Sunday, June 30, 2013


State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan seeks public input
PRATT ­– As part of the State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is providing a forum and survey to learn more about what park-goers want.
Public input is desired on topics including managed park use, issues and needs, and the types of experiences park-goers hope to have in the future.
Public input gathered from the forum will be shared with the State Outdoor Recreation Plan Advisory Committee at their September meeting. The online forum, moderated by Dr. Sid Stevenson of Kansas State University, will focus on four topics during specific time frames:
June 21-July 4: Which outdoor recreation facilities are most in need of renovation or replacement at state and federal parks in Kansas to best enhance outdoor recreation experiences? Specific examples are welcomed.
July 5-July 18: Share a story of a meaningful outdoor recreation experience that you or your family had in Kansas and how the site where that experience took place contributed.
July 19-Aug. 1: Which of the following local outdoor recreation experiences would you like most to be within walking distance of your home (if you live in town)? Trails, picnic areas, sports venues, natural areas, playgrounds, etc.
Aug. 2-Aug. 15: Improved access to natural outdoor experiences, particularly those that are water-based, is important for urban dwellers. Please provide suggestions on how this can best be achieved and examples of success stories.
The Kansas Outdoor Recreation Needs and Issues survey, which is being offered in conjunction with the forum, will assist outdoor recreation planners and agency decision makers in developing strategies to address important issues facing outdoor recreation in Kansas over the next five to 10 years. Participants should expect to take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete the survey.
SCORP serves as a vision for outdoor recreation in Kansas. It is designed to meet the requirements of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 (LWCF) which requires states to have an approved State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan on file with the National Park Service.
For more information, visit

Saturday, June 29, 2013


Boasting body weights that can easily reach a quarter-ton, elk are one of the largest land mammals to roam Kansas. Known for their brute
strength and the extraordinary antlers of males, these members of the deer family are prized by big game hunters far and wide, and were native on the Kansas prairie before settlement.

Although individuals and small herds exist throughout the state, most Kansas elk are concentrated on Fort Riley in elk management unit 2a. This summer, hundreds of hunters and military personnel will apply for a Fort Riley elk permit, however only about 25 will receive one. Fort Riley elk permits issued this year will include 10 either-sex and 15 antlerless-only. The 15 antlerless-only permits will be divided evenly among three segments: October, November, and December.

For other who wish to hunt elk outside of Fort Riley, general resident, landowner/tenant, and hunt-own-land permits are available. An unlimited number of resident and landowner/tenant either-sex or antlerless-only permits authorized for Unit 3 are available online and over-the-counter July 30, 2013 through March 14, 2014. Unlimited hunt-own-land either-sex and antlerless-only elk permits authorized for Units 2 and 3 will also be made available online and over-the counter through March 14, 2014. Hunt-own-land permits are valid during any season with equipment authorized for that season.

Elk permit prices are as follows:
Any-Elk (Either-sex)
  • General Resident: $252.50
  • Hunt-own-land: $127.50
  • Resident Youth (15 and younger): $127.50
Antlerless-Only Elk
  • General resident: $102.50
  • Hunt-own-land: $52.50
  • Resident Youth (15 and younger): $52.50
Elk season dates are as follows:
On Fort Riley (Elk management unit 2a)
  • Muzzleloader and Archery Season: Sept. 1 - Sept. 30, 2013
  • Firearms Season for Holders of Any-Elk Permits: Oct. 1 - Dec. 31, 2013
  • Firearms Antlerless First Segment: Oct. 1- Oct. 31, 2013
  • Firearms Antlerless Second Segment: Nov. 1 - Nov. 30, 2013
  • Firearms Antlerless Third Segment: Dec. 1 - Dec. 31, 2013
Outside Fort Riley (Elk management units 2 and 3)
  • Muzzleloader Season: Sept. 1 - Sept. 30, 2013
  • Archery Season: Sept. 16 - Dec. 31, 2013
  • Firearms Season: Dec. 4 - Dec. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1 - Mar.15, 2014
To apply for or purchase an elk permit, visit and click “Hunting / Applications and Fees / Antelope & Elk.” A fee of $7.69 will be applied to every elk permit application and to those purchasing a bonus point.

Friday, June 21, 2013


Bullfrog hunting can be a great way to spend a summer night, as well as fill up on good eats

PRATT– Kansas bullfrog season is almost here and for some, this is a special summer treat. From July 1-October 31, hunters of these four-legged amphibians
can enjoy both an evening’s entertainment as well as a meal that is anything but ho-hum. All that's needed is a flashlight, a sack, a pond, and some stealth.

Considered by some as a delicacy, frog legs have a taste and texture that resembles a cross between shrimp and fish. A popular way to cook them is to dip the legs in egg and then into a mixture of flour and corn meal, seasoning salt, and pepper. The legs are then fried to a golden brown and served up hot.

While bullfrogs may be taken by hook and line, dip net, gig, bow and arrow, or crossbow (firearms not allowed), many froggers prefer to take them by hand. The best method is to walk quietly through the water at night and shine a bright light along the bank until a pair of glowing eyes appear. Temporarily blinded by the light, frogs can be grabbed or netted.

The daily creel limit is eight, with a possession limit of 24. A valid fishing license is required for any person to take, catch, or kill bullfrogs, except persons exempt by law from having such license.

For more information on bullfrog season, visit and click “Fishing / Fishing Regulations / Bullfrogs.”

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Since its inception in 1995, the Walk-In Hunting Access (WIHA) program has been making private land available for public hunting through lease agreements between the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) and
Whether a landowner possesses 80 or 1,000 acres,
WIHA can be an integral part of a land’s profitability
Kansas landowners. This has provided hunters with access to more than 1 million acres of land not normally available while still leaving the land in private ownership.

New this fall, landowners who own or lease 80 or more contiguous acres of land can take advantage of higher rate payments and additional acreage ranges. Payment rates are often negotiable and based on the number of acres possessed, the quality of habitat, and length of the lease access period.

Land used for the WIHA program is typically Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres, but land with similar qualities and hunting opportunities, such as native rangeland, weedy wheat stubble, milo stubble, riparian areas, and wetland areas are also considered for enrollment.

Applications are accepted year-round, however landowners wishing to participate in the fall 2013 season dates will need to enroll by July 15.

For more information, including a list of current rates, contact your nearest KDWPT office or visit

Friday, June 14, 2013


Crew members from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
(KDWPT) Stream Survey and Assessment Program are traveling across the state this summer to collect information regarding the health of Kansas’ flowing waters. From May through August, a team of biologists, stream ecologists and numerous volunteers will visit 45 sites in nearly 20 different counties to study a vast array of aquatic life. Primary survey sites this summer include the Saline and Smoky Hill River basins.

Since 1994, KDWPT has been surveying and assessing streams to establish and maintain an inventory of the fish, mussels and other aquatic invertebrates found in Kansas’ 12 river basins. The results and samples from each site are used to help manage native aquatic communities, including threatened and endangered species and species in need of conservation.

“Native species are good indicators of the overall health and vitality of our land,” said ecologist and program coordinator Mark VanScoyoc. “The fish we catch for recreational purposes out of our reservoirs, lakes, and ponds can be raised in a hatchery and released, but this is not the case for many native stream species at this time. It’s only prudent to realize that what is good for our aquatic species is going to be good for us as well.”

For more information on this program, visit and click “Services/Stream Assessment and Monitoring Program.”

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Live, commercial-free video and audio streaming of meetings now available for first time

The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission will conduct a public meeting and hearing on Thursday, June 27, at the Lee Richardson Zoo, 312 Finnup
Dr., Garden City. 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. The general discussion period will cover the following topics: Secretary’s remarks about agency and state fiscal status and an update on the 2013 legislative session, a briefing on tourism, Spring/Fall 2014 turkey regulations, and youth license and permit fees.

During the afternoon session, commissioners will workshop items that were covered under general discussion at the April meeting. Workshop topics, which will be discussed for potential regulatory action at a future meeting, include regulations pertaining to fishing, parks, late migratory bird seasons, prairie chickens, and an update on the lesser prairie chicken federal listing.

The commission will recess at 5 p.m., then reconvene at 7 p.m. at the same location for the public hearing. The first portion of the public hearing will be devoted to bringing regulations related to agritourism into the KDWPT regulation system. Agritourism duties were transferred to KDWPT in 2011 when Gov. Brownback’s Executive Reorganization Order No. 36 moved the Division of Travel and Tourism into KDWPT. Other regulations that will be voted on include the KAR 115-5 series that deals with furbearers and coyotes. At the April meeting, commissioners heard comments on a recommendation that would prohibit coyote hunting with vehicles and two-way radios during the regular firearm deer season. After discussion, commissioners requested KDWPT staff to bring several options to the June public hearing. Regulations that cover the use of baiting, blinds and tree stands on public lands that required some clean-up will be heard and voted on. Deer season dates for Ft. Riley will be approved, and recommendations for early migratory bird seasons will be heard.

Time will be available in both 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., June 28, to complete unfinished business.

For the first time, a commercial-free version of live video and audio streaming of commission meetings will be broadcast through the KDWPT website,

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 August, 1, 2013 at the Woodson County Community Building in Yates Center.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


The increased popularity of television shows like “Hillbilly Handfishin’,” “Catfishin’ Kings,” and “Mudcats,” proves that handfishing for large catfish can be an exciting and fast-paced sport. Luckily, Kansas is one of June 15-Aug. 31.
Special fishing season offers anglers a
more “hands on” way of catching flatheads
a handful of states that offer this special season. With a special permit, anglers can handfish for flathead catfish in select waters from sunrise to sunset

Commonly referred to as “noodling,” handfishing consists of finding a suspected catfish hole, barricading any possible exits the fish might escape through, using your hands as bait and sticking your arm inside the hole to catch the catfish bare-handed. Although seemingly easy, this sport can prove to be very dangerous for inexperienced anglers.

Adding to the challenge of handfishing, no man-made objects that attract fish, such as a barrel, box, or bathtub may be used. Handfishing anglers are also prohibited from using snorkel or scuba gear, as well as any hooks. A stringer may be used, but not until the catfish is caught by hand and is at or above the water’s surface.

Kansas waters open to handfishing include:
  • the entire length of the Arkansas River,
  • all federal reservoirs from beyond 150 yards of the dam to the upstream end of the federal property, and
  • the Kansas River from its origin, downstream to its confluence with the Missouri River.
Handfishing permits can be obtained for $27.50 at select license vendors or online. Anglers participating in this special season will need to have a handfishing permit in addition to a regular fishing license. New for 2013, handfishing permit-holders are no longer required to complete and submit a questionnaire following the close of the season.
To purchase a handfishing permit online, visit and click “License/Permits.”

Monday, June 10, 2013


Have you ever wondered how to tell the difference between a white bass and a wiper? Or, how to tie on a hook using an improved clinch knot? Whether you simply want to improve your general fishing knowledge or are looking to sharpen your angling skills, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has just the program for you. August 10, 2013 from 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. at the Great Plains Nature Center, 6232 E. 29th Street North in Wichita.
Along with Fishing’s Future (FF), a non-profit organization aimed at getting families outdoors through the sport of fishing, KDWPT will now be offering an Angler Education Program. The first class will be held

“Kansas has had aquatic education for some time, but our new partnership with Fishing's Future will create an even more organized and useful program,” said KDWPT district fisheries biologist Jessica Mounts.
Similar to the other educational programs currently offered, the new Angler Education Program will enlist qualified volunteer instructors to teach each class. Subjects covered include current rules and regulations, species identification, fishing ethics, equipment, knot-tying, casting, fish habitat, aquatic nuisance species, conservation, and much more.

Specialized classes will also be given on family fishing, adult beginner fishing, specialized fishing techniques, and fishing for a particular species, schedules and resources permitting.

“This program is a great way for any angler to expand their outdoors skills, become more active, and enjoy Kansas’ many parks and waterways,” said Fishing’s Future local coordinator Kevin Reich.
All classes are open to the public at no cost, however pre-registration is required. To register for the Aug. 10 class, visit, click “upcoming events,” and “Kansas Angler Education Training Program”
For more information, including how to become an Angler Education instructor, contact Reich, or by phone at (785) 577-6921.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Black-Bellied Whistling Duck, Birding Center, ...

It’s not too late to sign up for the Kansas Birding Big Year competition

PRATT – Birders can still sign up for the 2013 Kansas Birding Big Year, a competition where participants attempt to observe as many species of birds as they can within the borders of Kansas. Unlike other “big year” competitions that span the U.S. in a calendar year, participants in the Kansas Birding Big Year can compete any time now through Dec. 31, 2013.

“The real driving force behind this competition is getting folks into the Kansas outdoors to enjoy nature and the fun wildlife watching opportunities available,” said KDWPT wildlife education coordinator Mike Rader. “We also hope this competition will help show folks just how many different kinds of birds either migrate through or call Kansas home.”

Participants can compete in one of three categories: youth (16 and under), adult (17-64), and senior (65 and up) by logging their data into the online service, eBird, available on the Cornell University web site, Winners from each category will receive prizes to be awarded next January. Event sponsors include Acorn Naturalists, Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops, Bushnell, and Walmart.

Participants must register for the competition, at or by emailing Rader at To compete, birders will submit their list totals online. Birds must be observed within Kansas boundaries, and must be species accepted by the Kansas Bird Records Committee of the Kansas Ornithological Society. Qualified birds must be alive, wild and unrestrained, and diagnostic field marks must be seen, and/or heard and documented by the recorder.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


The antelope, also called pronghorn, is a species unique to North America and considered one of the
Applications accepted only online;
archery permits available over
 the counter beginning July 30
fastest mammals on the continent. Numerous in the western two-thirds of Kansas prior to settlement, today a small, sustainable population of antelope thrive in the western third of the state. A limited firearm hunting season draws hundreds of applications for the highly prized permits.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) is accepting applications for the resident firearm and muzzleloader antelope permit drawing. Applications must be submitted online through the KDWPT website, Click "License/Permits" in the upper right-hand corner of the page to begin the process. Paper applications are not available. For more information, call (620) 672-0728.
Open to Kansas residents only, nearly 1,000 applications are expected for the 142 firearm and 42 muzzleloader permits available this year. A hunter who is unsuccessful in the drawing will receive a preference point, which will give the hunter priority in a future drawing over applicants with fewer or no preference points. It may require six or more preference points for a general resident to draw a firearm permit, or three or four preference points to draw a muzzleloader permit, depending on the number of applicants. Half of the permits allocated in each unit are set aside for landowner/tenant applicants. Those who do not want to apply for a permit and want to purchase a preference point only may select "preference point only" online for $6.50. Only one preference point may be obtained per year.
Archery antelope permits are unlimited, and both resident and nonresident hunters can purchase permits over the counter. One open archery unit comprises the same area as the three firearm units combined. On average, fewer than 200 archery permits are sold each year. Archery antelope permits will be available over the counter from July 30 through Oct. 30.
2013 antelope season dates:
  • firearm season: Oct. 4-7
  • muzzleloader season: Sept. 30-Oct. 7
  • archery season: Sept. 21-29 and Oct. 12-31
Shooting hours for all seasons are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
Firearm and muzzleloader antelope general resident permits $47.50, landowner/tenant permits are $27.50 and youth permits are $27.50. General resident archery antelope permits are $42.50, landowner/tenant archery permits are $22.50, and youth permits are $22.50. Nonresident archery permits are $202.50. (Internet and processing fees apply.) Unless exempt, all permit holders must possess a Kansas hunting license.
Antelope were extirpated from Kansas by the turn of the century and remained absent until wild antelope trapped in other states were released in suitable habitat in the early 1960s. Kansas’ first modern-day antelope hunting season was held in 1974 when early 500 hunters applied for 80 permits and harvested 70 animals. Today, hunting is restricted to three management units that include parts or all of Sherman, Thomas, Wallace, Logan, Gove, Trego, Greeley, Wichita, Scott, Lane, Ness, Hamilton, Kearny, Finney, Gray, Hodgeman, Ford, Stanton, Grant, Haskell, Morton, Stevens, Seward, Meade and Clark counties.
For more information on hunting antelope in Kansas, go to Hunting/Big Game/Antelope on the KDWPT website.

Monday, June 3, 2013


 It’s summertime and Kansas state parks are gearing up with events for everybody under the sun. From fishing tournaments to music festivals, and Kids Days galore, Kansans are sure to find something fun and
exciting to do this June at a Kansas state park.
Listed below are a variety of events being held this June at Kansas state parks. For more information on a specific event, please contact the respective state park. State park contact information can be found at by clicking “State Parks / Locations.”

National “Get Outdoors” Day
OK Kids Day – Lake Scott State Park (South of Beach House)
Kids Ironman (Kids triathlon) – Clinton State Park
Kansas Draft Horse & Mule Association Driving Clinic – Boulder Bluff Arena, El Dorado State Park. (Open to public).
Field Coursing Dog Run –?Clinton State Park
Ironman Triathlon – Clinton State Park
Fishstix Bowfishing Tournament – Eisenhower State Park (Arrow Rock Boat Ramp)
Fishstix Bowfishing Tournament – Eisenhower State Park (Arrow Rock Boat Ramp)
Youth Fishing Derby – Cedar Bluff State Park
Youth Scavenger Hunt – Cedar Bluff State Park
Kansas Bass Nation Fishing Tournament –?Wilson State Park (Hell Creek Boat Ramp)
Kids Outdoor Adventure and Free Park Entrance Day – Cedar Bluff State Park. (Camping and utility permits still apply).
Vango Fundraiser – Clinton State Park
OK Kids Day/Free Park Entrance – Wilson State Park
Kansas Bass Nation Fishing Tournament –?Wilson State Park (Hell Creek Boat Ramp)
Wild Within You 5K and 15K Hell Creek on Heels Trail Run?– Wilson State Park (Switchgrass Trail)
June 23
Triathlon Race?– El Dorado State Park (Walnut River Area)
June 27
Country Stampede Music Festival – Tuttle Creek State Park
June 28
Country Stampede Music Festival – Tuttle Creek State Park
June 29
Rocky Mountain Team Series Fishing Tournament?– Wilson State Park (Hell Creek Boat Ramp)
Country Stampede Music Festival – Tuttle Creek State Park
Water Safety Event/Jet ski Simulator – Kanopolis State Park
June 30
Rocky Mountain Team Series Fishing Tournament?– Wilson State Park (Hell Creek Boat Ramp)
Country Stampede Music Festival – Tuttle Creek State Park