deer head with brain tissue from a state with confirmed CWD cases. Hunters have been cited in other states and their deer confiscated for not complying with the transportation laws of that state. The new registration system allows a hunter to properly dispose of the head and legally transport the boned meat, as well as the cleaned skull cap and antlers, to the hunter’s home.
More information on CWD and transportation laws may be found on the KDWPT website, under “Hunting/Big Game/Chronic Wasting Disease.”

Sunday, September 9, 2012


English: Distribution of Chronic Wasting Disea...

Initial test was false-positive
PRATT— In July, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) reported that nine deer had tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) during the 2011-12 testing period. The agency now reports that the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, after two different tests, did not detect CWD prions in the Sumner County deer, so initial testing in this case yielded a false-positive result. This reduces the total 2011-2012 positives to eight. Counties where CWD was detected during the 2011-2012 surveillance period include Wallace (one), Rawlins (one), Decatur (one), Norton (two), Trego (one), Ford (one), and Stafford (one).

The white-tailed deer in question was taken from Sumner County last winter. This result brings the total number of confirmed CWD cases in Kansas to 48 since testing began in 1996. In total, 2,446 animals were tested for CWD during the 2011-2012 surveillance period, Aug. 1, 2011, through July 31, 2012.

Annual testing is part of an ongoing effort by KDWPT to monitor the prevalence and spread of CWD. The fatal disease was first detected in the Kansas free-ranging deer herd in 2005 in Cheyenne County.

More information on CWD can be found on KDWPT’s website,, or at the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website,

Saturday, September 8, 2012


English: Wilson-Tuscarora State Park

After Labor Day, parks offer milder weather, uncrowded camping
PRATT — Many schools are already in session, and although this is often viewed as the end of summer, Kansas state parks are still going strong. Many events are planned for one of the busiest times the year — Labor Day weekend, Sept. 1-3. For outdoor enthusiasts, this is one of the best times for a park visit. Once Labor Day weekend is over, crowds thin, and September provides a relaxing outdoor experience.

Trail rides, chili cook-offs, and fishing tournaments are among the many events slated for September, making the prospect of a pre-autumn mini-vacation even more inviting. Each park sets its own dates for these events, and all offer a chance to enjoy the special attributes of Kansas state parks, many of which feature rental cabins, as well as fascinating historical or geological features that enhance the park experience.
For more information on these events, phone individual parks or click the "Event Calendar" on the "State Parks" page of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) website, Under “Reservations,” campsite and cabin reservations may be made online.

Telephone numbers of all state parks offices may also be found on the State Parks page under "Locations."
The following is a list of September state park events:
  • Sept. 1 — Clinton Trail Workday at Clinton State Park;
  • Sept. 7-9 — Saddle Ridge Trail Riders Club Poker Ride at Hillsdale State Park;
  • Sept. 8 — Hays Bass Anglers Association fishing tournament at Wilson State Park;
  • Sept. 9 — Chili Cookoff and Free Park Entrance Day at Lovewell State Park;
  • Sept. 9 — 3-D archery shoot and Free Park Entrance Day at Lovewell State Park;
  • Sept. 15 — Hays Bass Anglers Association Big Bass Challenge at Wilson State Park;
  • Sept. 16 — Heartland Coursing Association hound coursing practice at Clinton State Park;
  • Sept. 22 — Kansas Buddy Bass Tournament at Hillsdale State Park;
  • Sept. 22 — Women on Target instructional shooting at Tuttle Creek State Park;
  • Sept. 22 — Heartland Motorcycle Poker Run fundraiser at Clinton State Park;
  • Sept. 23 — Hays Recreation Center 30+K and 5K trail run at Wilson State Park;
  • Sept. 28-30 — Kansas Bass Federation fishing tournament at Wilson State Park;
  • Sept. 28 — Tour de Ted benefit bike ride for cancer research at Tuttle Creek State Park;
  • Sept. 29 — 10th Annual Fall River Rendezvous at Fall River State Park; and
  • Sept. 30 — Twin Rivers Bass Club of Emporia fishing tournament at Clinton State Park.

Friday, September 7, 2012


English: Eastern Wild Turkey

At two-day event, kids can camp out and learn archery, shotgun shooting, crafts, much more

EMPORIA — The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) will hold its 2012 NWTF Kansas State JAKES Camp for youth on Sept. 15-16 at Camp Alexander, near Emporia. JAKES stand for Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship, and the acronym is also a common name for young male wild turkeys.

The cost of this event is $20 for JAKES members, $30 for non-JAKES members, and $20 for adults. Youth 17 years old and younger get to select from 15 activities in which to participate, including fishing, first aid in the field, air rifle, small game animals, arts and crafts, nature hikes and birding, firearms handling and safety, shotgun live fire, turkey calling, archery, sporting dogs, GPS, JAKES Take Aim range, and game calling.
Ralph Duren, two-time Grand National turkey calling champion, will present "Calls of the Wild" and will entertain campers later around the campfire Saturday night. Youth attending can participate in the 3rd Annual NWTF Kansas State youth turkey calling contest Saturday evening.

Attendees may choose to tent camp Saturday night or commute. Top-notch meals will be provided both days. Last year's Kansas State JAKES Camp was awarded the NWTF "Best State JAKES Event" at this year's NWTF National Convention in Nashville, Tenn.

For more information or a registration form, contact Gib Rhodes at 620-437-2012.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Golden Eagle
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Golden eagle killed in Trego County
WICHITA — The poacher of a golden eagle in Trego County was sentenced Aug. 21 after pleading guilty to killing the immature raptor in 2011. Chad Irvin, Lacrosse, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. He killed the eagle with a 12-gauge shotgun from a vehicle while hunting with family members.

Irvin was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and restitution of $3,000; placed on supervised probation for three years, during which time he may not hunt, fish or trap; required to complete 50 hours of community service; and ordered to forfeit the shotgun used to kill the eagle.

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agent investigated the crime in conjunction with Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism natural resource officers.

Golden eagles are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The killing of any eagle constitutes a violation of those acts. For more information on golden eagles, go online to

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Lake Quivira native at the top of this sport

PRATT — Kansan Brent Chapman has had a phenomenal year as a professional bass fisherman. The Lake Quivira resident started the 2012 season of the Bassmaster Elite Series ranked 58th in the world of bass fishing, according to the World Rankings. He finished the season by winning the final event on New York’s Oneida Lake on Aug. 23-26. That win also landed him the 2012 Bassmaster Angler of the Year award (AOY), professional bass fishing’s most prestigious honor.

As the series of eight tournaments unfolded in March, Chapman started strong with a fourth-place finish at the St. John’s River in Florida. A fifth at Lake Okeechobee, Fla., moved him up to second in the AOY race. After another fifth-place finish, this time at Missouri’s Table Rock Lake, he found himself at the top of the AOY list. Unfortunately, Douglas Lake in Tennessee proved to be a challenging venue, and he finished well down the list at 68th place, out of the money cut (top 50). This finish dropped him to third in the AOY standings, 40 points behind the new leader.

Apparently determined to erase the sour taste of a poor finish after three consecutive top fives, he rebounded to dominate the next contest on Louisiana’s Toledo Bend, taking the lead on the second day and never relinquishing it. It was his first Elite Series win and fourth win of his 17-year career.

Chapman continued with a string of high finishes, logging a 22nd at the Upper Mississippi River, then a 27th at Lake Michigan’s Green Bay. This put him back atop the AOY points race going into Lake Oneida.
The AOY award not only netted Chapman $100,000 but ensures him of a string of future endorsements. And he has already qualified for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic Tournament, the Super Bowl of bass fishing. That event will be held much closer to home next year, at Grand Lake, Okla.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Awards await young shooters; registration deadline Sept. 10

KINSLEY — On Saturday, Sept. 15, the Kinsley Gun Club will host its 19th Annual Kids Klassic trap shooting tournament for young shooters. Each youngster will fire at 100 targets. A $25 entry fee will include a custom T-shirt, lunch, and a chance to win a door prize, including three guns. The entry fee does not include shells.

This event is open to all youngsters through high school. Shooters will compete for trophies, Olympic-style medals, shotgun shells, and other prizes in four age groups for individuals and five-person teams. Ten $100 savings bonds will be awarded by drawing, so everyone has a chance to win. Other awards include 29 flats of shotgun shells and 36 trophies for four age groups, with special awards to 4-H members. The top three five-shooter teams earn trophies and shells. A trophy and prize will be reserved for the top girl shooter, as well.

The shoot starts at the Dodge City Gun club with 50 16-yard targets, then moves to Kinsley for lunch, 50 handicap targets, and the prize presentation.

While everyone high school age and younger is welcome to attend, participants who enter must be strong enough to handle a shotgun safely and are expected to know the basic rules and etiquette of trapshooting. The shoot is not for beginners.

The registration deadline for the event is Sept. 10. Entries (including T-shirt sizes and number of adults for lunch) should be provided in advance. To enter, receive an official program, receive more information, or find out where to practice close to home, phone toll free at 1-888-324-5445,, or write to Frank O’Brien, 115 Sunnyside Drive, Lewis, KS 67552.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Looking southwest of the north dam in far sout...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Day to feature field seminar and question and answer session
CONCORDIA — On Sept. 6, Jamestown Wildlife Area managers will hold the traditional Jamestown Waterfowl Information night, with a twist. Instead of meeting in a classroom with presentations, pictures, graphs, and tables on current habitat conditions, interested hunters and outdoor enthusiasts are invited to Jamestown Wildlife Area to see the conditions first hand.

Jamestown Wildlife Area is 12 miles northwest of Concordia, near Jamestown. From Jamestown, go 2.5 miles north on Cloud County Road 765, turn west on Wagon Road for one mile, turn north on 30 Road for one mile, then turn west on Republic Road for another mile and follow the road north around the curve for about a mile to the intersection of Marsh Trail and 30 Road to 299 Marsh Trail.

A driving tour will begin at 6 p.m. from the area headquarters and return at 7:30 p.m. for a short presentation and question and answer session.

Attendees will see the challenges of management in 2012, how water is moved and held in various pools, and the habitat conditions expected for this upcoming season. This will be an excellent opportunity for the public to get a sneak peak before the teal season opener on Sept. 8. Managers will discuss expected waterfowl numbers and Central Flyway habitat conditions, as well as 2012-2013 season dates and bag limits.

For more information, phone the area office at 785-439-6243.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

KWPT Commission Approves Duck and Goose Seasons

English: Canada Geese landing on water
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Low Plains Southeast Zone duck season to open Nov. 15
GREAT BEND – The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission approved season dates for the 2012-2013 duck and goose seasons at a public hearing conducted at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center near Great Bend on Aug. 23. Duck seasons are as follows: High Plains Unit – Oct. 6-Dec. 30 and Jan. 19-27, 2013; Low Plains Early Zone – Oct. 6-Dec. 2 and Dec. 15-30, 2012; Low Plains Late Zone – Oct. 27-Dec. 30 and Jan. 19-27, 2013; Low Plains Southeast Zone – Nov. 15, 2012-Jan. 27, 2013.

The 2012-2013 goose seasons are as follows: White-fronted geese – Oct. 27-Dec. 30 and Feb. 2-10, 2013; Canada and brant geese – Oct. 27-Nov. 4 and Nov. 7, 2012-Feb. 10, 2013; Light geese (Ross’ and snow) – Oct. 27-Nov. 4 and Nov. 7, 2012-Feb. 10, 2013; Light geese conservation order – Feb. 11-April 30, 2013.
Shooting hours for duck and goose hunting are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. The daily bag limit for ducks is 6 ducks with species and sex restrictions as follows: 5 mallards (only 2 of which may be hens), 3 wood ducks, 2 pintails, 2 redheads and 1 canvasback. Daily bag limit for mergansers is 5 (only 2 of which may be hooded). Daily bag limit for coots is 15. Daily bag limits for geese are as follows: 3 Canada geese, 2 white-fronted geese, and 20 light geese. Possession limit for ducks and geese is twice the daily bag limit, except there is no possession limit for light geese. During the conservation order for light geese, there is no daily bag or possession limit.

Special youth waterfowl seasons allow youth 15 and younger to hunt under the supervision of an adult 18 years old or older. The adult may not hunt. Shooting hours and bag limits are the same as during the regular duck and goose seasons. Youth seasons are as follows: High Plains Unit and Low Plains Early Zone – Sept. 29-30; Low Plains Late Zone – Oct. 20-21; and Low Plains Southeast Zone – Nov. 3-4.

The Commission also approved changes to the falconry regulations, which bring Kansas state regulations in compliance with federal requirements and allows falconers to operate under a state-managed system with federal oversight.

Changes were approved to rehabilitation permit regulations as a result of changes in the falconry regulations related to the possession requirements for treatment of injured animals.
The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission will meet next on October 18 at Flint Oak, Fall River.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Submerged structure, commercial vessels pose greater threat in low water
ST. LOUIS — Many waterways throughout the Midwest are experiencing lower than average water levels this year. This poses particular hazards to recreational boaters. Areas that were navigable in past months or years may be too shallow to operate in now. River structures such as dikes may be closer to the surface, posing potential grounding threats, and channel widths may be smaller than expected. This can affect all waters in the Mississippi drainage, including the Missouri and Kansas rivers in the Sunflower State.
As a result, the U.S. Coast Guard has issued a boating advisory for all waters in the drainage. Boaters should follow simple precautions while using these waters:
  • always have approved life jackets for everyone onboard;
  • operate in areas you are familiar with, at safe speeds;
  • do not operate near fleeting areas, commercial vessels, or barges — larger vessels and structures can create strong eddies, undertows, and wakes;
  • do not operate near underwater river structures, such as dikes;
  • have light and sound signaling devices onboard;
  • tell someone where you are going, when you will be there, and how to contact you to verify your safety; and
  • for boating safety tips and classes, contact your local Coast Guard Auxiliary for support or visit the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Boating Education website,

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation lists eight best parks
EL DORADO — El Dorado State Park has been voted by fans of the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) Take Me Fishing campaign as one of eight best “waterparks” in the country. This summer, RBFF fans visited the organization’s Facebook page to participate in Nature’s Waterpark Showdown. Each fan was invited to help determine the top eight natural “waterparks,” or state parks, for boating and fishing in America. Participants could also register to win the grand prize, a vacation to a state park for a family of four.
El Dorado State Park, in Butler County, was voted one of the top eight state parks in America based on fishing, boating, and “family fun.”
The list of eight stretched from New Hampshire to Kansas, including these parks:
  • Lake Murray State Park, Oklahoma
  • Itasca State Park, Minnesota
  • Blue Spring State Park, Florida
  • El Dorado State Park, Kansas
  • Presque Isle State Park, Pennsylvania
  • Cave Lake State Park, Nevada
  • Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee
  • Wellington State Park, New Hampshire
El Dorado Reservoir was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and was completed in June of 1981. The lake consists of approximately 8,000 surface acres of water, 4,500 acres of state park lands, and 3,500 acres of wildlife area. The park consists of four primary campgrounds offering a full service marina, a sailing club, approximately 1,000 campsites, picnic shelters, rental cabins, trails (horse, hiking, and bicycling), swim beaches, shower houses and restrooms, ADA playgrounds, boat ramps, and a laundry facility. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism manages the park and the reservoir resources.
For more information on the Nature’s Waterpark Showdown winners visit the Take Me Fishing™ Facebook page at The parks showcased in the campaign are just a fraction of the many outdoor recreation spots available throughout the nation. For more information on boating and fishing and a full list of places to participate in the sports, visit

Friday, August 24, 2012


Fruits of the hunt!
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hunt for youth ages 12 through 18
HAYS — Smoky Hill Pheasants Forever No. 424, in cooperation with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), Pheasant Runn Controlled Shooting Area, and the Hunting Heritage Group, Inc., will host the 7th Annual Darrell Brown Youth Upland Hunt, in memory of former volunteer Darrell Brown, on Oct. 27. The event will be held at Hays City Sportsman Club, ¼ mile north of I-70 off Exit 157 near Hays.

The hunt is for youth ages 12 through 18 years old. Each youth hunter will have the opportunity to harvest at least four birds while hunting over pointing dogs.

Participants will hunt and be mentored on a variety of related subjects, including how to hunt with pointing dogs, field safety, how hunting dogs are trained, gun handling, how to clean and prepare harvested birds, and what type of habitat to look for when hunting upland birds. The D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program is also incorporated into the event.

Special hunts like this are part of KDWPT’s Hunter Recruitment and Retention Program, called PASS IT ON. This program recruits new hunters and helps retain existing hunters to ensure the future of hunting and wildlife conservation.

To register for the hunt, contact Shayne Wilson at 785-628-1415, 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is no charge for the event.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Printed copies available in early September
PRATT — Printed copies of the 2012 Kansas Hunting & Furharvesting Regulations Summary will be available at Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) offices and license vendors around the state about the first of September, but hunters can view or download the summary beginning Aug. 24 at the KDWPT website, Type “Hunting Regulations” in the search box or click on “Hunting” then “Hunting Regulations.”
As always, this year's booklet contains several new regulations. In addition to changes in season dates, significant new regulations include the following:
Big game animals
  • Crossbows may be used during the archery season by hunters who possess a youth big game permit valid during the archery season and hunters 55 and older who possess a big game permit valid during the archery season.
  • In a two-year pilot project, any person with an archery or any season deer permit valid in deer management units 1, 12, 15, and 19 may use a crossbow during deer archery season, regardless of age or disability. Each person age 16 through 54 shall obtain a free crossbow hunter survey number from the KDWPT website before hunting with a crossbow during archery season.
Migratory birds
  • Doves shall only be taken while in flight.
  • Legal shooting hours for sandhill cranes are from sunrise to sunset throughout the season.
2013 Senior license exemption
  • On Jan. 1, 2013, hunters age 65-74 will be required to have a hunting license. A reduced-price lifetime combination hunting/fishing license or a half-price annual fishing, annual hunting, or combination annual license will be available.
Upland game
  • The Southwest Prairie Chicken Unit now includes that area west of U.S. Highway 281 and south of Hwy 96. The Northwest Unit includes that area west of U.S. Highway 281 and north of Highway 96 and will offer an early season, Sept. 15-Oct. 15.
  • Prairie chicken hunters must purchase a $2.50 prairie chicken permit before harvesting a bird this fall.
Public lands (including WIHA)
  • Commercial guides must have a permit, available on the KDPWT website, to guide on public lands. The permit is free and must be specific to the land where guiding takes place.
  • Baiting while hunting or preparing to hunt is illegal on public lands.
  • Only two portable blinds or tree stands are allowed per hunter.
  • Portable blinds may not be left unattended overnight.
  • Tree stands and portable blinds must be marked with the owner’s name and address or KDWPT number.
  • Decoys may not be left unattended overnight.
  • Management units for fall turkey hunting have changed to six units.
Other regulations are covered in this indispensable booklet. Download a copy as soon as it’s available or pick up a printed copy in early September.