Thursday, January 31, 2013


 Becoming An Outdoors-Woman (BOW), a non-profit, non-membership program offered through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), will host a spring workshop at Rock Springs 4-H Center near Junction City, May 17-19. Aimed at teaching women outdoor skills, the workshop provides nearly 25 different classes ranging from shotgun basics and archery to photography and wood carving.
“It’s a great way for somebody to try new activities that maybe they’ve thought about, and never really had the courage to try,” said Kansas BOW coordinator Jami McCabe. “It’s a ton of fun.”
BOW has recruited a core of volunteer instructors, including KDWPT employees, law enforcement officials, and even past participants, all of whom are considered to be experts in their field. Since most participants are beginners, McCabe added that instructors strive to create a safe and supportive atmosphere for everyone in attendance.
Cost for the three-day workshop is $250, which includes lodging, meals and class supplies. Three $100 scholarships are available to first-time participants based on financial need.
Early registration will be open to first-time participants through March 1. If spots still remain, past participants may register beginning March 2. Applicants are encouraged to apply early as the spring workshop is limited to 48 participants. To register, visit, click “Services/Education/Becoming an Outdoors Woman,” and download a registration form.
For questions, call or email McCabe at (785) 845-5052 or To learn more, and view pictures of past workshops, visit the BOW Facebook page found under “Becoming an Outdoors Woman KANSAS.”

Saturday, January 26, 2013


an. 24, 2013
Special hunts program gives hunters access to land not normally open to the public
PRATT – Since its inception nearly 20 years ago, hunters have been able to apply for exclusive entry into areas with limited access through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Special Hunts Program. This special access means a higher quality hunt and potentially greater harvest rates, but hunters should still make every preparation necessary to ensure a successful hunt, just as they would anywhere else.
"The only guarantee with Special Hunts is you'll have a place to hunt,” said Mike Nyhoff, KDWPT Public Lands regional supervisor. “These are wild animals with real Kansas weather and topography affecting the critters and hunters alike. We don't guarantee success harvesting game, that's still up to the hunter."
When the Special Hunts Program first began in the early 1990s, hunters were permitted access to lands not normally open to public hunting such as refuges and state parks. Past special hunts have taken place on wildlife areas, state parks, Corps of Engineers properties, national wildlife refuges and city and county parks. In 2009, the amount of land available for special hunts increased as private landowners became eligible to participate in the program. To date, hunters have access to exclusive hunting areas in 13 counties statewide.
Although similar to the Walk-In Hunting Access (WIHA) program in that private landowners are compensated for the use of their land, the Special Hunts Program allows landowners to exercise more control over the use of their land. Rules such as which dates hunting can occur, how many people can hunt, as well as what species can be hunted are all left to the landowners’ discretion. In addition, land areas designated for special hunts provide limited access to the public, whereas WIHAs provide open access to hunters.
Because access is limited, hunters must apply online for the hunts they desire. Interested applicants can expect to see more information on the 2013 fall and winter special hunts in early July. In 2012, the Special Hunts Program made 646 hunts available for the fall/winter hunting season. Hunters had a choice of upland birds and doves, ducks and geese, deer, turkey and furbearers.
In addition to what type of species applicants would like to hunt, hunters must also specify if they are requesting an open hunt, a youth hunt, or a mentor hunt.
• Open hunts are available to all hunters.
• Youth hunts require parties to include at least one youth 18 or younger, accompanied by an adult 21 or older. The adult cannot hunt.
• Mentor hunts are open to both youth and novice hunters supervised by a mentor 21 or older. Both beginning hunter and mentor can hunt. A youth is a person 18 or younger, whereas a novice is a youth 18 or younger, or any person who has never possessed a hunting license prior to the special hunt.
Depending upon the location and species being hunted, special hunts can range from a half-day up to the entire length of the season. Upon successfully completing the application, hunters will then be entered into a random computer drawing conducted within one week of the application deadline. If chosen, the successful applicant will then be emailed their hunt permit, as well as maps and other information.
For the spring turkey season, hunters will be able to apply for special hunts from Feb. 1-March 11. Last year, the Special Hunts Program made approximately 170 hunts available at 27 different locations. A similar number of hunts are expected for the 2013 season, which is youth/disabled/archery, April 1-9, followed by the regular firearm season, April 10-May 31.
“If we can provide one quality experience a year for a hunter, beginner or expert,” said Bruce Taggart, retired KDWPT employee and fundamental party in initiating the Special Hunts Program, “chances are they will continue in the sport for years to come.”
For more information on the Special Hunts Program, visit and click “Hunting/Special Hunts Information.”

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


 Most avid anglers have several items – a special lure or a lucky hat – they won’t be caught fishing without. All should add the 2013 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary to their “don’t-go-without” list. The 49-page, color pamphlet is available now wherever licenses are sold and can be downloaded at
Of course, the summary includes important fishing regulations such as special seasons, creel and length limits, license fees and legal fishing methods. And there’s also a special section highlighting new regulations for 2013. This publication is a must-have for anglers because creel and length limits vary from lake to lake. The pamphlet includes a special 16-page section that lists all public waters, along with their location and any special regulations in effect. You can also see which community lakes don’t charge extra fees for fishing, and even which lakes provide the best family fishing experience. Community lakes designated as Family Friendly Facilities (FFF) will include flush toilet facilities, security patrols, security lighting, easy access to the water and do not allow alcohol.
Anglers will also find important information on aquatic nuisance species (ANS), as well as regulations governing the use of live baitfish. Five pages are devoted to fish identification, featuring color illustrations by Joe Tomelleri. Current state record fish are listed, and there is also a Master Angler Application for anglers who catch fish that qualify for the Master Angler Program.
The 2013 Fishing Regulations Summary pamphlet is truly a necessary item for anglers, and copies are available at more than 200 outlets statewide. Grab two copies, one for your tackle box and one for the boat, so you’ll never be without it.

Monday, January 7, 2013

15 th annual Youth, Women, and Celebrity Pheasant Hunt at Waconda Lake

Annual hunt gets young and new hunters in the field
The 15 th annual Youth, Women, and Celebrity Pheasant Hunt at Waconda Lake was held on December 8, 2012 and drew a large crowd of both youngsters and celebrities. Pheasant populations had declined in the area due to the heat and drought conditions, but that did not wither the participants' excitement. The goal of the annual event is to provide new and inexperienced hunters with a positive and fun day where they have an opportunity to harvest a rooster pheasant or two. The hunt is organized by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and Wichita-based Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors, Inc.
This year, 32 young hunters (5 girls and 27 boys) ranging in ages from 10 to 17 attended the pheasant hunt. Several were local kids from Cawker City, Jewell, Glen Elder, Beloit, and Downs. However, many others came from farther away, including Kansas City, Wichita, and Salina. Three women also enjoyed their first- or second-ever pheasant hunts.
Eighteen celebrities and armed forces heroes were in attendance and served as hunting role models. Celebrities were headlined by three generations of the Segui family. Diego Segui and his son David each had long Major League Baseball careers, and now David's son Cory is attempting to work his way up through the Baltimore Orioles' minor league system. Brody (age 12) and Nolan Pope (age 14) from Harrisonville, Mo. also joined the festivities this year. Each of the brothers already has four National Go-cart Racing Championships to their credit. Other celebrities this year included former NFL players Mark Arneson and Jerry Holloway and former drag racer Guy Caster.
The event was also honored to have nine military heroes participate. These servicemen and women had various affiliations with the U.S. military from Fort Riley's Warrior Transition Battalion and the Kansas National Guard. The majority of these heroes were "wounded warriors" who were fortunate to survive injuries suffered during deployments. One of the soldiers brought his three sons with him for the family's first-ever hunt, and several others brought spouses or children who were also new to hunting. "Family hunting" turned out to be the theme of this year's event.
The day started with a biscuits and gravy breakfast, a safety talk, then participants were divided into five different hunting groups by age and experience level. Each hunting group had celebrities, a hunt captain, and at least two bird dogs. With almost ideal weather conditions, the groups hunted in either Glen Elder State Park or in one of the refuge areas on Glen Elder Wildlife Area surrounding the lake where public hunting is generally not allowed.
Each group saw plenty of pheasants up close and almost all of the hunters got multiple shot opportunities at the tough birds. Only the youth, celebrities and heroes hunted in each group and each youth was "shadowed" by a parent or other adult mentor throughout the morning. The five groups managed to harvest a combined total of 16 roosters for the morning, and all but one of the groups managed to harvest at least one bird. Several hunters took their first bird.
The Waconda Lake Association sponsored a longest tail feather contest for the successful youth hunters. After lunch most of hunters took part in a trap shoot that was held near the Glen Elder Area Office. The majority of the celebrities also joined in for the afternoon fun of busting clay targets alongside the kids.
The day's events concluded in the evening with a Hunter's Banquet held at Memorial Hall in Downs where participants feasted on a barbeque brisket and pulled pork supper. After the meal each young hunter received a prize package and heard a few words about the importance of getting more kids involved for the future of hunting. They also had the chance to collect autographs and visit more with the celebrities, and a special award was presented to celebrity Guy Caster for his long time involvement with the event and his networking skills to invite new celebrity participants each year.
This event would not be possible without the generous support of over 30 different businesses and individuals that stepped up as sponsors from the communities around Waconda Lake. Their donations of prizes, food, services, and financial contributions continue to make the event a success every year. To learn more about this event or similar ones offered around Kansas visit or or contact the Glen Elder Area Office at 785-545-3345.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Kansas Natural Resource Conference

WICHITA –The Kansas Natural Resource Conference (KNRC) will be held in Wichita January 24 and 25, 2013 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Airport. A unique opportunity for professionals dedicated to natural resource conservation to connect, this year marks the sixth year for the conference.

This year's plenary session will feature speakers who will discuss the conference theme "Under Attack: Invasive Species in Kansas," including the following:

"Invasive Species ? A National Perspective" by Chris Dionigi, deputy director of the National Invasive Species Council

"Invasive Pest Concerns Affecting Kansas" by Jeff Vogel, Plant Protection and Weed Control Program manager for the Kansas Department of Agriculture

"Bioenergy and Biodiversity" by Bill McGuire, president of Bill McGuire Conservation, LLC
"Emerald Ash Borer: Kicking Ash in North America" by Deborah G. McCullough, professor at Michigan State University

Interested individuals will find that conference speakers, concurrent sessions, and the tradeshow provide a variety of information about many natural resource topics, including the many aspects of invasive species. For more information, as well as registration details, go to, or follow KNRC on Facebook. Early registration continues through January 9, 2013.

According to Keith Harmoney, poster and paper presentation chairperson, "Professionals and students will be presenting at breakout sessions on the conference theme, as well as other natural resource-related topics of importance to Kansas and the region, which will make this an educational and informative conference."

Nearly 70 posters and presentations will be available at the conference. Categories for this year's breakout sessions will include aquatics, careers, forestry, pasture, rangeland, riparian, wetlands, and wildlife. Detailed information about the presentations are available at

"There is no better place for your organization to display your products or services," said Harold Klaege (email, chair of the tradeshow." Professionals attending the conference can learn about your products or services, and then through their normal contacts with Kansas landowners and operators suggest your product or services."

Conference brochure, registration form, concurrent session topics, tradeshow exhibiting information, committee chairs, and hotel information are available on online, by contacting Jessica Mounts at 316-683-8069 or emailing,
The sponsors of the conference are the Kansas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, Society of American Foresters, Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams, the Great Plains Society of American Foresters, Kansas Chapter of the Wildlife Society, the Kansas Section of the Society of Range Management, and Kansas Chapter Soil and Water Conservation Society.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Regs 2013

PRATT–Kansas wildlife- and outdoor recreation-related activities are governed both by legislative statutes and commission-approved regulations. And the two governing bodies made some changes last year that hunters, anglers and campers should be familiar with.

The most controversial change involved legislative action that eliminated the hunting and fishing license exemption for Kansans age 65-74. Beginning in 2013, all Kansans age 16-74 will need a hunting or fishing license unless they are hunting or fishing on their own land. However, the legislation also mandated specially-priced "senior" licenses. Anyone 65 or older qualifies for a Senior Lifetime Pass, which is a hunting/fishing combination license valid for the rest of their life that will cost $42.50. They may also opt for a half-price annual hunting or fishing license ($11.50) or combination annual license ($20.50).

Hunters and anglers 65 and older are our fastest growing age group, and the old exemption would have created future funding shortfalls for wildlife and fishery programs. And the state was losing Wildlife and Sport Fishing Restoration (WSFR) funding that should have been coming to Kansas. WSFR allocates excise taxes collected on the sale of firearms, ammunition and fishing equipment to states based, in part, on the number of hunting and fishing licenses they sell. When Kansans seniors continued to hunt, fish and purchase equipment, but didn't buy licenses, Kansas lost out on WSFR funding it should have received. This change is an important step to ensuring that critical wildlife and fishery programs are maintained and that the funding base remains stable.

Another state statute established a new permit and will save Kansans money. The legislature approved a bill that allowed KDWPT to create a new annual state park vehicle permit that can be purchased when residents renew their vehicle registrations. The Kansas State Parks Passport is an annual vehicle permit valid for one year after purchase that gets the vehicle into any of our 25 state parks. The price is $15.50, which is a savings of almost $10 compared to the regular state park annual vehicle permit. Regular annual vehicle permits ($25) and half-price senior and disability vehicle permits will still be available at KDWPT offices and online. But for most park users, the new Passport will be less expensive and convenient.