Saturday, January 25, 2014


Public hearing held for wildlife and park regulation changes
WINFIELD – The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission conducted a public hearing in Winfield on Jan. 9 to consider amendments to several wildlife and park regulations. Public hearings are held to discuss and vote on regulation changes after recommendations have been proposed in two previous commission meetings.
In first action, Commissioners listened to recommendations on increases for utility and seasonal camping fees. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) staff recommended camping fee increases to accommodate rising utility rates. Current utility camping fees are $7.50 for one utility, $9.50 for two and $10.50 for three utilities per camping night. The commission approved raising the rates to $9 for one utility, $11 for two and $12 for three utilities per night.
Seasonal camping fees, which are charged by the month, were increased $30.50 to $270.50 for one utility, $330.50 for two utilities and $390.50 for three utilities per month at all parks except El Dorado, Milford and Tuttle creek state parks. The seasonal monthly fees at El Dorado, Milford and Tuttle Creek state parks were increased $30.50 to $310.50 for one utility, $370.50 for two utilities and $430.50 for three utilities.
Commissioners approved the recommended increases.
The second public hearing item was a house-cleaning issue on the regulation defining the scoring system used to determine restitution for big game animals taken illegally. The recommendation more clearly defined a measurable point to “a projection on the antler of a deer or elk at least 1 inch long as measured from its tip to the nearest edge of the antler beam and the length of which exceeds the width at one inch or more of length.” The commission approved this recommendation.
And in final action, the commission approved changes to the fall turkey season bag limits. Turkey populations declined in most regions from 2004-2008 because adverse weather impacted spring nesting success and brood survival.  Success rates for spring hunters dropped accordingly, triggering a change in regulations. KDWPT staff recommended reducing the fall turkey bag limit from four turkeys to one turkey in Turkey Management Units 3, 5 and 6. The fall limit remains one turkey for Unit 1 (northwest) and the season bag limit will remain four turkeys in Unit 2 (northcentral). Unit 4 (southwest) is closed to fall turkey hunting. Commissioners approved the season bag limit change, as well as proposed season dates of Oct. 1-Dec. 3, 2014 and Dec. 16, 2014-Jan. 31, 2015.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Being awarded a Commission Big Game Permit can mean big fundraising dollars for
conservation-based nonprofits
PRATT – On Jan. 9, 2014, a total of seven conservation-based nonprofit organizations were awarded a Commission Big Game Permit at the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s commission public meeting held at Southwestern College in Winfield. A total of 99 successful applications were received for the seven highly-sought after permits consisting of one elk, one antelope, and five deer permits. Because each organization is asked to rank each permit by first choice through last choice, a total of one elk and six deer permits were awarded this year. In order to be considered for this drawing, applicants had to be a Kansas-based nonprofit organization that works to promote wildlife conservation, as well as hunting and fishing.
2014 Commission Big Game Permit winners are as follows:
RMEF - Traveling Committee
Ducks Unlimited - Cloud County Chapter
Quail & Upland Wildlife Federation, Inc. - Kaw Valley
Quail & Upland Wildlife Federation, Inc.
Friends of NRA - South Central KS - Pratt #KS-18
Friends of NRA - Sunflower State #KS-30
Deer: Friends of NRA - Tri Valley #KS-36
The winning applicants received the permit in the form of a voucher. Typically these vouchers are sold to the highest bidder, who can then exchange the voucher for their designated big game permit through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) licensing section. Once a voucher is sold, the price of the permit and 85 percent of the total is returned to KDWPT. The conservation group keeps 15 percent to spend at its discretion. After a conservation project is approved, the 85 percent is returned to the group to fund the project.
Past projects include Pass It On activities, Hunter Education courses, habitat development and restoration, as well as archery and shooting clinics for youth and adults.
For more information on the Commission Big Game Permit program, or instructions on how to apply for 2015, contact commission secretary Sheila Kemmis at (620) 672-0702.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Female hunters made up over a third of the participants at this annual hunt
BELOIT ­– Thirty-five new hunters with limited experience came from all across the state to get a taste of what pheasant hunting can be like. Hunters ranged in age from 11 to 55, and out of those 35 hunters, an impressive number of 11 participants were female. The event is organized by Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism staff from the Glen Elder Wildlife Area and volunteers from the Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors, Inc. of Wichita.
This year hunters were joined by 10 celebrities and hometown heroes who served as hunting mentors. Celebrity hunters included former NFL players Mark Arneson, Jerry Holloway, Mel Gray, and Eric Williams; former professional drag racer Guy Caster; youth Crappiemasters champion John Gilotte; and national go-cart racing youth champions Brody and Nolan Pope. Hero-celebrities from the Kansas National Guard included LTC Damon Frizzell from Gardner and SSGT Casey Pennock from Manhattan.
The day began before sunrise in the basement of Hopewell Church at Glen Elder State Park with a biscuits and gravy breakfast. Following breakfast the young hunters were briefed on safety procedures and then divided into five hunting groups. Each hunting group had celebrities, a hunt captain, and at least three bird dogs. Groups hunted in either Glen Elder State Park or in one of the refuge areas on Glen Elder Wildlife Area surrounding the lake where public hunting is generally not allowed.

Every group saw a good number of pheasants within shooting range and almost all of the hunters got multiple shot opportunities at the tough birds. Only the youth and celebrities hunted in each group and each youth was “shadowed” by a parent or other adult mentor throughout the morning. While afield, participants also enjoyed seeing lots of deer, geese, ducks, bald eagles, as well as several other wildlife species.
Hunters bagged a combined total of eight roosters, with every group harvesting at least one bird. The morning of the hunt, participant Cassandra Kinzie even managed to pull off a “double” on two roosters that flushed together, making quite a present for the young lady who celebrated her birthday that day.
At lunch, groups returned to the church basement for a meal provided by the Waconda Lake Association. Hunting stories were shared and one youth hunter from each group was recognized and presented with an additional prize for demonstrating excellent safety skills while they hunted. A longest tail feather contest was also held for the successful youth hunters. After lunch, several hunters took part in a trap shoot held in Glen Elder State Park. Within a couple hours, trap shooters managed to burn up about 1,500 rounds of target ammo and blue rock that was provided as part of the event.
The day’s events concluded in the evening with a Hunter’s Banquet held at Memorial Hall in Downs where each youth hunter received a prize package, and attendees learned about the importance of quality habitat for pheasants and the importance of getting more kids involved in hunting. Meet and greets with celebrity hunters concluded the evening.
“This event would not be possible without the generous support of over 30 businesses and individuals that stepped up as sponsors from the local communities surrounding Waconda Lake,” said Glen Elder Wildlife Area Manager, Chris Lecuyer. “These sponsors allow the day-long event to be offered to participants absolutely free of charge and their donations of prizes, food, services, and financial contributions continue to make the event a bigger success every year, so thank you.”
For information, contact the Glen Elder Area Office at (785) 545-3345.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism holds second annual birding competition
PRATT – If you can look through a pair of binoculars, spot a bird, and positively identify it, you just may have what it takes to win the 2014 Kansas Birding “Big Year” hosted by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT). “Big Years” are informal competitions that take place across the globe where birders compete to see who can observe the most bird species within a designated geographic area in one calendar year. The 2014 Kansas Birding Big Year will run Jan. 1-Dec. 31, spanning the state of Kansas. Participants can compete in one of three categories: youth (16 and under), adult (17-64), and senior (65 and up).Winners of each category will receive prizes to be awarded January 2015.
“The great thing about this competition is that you don’t have to own the latest equipment or know how to identify every bird species under the sun to participate,” said KDWPT wildlife education coordinatorand competition organizerMike Rader. “You just have to get out there and start looking, because you’ll be amazed at what you might find.” Rader recommends participants carry a pocket-sized notebook and pencil to record their findings. He suggests jotting down information such as size, color, sounds, and surrounding habitat, followed by a quick thumbnail sketch of the bird.
“A good way to learn how to identify birds is to watch them. Soak up as much information about them as you can, watch their flight pattern, their behavior, where they like to feed, whether they’re solitary or in a group,any little thing you notice,” said Rader. “After that, hit your books and start narrowing down what you think it may be, paying close attention to their geographical range and population abundance, because that can also serve as a good indicator of what species you may have spotted.”
Participants are asked to log their findings into the online service, eBird, available through the Cornell University web site, The data collected is then gathered and used to aide researchers in the study of species abundance, time spent in the field, and more.
For more information on the 2014 Kansas Birding Big Year, or to register, visit, or email Rader at