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,ksoutdoors.com/news/Boating/Boating-Education.

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 facebook.com/takemefishing. 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 TakeMeFishing.org.

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, ksoutdoors.com. 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.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


crossbow (Photo credit: Lady T 220)

Number required for crossbow hunters who have deer permits valid during archery season in units 1, 12, 15, and 19
PRATT — On May 25, Governor Sam Brownback signed into law a bill that included provisions for a crossbow pilot project in as many as four deer management units during an archery big game season by anyone issued a big game permit valid during the archery season. The two-year pilot project will sunset on Jan. 31, 2014, at which time the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Secretary must report to the Kansas Legislature about the project.

For this pilot project, any person with a deer permit valid during the archery season for deer management units 1, 12, 15, and 19 may use a crossbow during the archery season, regardless of age or disability. Each person age 16 through 54 shall obtain a free crossbow hunter survey number from KDWPT before hunting with a crossbow during archery season.

Hunters may obtain a crossbow survey ID number by going online at the KDWPT website,ksoutdoors.com, and clicking on the Crossbow Survey ID display ad, or by typing the following URL into their web browsers: https://programs.ksoutdoors.com/Crossbow-Survey-ID-Number . Here, they must enter their KDWPT number, first name, last name, and email address (if available). An email address is not required, but if one is given, a confirmation email will be sent to them. Those who do not have access to the Internet may obtain a crossbow survey ID number at any KDWPT office. Those who sign up at a KDWPT office will also receive a printed receipt.

There can only be one survey ID per KDWPT number. For more information, phone 620-672-5911 and ask for the IT Help Desk.

Also new this year, hunters who have a youth big game permit valid during the archery season and those 55 and older who have a big game permit valid during the archery season may hunt with a crossbow. Those hunters do not need a crossbow survey ID number.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Atlas locates all Walk-In Hunting Access areas and public wildlife areas

PRATT — Want hunting access to one million acres of private land? The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) provides just that and more in the 2012 Kansas Hunting Atlas. This essential hunting tool includes maps showing locations of Walk-In Hunting Access (WIHA) areas and public wildlife areas and will be available online at the KDWPT website, ksoutdoors.com, the week of Aug. 27. Click “Hunting/Where to Hunt in Kansas” to find a link to the document. Printed copies of the atlas will be available in late August or early September at KDWPT offices and hunting license vendors around the state.

The atlas provides dozens of full-page maps covering the entire state. Online visitors can view and print the complete atlas or select specific maps. Hunters can also download maps to GPS units for easy navigation. Each map includes an index listing the game species most likely to occur on properties listed.

For information on hunting seasons and regulations, copies of the 2012 Kansas Hunting & Furharvesting Regulations Summary will be available at KDWPT offices and license vendors the first week in September, but hunters can view or download the complete publication from the KDWPT website after the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission meeting Aug. 23. Type “Hunting Regulations” in the search box at the department’s homepage or click “Hunting/Hunting Regulations.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


feral hogs
feral hogs (Photo credit: amy_b)

Duck, goose season dates to highlight public hearing
GREAT BEND — The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission will conduct a public meeting and hearing on Thursday, Aug. 23, at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, 592 NE K156 Highway, northeast of Great Bend. The afternoon session will begin at 1:30 p.m. and recess at 5 p.m., and the evening session will begin at 7 p.m.
The afternoon session will begin with time for public comments on non-agenda items, followed by a general discussion period on the following topics:
  • Secretary’s remarks;
  • agency and state fiscal status;
  • 2013 Legislature;
  • feral swine control efforts in Kansas;
  • Tourism Division briefing;
  • waterfowl management briefing;
  • Cheyenne Bottoms signage project; and
  • big game permanent regulations.
The afternoon will also include a workshop session, in preparation for potential future regulatory action, covering preliminary recommendations on the following regulations:
  • fishing regulations;
  • spring turkey regulations;
  • park fees;
  • alcohol on Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism property;
  • scoring methods for poaching penalty;
  • senior hunt-fish licenses/pass pricing; and
  • agritourism regulations.
The commission will recess at 5 p.m., then reconvene at 7 p.m. at the same location for a public hearing on the following regulations:
  • KAR 115-14 series on falconry;
  • KAR 115-18-1 — wildlife rehabilitation permit, application, reporting and general provisions, new regulation; and
  • late migratory bird seasons.
Time will be set aside in both the afternoon and evening sessions for public comment on topics that are not on the agenda. If necessary, the commission will recess on Aug. 23 and reconvene at the same location at 9 a.m., Aug. 24, to complete unfinished business.
Live video and audio streaming of this meeting will be broadcast through the KDWPT website,ksoutdoors.com.
If notified in advance, the department will have an interpreter available for the hearing impaired. To request an interpreter, call the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at 1-800-432-0698. Any individual with a disability may request other accommodations by contacting the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission secretary at 620-672-5911.
The next commission meeting is scheduled for Oct. 18 at Flint Oak, 2639 Quail Road, near Fall River.

Monday, August 13, 2012


English: A white-tailed deer
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Free permits will help with game management
MELVERN — In an attempt to gather better information regarding how game populations respond to management activities and hunter harvest, Melvern Wildlife Area and Lyon State Fishing Lake will require daily hunting permits beginning Sept. 1. Melvern Wildlife Area is a popular destination for many hunters and provides more than 10,000 acres of public hunting for a variety of game, including white-tailed deer, wild turkey, bobwhite quail, and waterfowl. Providing high-quality habitat for each of these game species and a superior experience for the hunters pursuing them requires the best tools and information available, and data gleaned from these permits will help area biologists with their habitat management plans.

The hunting permit will be free and required for anyone hunting on these wildlife areas for any species of game. A new permit must be filled out and returned each day. Permits can be obtained at 10 locations on Melvern Wildlife Area and two locations on Lyon State Fishing Lake. At these locations, permits will be stored in metal boxes called “iron rangers,” which are similar to mailboxes.

Prior to hunting, hunters will fill out the top portion of the card and deposit it in the iron ranger. The bottom portion must be kept on their person while hunting. When the hunter is finished for the day, the bottom portion should be filled out and returned to an iron ranger. The information collected will be used to help direct management in the future. Additionally, these permits will provide much-needed information regarding game population trends on the area as well as hunter preferences, participation, success, and satisfaction with their hunting experience.

When the fall hunting season finally arrives, remember to stop by an iron ranger prior to hunting Melvern Wildlife Area or Lyon State Fishing Lake and fill out a permit. Cooperation and participation in this new program will help the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism collect valuable information to ensure a high-quality hunting experience for future generations. For more information, phone the Melvern Wildlife Area Office at 620-699-3372.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Shoreline and fishery improvements scheduled; no fish salvage allowed
KINGMAN — In an effort to improve fishing and eliminate an expanding white perch population — an aquatic nuisance species (ANS) — Kingman State Fishing Lake (SFL) is scheduled to be drained and renovated this fall. Periodic renovations are standard practice in small lakes when fish populations became unbalanced due to expansion of undesirable fish species. Kingman SFL has been drained and rehabilitated six times since 1947. Currently, the majority of the fish biomass in the lake is composed of common carp, gizzard shad, and white perch. The quality and quantity of sport fish has decreased in the lake, and the fishery is not currently meeting the needs of anglers. Angler use in 2011 was approximately one-third of that seen during the last angler survey at Kingman in 1999.

Biologist believe hot, dry weather has created the best conditions for renovating this fish population because the drought has dried up many upstream pools that may have harbored undesirable fish species. After the lake is drained, the existing water in the lake basin will be treated with rotenone, a fish toxicant. Because Kingman is an ANS-designated water due to white perch, fish salvage will not be allowed, reducing the risk of white perch transfer into non-infested waters.

Dewatering of the lake will begin in mid-August. During renovation, a number of lake improvement projects will take place, including fish habitat placement, boat ramp extension, and chemical treatment of problematic shoreline vegetation. Upon refilling of the lake, largemouth bass, northern pike, bluegill, and channel catfish will be restocked.

“Hopefully, fall rains and increased spring flow will fill the lake by spring of 2013,” says Sean T. Lynott, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s regional fisheries supervisor for southern Kansas. “After the renovation, the lake will not be closed to fishing because some adult fish will be stocked immediately to prey on any undesirable fish not eliminated by the chemical treatment. Additionally, the newly-stocked fish should grow quickly without competition from rough fish, so fishing should quickly improve in the years to come.”

Saturday, August 11, 2012


This map of Trego County, Kansas, USA, is copi...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Youth ages 10-16 invited to participate in guided hunt; application deadline Aug. 25

ELLIS — Thanks to the success of last year’s TJ’s Memorial Youth Deer Hunt, Hunting Heritage Group and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) will host the 6th Annual TJ’s Memorial Youth Deer Hunt during the special youth and disabled hunting season. This year, the hunt will be held Sept. 8-9. Hunters will hunt from a blind with an experienced guide/mentor on private land that adjoins Cedar Bluff Wildlife Area in Trego County. Two young hunters will hunt in specially-designated areas on Cedar Bluff Wildlife Area.

The first morning will consist of classroom instruction along with a trip to the range to sight in rifles. Once rifles are sighted in and everyone has had lunch, guides and youth hunters will go afield. All hunters will return to the meeting area that evening. Those youth who are unsuccessful that day will be invited to hunt the following day.

Youth participants for this hunt must be residents of Kansas ages 10 through 16. One disabled veteran and one disabled youth will also be selected to participate in the hunt. In addition, candidates for the hunt must complete and submit an application form by Aug. 25. Application forms may be obtained at the KDWPT website, ksoutdoors.com (type “TJ’s” in the search box) or by contacting Natural Resource Officer II Jason Hawman at 785-483-0504. There is no charge for the hunt, and lodging will be provided.

Special hunts like this are part of the Kansas Hunter Recruitment and Retention Program called "PASS IT ON." This program addresses the need to recruit new hunters and retain existing hunters in order to ensure the future of hunting in Kansas.

Friday, August 10, 2012


English: Mourning Doves will perch for safety ...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
KDWPT-managed areas are magnets for elusive mourning doves
PRATT — Many hunters view Sept. 1 as the opening of hunting season, with dove season beginning on that day. It’s been a blistering hot, dry summer, but mourning doves seem to thrive in hot, dry weather, and Kansas hunters should have no problem finding this acrobat game bird when the season opens. Hitting them may be another matter, so target practice prior to season is important.

Although the mourning dove is the primary quarry, Kansas hunters enjoy pursuing four species of doves in split fall and winter seasons. The season for all doves runs Sept. 1-Oct. 31 and Nov. 3-11. During these segments, two native species (mourning and white-winged doves) as well as two exotic species (Eurasian collared and ringed turtle doves) may be taken. In addition, an exotic species season runs Nov. 20-Feb. 28, 2013. During this time, only Eurasian collared and ringed turtle doves may be taken.

To enhance public hunting opportunities, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) manages fields specifically to attract doves. Dove fields may include standing or mowed sunflowers, unharvested strips of wheat and burned crop stubble, mowed wheat, mixed plantings, or any combination of techniques.

Some areas have restricted hunting dates or times, and others may be restricted to youth, novice, and/or disabled hunters. Some may also require hunters using managed dove fields to obtain and complete a daily hunt permit or obtain access through a drawing. Other areas are open to the general public. Fields within waterfowl management areas require non-toxic shot only. Daily hunt permits are free and located in “iron rangers” (similar to mailboxes) at the field near you.

Use the KDWPT website, ksoutdoors.com, to find details on areas specially managed for doves. Click "Hunting/Migratory Birds/Doves/Managed Hunting Areas" for details on a managed dove area.

Hunters are reminded that there are no bag and possession limits for Eurasian collared doves and ringed turtle doves. However, during the regular dove season — Sept. 1 through Oct. 31 and Nov. 3-11 — if the take of exotic doves exceeds a hunter’s daily bag of 15 mourning and white-winged doves (single species or in combination), the exotic doves must be transported with a fully-feathered wing attached. The possession limit for mourning and white-winged doves is 30.

Doves are excellent table fare. Whether wrapped in bacon and grilled, baked in a pie, or skewered for shish-ka-bobs, this game bird is a favorite of many. But don’t wait until Sept. 1 to get ready. Hunters should be scouting areas and obtaining permission on private ground or planning for a public land hunt now. Shooting clay targets for a couple of weeks will save shells once the season opens, but stock up on shells anyway; this is one of the most difficult game birds to hit. These things done, all that remains is knowing the law and cleaning the grill.

All dates and regulations needed for hunting doves may be found online at the KDWPT website, ksoutdoors.com. On Aug. 23, the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission will approve final regulations for ducks and geese at the Wetland Education Center, 592 NE K156 Highway, near Great Bend. Once that action is complete, KDWPT can post the 2012 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary, on the agency’s website, where hunters can go to learn more about identifying dove species. At that time, click "Hunting/Hunting Regulations" to view or download this booklet.

Printed copies of the 2012 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary, as well as the Kansas Hunting Atlas, will be available where licenses are sold the first week in September.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Shotgun, rifle, archery shooting and casting and furharvesting demonstrations highlight event
HAYS — On Aug. 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Hays area conservation groups, businesses, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) will offer a free day of target shooting and outdoor activities for youth ages 17 and younger. The 15th Annual Youth Outdoor Festival will be held at the Hays City Sportsmen's Club, 1/4 mile north of I-70 off Exit 157.

All targets, shooting materials, and equipment will be supplied for the event. Trap, skeet, archery, air rifle/BB gun, muzzleloader, small-bore rifle, computerized laser shot target, and paintball shooting will be offered. Furharvesting demonstrations and a kids bass casting competition will complement the event.

This is an excellent opportunity to introduce youth to the world of shooting sports, hunting, and furharvesting. Hunter education certification is not required, but youth participants must be accompanied by an adult. Volunteers specializing in their fields of shooting will closely supervise youth at each station. Registration for the event will be completed on site, and participants can enjoy a free lunch.

In addition to the free shooting opportunities and lunch, several door prizes, guns, fishing tackle, and other outdoor equipment will be given away. For more information phone Kent Hensley at 785-726-3212, email kent.hensley@ksoutdoors.com, or phone Troy Mattheyer at 785-726-4212.