Tuesday, March 19, 2013


2013 Spring Turkey Hunting Atlas features information valuable to all hunters
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) 2013 Spring Turkey Hunting Atlas is now available. In addition to maps, the 66-page atlas will also feature area contact information, sunrise-sunset tables, cabin locations, and information on Walk-In Hunting Access (WIHA) areas, making it a must-have for all hunters.

“Nearly 200,000 acres are currently enrolled in the spring WIHA program, so public hunting opportunities abound in Kansas this spring,” said KDWPT private lands coordinator Jake George. “In addition, the spring hunting atlas will look considerably different to those who recall the format used in previous years.”

The new layout will also be used in the Spring 2013 Fishing Atlas and Fall 2013 Hunting Atlas. The long-overdue changes include the addition of a shaded relief backdrop, county road names (where available), stream names and much more.

“It is our hope that the new atlas will make it easier for hunters to get out, locate, and utilize these WIHA tracts,” said George.

Hunters can download an electronic version of the atlas from the KDWPT website, and file downloads that can be loaded onto Garmin GPS units. There are also file downloads for Android and iOS devices that can be used with Google Earth.

The 2013 spring turkey season will begin with the archery and youth/disabled season April 1-9, followed by the regular firearm season April 10-May 31.

2013 Spring turkey permit for Units 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 are available online or at any license vendor through May 30.

Hunters who drew a Unit 4 (southwest Kansas) spring turkey permit earlier this year may also use their Unit 4 permit in adjacent Units 1, 2 and 5.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Artificial spawning practices produce abundant fish populations
Spring marks the beginning of spawning season for several fish species, but it also marks the start of artificial spawning for walleye. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) biologists and culturists will work tirelessly this season artificially producing walleye to stock state reservoirs and lakes.

This highly-prized sport fish naturally spawns during March and April when temperatures reach around 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit. Female walleye will typically lay their eggs in a rocky area during the night, secreting upwards of 300,000 eggs. Although females produce eggs in abundant numbers, less than 5 percent of their young will successfully hatch in the wild due to various environmental factors.

When conditions are right, fisheries biologists will work long hours at select Kansas lakes to capture spawning walleye. Eggs are taken from ripe females, fertilized, then delivered to the Pratt and Milford fish hatcheries where employees work around the clock to ensure the success of the walleye young.

A non-native species to Kansas, walleye were first introduced to Kansas waters in the 1960’s through the KDWPT walleye culture program. In addition to walleye, KDWPT also artificially produces bluegill,channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, redear sunfish, sauger, saugeye, smallmouth bass, striped bass, and wipers.

KDWPT also operates hatcheries located at Farlington and Meade, as well as a rearing pond at Woodson State Fishing Lake. These hatcheries produce approximately 39.5 million fry, 3.5 million fingerlings, and 385,000 intermediate fish each year.

For more information on KDWPT hatcheries, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Fishing/Hatcheries.”

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Volunteer guides will lead 20 lucky youth on a hunt for gobblers
Westar Energy’s Green Team, a group of employee and retired volunteers that takes on environmental projects across Kansas, is partnering with the Jeffrey Energy Center (JEC) to host a youth spring turkey hunt. From April 1-21, turkey hunting opportunities will be provided for youth age 12-17 at the JEC Wildlife Area just 45 minutes northwest of Topeka.

Led by experienced volunteer guides, participants will have the opportunity to hunt turkey in enclosed blinds throughout the area. Hunts will take place primarily during mornings and weekends, but weekday and afternoon hunts may be possible based on guide availability.

Participants are asked to bring a shotgun as well as a Unit 3 turkey permit. For hunters age 16 and 17, a hunting license and hunter education certificate is also required. No special clothing, calls, or decoys are needed.

Approximately 20 spots are available and will be awarded to participants on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants can sign up through March 27, or until all available spots are taken. Preference will be given to inexperienced hunters.

All participants must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

For more information, contact Barb Cornelius at (785) 575-8125.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Anglers are encouraged to take advantage of special trout program

 In an effort to provide unique winter fishing opportunities, The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) provides trout fishing opportunities by stocking Kansas waters with thousands of harvestable-sized trout each year. From Nov. 1-April 15, anglers can catch this non-native species at 36 locations throughout the state.

Funded by state trout permit and federal aid dollars, the KDWPT trout program stocks as many as 180,000 rainbow trout and more than 3,500 brown trout annually.

Type 1 trout waters require a trout permit ($12.50) whether anglers are fishing for trout or not, while Type 2 waters require a trout permit for anglers fishing for trout. In addition to a trout permit (where required), residents 16-74, and non-residents 16 and older, must possess a valid fishing license.

The daily creel limit is five trout and the possession limit is 15. Youth 15 and under may keep up to two trout per day without a trout permit, or up to five trout per day with a permit. After April 15, anglers can trout fish without a permit anywhere in the state, excluding Mined Land Wildlife Area Unit #30 (Cherokee County) which requires a permit year-round. Season daily creel and possession limits will still apply after the season is closed.

Consult the 2013 Fishing Regulations Summary for a list of Type 1 and Type 2 trout waters.

Local governments may have their own trout stocking programs and may require a separate permit. Anglers are encouraged to contact their local city and county recreation departments for details.

For more information on the KDWPT trout program, including stocking locations and schedules, visitwww.ksoutdoors.com and click “Fishing/Special Fishing Programs for You/Trout Fishing Program.”

Thursday, March 14, 2013


TOPEKA ­– On Saturday, Mar. 9, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) will host a free entrance day and open houses at all state parks. Visitors will also have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of events at most parks.

During the open houses, park visitors can take advantage of low, off-season camping permit prices. Mar. 31 is the last day annual camping permits are priced at off-season discounts. On Apr. 1, the prices increase to their regular prime-season levels. Visitors can purchase annual camping permits and make cabin or campsite reservations during the open houses, as well. For pricing information, or to purchase permits online, go to the KDWPT website, ksoutdoors.com. For online permit purchases, click the License/Permits icon. For campsite and cabin reservations, click the Reservations icon.

Free entrance at all Kansas state parks,
along with special events for the family
Kansas motor vehicle owners can now buy an annual park vehicle permit as part of their vehicle registration process. The permit – called a Kansas State Parks Passport – will cost $15.00 (county treasurers can elect to add a $0.50 service fee). This lower-price, non-transferable permit will be available only during the vehicle registration process at a motor vehicle registration office, through the online vehicle registration site at www.kswebtags.org or when registering by mail. The Kansas State Parks Passport will expire when the vehicle registration expires a year later.

Park entry is free on March 9, but persons who would like to buy an annual park permit before they register their vehicles can do so at any KDWPT office, Kansas license vendor or through the KDWPT website, and then request a pro-rated refund for the difference in cost after purchasing their Kansas State Parks Passport.

State parks and their special events are listed below:
Cedar Bluff
Open house: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Park and cabin tours all day
Free hot dog feed: 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Refreshments served all day
Office open: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. for permit sales and to answer questions
Cabin tours
Park office open: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. with animal viewing and show-and-tell.
Cabin open house: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Entrance gate open: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Park office open: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. for permit sales
Cabin tours
Courtesy boat inspections upon request
Cross Timbers & Fall River
Park office, Toronto Point gate, and Fredonia Bay gate: open 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Cabin open houses at both parks: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Trail hikes at each cabin beginning at 1:00 p.m.
Open house: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Cabin open for viewing
Hot dogs and refreshments
5K Run/Walk sponsored by Osage City Warmth Fund
El Dorado
Park office open: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Courtesy boat inspections upon request
Two skins and skull programs: 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Cabin tours available upon request and availability
Elk City
Park office open: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Events run from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
One-mile nature hike
Fishing derby at kids fishing pond
Free hot dog feed: noon – 1:00 p.m.
Drawings for prizes
Glen Elder
Park office and cabin open: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Park office open: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. for permit sales and to answer questions
Shooting range open for questions: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Park office open: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Cabin open house: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Park office open: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Cabin tours: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Lovewell and Glen Elder fishing presentation: 10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Willow Group Shelter
Lovewell Marina open all day to serve refreshments
Open house: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Cabin and campsite reservation system information
Refreshments served all day
Park office open: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Courtesy boat inspections at the office
Cabin open for tours upon request and availability
Coffee and cookies
Coffee and cookies at park office: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Cabin open
Car show: 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at office parking lot
Park office open: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. for permit sales
Cabin tours: 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
RV Show hosted by Olathe Ford RV
Disc golf
Scavenger hunt
Personal watercraft simulator
Easter egg hunt: 1:00 p.m.
Food vendors on site
Lighthouse Bay Marina open
Prairie Dog
Open house: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Cabin and Adobe House tours: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Prairie Spirit Trail
City of Iola, Riverside Park: 8:00 a.m. – noon
Allen County Thrive PowerPoint on trail extension
Franklin County CVB, Garnett Chamber, Iola Chamber presentations
Allen County Hospital blood pressure and BMI evaluation
Snacks by Friends of Prairie Spirit Trail
Lake Scott
Open house and all events: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Cookies and punch
Cabin tours
Slide show of park pictures
State Parks Passport information
Requirements for senior fishing licenses
Tuttle Creek
Park office open: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Courtesy boat inspections: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sioux Cabin open: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Instructional archery shooting, Nihart Range: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Skins/skulls/trapping, Nihart Range: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Coffee and cookies
Trout fishing at Willow Lake (to be stocked Mar. 7). Applicable licenses and permits required.
Open house: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Boat show in Old Marina Cove: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
BBQ grill demonstrations: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Traeger Grills at Lakeview Shelter #5
Green Mountain Grills at Townsite Shelter
Ozark Mountain Grills at Hill Top Shelter
Park office open: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. for permit sales
Cabin open for tours
For more information, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “State Parks.”

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


PRATT – The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission will conduct a public meeting and hearing on Thursday, Mar. 21, at the Kansas Historical Society History Center, 6425 SW 6 Ave., in Topeka. 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.

Public hearing to include big game legal equipment,
Secretary’s Orders for deer permits
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 about agency and state fiscal status and an update on the 2013 legislative session. Other general discussion topics include, recognition for a retiring K-9 officer, a year-end review of tourism activities, a report on roadside maintenance for wildlife, a webless migratory bird report, early migratory bird seasons, furharvester regulations, Fort Riley deer and other considerations, and an update on the federal proposal to list the lesser prairie chicken.
The afternoon session will also include a workshop in preparation for potential regulatory action, covering preliminary recommendations on regulations. Topics include upland bird regulations, public lands regulations, camping and utility fees, antelope and elk regulations, and agritourism.

The commission will recess at 5 p.m., then reconvene at 7 p.m. at the same location for the public hearing. Commissioners will consider regulations pertaining to fees; big game legal taking equipment; deer season dates; Secretary’s Orders for limited deer permit quotas; legal equipment and taking methods for turkey; and turkey season, bag limit and permits.
Time will be available in both the afternoon and evening sessions for public comment on topics not on the agenda. If necessary, the commission will reconvene at the same location at 9 a.m., March 22, 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 April 25, 2013 at the Great Plains Nature Center in Wichita.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Local group acknowledges individual achievements in conservation
PRATT ­– The Kansas Wildlife Federation (KWF) honored 13 individuals and organizations for their conservation efforts in 2012 at the Conservation Achievement Program (CAP) Awards banquet on Feb. 23. The banquet, held in Emporia, was part of KWF’s annual meeting. Activities prior to the banquet included a social hour and silent auction. The evening concluded with a presentation by guest speaker Bob Gress, wildlife photographer and former Director of the Great Plains Nature Center.

Out of the 13 awards given, five of the recipients have been or are currently employed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT):
Matt Smith, Wildlife Conservationist Award
Smith began his career with KDWPT as a district wildlife biologist in the southwest part of the state. He later moved to a similar position at Wilson where he took on the additional responsibility of serving as a Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS) area biologist. Recently, Smith has been focusing on Farm Bill issues important to the welfare of Kansas wildlife and their habitat. He currently resides in Wilson.
Randy Rodgers and Helen Hands, Land and Soil Wildlife Conservationist Award
Rodgers provided years of valuable service to KDWPT as an upland bird research biologist. He researched and developed options to improve habitat on private land in conjunction with crop production. Now retired, Rodgers and Hands, his wife – also a former KDWPT biologist – are developing wildlife habitat on their private land. They currently reside in Hays.
Thayne Smith, Conservation Communicator Award
Smith served as the chief of Information and Education for the Kansas Fish and Game Commission from 1966-1970. In that capacity, he edited the Kansas Fish & Game magazine. Smith was a founding member of the Outdoor Writers of Kansas organization, which is still active today. He was also the first recipient of the Conservation Communication award in 1967. Smith currently resides in Claremore, OK.
Other 2012 award recipients include:
  • Mike Knotts, Peck, KS: Outdoor Skills Instructor Award
  • Robert Robel, Manhattan, KS: Conservationist of the Year Award
  • Stephen DeHart, Olathe, KS: Youth Conservationist Award
  • Stephen Pletcher, Emporia, KS: Conservation Educator Award
  • Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, Hutchinson, KS: Conservation Organization Award
  • Tom Meek, Clay Center, KS: Water Conservationist Award
  • Paul and Kristan Dean, Madison, KS: Forest Conservationist Award
  • Mike Calwell, Shawnee Mission, KS: Stream Monitor Award
  • Caleb Stotts, Fredonia, KS: Farmer/Rancher Wildlife Conservationist Award
  • Ted Beringer, Lenexa, KS: President's Award
KWF, an affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation, has been dedicated to the sustainable use, conservation, appreciation, and restoration of Kansas wildlife and natural resources since 1950.

For more information on how you can support KWF, visit: www.kswildlife.org/donate.php or call (316) 214-3001.


Warmer temperatures give way to a special snagging season
PRATT ­– A much-anticipated season for Kansas anglers draws near as paddlefish begin their annual spring spawning run. From Mar. 15-May 15, paddlefish permit-holders can snag up to six of these gentle giants from designated areas on the Neosho and Marais des Cygnes Rivers.

Paddlefish permits, which include six carcass tags, are $12.50 for anglers 16 and older, and $7.50 for youth 15 and younger.

Paddlefish may be taken inside Chetopa and Burlington city parks on the Neosho River, on the Neosho River at Iola downstream from the dam to the city limits, on the Marais des Cygnes River below Osawatomie Dam downstream to a posted boundary, and on the Marais des Cygnes River on the upstream boundary of Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area downstream to the Kansas-Missouri border.

Paddlefish may be snagged using pole and line with not more than two single or treble hooks. Barbless hooks must be used in Chetopa City Park.

Catch and release is allowed in Burlington, Chetopa, and Iola except that once attached to a stringer, a fish becomes part of the daily creel limit. The daily creel limit for paddlefish is two, and the season limit is six. On the Missouri River (season: March 15-April 30), there is a 24-inch minimum length limit. On the Marias des Cygnes River there is a 34-inch minimum length limit.

Immediately upon harvest, anglers must sign a carcass tag, record the county, date and time of harvest, and attach the tag to the lower jaw of the paddlefish.

Paddlefish caught out of season or in non-snagging areas may be kept only if they are hooked in the mouth.

During this special season, nonsport fish (carp, drum, grass carp, threadfin and gizzard shad, goldfish, gar, suckers including carpsucker and buffalo, goldeye, and bowfin) may also be snagged in waters posted open to paddlefish snagging. There are no limits on nonsport fish.
For information, consult your 2013 Kansas Fishing Regulation Summary, or visit www.ksoutdoors.comand click “Fishing/Fishing-Regulations/Paddlefish-Snagging.”

Monday, March 11, 2013


English: American Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes fulvu...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No-kill season allows runners and their dogs to sharpen hunting abilities

PRATT – Mar. 1, opening day of running season, marks the start of an eight-month-long race as hound enthusiasts and their dogs perfect their furbearer-chasing skills. Through Nov. 1, hunters and their dogs can chase – but not take – bobcats, opossums, raccoons, red fox and gray fox.
Hunters can run furbearers 24 hours daily during running season. A furharvester license is required for all runners.

Because no furbearer may be legally killed or taken during running season, it is illegal for runners to possess any firearms or weapons while pursuing furbearers, however certain exceptions apply.
For additional information on furbearer regulations, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Hunting/Hunting-Regulations/Furbearers.”

Sunday, March 10, 2013


The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) is currently conducting the five-year review of the list of Kansas species that are threatened, endangered, or species-in-need-of-conservation (SINC). The five-year review is required by the Kansas Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1975. Any individual or group can petition KDWPT to propose an addition, deletion, or modification to the current lists by providing pertinent scientific information required within the petition.

KDWPT relies on the Threatened and Endangered Species Task Force to assist with the review process. The task force consists of members representing various disciplines, including state and federal agencies and state universities. To determine if a full review is warranted, the task force examines updated scientific information and research for currently listed species and those proposed for listing by petition. Species experts are consulted and all available data is evaluated during the full review. After a full review is completed, the task force makes recommendations to the KDWPT Secretary and the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission at a public commission meeting. These recommendations and any amendments to them are published in the Kansas Register for public comment for at least 90 days. The secretary then submits to the commission the recommended changes, if any, that should be made to the list of threatened and endangered species or SINC.

At the last five-year review in 2008, three species were added to the state threatened list (shoal chub, plains minnow, and delta hydrobe snail) and two species were removed from the list (bald eagle and peregrine falcon). The current state threatened list includes six invertebrates, 13 fish, seven amphibians, seven reptiles, two birds and one mammal. The state endangered list includes 10 invertebrates, five fish, three amphibians, four birds and two mammals. The state species-in-need-of-conservation (SINC) list includes 17 invertebrates, 31 fish, two amphibians, seven reptiles, 15 birds, and six mammals. Species on the SINC list are deemed to require conservation measures to prevent them from becoming threatened or endangered. Complete lists can be viewed on the KDWPT website,www.ksoutdoors.com. Go to Services, then click on Threatened and Endangered Wildlife.

A recent survey conducted by Responsive Management, an internationally recognized research firm specializing in natural resource and outdoor recreation issues, found that conservation of threatened and endangered wildlife remains important among Kansans. Some interesting findings include:
  • A majority of Kansas residents (91 percent) agreed that the department should continue to identify and protect habitat critical to threatened and endangered species.
  • A majority (73 percent) of residents agree with the statement, “Wildlife that is threatened and endangered in Kansas yet abundant in other states should still be protected in Kansas.”
Petitions must be received by July 31, 2013 to be considered for the current five-year review. Petition forms can be downloaded at http://www.ksoutdoors.com/news/Services/Threatened-and-Endangered-Wildlife and must be submitted to the Office of the Secretary, 1020 S. Kansas Ave., Suite 200, Topeka, KS 66612-1327.