Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Youth and disabled hunters don’t have to be involved in a special hunt to participate in this season, but for first-time hunters, a special hunt may be the way to go
PRATT­– There’s a first time for everything, and for youth and disabled deer hunters, Sept. 7 marks the first day of a very special nine-day season. From Sept. 7-15, youth 16 and younger and disabled hunters will have the opportunity to hit the field, taking first pick of Kansas deer. This not only provides a greater potential for harvesting deer, but it also allows youth and disabled hunters to enjoy hunting in milder temperatures, without the hunting pressure and competition of a regular season.
For youth who may be hunting for the first time, special hunts can be a great way to start. Sept. 7-8. At this particular event, eight lucky youth will participate in a two-day, guided hunt completely free of charge. The event will also include activities that teach proper gun handling and hunter safety in the field, as well as give participants hands-on experience during a wingshooting contest.
Through a Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) program called Pass It On, department staff at various state parks and wildlife areas around the state sponsor special youth deer hunts. For example, staff at El Dorado State Park staff will host a special youth deer hunt on
“This event helps get youth interested in the outdoors and creates a memorable experience at the same time,” said El Dorado State Park ranger Kyle Hoover, “and it has been a huge success.”
Young hunters interested in participating in a special hunt should contact their local KDWPT regional, park or wildlife area office to find out about local opportunities. Most special hunts limit the number of participants, so pre-registration is required. KDWPT-sponsored special hunts connect youth and an accompanying adult with a local guide and provide a prime hunting spot. Often with the help of local members of a conservation organization, these hunts teach youth about our hunting heritage and provide them with a high-quality hunting experience.
But youth and disabled hunters don’t have to be involved in a special hunt in order to participate in this unique season. Youth age 16 or younger, who possess a valid deer permit, may hunt during this special deer season as long as they are under the immediate supervision of an adult 18 or older. This season is also open to any person who possesses a valid deer permit and has a permit to hunt from a vehicle pursuant to KAR 115-18-4 or a disability assistance permit issued pursuant to KAR 115-18-15.
All resident and nonresident permits are valid during this special season, and equipment restrictions designated on permits apply. Hunter orange is required. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
For more information on the 2013 deer season, visit and click “Hunting/Hunting Regulations.” To find a special hunt near you, check the “Events” section of


Teal may be the smallest duck, but they are a fast and challenging quarry for waterfowl hunters
PRATT ­– It’s waders and whistles, it’s the sound of the marsh waking up, it’s what Sept. 7, waterfowl hunters will be waiting.
thousands of hunters around the state have been waiting for – it‘s teal season. An early migrant, teal are the first waterfowl to pass through Kansas each fall, and come
Using U.S. Highway 283 as a dividing line, Kansas is split up into two teal hunting zones: Low Plains and High Plains. The Low Plains Zone (anything east of U.S. Highway 283) will kick off the season Sept. 7, and run through Sept. 22, while the High Plains Zone (anything west of U.S. Highway 283) will open Sept. 14 and end Sept. 22.
As if recent rains filling the marshes weren’t enough of a bonus for early season waterfowl hunters, regulations now allow hunters to take six of these puddle ducks in a daily bag limit, a two-bird increase from the traditional early teal season daily bag of four. Also new this year, migratory bird possession limits have increased to three times the daily bag limit.
All hunters participating in teal season who are required to have a hunting license must also possess a Kansas HIP permit and State Waterfowl Permit. All hunters 16 and older must have a Federal Waterfowl Stamp. Hunters age 65-74 are reminded that they now need the state HIP permit and State Waterfowl Permit, in addition to the Federal Waterfowl Stamp. Kansas HIP permits and State Waterfowl Stamps can be purchased online at, and Federal Waterfowl Stamps can be purchased at your local U.S. Post Office and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism regional offices.
For more information on migratory bird regulations, visit and click “Hunting / Migratory Birds.”

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


State parks are ready for the last big weekends of summer
PRATT – Make plans and reservations to visit a Kansas state park - there’s still plenty of
summer fun left, and the weather is perfect.
It’s been a great summer, and Kansans have perhaps appreciated it more after the last two summers we’ve endured. Cooler temperatures and in many areas of the state, welcome rains have made the summer of 2013 one to remember. At most parks, low water levels are not a problem any longer, although a few parks ended up with too much of a good thing.
Water levels are normal or above at Kanopolis, Cheney, and El Dorado lakes, which experienced access and boating problems because of low water for much of the summer. Current water levels have boat ramps useable. It’s been a mild summer and water temperatures are perfect for boating, skiing and fishing.
For instance, water levels on Toronto Reservoir rose so high that parts of Cross Timbers State Park weren’t accessible. The water level has dropped since then, so the park will be open this weekend, however there will be some areas with mud and debris left by the water. High water at Elk City is going down, and boat ramps, docks and utility campsites are open. All facilities are expected to be ready by Memorial Weekend. Fall River State Park is open, even though the reservoir level is still high..While boat ramps are open and usable at these lakes, boaters should be alert to floating debris brought in by flooding.
All Kansas state parks are ready and waiting, so don’t miss the end of summer fun. Visit a state park this weekend and find out how much fun you and your family can have.

Monday, August 26, 2013


Two-day camp offers youth a crash course on turkey hunting taught by local experts
PRATT ­– The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) is hosting the 2013 Kansas State JAKES Camp September 14-15 at White Memorial Camp, six miles north of Council Grove. Youth age 17 and younger can participate in a variety of fun and educational activities, including fishing, arts and crafts, deer hunting, trap and target shooting, archery, and canoeing.
Participants will also have the opportunity to attend several presentations, including “Quail in Kansas,” presented by the Council Grove Chapter of the Quail and Upland Game Federation; “The World of Sporting Dogs,” presented by KVOE radio host Phil Taunton; and “Turkey Talk” presented by turkey hunting legend, author, outdoor TV personality, and Grand National turkey calling champion, Ray Eye.
Evening activities will include the NWTF Kansas State JAKES (youth 12 and under) and Xtreme JAKES (youth 13-17) turkey calling contests, as well as story-telling with Eye around the campfire.
The following morning, participants can enjoy a predator calling seminar with Knight & Hale Pro Staff member, Mick Bowman; a presentation on turkey biology and management from NWTF biologist, Brandon Houck; and a wildlife presentation by the Milford Nature Center. A sunrise service will also be made available to participants, led by Pastor Gary Cargill. Before heading home, participants will get to draw for prizes, as well as take home a commemorative t-shirt.
The cost to attend is $20 for JAKES members, $30 for non-JAKES members (which includes a JAKES membership), and $20 for adults. Lunch and dinner will be provided on Saturday, and breakfast and lunch on Sunday.
The NWTF Kansas State JAKES Camp was awarded the "Best State JAKES Event" in 2012 and the "Best Special JAKES Event" in 2013 at the NWTF National Convention in Nashville, TN.
For more information, contact Gib Rhodes at (620) 437-2012.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Kansas hunters anxiously await the arrival of fall’s first hunting season
PRATT – For avid bird hunters, the summer has slowly dragged on, but the September
1opening day of dove season will be here before you know it. It’s time to stock up on shells, practice your wingshooting skills and scout for water holes and feed fields doves are using.
Kansas is often referred to as the Sunflower State, and maybe that’s why so many mourning doves summer here; they love sunflower seeds. Doves are one of the most numerous game birds in the U.S., and Kansas usually ranks near the top when state dove breeding populations are surveyed. By the end of August, Kansas is literally teeming with mourning doves. In 2012, an estimated 37,791 hunters harvested 753,390 doves in Kansas.
The dove season is open Sept. 1-Oct. 31 and Nov. 2-10 for mourning, white-winged Eurasian, and ringed turtle doves. The daily bag limit is 15, and the possession limit is 45, which applies only to mourning and white-winged doves, single species or in combination. There is no limit on Eurasian collared and ringed turtle doves, but any taken in addition to a daily bag limit of mourning and white-winged doves must have a fully-feathered wing attached while in transport. An extended exotic dove season for Eurasian collared and ringed turtle doves is open Nov. 20, 2013-Feb. 28, 2014. There is no daily bag or possession limit, but a fully-feathered wing must remain attached while in transport.
Residents 16-74 must have a hunting license and Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit, unless exempt by law, to hunt doves. All nonresidents, regardless of age, must have a nonresident hunting license and a Kansas HIP permit.
Finding a productive dove hunting spot requires some advance scouting, and this can be as simple as driving backroads during the early morning hours looking for fields doves are using. Birds will often congregate along power lines or dead trees. Before hunting on private land, get landowner permission.
Public lands can provide outstanding hunting opportunities, especially on managed dove fields. Many Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism wildlife areas have fields managed specifically to attract mourning doves. The small fields are planted to sunflowers or wheat and managed to make them attractive to doves. When the weather cooperates, dove hunting around these fields can be fantastic. Thirty-nine wildlife areas across the state feature managed dove fields and some special restrictions may apply. Go to, click on “Hunting,” “Migratory Birds,” then “Doves” for a listing of dove field locations and special regulations. Many of the dove fields will be designated as “Non-toxic Shot Only,” and some may be set aside for youth hunting opportunities. Fields designated as “Non-toxic Shot Only” will be marked with signs.
The impending autumn brings with it the optimism of the 2013 hunting season, and it won’t get here a day too soon for avid hunters. Get out and take advantage of the great hunting opportunities available here in Kansas.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Atlas features 60 detailed maps with more than 1 million acres of prime hunting locations

PRATT – With maps showing the location of more than 1 million acres of land open to hunting, the 2013 Kansas Hunting Atlas, available online now, is a must-have for hunters. Whether you’re looking for the perfect duck hunting marsh, scouting for land rich with upland birds, or scanning woodlots for the perfect place to set up your tree stand, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s hunting atlas is the perfect tool Better than ever, the newly-redesigned hunting atlas features maps with shaded relief backdrops, county road names (where available), stream names, and much more. All state, federal and Walk-in Hunting Access areas are shown, color-coded for ease of use.
The atlas also features 2013 season dates and an outline of new regulations, making it quick and easy for hunters to get up-to-speed on important changes.
To view the atlas online, visit and click “Hunting,” then “Where to Hunt,” then then “2013 Fall Hunting Atlas.” Hunters can also 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 Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary is also available on the KDWPT website. Printed versions of both pamphlets will be distributed in early September.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Campers will trade in “hot and humid” for “ho, ho, ho” during this holiday decorating contest

PRATT ­– Do the hot and humid days of summer have you wishing for a winter wonderland? Well look no farther than Lovewell State Park because your wish is about to be granted. Lovewell State Park, located in Jewell County in northcentral Kansas, will host the 11th Annual Campground Christmas event Saturday, Aug. 17. Campers will compete in a two-day decorating contest by adorning their campsites and cabins with yuletide themes.
The decorations will then be available for public viewing, followed by a formal judging at 8 p.m. Saturday evening. Prizes will be awarded at 11 a.m. the following morning.
Campers interested in entering the contest must register at the Lovewell State Park Office no later than 5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 17. Those interested in viewing the campsites must have a vehicle permit to enter the park. Daily permits can be purchased for $5.00, annual permits for $25.00. For more information, contact Lovewell State Park manager Thane Loring at (785) 753-4971.
For a list of park events near you, visit and click “State Parks/Event Calendar.”

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


A mentored dove hunt is a perfect way to introduce a youngster to hunting

PRATT – The Jayhawk Chapter of the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation (QUWF) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) are making preparations for their 6th Annual Youth Dove Hunt to be held opening day, Sept. 1, 2013 at Clinton Wildlife Area near Lecompton.
The hunt is open to hunters age 16 and younger. Shotguns, shells, and eye and ear protection will be provided to participants at no cost. Hunters are encouraged to wear camouflage clothing.
“This is just a great event for kids to get out in the field and get hands-on experience hunting doves without worrying about the cost. We supply them with everything they need, and we are happy to do it,” said QUWF Jayhawk Chapter member Dr. John Hill. “Last year, our young hunters shot a little over 780 shells. This year, we hope to shoot even more.”
Mentors will accompany all participants, but non-hunting family members are encouraged to attend, as well. The hunt will begin just before sunrise and conclude mid-day. To register for this event, contact Hill at (785) 550-5657 or by e-mail at

Monday, August 19, 2013


Designated dove fields on public lands require non-toxic shot
PRATT – On many Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) public
wildlife areas, managers have been working all summer to attract doves. Specific crops have been planted and managed, and if Mother Nature cooperates the dove hunting on these fields can be fantastic.
On many areas, these practices have been followed for several years; however, there are some changes for the 2013 season. The biggest change is that on designated dove fields, hunters will be restricted to non-toxic shot. Dove harvest has been high on many fields, and they draw large number of hunters for the first few days of the dove season. This kind of hunting pressure on small fields results in a large amount of lead shot being concentrated in a small area. Lead is toxic, especially to birds, so the non-toxic regulation has been implemented.
The fields requiring non-toxic shot will be designated with signs, and non-toxic shot is required for all shotgun hunting on these fields as long as the signs are in place. The following wildlife areas may have designated non-toxic shot fields:NORTHWEST – Jamestown WA, Glen Elder WA, Ottawa WA, Smoky Hill WA, and Wilson WA. NORTHEAST – Kansas River WA, Tuttle Creek WA, Clinton WA, Perry WA, Milford WA, Noe WA, and Hillsdale WA. SOUTHCENTRAL – Cheney WA, El Dorado WA, and Marion WA. SOUTHEAST – Dove Flats WA, Elk City WA, Fall River WA, La Cygne WA, Mined Land WA, Spring River WA, Toronto WA, and Woodson WA.
Hunters can see which wildlife areas have managed dove fields by going to, clicking on “Hunting,” then “Migratory Birds” and “Doves.” Narratives for each area under the “Managed Dove Hunting Areas On KDWPT Public Lands” heading provide field locations, crop types and any special restrictions in place.
Dove hunting on these specially managed fields can be so good they will attract many hunters. Common courtesy and strict safety procedures must be followed to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable hunt. Always keep plenty of space between hunting parties, be conscious of where you are shooting and where your shot will drop, and never take shots at low flying birds.
The 2013 season for mourning, white-winged, Eurasian collared and ringed turtle doves is open Sept. 1-Oct. 31 and Nov. 2-10. The daily bag limit for mourning and white-winged doves, single species or in combination is 15. The possession limit is 45. There is no limit on Eurasian collared and ringed turtle doves, but any taken in addition to a daily bag limit of mourning and white-winged doves must have a fully-feathered wing attached while being transported. A Kansas Harvest Information Program permit is required to hunt doves. An extended exotic dove season for Eurasian and ringed turtle doves will open Nov. 20-Feb. 28, 2014. There is no daily bag limit, but a fully-feathered wing must remain attached while the birds are transported.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Phone conference scheduled to approve last-minute changes to possession limits for migratory birds

PRATT – The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission will conduct a public hearing through a telephone conference on Thursday, August 29, 2013. The call will begin at 10 a.m., and members of the public can listen online, or attend a satellite location listed below, where public comments may be heard.
The last-minute hearing is necessary to incorporate changes to possession limits in migratory bird hunting regulations for the 2013 seasons. Other than the late migratory bird seasons, which were set Aug. 1, seasons and regulations for doves, sandhill cranes, snipe, rail and woodcock were approved earlier this year. However, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) released frameworks for migratory bird hunting regulations in July, the possession limit for all migratory birds was increased from twice the daily bag limit to three times the daily bag limit. Because potential regulation changes must be given published notice 30 days prior to a public hearing, the impromptu commission meeting was scheduled for Aug. 29. Commissioners will vote on a recommendation to adopt the maximum possession limit of three times the daily bag limit for doves, sandhill cranes, snipe, rail and woodcock as allowed under the USFWS frameworks.
The public is encouraged to listen to or comment during the hearing at any of the following KDWPT locations: Office of the Secretary, 1020 S. Kansas Ave., Suite 200, Topeka; Pratt Operations Office, 512 SE 25th
Ave., Pratt; KDWPT Region 1 Office, 1426 Hwy 183 Alt., Hays; KDWPT Region 2 Office, 300 SW Wanamaker Rd., Topeka; KDWPT Region 3 Office, 1001 W. McArtor, Dodge City; KDWPT Region 4 Office, 6232 E. 29th
St. N, Wichita; Neosho County Community College, 800 W. 14th
St., Oak Room, No. 209, Chanute; KDWPT Kansas City Office, 8304 Hedge Lane Terrace, Shawnee; KDWPT Research and Survey Office, 1830 Merchant, Emporia.
If necessary, the Commission will recess on August 29, 2013, to reconvene August 30, 2013, at 9:00 a.m.
If notified in advance, the department will have an interpreter available for the hearing impaired. To request an interpreter call the Kansas Commission of Deaf and Hard of Hearing at 1-800-432-0698. Any individual with a disability may request other accommodations by contacting the Commission Secretary at (620) 672-5911.

The next commission meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 17, 2013, Kansas Cosmosphere, 1100 N. Plum, Hutchinson.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Youth age 17 and younger can enjoy a day of casts and blasts during this annual festival

HAYS­– The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism along with Hays area conservation groups and businesses are again sponsoring a free target shooting and outdoor activities for youth 17 and under. The 16th Annual Youth Outdoor Festival is scheduled for Saturday, Aug.17, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Hays City Sportsman's Club a quarter mile north of I-70, Exit 157.
Youth can try trap shooting, skeet shooting, archery, air rifle/BB guns, muzzleloaders, small bore rifles, computerized laser shot target shooting, and even paintball target shooting. Equipment, targets and ammunition will be provided free of charge. There will also be a B.A.S.S. casting competition, as well as several furharvesting demonstrations.
Hunter Education certification is not required to attend, however youth participants must be accompanied by an adult. Youth will be closely supervised at each event station by a volunteer who is an expert at the specific skill.
In addition to the free shooting opportunities, several door prizes, including guns, fishing tackle and other outdoor equipment will be given away. Lunch will also be provided.
Registration for this event must be completed on site prior to participating in any of the activities.
For more information, contact Kent Hensley at (785) 726-3212 or Troy Mattheyer at (785) 726-4212.

Monday, August 12, 2013


Participating youth will have the opportunity to hunt wheat stubble and sunflower fields during the Labor Day weekend hunt
ST. MARYS­­– The Westar Energy Green Team will host a youth-only dove huntSept. 1-2 at the Jeffrey
Energy Center (JEC) Wildlife Area, north of St. Marys. The event is open to youth age 16 or younger and hunts will take place during early morning and late afternoon on both days.
According to JEC wildlife area staff, the fields are in great condition, and there should be plenty of birds flying at close range. The hunts are an excellent way for kids 16 and younger to get hands-on experience and learn the basics of dove hunting.”
The registration deadline is Aug. 26, with hunters being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Youth must bring their own shotguns and be accompanied by a non-hunting adult. Non-toxic shells will be provided to all participants. Hunters age 16 must possess a Kansas hunting license and HIP permit.
Hunters or mentors interested in participating in this event can contact Barb Cornelius at (785) 575-8125.
The 2013 dove season is Sept. 1 - Oct. 31 and Nov. 2 - 10. For more information on dove hunting, visit ksoutdoors.comand click “Hunting/Migratory Birds.”

Sunday, August 11, 2013


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Goose daily bag limits increased; possession limits for ducks and geese increased
YATES CENTER – The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission listened to department staff recommendations and comments from waterfowl hunters before approving the 2013 duck and goose seasons during a public hearing held in Yates Center on August 1. Summer breeding bird surveys show most species well above long-term averages, and with good to excellent nesting habitat conditions, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) provided liberal season frameworks. Waterfowl hunters may be surprised to learn that the daily bag limit for teal during the early teal season was increased from four to six, the daily bag limit for Canada geese was increased from 3 to 6 and the daily bag limit for light geese was increased from 20 to 50. Possession limits for ducks and geese were increased from twice the daily bag limit to three times the daily bag limit. The Commission approved the following waterfowl hunting seasons:
High Plains Duck Zone: Oct. 5-Dec. 2, 2013 AND Dec. 21, 2013-Jan. 26, 2014Youth: Sept. 28-29, 2013
Low Plains Early Duck Zone: Oct. 5-Dec. 1, 2013 AND Dec. 21, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014. Youth: Sept. 28-29, 2013
Low Plains Late Zone: Oct. 26-Dec. 29, 2013 AND Jan. 18-Jan. 26, 2014. Youth: Oct. 19-20, 2013
Low Plains Southeast Zone: Nov. 2-3, 2013 AND Nov. 16, 2013-Jan. 26, 2014. Youth: Oct. 26-27, 2013
Duck bag limit: Six ducks, including no more than 5 mallards, of which only 2 may be hens; 2 redheads; 3 wood ducks; 3 scaup; 2 pintails; and 2 canvasbacks. Possession limit is three times the daily bag limit.
White-fronted geese: Oct. 26-Dec. 29, 2013 AND Feb. 1-Feb. 9, 2014. Daily bag limit: 2. Possession limit is 6.
Canada geese: Oct. 26-Nov. 3, 2013 and Nov. 6, 2013-Feb. 9, 2014. Daily bag limit on Canada geese: 6. Possession limit: 18.
Light geese: Oct. 26-Nov. 3, 2013 and Nov. 6, 2013-Feb. 9, 2014. Daily bag limit: 50. No limit on possession
Light Goose Conservation Order: Feb 10-April 30, 2014. No bag or possession limit.
To view a map of duck zones and to see all 2013 hunting seasons go to, click on “Hunting” then “When to Hunt.”

Saturday, August 10, 2013


While just below last year’s record numbers, 2013 duck populations are still well above long-term averages

PRATT­– Duck populations are strong, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) 2013 Report on Trends in Duck Breeding Populations. The preliminary estimate of total duck populations from the traditional survey area (northcentral United States, southcentral and northern Canada, and Alaska) is 45.6 million birds­– a six percent decrease from last year’s estimate of 48.6 million birds, but a 33 percent increase from the long-term average. In addition to estimating duck populations, the survey also examines habitat conditions.
Habitat conditions during the 2013 survey were generally improved or similar to last year due to above-average precipitation, despite a delayed spring throughout most of the traditional survey area. Most of the Canadian portions of the traditional survey area were rated as good to excellent, in contrast to 2012 when drier conditions existed across northern Alberta and Saskatchewan. Although the U.S. prairies received record snowfall in April, habitat conditions were still rated only fair to poor, similar to last year. The total pond estimate (prairie Canada and the north-central United States combined) is 6.9 million, 24 percent higher than the 2012 estimate of 5.5 million ponds and 35 percent above the long-term average.
In the eastern survey area – eastern Ontario, Quebec, the Maritime Provinces and Maine – estimated mallard abundance is 500,000 birds. Habitat conditions across most of the eastern survey area generally were good with the exception of Maine and the southern Maritimes, which were rated only as fair.
The report also notes:
  • Estimated mallard abundance is 10.4 million birds, similar to the 2012 estimate of 10.6 million birds and 36 percent above the long-term average.
  • Blue-winged teal estimated abundance is 7.7 million. Although this is 16 percent below the 2012 estimate of 9.2 million, the blue-wing population is 60 percent above the long-term average. Similarly, the green-winged teal estimate of 3.1 million is 12 percent below last year, but still 51 percent above the long-term average.
  • The northern pintail estimate of 3.3 million is similar to the 2012 estimate of 3.5 million and 17 percent below the long-term average.
  • Estimated abundance of American wigeon is 2.6 million and 23 percent above the 2012 estimate and similar to the long-term average.
  • The combined lesser and greater scaup estimate of 4.2 million decreased 20 percent from last year and is 17 percent below the long-term average of 5 million.
  • The canvasback estimate of 787,000 is similar to the 2012 estimate and 37 percent above the long-term average.
The surveys are conducted by the USFWS and Canadian Wildlife Services’ Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey, sampling more than 2 million square miles of waterfowl habitat across Alaska, the northcentral and northeastern United States and southcentral, eastern and northern Canada.
The information guides the USFWS waterfowl conservation programs under authority of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The USFWS then works in partnership with state biologists from the four flyways – the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central and Pacific – to establish regulatory frameworks for waterfowl hunting season lengths, dates and bag limits. 2013 Kansas duck hunting season dates and bag limits will be approved at the Aug. 1 commission meeting in Yates Center.
For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2013 Report on Trends in Duck Breeding Populations,
For more information on Kansas waterfowl hunting, visit and click “Hunting/Migratory Birds/Ducks.”

Friday, August 9, 2013


KDWPT advises anglers who catch exotic fish to not return them to water

TOPEKA­– An unidentified angler landed quite a surprise at Lake Shawnee in Topeka Sunday, July 21, when he hauled in a silver arowana, a primitive freshwater fish native to the Amazon River Basin in South America. Often kept as aquarium pets, arowanas do not belong in Kansas waters. The fish was about 20 inches long and was likely released into Lake Shawnee or upstream by someone who could no longer care for it. Sold as youngsters, arowanas can grow to 2 feet long or more in captivity and can quickly outgrow their aquariums. They grow to nearly 4 feet long in the wild. Arowanas are aggressive and carnivorous, and they may eat other aquarium fish.
Jessica Howell, aquatic nuisance species coordinator for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), cautioned that people should not release aquarium animals into the wild. “It’s against state and federal law to release any exotic species into Kansas waters, and new regulations also make it illegal to dump any fish into waters where they don’t originate,” she said. “Responsible aquarium owners never release anything, including water, plants, snails and fish into a stream, pond, lake, ditch or storm drain.”
The angler who caught the fish asked Torrey Bevans, who was fishing nearby, for help. Bevans photographed the fish so it could be identified and correctly advised the angler to not return the fish to the lake. The fish died on the bank, although it took some time, as arowanas can get oxygen by drawing air into their swim bladders. Bevans visited a KDWPT office in Topeka on Monday to report the catch and share his photos.
Howell said Bevans gave the correct advice. “If you catch an exotic fish, do not return it to the water. Instead, let it die and photograph it or put it on ice for later identification by a KDWPT biologist. If you own exotic fish, visit for suggestions on responsibly handling unwanted aquarium specimens so you don’t break the law.”
With sharply upturned lower jaws and eyes high on the sides of their heads, arowanas are specialized for feeding at the surface where they pick off insects, small fish and other animals. Two barbels (“whiskers”) on their lower jaws help arowanas sense movement and locate prey in murky water. Sometimes called monkey fish or water monkeys, they are spectacular jumpers in their native waters and can leap up to 6 feet out of the water to catch birds, snakes or frogs.
For information on aquatic nuisance species, visit
Photo courtesy of Torrey Bevans.