Monday, December 8, 2014

WITNESSES OF WILDLIFE-RELATED CRIMES CAN REPORT ANONYMOUSLY

One phone call can help catch wildlife thieves
PRATT – Countless wildlife, especially big game, will be illegally killed at the hands of poachers this season and unfortunately, these criminals are tough to catch. Game wardens work tirelessly to track down the men and women allegedly responsible for these crimes, but often a lack of evidence leaves officers with their hands tied. The good news is, one phone call can change this scenario. Operation Game Thief (OGT), 1-877-426-3843, is a program that provides a toll-free line available 24/7, 365 days of the year, for citizens to report wildlife-related violations. All calls received through the OGT line are quickly relayed to the natural resource officer nearest the violation, and callers can remain anonymous.
When reporting a wildlife crime, keep the following in mind:
• never confront suspects; and
• provide as much specific information as possible, such as vehicle model and color, license tag numbers, descriptions of people involved, locations, and the time the incident occurred.
OGT calls have resulted in numerous arrests and convictions on violations ranging from deer poaching to public lands vandalism. In many cases, poachers have been arrested within minutes of the call. If you think picking up the phone can’t make a difference, think again. Those who commit wildlife crimes aren’t just stealing from the land, they are stealing from us all. Help bring them to justice by calling OGT at 1-877-426-3843.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

HUNTERS ENCOURAGED TO UTILIZE iSPORTSMAN ELECTRONIC CHECK-IN SYSTEM

Fourteen wildlife areas currently utilize the system, more to come

PRATT – Since Sept. 1, hunters using select Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
(KDWPT) wildlife areas have been able to obtain free daily hunt permits electronically through the iSportsman system. To date, more than 4,500 individuals have registered for accounts and have “checked in” for 8,000 daily hunting permits. Although several thousand hunters have used the new system, a large percentage of hunters continue to use the traditional paper permit system. The iSportsman electronic permit system, which is more efficient and economical than the paper system, is in use at the following wildlife areas: Jamestown, Lovewell, Clinton, Elwood, Kansas River, Milford, Cheyenne Bottoms, Texas Lake, Isabel, McPherson Wetlands, Slate Creek Wetlands, Neosho, Melvern and Lyon. A similar system has already been in use at Fort Riley.

This is a reminder for hunters planning to hunt any of the aforementioned areas to register for an account at any time by logging on to https://kdwpt.isportsman.net. Upon completing the registration, hunters will obtain a general access permit. He or she can then log on or call in before they plan to hunt to “check in.” After a hunt is complete, the hunter can then log on or call in to report harvests and “check out” of the system. The system can be utilized from any computer, smart phone, cell phone or landline.

For more information on iSportsman, call (620) 672-5911 or visit https://kdwpt.isportsman.net.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

ARCHERY IN THE SCHOOLS INSTRUCTOR WORKSHOP AT OLPE HIGH

English: primitive archery
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Educators in Olpe, Hartford, Reading and surroundings areas invited to participate
PRATT – Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism staff and National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) training instructors will host a NASP Basic Archery Instructor's Workshop at the Olpe High School gym,October 27 at 8:30 a.m. Instructors from Olpe, Hartford, Reading, and surrounding areas are invited to participate in the one-day event to become trained and certified as NASP Archery Instructors.
Kansas entered NASP in 2006 and has since introduced the program to students in grades 4-12 at nearly 220 schools around the state. NASP allows students who might not otherwise engage in traditional sports to participate in an activity that can serve as a life-long pursuit. Apart from participating in school programs, student archers can also compete in state and national tournaments held each year, winning medals, and top scoring archers winning prizes ranging from brand new bows to academic scholarships.
For more information on this event, or to introduce NASP at your school, contact Mike Rader at (620) 672-5911.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

KDWPT HOLDS LAST COMMISSION MEETING OF 2014

Commissioners vote to do away with floatline fishing permits
PRATT – Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commissioners engaged in lively discussion and voted on several regulations relating to fishing and more at the Oct. 16 public hearing in Salina. For those that were unable to attend, a video of the meeting can be seen at ksoutdoors.com by clicking “KDWPT Info / Commission / Past Meetings.”
The afternoon session began with time for public comments on non-agenda items, followed by a general discussion period where staff and commissioners discussed the possibility of reducing deer permits, and eliminating the Pre-rut Firearm Whitetail Antlerless-only season originally mandated by Kansas legislature. Other topics covered during this time were a series of regulations pertaining to antelope and elk, as well as permanent big game regulations, where KDWPT staff recommended there be no changes at this time.
Workshop topics discussed during the afternoon session, which will be discussed for potential regulatory action at a future meeting, included regulations pertaining to general fishing provisions, boating identification numbers and decals, and vehicle permits.
The commission then recessed at 5 p.m., and reconvened at 6:30 p.m. to begin the public hearing. During this time, commissioners voted unanimously to eliminate the need for a permit to floatline fish and to increase the mesh size allowed in seines and cast nets used for taking baitfish to one-half-inch; Herington - Father Padilla Pond was added to the list of Type 2 trout lakes; a 35-inch minimum length limit for blue catfish was added to reservoirs Glen Elder and Lovewell; and a five-day creel limit was added to Coffey County Lake. Commissioners also unanimously voted to categorize Clinton, Glen Elder, Lake Shawnee and Lake Waubaunsee as an Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) water due to zebra mussels, as well as categorize a stream located from the Lincoln Street Dam in Wichita to the Oklahoma line as an ANS-designated water due to white perch. 
In other items voted upon during the public hearing, commissioners approved utility fees for new camp sites at Sand Hills State Park.
The last item presented to commissioners was the potential downlisting of the redbelly snake from a Threatened Species to a Species In Need of Conservation (SINC). After much public comment, discussion and debate, commissioners voted 6-1 to accept the department’s recommendation to move the snake to the SINC list.
The next commission meeting is scheduled for January 8, 2015 at Bonner Springs Parks and Recreation, Sunflower Room, 200 E. 3rd St., Bonner Springs.

Friday, October 24, 2014

SO MANY SEASONS, SO LITTLE NOVEMBER

November marks the beginning of several hunting seasons in Kansas
PRATT – For most people, Christmas comes on Dec. 25, but for hunters and anglers, the best gifts arrive one month earlier. November marks the start of four hunting and fishing seasons that are a must-do in the Sunflower State, and if you’ve never partaken in these fall festivities, you may want to reconsider your plans this upcoming month.
TROUT FISHING: NOV. 1 - APRIL 15
From Nov. 1, 2014-April 15, 2015, anglers can enjoy some of the best fishing opportunities in the state as nearly 30 public fishing areas will be stocked periodically with this special species.
Special permits apply, so consult the 2014 Fishing Regulations Summary for complete details on your favorite waters.
To view a complete trout stocking schedule for a specific location, visit ksoutdoors.com and click “Fishing /Special Fishing Programs for You / Trout Fishing Program.”
GOOSE HUNTING
If wild turkeys aren’t your idea of a hardy holiday bird, consider bagging a goose this season. Hunters can pursue geese during the following seasons:
Canada Geese
Season: Nov. 1-9, 2014 AND Nov. 12, 2014-Feb. 15, 2015
Daily bag limit: 6 (including Brant). Possession limit: 18.
White-Fronted Geese
  • Season: Nov. 1-Dec. 14, 2014 AND Jan. 17-Feb. 15, 2015
  • Daily bag limit: 2. Possession limit: 6.
Light Geese
  • Season: Nov. 1-9, 2014 AND Nov. 12, 2014-Feb. 15, 2015
  • Daily bag limit: 50. No possession limit.
PHEASANT AND QUAIL SEASON
Recent rains leading to increased brood-rearing habitat across the state have several areas harboring more birds this year. Consider taking a peek at the 2014 Upland Bird Forecast on ksoutdoors.com to locate your next hunting honey pot.
Pheasant
  • Regular Season: November 8, 2014 - January 31, 2015
  • Youth Season: November 1-2, 2014
  • Daily Bag Limit: 4 cocks in regular season, 2 cocks in youth season.
  • NOTE: Pheasants in possession for transportation must retain intact a foot, plumage, or some part that will determine sex.
Quail
  • Regular Season: November 8, 2014 - January 31, 2015
  • Youth Season: November 1-2, 2014
    • Daily Bag Limit: 8 in regular season, 4 in youth season.
SANDHILL CRANES
Although not as widely sought-after as geese and ducks, sandhill cranes are a challenging quarry to hunt. Consider experiencing this unique season this year.
  • Season: Nov. 5 2014-Jan 1, 2015
  • Daily bag limit: 3. Possession limit: 9.
All sandhill crane hunters must take an online crane identification test each year before obtaining the required federal permit to hunt. The test can be found by visiting ksoutdoors.com and clicking “Hunting / Migratory Birds/ Sandhill Crane.”
Quivira and Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge are closed to crane hunting.

MOUNTAIN LION CONFIRMED IN LABETTE COUNTY

Mountain lion photographed on trail cam in southeast Kansas
PRATT – A deer hunter from Labette County got a surprise recently when he checked his trail camera he had set up for deer. He found a single image of a mountain lion walking away, down the trail, the characteristic long tail prominently displayed. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) staff visited the site last week and verified the photo’s authenticity. This is the tenth mountain lion verified by KDWPT since 2007, but the first in almost two years.
The first confirmed mountain lion in 2007 was killed by an individual in Barber County. Since then, most of the sightings have been confirmed with photographs taken by remote, motion-triggered cameras commonly used by deer hunters to keep track of deer movement near their stands.
In each instance, KDWPT staff traveled to the sites where photos were taken to validate the photographs. Staff investigates sightings whenever evidence, such as tracks, a cached kill or a photograph exists. Biologists assume most sightings are of transient young males, coming from established populations in nearby states. 
“It’s not uncommon for young males to travel great distances looking for home ranges,” said Matt Peek, KDWPT furbearer biologist. “So far, these animals appear to be passing through, rather than staying and establishing home ranges in Kansas.”

Thursday, October 23, 2014

BUFFALO AUCTION AT MAXWELL WILDLIFE REFUGE

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) will host its annual Wednesday, Nov. 12 at 11 a.m. Approximately 55 buffalo from the KDWPT herd will be available for purchase, including three cows; five yearling heifers; eight heifer calves; seven cow/calf pairs; 10 yearling bulls; eight two-year-old bulls; and seven bull calves. The corrals are located six miles north and one and a quarter miles west of Canton.
Maxwell Wildlife Refuge Buffalo Auction
Auctioneer services will be provided by Lyle Leppke and Roger Hiebert, and lunch and concessions will be served by Friends of Maxwell.
The Department reserves the right to reject any or all bids. All purchases must be paid in cash. Personal checks will be accepted if accompanied by a notarized authorization letter from the issuing bank.
Buffalo over one year old will be brucellosis and tuberculosis tested and accompanied by a health certificate. Heifer calves will be vaccinated for brucellosis and certificates will be issued. 
Buyers must pick up buffalo the day of the sale or make arrangements with the refuge manager prior to the sale. Animals become buyer’s responsibility upon settlement on sale day. Load out assistance is available until dusk. Stock racks and trailers should be covered or lined as buffalo transport is best done in darkened conditions.
For more information, call refuge manager Cliff Peterson at (620) 628-4592, KDWPT Wichita Regional Office at(316) 683-8069, or KDWPT Pratt Operations Office at (620) 672-5911.

Friday, October 17, 2014

KDWPT AND CONSERVATION ORGANIZATIONS TEAM UP FOR WILDLIFE AND HUNTERS

Map of Kansas highlighting Riley County
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
BLUE RAPIDS–The Tuttle Creek Wildlife Area has grown by almost 500 acres as the result of a collaborative effort by The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), Pheasants Forever (PF), Quail Forever (QF), and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT). The conservation organizations and KDWPT partnered to acquire a 484-acre tract of land adjacent to the Tuttle Creek Wildlife Area in Riley County. The tract, which is open to public hunting, permanently protects habitat vital to many species of wildlife, including turkey, pheasants, quail and prairie chickens. The acquisition also improves access to 550 acres of the existing Tuttle Creek Wildlife Area.
“It’s great to see conservation organizations work together with state wildlife agencies to increase public access opportunities for outdoor recreation,” said Robin Jennison, KDWPT secretary. “In Kansas, where less than three percent of the land is in public ownership, projects like these and our continued relationships for conservation are extremely important.”
In addition to providing partial funding for the land acquisition, the conservation organizations worked with KDWPT to help the acquisition pass through the Legislature.
NWTF, PF/QF and Ducks Unlimited (DU) signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this year, creating a historic partnership to ensure wild bird habitat conservation and North America’s hunting heritage remains strong for generations to come.
“This particular acquisition is a shining example of what the conservation community can accomplish when we all work together for a unified cause,” said Jared McJunkin, NWTF Great Plains District conservation field supervisor. “While this is the first successful land acquisition for the NWTF in Kansas, we believe additional projects will follow.”
The NWTF and PF/QF are national nonprofit wildlife conservation organizations working to conserve wildlife habitat and our outdoor traditions. The NWTF (www.nwtf.org) has 36 chapters across Kansas, and the organization’s “Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.” initiative was launched with goals of raising $1.2 billion to conserve more than 4 million acres of essential upland wildlife habitat, create at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting, shooting and outdoor enjoyment nationwide.
Since 1982, Pf and QF (www.pheasantsforever.org) have impacted more than 10 million acres of wildlife habitat in the U.S., of which more than 175,000 acres have been permanently protected and opened to public hunting. There are 36 PF and 13 QF chapters in Kansas, where the organization has spent more than $4.7 million enhancing wildlife habitat on more than 437,000 acres. Events conducted through various partnerships and the organization’s grassroots network of chapters, have provided nearly 13,000 youth with positive outdoors experiences.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

MIKE RADER NAMED AVIAN CONSERVATIONIST OF THE YEAR

Rader is recognized for his significant contributions to bird conservation, education
PRATT – If you’ve ever cracked open an issue ofKansas Wildlife & Parksmagazine and read the “Bird Brain” column, you’ve learned about birds from Mike Rader. If you’ve ever attended an EcoMeet or Kansas Archery in the Schools event, Rader played a pivotal role in that. If you’ve ever teamed up on a bird count conducted by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), chances are Rader showed you the way. It’s these contributions and so many more that make it no surprise that Rader, Wildlife Education Coordinator for KDWPT, was named Avian Conservationist of the Year by the Kansas Ornithological Society (KOS). Rader received the award at the fall meeting, Oct. 3-5, and if you ask his nominator, Chuck Otte, there couldn’t have been a more deserving person to recognize. 
The KOS’s Avian Conservationist of the Year Award is given each year to an individual who has made significant contributions to bird conservation and/or education; Rader has done this and more.
“Conserving our avian resources has become Mike’s life long, all-consuming work,” said Otte, Geary County KSU extension agent and past KOS president. “Certainly, Mike’s birding is his passion, but making sure that we still have birds to watch has become his driving force.”
“Mike spends considerable time working on projects that will benefit birds and all wildlife, and helping other people learn more about the wildlife around them,” said Otte. “He has turned us into better conservationists.”
Apart from KOS, Rader also serves a member of the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education.
For more information on KOS and the Avian Conservationist Award, visit ksbirds.org.
For more information on KDWPT’s wildlife education programs, visit ksoutdoors.com and click “Services,” then “Education.”

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

HUNTERS WELCOMED AT KANSAS STATE PARKS

State park and wildlife area cabins can serve as great base camps for hunters
PRATT – Staff at Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) state parks and wildlife areas extend an open invitation to all hunters looking for a fun, affordable base camp this season. Often located within just a few miles, some even within walking distance, of some of the state’s most popular public hunting areas, KDWPT cabins are a great way to enjoy the outdoors long after shooting hours are over.
Offered in either “deluxe” or “sleeper” styles, KDWPT cabins provide comfort and convenience at an affordable price. Depending upon the season and amenities offered, nightly fees vary from $35 to $110 and can sleep anywhere from four to ten adults. Deluxe cabins offer heating and air conditioning, a bathroom, shower, and often a furnished kitchen equipped with a refrigerator, stove, microwave, and coffee pot. Sleeper cabins are a little more rustic with fewer amenities, but are still equipped with heating and air conditioning, as well as electricity. Beds are included, however guests are required to bring their own linens at all cabins.
Reservations can be made online at reserveamerica.com as far out as 364 days in advance and as soon as three days in advance. If booking on a Friday, cabins must be reserved for both Friday and Saturday, and cabins booked on a Saturday must be reserved for both Saturday and Sunday. Hunters wishing to make a reservation one to two days in advance my contact the nearest state park office for availability, or call (620) 672-5911 for assistance.
For more information on state park cabin locations and amenities, visit ksoutdoors.com and click “State Parks / Reservations.”

Monday, October 13, 2014

PUBLIC INVITED TO NEOSHO WILDLIFE AREA INFORMATION NIGHT

Ducks Unlimited

Topics covered include renovations, water conditions and more
PRATT – Sportsmen and women, and anyone who visits the Neosho Wildlife Area, are invited to attend a public information meeting Oct. 14 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will take place at Function Junction, north of the Highway 59/ Highway 47 junction, on the east side of the road and will feature local Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) staff, and Ducks Unlimited (DU) representatives, who will discuss the status of the area.
Topics for the evening include:
  • Neosho Wildlife Area renovation project and funding
  • South Unit pump project
  • Pool 5 water control structure
  • Population status and fall flight forecast
  • Kansas wetland conditions
  • 2013-14 waterfowl harvest and hunter numbers
  • iSportsman daily hunt permits
Attendees will have the opportunity to express their opinions and ask wildlife area staff questions.
For more information, contact the Neosho Wildlife Area office at (620) 449-2539

Sunday, October 12, 2014

QUAIL INITIATIVE HABITAT TOUR AND DINNER

Reserve your spot by Oct. 15

PRATT – Landowners and anyone interested in improving quail habitat on their property are invited to attend a quail habitat tour and free dinner Tuesday, October 21 at Melvern Wildlife Area, Reading. Starting at 4:30 p.m., a tour of completed and active habitat projects on Melvern Wildlife Area will be conducted, followed by a catered meal at the Reading City Building around 6 p.m., compliments of the Neosho Valley Quail Forever and Emporia Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation chapters. Those interested in attending are asked to meet at the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) office, 2272 Road 250, on the east side of Reading. 
Following dinner, KDWPT staff will update participants on the progress of the Quail Initiative Project and present information on bobwhite biology and habitat management. Local Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) personnel will also be on hand to discuss relevant cost-share programs available, as well as representatives from other local conservation organizations. The evening will wrap up with a time for questions, discussion, and the opportunity to sign up for habitat planning assistance.
The Kansas Quail Initiative is an effort spearheaded by KDWPT to implement additional funding in two areas of eastern Kansas to improve habitat for quail and monitor the changes over the next five years. The goal is to improve quail populations by 50 percent in these focus areas. The area of focus for this meeting includes the Melvern Wildlife Area and more than 190,000 acres in portions of Lyon, Wabaunsee, Osage and Coffey counties.
“We plan to offer 100 percent cost-sharing for landowners in these areas to implement ‘quail friendly practices’ on their land,” said Jim Pitman, KDWPT small game coordinator. “KDWPT has designated $100,000 each year to this effort and those dollars can be used to supplement the normal 75 percent cost-share rate from federal habitat programs. The bottom line is that landowners in this focal area will work with biologists to plan habitat improvements for quail and cost-share payments will cover all the costs,” Pitman added.
Some of the practices eligible for cost-share funding include native grass and forb planting, removal of invading trees from grasslands, prescribed burning, hedgerow renovation and prescribed grazing. During its first two years, the initiative has directly impacted nearly 1,300 private land acres and 4,400 public land acres.
To register for the tour and dinner, call (620) 342-0658 by October 15.
For more information on the Kansas Quail Initiative, contact KDWPT district biologist, Pat Riese, at (620) 583-5049.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

FISHING REGULATIONS FOCUS OF NEXT COMMISSION MEETING

Public hearing portion of meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.
PRATT – It may be prime hunting season in fall, but staff at the Kansas Department of Oct. 16 Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission meeting in Salina. The meeting will be held at Martenelli’s Restaurant, 158 S. Sante Fe, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and reconvene at 6:30 p.m. for the evening session.
Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) are already working hard to plan for the 2015 fishing season. Several regulatory changes pertaining to traditional rod-and-reel fishing, as well as non-traditional forms such as floatlining, will be heard and voted on at the
The afternoon session will begin with time for public comments on non-agenda items, followed by a general discussion period. Topics covered in the general discussion include Secretary’s remarks regarding agency and state fiscal status; an update on the 2015 legislature; an update on Tourism Division activities; a series of regulations pertaining to antelope and elk; permanent big game regulations; and a series of deer regulations.
Workshop topics for the afternoon session, which will be discussed for potential regulatory action at a future meeting, include general fishing provisions, boating identification numbers and decals, and vehicle permits.
The commission will recess at 5 p.m., then reconvene at 6:30 p.m. at the same location to discuss any remaining workshop items and begin the public hearing. Public hearing items to be discussed and voted on during the evening session include eliminating the need for a permit to floatline fish; increasing the mesh size allowed in seines and cast nest used for taking baitfish; certain creel, size, and possession limits; other special fishing provisions; camping and utility fees at Sandhills State Park; threatened and endangered species; and general provisions related to nongame species.
Time will be available in both the afternoon and evening sessions for public comment on non-agenda items. If necessary, the commission will reconvene at the same location at 9 a.m., Oct. 17, to complete any unfinished business.
Commercial-free live video and audio streaming of the meeting will be broadcast through 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 January 8, 2015 at Bonner Springs Parks and Recreation, Sunflower Room, 200 E. 3rd St., Bonner Springs.

Friday, October 10, 2014

KANSAS WETLANDS EDUCATION CENTER WILL HOST HUNTER BREAKFAST OCT. 11

Breakfast will be accompanied by info booths, raffle, silent auction
PRATT – Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area offers fantastic duck hunting opportunities and Oct. 11, opening day of the Low Plains Early Zone duck season, the Kansas Wetlands Education Center (KWEC), 592 NE K-156 Hwy, Great Bend, in conjunction with Great Bend Regional Hospital, will host a hunter appreciation breakfast from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Not only can hunters come away from a hunt with dinner in hand, but a stomach full of hot biscuits and gravy, coffee, and juice.
memories to last a lifetime, but now the wildlife area has even more to offer. On
After filling up on good eats, hunters can learn about the wetland’s history at the education center, peruse through items in the Cheyenne Bottoms Ducks Unlimited Chapter raffle and silent auction, as well visit waterfowl identification and waterfowl hunting information booths.
For more information about the breakfast, call the KWEC at (877) 243-9268.

PHEASANTS FOREVER TO HOST YOUTH UPLAND HUNT OCT. 18

The hunt is held in memory of Darrell Brown and Lavern Stieben
HAYS – It’s easy to let a hectic schedule get in the way of making time for the outdoors, and Oct. 18, 2014. There is no cost to participate. 
all too often youth miss out on experiencing one of Kansas’ greatest assets – its hunting heritage. In an effort to introduce youth to the long-standing tradition of upland bird hunting, The Smoky Hill Pheasants Forever Chapter #424, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), and the Hunting Heritage Group invite hunters age 12-18 to participate in the 9th Annual Darrell Brown-Lavern Stieben Memorial Youth Upland Hunt
The hunt will take place at Hays City Sportsman Club, 5810 230th Ave., Hays, where each hunter will have the opportunity to harvest at least four birds while hunting over experienced pointing dogs. 
Apart from the hunt, participants will also learn about hunting with pointing dogs; field safety; how hunting dogs are trained; gun handling; how to clean and prepare birds; and what makes good upland bird habitat. The D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program will also be incorporated into the event.
Special hunts such as this are part of Pass It On, KDWPT’s hunter recruitment and retention program. This program addresses the need to recruit new hunters and retain existing hunters to ensure the future of hunting.  
For more information, and to register for this hunt, contact Shayne Wilson at (785) 628-1415Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

CRAWFORD STATE PARK TO HOST COUNTRY MUSIC JAMBOREE SEPT. 27

Live music begins at 3:30 p.m. and will continue through the night
PRATT – Camping, chili, and country music – what more could you ask for? Thanks to the Friends of Crawford State Park, all this and more will be part of a one-night event, Sept. 27 at Crawford State Park’s Oak Point Campground. Crawford State Park is located just nine miles north of Girard on K-7. The first event of the day will be a chili cook-off beginning at 12 p.m. with a cook’s meeting, followed by cooking from 12:30 to 4 p.m., judging at4 p.m., tasting session at 4:30 p.m., and awards at 5:30 p.m. There is a $20 entry fee for anyone wanting to enter the chili contest.
Following the cook-off, an “end of the season” campers’ pot luck will take place at 6:30 in the back of the campground amphitheater. Those interested in staying are asked to bring a covered side dish as spaghetti red (chili) will be provided.
Apart from good eats, park goers can also enjoy the park’s Country Music Jamboree beginning at 3:30 p.m. and running through the night. A host of local musical acts including The Duling Band, Jeff Simpson, Kinley Rice, and Jason Richison will perform.
The Duling’s are a local legend and part of a musical family that have entertained for over 50 years. The variety they bring to the stage is sure to please young and old.
Jeff Simpson, a resident of Cherokee, has been performing blues and jazz harmonica for the past 17 years. He is a regular with several area country, bluegrass, and classic rock bands.
Kinley Rice, a 15-year-old country singer from Fort Scott, is currently a regular on TV’s “Kelly’s Kountry Junction.” Her musical influences are Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Hank Williams, and many other country legends.
Jason Richison, another Fort Scott resident, will perform classic country music with energy and an edgy guitar. He is also a member of the Fort Scott Jubilee Hot Band and lead guitarist for Kelly’s Kountry Junction television program.
Campsites will be available and can be reserved by visiting ReserveAmerica.com.
For more information on the chili cook-off, contact Kevin Smith at (620) 362-3237, or by e-mail atkmsmith@ckt.net.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

KANSAS ORNITHOLOGICAL SOCIETY FALL MEETING

Members of the public are welcome to join in on the feathery fun
PRATT – The Kansas Ornithological Society (KOS) will hold its fall meeting October 3-5 in Salina. This informative and fun gathering is open to everyone and will include an informal, come-and-go reception at Lakewood Discovery Center on Friday from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. On Saturday a paper session and business meeting will run 9 a.m. - 4:40 p.m., followed by the annual banquet from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. On Sunday, all-day field trips will start at 7 a.m.
The paper session and business meeting will take place at the Sams Hall of Fine Arts on Kansas Wesleyan University campus, where students involved in bird research will have the opportunity to present their results. Time will also be allotted for non-professional birders wishing to share information on less-formal bird observations and research. Following lunch, participants can enjoy a Birdwatchers’ Hour where photographers of all skill levels can showcase their images of birds from Kansas and around the world. During the business meeting, KOS members will vote on new officers and board of directors for 2015, receive a fiscal update on KOS, and address any changes regarding bylaws or rules of operation, if necessary.
The annual banquet is scheduled at the Salina Country Club and will feature an awards ceremony and keynote speaker, Al Batt, a contributing columnist for Birdwatcher’s Digest.
Sunday will conclude the three-day event with all-day field trips led by local experts. Participants will depart from Lakewood Middle School (across from Lakewood Discovery Center) at 7 a.m. Destinations include: Salina, Ottawa State Fishing Lake, Kanopolis Reservoir, McPherson State Fishing Lake and Abilene. A list of species compiled for these areas and a lunch will be provided for all pre-paid participants.
For more information, or to register, visit www.ksbirds.org, or contact Mike Rader atmike.rader@ksoutdoors.com or (620) 672-0708.

Monday, September 22, 2014

SPOTS AVAILABLE FOR ANGLER INSTRUCTOR COURSE

Get certified to teach basic fishing skills in Kansas
PRATT – If you’re passionate about fishing, and have a desire to share that passion with others,  you can still enroll in a Kansas angler education certification course. Fishing’s Future and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism will sponsor a fishing instructor course for 40 volunteers who want to learn about teaching fishing techniques in Kansas. The instructor course will be held Oct. 4 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the National Guard Training Center, 2930 Scanlan Ave, Salina.
During the certification course, anglers will learn about working with children, sample curriculums, fishing regulations, species identification, ethics, knot-tying and more.
To learn more about the fishing instructor certification program and to register for the Salina course, go towww.fishingsfuture.org, click on “Upcoming Events”, then “Kansas Angler Education Training Program.”
Questions may be directed to either Kevin Reich of Fishing’s Future at kevin.reich@fishingsfuture.org, or Sgt. James Merriman at (785) 826 3761.