Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Kansas University professor to take participants on 1,000-mile journey
GREAT BEND — Every November, monarch butterflies arrive in central Mexico by the hundreds of millions, clustering so thickly in fir forests they sometimes break the tree branches. Learn more about this amazing annual migration as founder and director of Monarch Watch, Orley R. "Chip" Taylor, professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Kansas University, presents "Monarchs Wintering in Mexico: The Big Gamble." The program will be held at 2 p.m. on Feb. 26 at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center (KWEC), northeast of Great Bend on Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, just off Highway 156. The program is free and open to adults and children.
In 1992, Taylor founded Monarch Watch, an outreach program focused on education, research, and conservation regarding monarch butterflies. Since then, Monarch Watch has enlisted the help of thousands of volunteers to tag monarchs during the fall migration, helping gain new information about monarch migration dynamics. Locally, hundreds of school children and adults have participated in Monarch Watch's tagging program, as the butterflies migrate south in mid- to late September.
The past year was especially challenging for the small but tough orange and black creatures as they flew through a 1,000-mile corridor of drought-stricken land from Kansas through Mexico. Taylor will report on roost site counts tabulated in mid-February, providing the latest information on the monarch population.
After Taylor's presentation, activities for kids, including crafts, will take place in the KWEC classroom. A display on the monarch and information on establishing butterfly-friendly plants will also be available. For more information about the program, phone 1-877-243-9268 or 620-786-7456.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Furbearer running season lasts through Nov. 1; firearms may not be possessed
PRATT — On March 1, the great race begins. That’s the opening day of Kansas furbearer running season, which gives hound enthusiasts the opportunity to chase — but not take — bobcat, opossum, raccoon, red fox, and gray fox. The season runs through Nov. 1.

Although beaver trapping season runs through March 31, all other Kansas trapping seasons and furbearer hunting seasons are over for the winter. Now it’s time for furbearer hunters and their dogs to keep in shape hone skills necessary during the furbearer hunting seasons.

During the running season, no furbearer may be legally killed or taken. In addition, it is illegal for runners to possess any firearm or other weapon while pursuing furbearers during the running season. (Certain exceptions apply.) Legal hours for running furbearers are 24 hours daily, and a furharvester license is required. Furbearers may also be run during the open furbearer hunting seasons, which coincide with trapping seasons.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism also reminds furbearer trappers and hunters that bobcats and swift foxes must have been pelt-tagged within seven days of season’s end, which was Feb. 15. Tags should be kept with mounted specimens.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Atlas including maps of all public-access fishing areas now online, in print March 1
PRATT ­­— The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has released a tool that will help you catch more fish — and it’s free. Interested?
Check out the 2012 Kansas Fishing Atlas, now available for viewing and download from KDWPT website, The maps in this atlas pinpoint a variety of public fishing areas, including all federal reservoirs, state fishing lakes, river access, and community lakes. Fishing Impoundment and Stream Habitats (F.I.S.H.) waters are included, as well. F.I.S.H. waters are privately-owned ponds or streams KDWP has leased and opened to public fishing. F.I.S.H. sites are numbered in red on each map.
To find fishing areas, consult the map legend, then locate corresponding color codes on each map. With this atlas, anglers can locate just about any type of fishing desired.
To locate the 2012 Kansas Fishing Atlas, click the above link or go to the KDWPT website and click "Fishing/Where to Fish in Kansas/Fishing Atlas." Printed copies will be available March 1 at most KDWPT offices and license vendors.
Combined with KDWPT Fishing Reports and Fishing Forecast, also found on the agency’s website under “Fishing,” the 2012 Kansas Fishing Atlas is an essential component of every angler’s gear.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Trout stocked Oct. 15-April 15 in more than 30 waters throughout the state
PRATT — Are you itching for turkey season but can’t wait until April to enjoy the thrill of the outdoors? Try trout fishing.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) trout stocking program offers an exciting late-winter opportunity for anglers. The program stocks fish at more than 30 sites across Kansas, offering fast action when other fishing can be slow. Relatively mild temperatures this January and February prevented the usual freezing that many of these trout waters experience in winter, making water temperatures and access to trout ideal. And anglers are taking advantage of the situation.
Trout bite on a variety of lures, jigs, and flies. They also take live bait and prepared bait, especially colorful pinch-on types. Most Kansas trout fisheries allow a creel limit of five fish per day, but because some regulations — including lure or bait restrictions — vary by location, be sure to read posted information at each site or read the regulation summary before fishing.
Kansas trout season runs Oct.15 through April 15. During this time, trout are stocked as often as twice a month at each fishing location. Most fish are 10 to 12 inches long, but contracts stipulate that a certain percentage of bigger fish be included. This gives Kansas anglers a chance to hook a trophy trout that might weigh 5 pounds or more.
During the trout season, trout anglers must possess a special permit in addition to a fishing license. This annual trout stamp costs $12.50 and is valid statewide. All trout anglers must have this stamp, which pays for the program. The exception is trout anglers 15 and younger, who may fish without a trout stamp but are restricted to a daily creel limit of two trout. With a trout stamp, youth anglers may take a full creel limit.
In addition, some areas stocked with trout — called Type 1 Waters — require a trout permit for all anglers 16 or older, whether they are fishing for trout or not. Other areas — called Type 2 Waters — require a trout permit only for anglers fishing for or possessing trout. In addition to being posted, a list of these waters may be found in the 2012 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary, available wherever licenses are sold or on the KDWPT website, Click Fishing/Fishing Regulations.
Rainbow trout, native to cold waters, can thrive in Kansas winter pools. However, after spring warm-up, most trout cannot survive in Kansas. The exception to this is the Mined Land Wildlife Area Lake #30, near Oswego, with deep waters cold enough to allow year-round trout fishing. On this area, a trout stamp is required year-round.
Learn more about Kansas trout fishing at the KDWPT website. Click “Fishing/Special Fishing Programs for You/Trout Fishing Program.”

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


English: crop of File:Bgforhunting.jpg Taken b...
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Record duck harvest recorded despite dry year
PLEASANTON — Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area, near the Missouri border in Linn County, reported a record breaking-year for waterfowl hunters in the 2011-2012 season. Duck hunters reported harvesting more than 8,300 ducks during the 74-day season, shattering the old record of 6,220 in 1997. Duck hunters made 5,160 trips to the wildlife area, bagging an average of 1.6 ducks per hunter trip.
“The hunter success rate we had in the 2011-2012 season is particularly remarkable when one considers the hot, dry summer we had,” says area manager Karl Karrow. “Marsh vegetation that provides habitat for ducks does not produce well under the conditions we had during last year’s growing season, so we used additional management tools — notably pumping water to irrigate marsh plants during the summer — to provide good habitat. And relatively mild weather this winter didn’t freeze the wetlands. That was a huge factor.”
Nearly 70 percent of ducks harvested were mallards, a species prized by hunters. Green-winged teal were a distant second, comprising only 10 percent of ducks harvested.
“While this is great news for hunters,” Karrow adds, “this is also important to communities near the wildlife area. Most duck hunters come from outside of the local area, and traveling hunters spend money on gas, food, and other supplies at local stores. We saw hunters from North Carolina, Alabama, Iowa, and other states. Any activity that brings more than 5,000 visitors to the area helps the local economy.”
In addition to the regular duck season, early teal season and goose seasons provide opportunities for waterfowl hunters on Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area. For more information, phone Karrow at 913-352-8941, or visit KDWPT’s website,, and click on “Hunting/Where To Hunt In Kansas.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Pomoxis nigromaculatus
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Online video reveals all the secrets of catching the state’s favorite panfish
PRATT — A new video, Kansas Crappie Bonanza, will be released by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) on Feb. 17 to show anglers how to catch crappie throughout the year in the Sunflower State. Although this popular panfish is pursued most actively in springtime, crappie provide a great angling opportunity year-round, even through winter ice.
Both entertaining and educational, the 25-minute video shows basic fishing strategies for each season and provides ample advice and tips from crappie guides and fishing experts on how to catch crappie anytime. Although weather is incorporated into the different strategies, the video focuses on the fun of crappie fishing no matter what the weather.
Produced by outdoor videographer and photographer Gene Brehm, with assistance from the KDWPT Fisheries Division video committee, Kansas Crappie Bonanza will help all crappie anglers be more successful in pursuit of this abundant sport fish. On Feb. 17, the video will be available to view free of charge on the KDWPT website, A limited number of DVD copies of the video are available free on a first-come, first-served basis from district fisheries biologists and KDWPT offices.
Crappie can be found in most waters in Kansas, from large reservoirs to small farm ponds and streams, in both urban and rural settings. As table fare, many rank crappie among the best freshwater fish, and with a 50-fish per day creel limit at most lakes, honing crappie fishing skills is a great way to provide the family with a banquet fit for a king.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Cooking in the outdoors using a heated stone
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Through March 1, registration open to first-time participants only, then open to all; limited to 48 participants
PRATT — The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program now offers a spring workshop to complement the traditional fall workshop that has been offered each year since 1993. This year’s spring workshop will be held May 18, 19, and 20 at Rock Springs 4-H Center, near Junction City, the same location as the fall workshop.
During the three-day workshop, volunteer instructors teach participants a variety of skills, including fishing, wingshooting, camping, orienteering, rifle marksmanship, botany, dog handling, archery, and other outdoor recreation in a friendly, supportive environment. Twenty-eight concurrent sessions will be offered, from hunting and fishing skills to camping, outdoor cooking, bird watching, orienteering, and wilderness survival. Mini-sessions will cover such topics as “Kansas critters,” outdoor first aid, campfire songs, and star gazing.
The $250 workshop fee includes seven meals, two nights lodging, instruction, supplies, and use of equipment. Based on financial need, three $100 scholarships are available for first-time participants. Email for scholarship details.
In addition to the scholarships, an essay contest will award one free entry to the workshop. Interested applicants must write a short paragraph (no more than 100 words) about why they want to become a Kansas Outdoors-Woman and post it as a comment online at under the story entitled “Win a women’s weekend in the Kansas Outdoors.” Entries are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17. A panel of judges will review all entries, and the winner will be posted social media sites by Tuesday, Feb. 21. You must be 18 to enter.
Through March 1, only registrations from those who have never attended a BOW workshop will be accepted. After that, application is open to all women if spots are still available. For more information, go online to the KDWPT website,, and click “Services/Education/Becoming-an-Outdoors-Woman” or phone 785-845-5052. While you’re at it, join the BOW on Facebook at Becoming An Outdoors Woman KANSAS.
Studies have shown that many women do not participate in outdoor recreation because they have not had an opportunity to learn the skills that make outdoor activities enjoyable. The popularity of BOW proves that when given the opportunity, many women take advantage of it with enthusiasm. Women who participate learn the outdoor skills that allow them to fully enjoy the natural environment while building self-confidence.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Map of Kansas highlighting Shawnee County
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Topeka man enters suspected illegally-taken deer in Monster Buck Contest
TOPEKA — On Jan. 27-29, Mossy Oak Properties of the Heartland presented the inaugural Monster Buck Classic (We are Kansas) event at the Kansas ExpoCentre in Topeka. The event was designed to promote deer hunting and outdoor recreation in Kansas and to provide Kansas hunters with the latest information and equipment related to deer hunting.
In addition, the event featured a Monster Buck Contest, open to all Kansas residents, in which hunters could enter officially-scored bucks, with prizes offered to the largest deer in typical and non-typical categories for both white-tailed and mule deer. Fortunately for all law-abiding hunters, the contest helped expose the suspected illegal shooting of a big buck.
One entry, which would have potentially been a new Kansas state record, drew suspicion of Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) law enforcement officials, and after investigation, David V. Kent was charged with poaching the deer.
On Feb. 1, eight charges were filed against Kent by Osage County Attorney Brandon Jones in the District Court of Osage County, Fourth Judicial District, including criminal discharge of a firearm, criminal hunting, illegally hunting with an artificial light, hunting outside of legal hours, illegal hunting during a closed season, using an illegal caliber for taking big game, illegal hunting from a vehicle, and hunting without a valid deer permit.
Kent has been summoned to appear in Osage County District Court in Lyndon, Kan., on March 1, 2012, at 9 a.m.
“As a developer of the Mossy Oak Properties brand in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Iowa, I strongly condemn this type of behavior,” said Brian D. Smith, CEO of Mossy Oak Properties of the Heartland and founder of the Kansas Big Buck Classic. “In fact, we believe in the stiffest penalties possible for poaching, and we played a strategic part in exposing this case. We cooperated 100 percent.”

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Asian Carp in the Wabash River
Asian Carp in the Wabash River (Photo credit: LouisvilleUSACE)

Strange-looking fish puzzles anglers
AUGUSTA — On Jan. 25, anglers were taking advantage of a fish salvage order as Augusta City Lake was being drained for renovation. During a fish salvage, anglers can take sportfish with equipment not ordinarily allowed, such as seines, snagging rigs, bow and arrow, and gigs. Most of the prizes hauled in were large flathead catfish, but one angler snagged a fish estimated to weigh about 55 pounds that no one could identify. Officials with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) became involved with the catch when a picture of the fish appeared on local television. It was immediately identified as an aquatic nuisance species (ANS), an Asian carp.
“This report supports our long-standing recommendation that fish should not be moved between waters,” said Jason Goeckler, KDWPT aquatic nuisance specialist. “Here is a case of a lake with Asian carp that we didn't even know about.”
Asian carp were imported to the U.S. in the 1970s for aquaculture purposes but escaped into Midwestern rivers and streams. Previously, they had been found only in the Kansas, Missouri, Big Blue, and Wakarusa rivers and Browning Oxbow Lake in northeastern Kansas. Officials believe that the fish was released into Augusta City Lake or waters above the lake.
Two species of Asian carp have been discovered in Kansas — bighead and silver carp. Both species have scaleless heads, and silver carp may grow to more than 60 pounds and as long as 4 feet. This fish, however, was a bighead carp, which may grow to more than 100 pounds. Both species have low-set eyes and a large upturned mouth without barbels (“whiskers”).
Asian carp directly compete with other fish for food resources, grow quickly, and feed voraciously. They can consume 40 percent of their body weight each day. Silver carp pose physical danger to boaters because of their leaping ability. Anyone boating in silver carp-infested waters should be aware that these large fish may jump into their boat.
Shortly after news reports of the Augusta City Lake Asian carp, KDWPT began receiving calls and emails.
“We want to thank the public for sending in reports,” Goeckler said. “Unfortunately we did not hear about this discovery prior to press-time. But the big news is that we received countless emails, calls, and online reports from the public. They shared our concern about the discovery, and their reports help us monitor these species.”
Anyone who catches an Asian carp should not release the fish back into any body of water. Anglers who catch Asian carp somewhere other than the Kansas, Missouri, Big Blue, and Wakarusa rivers should freeze the fish in a sealed plastic bag, note the date and location, and call the KDWPT Emporia Research Office at 620-342-0658 or

Friday, February 17, 2012


P. annularis
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Teaching tool for grades K-12 combines art, writing, and conservation
BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — Teachers and student artists across Kansas in grades K-12 should be aware that it’s time to start preparing entries for the 2012 Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest. The contest is open to all students in public, private, or home schools. The entry deadline is March 31 each year.
Major changes in the contest for 2012 include the permissible size of artwork to include works 8.5 inches by 11 inches or 9 inches by 12 inches; creation of a K-3 grade-level division for artwork only; addition of a national prize for best essays in grade level divisions 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12; and a new category with one national winner for best artwork and essay about an invasive species.
Contest rules, guidelines, entry information and details about the contest changes can be found at
Educators who wish to have their students enter the contest can download the free “State-Fish Art Contest Lesson Plan” at The interdisciplinary curriculum includes lessons and activities, a species identification section profiling each state fish, a glossary, and student worksheets.
Located in Brooklyn Center, Minn., Wildlife Forever is a non-profit multi-species conservation organization dedicated to conserving America’s wildlife heritage. Working at the grassroots level, Wildlife Forever has funded conservation projects in all 50 states, committing millions of dollars to “on-the-ground” efforts. Wildlife Forever supports habitat restoration and enhancement, land acquisition, research, and management of fish and wildlife populations.
For more information on the contest, write State Fish Art Contest, Wildlife Forever, 2700 Freeway Blvd., #1000, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430, or phone 763-253-0222.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Location map of Kansas, USA
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Conservation Achievement Program recognizes excellence in all fields of wildlife conservation
MANHATTAN — The Kansas Wildlife Federation's (KWF) 2012 Conservation Achievement Program (CAP) Awards Banquet will be held Saturday, Feb. 25. The event begins with a silent auction and social hour at 5:30 p.m., with the banquet starting at 7 p.m. All events will be held in the Quality Inn, 2110 W. Crawford in Salina. The banquet will honor recipients of the KWF’s 2011 CAP awards. This year’s recipients include the following:
  • Conservationist of the Year — Roger Boyd, Baldwin City;
  • Conservation Organization — Kansas Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation;
  • Wildlife Conservationist — Greg Kramos, Manhattan;
  • Conservation Communicator — Mike Miller, Pratt;
  • Water Conservationist— Libby Albers, Wichita;
  • Land and Soil Wildlife Conservationist —Ed Koger, Wilmore;
  • Outdoor Skills Instructor — Gib Rhodes, Madison;
  • Farmer/Rancher Wildlife Conservationists — Tim and Rebekah Peterson, Monument;
  • Stream Monitor — Laura Calwell, Shawnee Mission;
  • Conservation Educator —Eric Kessler, Kansas City, Mo.;
  • Forest Conservationist — Larry Rutter, Meriden; and
  • Youth Conservationist — Megan Hilbish, Emporia; and
  • Legislator Conservationist — Tom Moxley, Council Grove.
Banquet tickets are $25 before Feb. 17 and $35 after. Checks should be made payable to KWF and mailed to KWF Annual Meeting, KWF, P.O. Box 771282, Wichita, KS 67277-1282. For more information, email Ken Brunson at prattbrunsons@gmail.comor phone 620-672-7289.
A block of rooms is reserved at the special rate of $65 per night and will be held until February 10. Phone the Quality Inn at 785-825-2111 to make reservations. Reduced rates will be given attendees who tell the hotel that they are with the Kansas Wildlife Federation.
Sponsors for the 2011 Awards are the Kansas Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Westar Energy, Bundleflower Plant and Wildfower Preserve (the Jim Ruder Family), the Geary County Fish & Game Association, the Kansas Chapter of the Wildlife Society, the Kansas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, and the Watershed Institute.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Common Pheasant
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National event free with military ID on Feb. 17-19
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever has announced that all active military personnel will receive free admission to its National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic when the event comes to the Kansas City Convention Center’s Bartle Hall on Feb. 17, 18, and 19.
Active duty personnel who present their U.S. Military ID cards will receive free entrance to event from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. This will be the show’s first time in Kansas City and the first time free admission has been extended to military members.
“Men and women of the military make the ultimate commitment to their country,” says Joe Duggan, Pheasants Forever’s vice president of corporate relations. “They sacrifice a lot to serve, including time they might otherwise have spent hunting, fishing, and enjoying the outdoors. This is a small token of our appreciation, and we hope to see many service members on the floor, so we can personally thank them for standing up for this nation and its wildlife and natural resources.”
The National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic is the country's largest event for upland bird hunters, sport dog owners, and wildlife habitat conservationists, combining a national outdoor tradeshow, wildlife habitat seminar series, and family event complete with puppies, tractors, shotguns, and art. The event is presented by Cabela's.


This micrograph of brain tissue reveals the cy...
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Numbers still low; no known threat to humans or livestock
PRATT — The number of cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) detected in Kansas deer continues to be low and is currently isolated to the northwest part of the state, according to the Shane Hesting, wildlife disease coordinator for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT). Samples from three white-tailed bucks taken during this year’s hunting season were confirmed positive for CWD in tests completed last week. Counties where the deer were taken include Wallace (new county of detection), Decatur, and Rawlins. KDWPT will continue testing some vehicle-killed and sick or suspect-looking deer, as well as deer taken with depredation permits, through July 31.
“This season’s testing results bring the total number of confirmed CWD cases in Kansas to 43 since testing began in 1996,” says Hesting. “About 2,400 samples were collected during the 2011-2012 deer seasons, but testing has been slow, and testing kits are continually on back order. We’re about 35 percent done. More importantly, U.S. Department of Agriculture funding will not be available for collecting and testing samples next season. Without federal financial assistance, surveillance will be very limited and less robust.”
Annual testing has been a part of an ongoing effort by KDWPT to monitor the prevalence and spread of CWD. The disease, fatal in wild deer, was first detected in deer taken in Cheyenne County in 2005.
CWD is a member of the group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Other diseases in this group include scrapie in sheep and goats, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or Mad Cow Disease) in cattle, and Cruetzfeldt-Jakob disease in people. CWD is a progressive, fatal disease that results in small holes developing in the brain, giving it a sponge-like appearance under the microscope. An animal may carry the disease without outward indication, but in the later stages, signs may include decreased interactions with other animals, listlessness, lowering of the head, weight loss, repetitive walking in set patterns, and a lack of response to humans.
“It must be noted that many of the symptoms of CWD are indicative of other diseases,” Hesting explains. “Thus, a sick deer may or may not be infected with CWD. CWD is a serious deer disease but is still rare in Kansas.”
All but three of the 43 positive animals detected since 2005 were asymptomatic, meaning 40 animals did not show any symptoms of CWD at the time of collection. Anyone who discovers a sick or suspect deer should contact the nearest KDWP office.
There is no vaccine or other biological method that prevents CWD. However, there is no evidence that CWD poses a risk to humans or livestock in the natural environment. Still, precautions should be taken. Hunters are advised not to eat meat from animals known to be infected, and common sense precautions are advised when field dressing and processing meat from animals taken in areas where CWD is found. More information on CWD can be found on KDWPT’s website, Game Information), or at the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website,

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Lontra canadensis English: North American Rive...
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Trappers notified that harvest quota has been met; season closes after Feb. 5
EMPORIA — For the first time in modern history, Kansas allowed otter trapping during the 2011-2012 trapping season. Biologists had been monitoring a growing otter population for many years and had proposed a limited harvest to manage otter numbers and learn more about the species. The season was to run Nov. 16, 2011-March 31, 2012, or until the statewide trapping mortality quota of 100 otters was met.

Biologists with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) have announced that that quota has been met. Trappers have been allowed a grace period for notification that the quota has been met, so all otters taken on or before Feb. 5 may be kept by the furharvester.
Otters accidentally taken while trapping for other species after Feb. 5 must be reported to KDPWT prior to removal from the trap site. They may be reported to the toll free hotline at (855) 778-6887 (RPT-OTTR) or to a local KDWPT natural resource officer or biologist. Inadvertent capture of otters shall not be deemed illegal if the capture is reported or if the animal is released unharmed.

KDWPT collected carcasses from all harvested otters this season and will be determining age, reproductive output, and other biological information, which will be used to make decisions about future seasons. For more information, phone Matt Peek at 620-342-0658.

Friday, February 3, 2012


(Meleagris gallopavo subsp. intermedia) Wild t...
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Guide hunts, gun giveaway to highlight event; application deadline March 30
HIAWATHA — The Thundering Toms Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) — representing Northeast Kansas and Southeast Nebraska with headquarters in Hiawatha, Kan. — will sponsor a guided youth turkey hunt on Saturday, April 7. Hunters, parents/sponsors, and guides will meet at the Hiawatha National Guard Armory the evening of April 6 for a safety meeting and to introduce and assign each hunter a guide. The guides will have written permission to hunt private land and will arrange with hunters and parents or sponsors on the time and place to meet on April 7, before departing to the designated hunting location.
After the hunt all hunters, parents or sponsors, and guides will meet at the shelter house at Hiawatha City Lake for a noon meal. After the meal, birds will be scored, pictures will be taken, prizes will be awarded, and a gun will be given away to one of the young hunters.
All young hunters who are interested in participating in the youth hunt must complete an application, available from Larry West at The hunt will be limited to 15 participants, and the application deadline is March 30. Successful applicants will be sent an agenda for the day(s) of the hunt, meeting times, and other information.
For more information, contact West at the above email address.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


English: Wilson Dam and Wilson Lake on the Sal...
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PRATT — Each year, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) prepares the Kansas Fishing Forecast, an indispensable tool that forecasts fishing prospects in public waters throughout the state.
The 2012 Kansas Fishing Forecast, now online at (click Fishing/Fishing Forecast), assembles results of biologists' sampling efforts into a format that can help anglers select lakes that will most likely provide the best opportunity to catch the kind and size of fish they prefer. The information is formulated from data collected by fisheries management biologists through annual lake monitoring, which includes test netting and electroshocking.
Water bodies are separated into three categories — reservoirs (waters larger than 1,200 acres), lakes (waters from 10 to 1,200 acres), and ponds (waters smaller than 10 acres). This helps anglers understand that while a water body may have a high rating, if it is small, its overall opportunity may be limited.
Table categories have been created for popular species and include a Density Rating, Preferred Rating, Lunker Rating, Biggest Fish (the largest fish taken in sampling), Biologist’s Rating, and Three-Year Average. The Three-Year Average rating is included because not every lake can be survey every year.
The Density Rating is the number of high-quality size or larger fish per unit of sampling effort. High-quality size, listed in parentheses at the top of the Density Rating column, is the length of fish considered acceptable to most anglers and is different for each species. The higher the Density Rating, the more high-quality sized or larger fish per surface acre in the lake. Theoretically, a lake with a Density Rating of 30 has twice as many high-quality sized fish per acre as a lake with a Density Rating of 15.
The Preferred Rating identifies how many above-average-sized fish a water contains. For example, a lake may have a good density of crappie, but few fish over 10 inches. The Preferred Rating helps anglers select which lake to go to for a chance to catch bigger fish.
The Lunker Rating is similar to the Density Rating, but it indicates the relative density of lunker-sized fish in the lake. A lunker is a certain length of fish considered a trophy by most anglers. It also differs with each species and is listed in parentheses at the top of the Lunker Rating column. For example, most anglers consider a channel catfish longer than 28 inches a lunker. Many lakes may have a lunker rating of 0, but this does not mean there are no big fish in that lake. It just means that no lunker fish were caught during sampling, and they may be less abundant than in lakes with positive Lunker Ratings.
Anglers can use the Density Rating and Lunker Rating together. For those who want numbers, go with the highest Density Rating. For those who want only big fish, go with the Lunker Rating. Somewhere in the middle might be a better choice. A lake with a respectable rating in all three categories should provide the best overall fishing opportunities.
The Biggest Fish column lists the weight of the largest fish caught during sampling. A heavy fish listed here can give the lunker angler confidence that truly big fish are present.
The Biologist’s Rating adds a human touch to the forecast. Each district fisheries biologist reviews the data from annual sampling of their assigned lakes. This review considers environmental conditions that may have affected the sampling. They also consider previous years’ data. A rating of P (poor), F (fair), G (good), or E (excellent) will be in the last column. Sometimes the Density Rating may not agree with the Biologist’s Rating. This will happen occasionally and means the Density Rating may not accurately reflect the biologist’s opinion of the fishery.
Printed copies of the forecast will be available at KDWP offices by the end of February, and the March/April issue of Kansas Wildlife & Parks magazine will present the forecast as a full-color article. (For subscriptions, phone 1-800-288-8387.)
Whether the angler is after big fish or more fish, the forecast will help find them. Weekly reports on fishing conditions at waters throughout the state are also posted on the website and complement the forecast.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


line art drawing
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Effort will concentrate on two” focal areas” in eastern Kansas
PRATT — The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) is introducing a new five-year initiative — the Kansas Quail Initiative — aimed at improving habitat conditions for bobwhite quail, an upland species that has declined throughout much of its range. The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Kansas State Chapter was the first conservation group to provide financial support for this important conservation effort, committing $12,500. The NWTF also will help deliver and promote the program by helping locate interested landowners and assisting with habitat improvements.
The NWTF has 33 chapters in Kansas with more 2,800 members. More than $885,715 has been raised and spent by Kansas chapters on projects within the state.
"It was a no-brainer for the Kansas State Chapter to step up and become the first conservation organization to support the Quail Initiative," said Todd Adolph, NWTF Kansas State Chapter president. "We have a positive working relationship with KDWPT, and I expect this initiative will be a big success."
The Kansas Quail Initiative aims to increase quail populations by 50 percent in five years within “focal areas.” A northern focal area includes portions of Lyon, Osage, and Wabaunsee counties, and a southern focal area includes parts of Neosho and Labette counties.
KDWPT biologists identified these regions as areas with high restoration potential, and they both contain sizable amounts of public land that can be used for core habitat improvements.
"The fact that the NWTF has committed to this initiative shows that we’re not just about turkeys, and that our volunteers understand the urgency to conserve habitat for quail" said Jared McJunkin, NWTF conservation field western region supervisor.
For private landowners in the focal areas, this initiative will increase available cost-share assistance to 100 percent of the estimated costs of implementing quail-friendly practices on their property. KDWPT is committed to spending as much as $100,000 per year on private land habitat improvements in the focal areas for each of the five years of this initiative.
KDWPT also will emphasize the voluntary public access and habitat improvement program in these focal areas to promote enrollment in continuous Conservation Reserve Program practices.
To become an NWTF member, or for more information about the NWTF, go online to or phone (800) THE-NWTF.