Sunday, February 16, 2014


40,000 Deer hunters will receive online surveys inquiring about the 2013-2014 season
PRATT – Forty thousand of the approximately 120,000 hunters who hunted deer in Kansas this past season will be contacted by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) via an online survey. The survey, which is conducted every year, asks deer hunters to provide information regarding harvest success, dates and seasons hunted, days spent in the field, locations hunted, and choice of equipment during the 2013-2014 seasons. Hunter participation in the survey is crucial because biologists use the information to make deer management recommendations. Hunters who are randomly-selected to take this survey are strongly encouraged to complete the survey in its entirety as soon as possible.
“Some people reply back and tell us they killed a doe or got a 10 point buck and think that is all we really need. That is not the case,” said KDWPT big game biologist, Lloyd Fox. Fox explained that KDWPT monitors multiple aspects of the hunt in order to gain a clearer picture of the men and women who hunt deer and the impact of hunting on the resource.
Fox added that preliminary data received from surveys completed thus far show little to no changes from the 2012-2013 season as hunters have been reporting similar harvest success rates compared to last year, but biologists are still eager to receive any and all outstanding surveys in order to obtain the best information possible.
If you receive a 2013-2014 deer survey, please take the time to fill out it. A little time spent at the computer can go a long way in the field next season.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Pictograms of Olympic sports - Archery. This i...

Women age 13 and older are invited to explore the world of archery during this one-day event
EMPORIA ­– The Flint Hills Gobblers chapter of Women in the Outdoors (WITO) invites women with an interest in archery to attend a fun and informative one-day event, Saturday, March 15 at Dry Creek Sporting Clays, 1257 Road 137 in Emporia. Women, age 13 and older, will learn bow basics and safety, how to purchase a bow, where to shoot, and will receive hands-on instruction. Following instruction, attendees will have the opportunity to shoot FITA and 3D targets, as well as participate in friendly, non-competitive games.
The event will run from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with registration beginning at 8 a.m. Pre-registration is required, and the event is limited to the first 50 who sign-up by calling Tami Cushenberry at (620) 343-9156 or The cost to attend is $60 for non-WITO members age 18 or older (includes membership to WITO), $25 for WITO members age 18 or older, and $25 for participants age 13-17 (includes Jakes membership to National Wild Turkey Federation). Lunch will be provided and women do not need a bow to attend, however those who have bows are encouraged to bring them.
Participants will also have the opportunity to meet fellow female archer, Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail.

Friday, February 14, 2014


Hunters have untilFeb. 24 to apply for spring special hunts
HAYS ­– Snow might be covering your block, but spring is just around the corner, and that Feb. 1-24, hunters can apply for a special hunt at by clicking “Hunting/Special Hunts.” Following the application period, a random drawing will be held with notifications sent to successful and unsuccessful applicants vie e-mail. 
means turkey season is on its way. Spring turkey hunters can get a head start on the season by applying now for exclusive entry into areas with limited access through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Special Hunts Program. While there is no guarantee of success, this special access usually means a higher quality hunt and potentially greater harvest rates. From
This year, the Spring Turkey Special Hunts Program is offering 202 different individual turkey hunts on 23 properties.  Half the hunts are “Open,” 58 are “Youth” hunts and 43 are “Mentor” hunts. The spring turkey special hunts occur on lands not normally open to public hunting including, but not limited to, wildlife areas, state parks, Corps of Engineers properties, National Wildlife Refuges, city and county parks and on private lands enrolled in the special hunts program. 
Open hunts are available to all hunters with no age or experience restrictions. Youth hunts are open to hunters 16 and younger accompanied by an adult. Mentor hunts are open to youth and novice hunters accompanied by an adult mentor. Both the youth/novice and the mentor may hunt during a mentor hunt. A novice is defined as a hunter who has not hunted turkeys in the last three years. Hunts can range from one day to several days, with some open the entire spring turkey season.
To view a list of current special hunts available, visit and click “Hunting/Special Hunts Information.”

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Anglers can dish up a great day on the water using information found in the 2014 Fishing Forecast
PRATT ­– You don’t have to be a world-renowned chef to recognize a good meal when you eat one, and now you don’t have to be a Master Angler in order to catch fish like one. The 2014 Fishing Forecast, produced by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), is an instrumental ingredient when creating the perfect day on the water. Simply take a helping of research, combined with a few choice lures, add in some free time, and you just might find yourself with a recipe worth revisiting this fishing season.
Since the 2014 Fishing Forecast uses data gathered from sampling efforts of public waters during annual lake monitoring, anglers can rest assured they are receiving the best possible information on where to fish and what to fish for. In addition to what species of fish can be caught at any given body of water, the forecast also includes tables with Density Ratings, Preferred Ratings, and Lunker Ratings, as well as information on the Biggest Fish sampled, Biologist’s Ratings, and a Three-Year Average of popular species.
The Density Rating is the number of fish that were high-quality size or larger sampled per unit of sampling effort. High-quality size, listed in parentheses at the top of the Density Rating column, is the length of fish considered acceptable to most anglers and is different for each species. The higher the Density Rating, the more high-quality-sized or larger fish per surface acre in the lake. Theoretically, a lake with a Density Rating of 30 has twice as many high-quality-sized fish per acre as a lake with a Density Rating of 15.
The Preferred Rating identifies how many above-average-sized fish a water contains. For example, a lake may have a good density of crappie, but few fish over 10 inches. The Preferred Rating tells an angler where to go to for a chance to catch bigger fish.
The Lunker Rating is similar to the Density Rating, but it tells you the relative density of lunker-sized fish in the lake. A lunker is a certain length of fish considered a trophy by most anglers. It also differs with each species and is listed in parentheses at the top of the Lunker Rating column. For example, most anglers consider a channel catfish longer than 28 inches a lunker. Many lakes may have a lunker rating of 0, but this does not mean there are no big fish in that lake. It just means that no lunker fish were caught during sampling, and they may be less abundant than in lakes with positive Lunker Ratings.
You can use the Density Rating and Lunker Rating together. If you want numbers, go with the highest Density Rating. If you want only big fish, go with the Lunker Rating. Somewhere in the middle might be a better choice. A lake with a respectable rating in all three categories will provide the best overall fishing opportunities.
The Biggest Fish column lists the weight of the largest fish caught during sampling. A heavy fish listed here can give the lunker fishermen confidence that truly big fish are present.
The Biologist’s Rating adds a human touch to the forecast. Each district fisheries biologist reviews the data from annual sampling of their assigned lakes. This review considers environmental conditions that may have affected the sampling. They also consider previous years’ data. A rating of P (poor), F (fair), G (good), or E (excellent) will be in the last column. Sometimes the Density Rating may not agree with the Biologist’s Rating. This will happen occasionally and means the Density Rating may not accurately reflect the biologist’s opinion of the fishery.
The Three-Year Average rating refers to the averaging of the Density Rating over the previous three years of sampling to help show a trend for a particular lake.
Copies of the 2014 Fishing Forecast can be found in the March/April issue of Kansas Wildlife & Parks magazine, at any KDWPT office or license vendor, or online at by clicking “Fishing/Fishing Forecast.”

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies accepting applications throughFeb. 28

EMPORIA – Landowner/producers can apply to enroll their land in the Lesser-prairie Chicken Conservation Program through Feb 28, according to the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA). Those with land in the lesser prairie-chicken range willing to implement conservation practices beneficial to lesser-prairie chickens are eligible. Landowner/producers who are accepted will receive a sign-up incentive and payments for implementing conservation practices designed to maximize the value of their property to lesser-prairie chicken. Those practices include mechanical brush removal, prescribed grazing, and establishment and management of planted native grass stands. Only producers not currently enrolled in federal farm bill programs will be eligible to apply for five- and 10-year contract options.
The WAFWA will rank applications based on their value to lesser prairie-chickens and select the highest ranking offers for enrollment. Accepted landowner/producers located in the high-priority locations can receive payments of up to 125 percent of the estimated cost of implementing the conservation plan. If the species becomes federally listed, participating producers will be exempt from the take prohibition of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) if the take occurs while implementing the practices prescribed in their conservation plan.  Producers who are interested in the program should contact their local state wildlife agency office for more details or to complete an application. 
After the sign-up period is complete, the WAFWA will also be developing similar conservation plans for producers who just want to be exempted from the take prohibitions of the ESA. The management prescriptions in these plans won’t be as conservative, and landowners won’t receive payment for implementing them. However, if the species is listed, any take that occurs while implementing the prescribed practices will be exempt from the take prohibitions of the ESA.  Producers interested in this type of conservation plan should also contact their local state wildlife agency.
The WAFWA consists of 23 state and provincial wildlife agencies that have primary responsibility and authority for protecting and managing fish and wildlife in the western United States and Canada.  The state wildlife agencies in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado are members of the WAFWA. Through the WAFWA, those five state wildlife agencies worked cooperatively over the last two years to produce the Lesser-prairie Chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan (RWP) as a means to preclude a federal listing of the species under the ESA. On October 23, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) endorsed the RWP as “a comprehensive conservation plan that reflects sound conservation design and strategy that, when implemented, will provide a net conservation benefit to the lesser prairie-chicken.” To date, the RWP is the only plan that has been endorsed by the USFWS and is the only pathway that has the potential to lead to a not warranted final decision. The amount of voluntary enrollment in the RWP will likely weigh heavily into the final listing decision that must be announced by the end of March.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Spotting backyard birds can be a relaxing and fun way to enjoy wildlife during the colder months
PRATT – Bird watchers around the state can participate in two essential studies on winter bird populations simply by keeping a watchful eye. The first study will begin with the Kansas Winter Bird Feeder Survey, Jan. 30–Feb. 2, followed by the 2014 Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) Feb. 14–17.
Participants of the Winter Bird Feeder Survey are asked to observe and record the number, and mailing it in. Information gleaned from this survey will help the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) track songbird population trends and types of feed that are most attractive to backyard birds.
and species of birds visiting their backyard feeders on two consecutive days between Jan. 30 and Feb. 2. Watchers can report the results by downloading the survey form found on
During the two-day survey, birders are encouraged to record the times of day they observed birds, the number of each species seen, along with a description of their feeders using the form provided. Each species should be listed by the highest number seen together at any one time. For example, if 10 juncos are seen at 9 a.m., 11 at 12 p.m., and seven at 4 p.m., the number recorded would then be 11.
Following the Winter Bird Feeder Survey, birders can also participate in the GBBC beginning Feb. 14. Unlike the Winter Bird Feeder Survey where participants view birds at a feeder for any length of time, the annual GBBC asks participants to watch birds at any location for a minimum of 15 minutes. This effort aids in better defining bird ranges, populations, migration pathways, and habitat needs. Participants then tally the numbers of each species seen, and report their observations online at
This will be the last year that Kansas has a separate Winter Bird Feeder Survey as future surveys will be integrated with the GBBC. This change will allow participants to enter their data online, eliminating mail-in data forms, and will also allow researchers better access to recorded data. In the future, participants and other Ebird users will also be able to view the data and interactive maps developed with the data entered online.
Global participation will be made possible by, a real-time online checklist program that the Cornell Lab and Audubon are integrating into the GBBC for the first time this year. The four-day event will receive sightings from tens of thousands of participants who may record more than 600 bird species in the United States and Canada alone.
For more information regarding the Great Backyard Bird Count visit or

Monday, February 10, 2014


Local Pheasants Forever chapter to host youth upland bird hunt

GOODLAND – The High Plains Roosters chapter of Pheasants Forever is pleased to announce their upcoming youth upland bird hunt,March 1, in Sherman County (Road 67 and 17).  The hunt is open to all youth age 10-15, and no previous hunting experience is required.
“Our volunteers pride themselves on the ability to accommodate youth hunters of all experience levels,” said Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever Kansas Outreach Coordinator, Brian Schaffer. “These are very seasoned sportsmen who make every effort to pass on our hunting heritage in a safe, enjoyable environment.” 
The event will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday with a pre-hunt safety seminar. Then hunters and mentors will hunt various species of upland birds including ring-necked pheasants and chukar on the grounds of a local controlled shooting area. Following the hunt, participants can also partake in shotgun shooting, bird cleaning, and a D.A.R.E. program provided by the local sheriff’s office. Lunch and refreshments will be provided and there is no cost to attend. All participants must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
“If your child has an interest in hunting, but maybe doesn’t know where to start, please encourage them to attend this event and experience what it’s all about to be a conservation-minded sportsman,” Schaffer added.
For more information, or to register for this event, contact Melvin Crow at (785) 821-2607 or Jason Artzer at (785) 821-2317. This hunt is open to the first 45 participants, so early registration is encouraged.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Planning a Kansas excursion is easy with print, online tools
TOPEKA – The 2014 edition of “Kansas Outdoors,” the official guide to the Sunflower State’s outdoor destinations and experiences is now available. Published by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), “Kansas Outdoors” is crammed with 57 pages of
stunning photographs and brief descriptions of a variety of outdoor opportunities, such as camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, boating, biking and Kansas Byway driving. For the truly adventurous, there is information on skydiving, endurance biking and kayaking. The guide also lists a large number of activities, events and places to experience.
The “2014 Kansas Travel Guide” features more than 130 pages of stunning photography; brief stories about a variety of Kansas destinations, activities and events along with hundreds of listings for things to see and do and places to stay or eat. Subscribers to Kansas! magazine will find the travel guide bundled with their magazine.  
“Kansas Outdoors” and the “2014 Kansas Travel Guide” are perfect companions to KDWPT’s two websites – and, so the right tool to help adventurers explore the state is within easy reach. is a one-stop-shop for travelers. Aptly titled, “There’s No Place Like Kansas,” visitors can use the site to plan their trip, learn about a variety of activities, events, dining and lodging options, subscribe toKansas!magazine and locate places to buy Kansas products. Special deals and coupons are even available for a number of destinations and dining, shopping and lodging locations. also features information devoted to the Flint Hills, Kansas Byways, Agritourism and the Kansas River National Water Trail. Kansas travel industry professionals can use to reach a wide audience. offers a “boat load” of helpful content for the outdoor enthusiast, including important information on hunting, fishing, boating, the state parks and purchasing licenses and permits.     
“Kansas Outdoors” and “Kansas Travel Guide” are free, and a free official Kansas travel map is included with all orders. To request a guide, visit and click on the Travel Guide photo at the top of the page, or call 1-800-2Kansas or email

Friday, February 7, 2014


Help nongame species this tax season by checking the Chickadee
PRATT – With the flick of a pen, taxpayers can help support a wide variety of nongame
wildlife this tax season by making a donation to the Chickadee Checkoff program. To make a contribution, taxpayers simply mark the Chickadee Checkoff box on their state income tax forms and designate the amount they would like to donate. There is no minimum or incremental requirement. Donations can also be made directly to the Chickadee Checkoff program at any time throughout the year by mailing the donation to Chickadee Checkoff c/o Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) at 512 SE 25th Ave, Pratt, KS 67124.
English: Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atric...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A program of KDWPT, Chickadee Checkoff uses donations to fund wildlife programs and initiatives, as well as numerous species assessments and habitat surveys statewide. Programs such as the Outdoor Wildlife Learning Sites (OWLS) at Kansas schools, Kansas Backyard Wildlife Habitat Improvement and Certification Program, and the Nursing Home Bird Feeder Program all benefit from Chickadee Checkoff proceeds. In addition, donations support much needed projects like the Prairie Windows project, Bluebird Nest Box Project, and the Small Grant Program.
Private donations are crucial in funding these vital programs, especially when Chickadee Checkoff proceeds are matched by federal funds. Contributions have been steadily decreasing in recent years, making it imperative that every Kansan mark the Chickadee Checkoff box this year. With the support of the Kansas Society of Certified Public Accountants (KSCPA), KDWPT hopes to see more boxes checked this tax season.
For more information, please visit the KDWPT website and click “Other Services/Wildlife Diversity/Chickadee Checkoff.” 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Bicyclists, pedestrians encouraged to participate

TOPEKA ­– If you enjoy getting off the beaten path by walking or bicycling, then the Kansas Byways Program wants to consider your ideas for inclusion in a new Kansas Byways Bicycle
and Pedestrian Plan. The goal of the plan is to enhance bicycling and pedestrian opportunities for each of the state’s 11 scenic and historic byways.

The plan is being developed by a consulting team led by RDG Planning & Design, Omaha, and CFS Engineers, Topeka. The goal of the plan is to help make the state’s byways more accommodating to bicyclists and pedestrians. The diversity, character and manageable length of the byways makes them especially attractive to non-motorized users, clearly evidenced by the increasing interest expressed by these groups. A friendly, welcoming bicycle/pedestrian environment also offers economic opportunities for communities and regions along the byways.

To take the survey and learn more about the planning process, go online to   

To learn more about the 11 Kansas Byways, visit the website at

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


 If you’ve ever wondered what baits catch what fish, how to start a fire with your bare hands, May 16-18,the workshop will offerparticipants courses on everything from wood-carving and GPS basics, to rifle marksmanship and fly fishing.
or even have thought about coasting a creek in a canoe, youshouldsign up for the 2014 Spring Becoming An Outdoors-Woman (BOW) workshop thisMay. Held at Rock Springs 4-H Center
Offered through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, BOW is a non-profit, non-membership program designed for teaching women outdoor skills. The workshop will offer over 25 different classes thanks to a core of volunteer instructors, including KDWPT employees, law enforcement officials, and even past participants, all of whom are considered to be experts in their field.
Cost for the three-day workshop is $250, which includes lodging, meals and class supplies. Three $100 scholarships are available to first-time participants based on financial need.
Early registration will be open to first-time participants through March 15. If spots still remain, past participants may register beginning March 16. Applicants are encouraged to apply early as the spring workshop is limited to 48 participants and the application period will close May 2. To register, visit, click “Services/Education/Becoming an Outdoors Woman,” and download a registration form.
For questions, call or email Jami McCabe at (785) 845-5052 or To learn more, and view pictures of past workshops, visit the BOW Facebook page found under “Becoming an Outdoors Woman KANSAS.”

Monday, February 3, 2014


 For anglers, timely, quality information can be the difference between getting a couple tugs on a lure and a grill lined-to-the-brim with your favorite catch. Cram-packed with all the information you need to set up for a perfect day of fishing, the 2014 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summaryis the closest you can get to having a game warden, a fisheries biologist, by clicking “Fishing / Fishing Regulations.” Print copies will be available wherever licenses are sold within one to two weeks.
and a hatchery manager at your beck and call. This free, easy to use, full-color pamphlet can be downloaded online now at

Apart from information on important fishing regulations such as special seasons, creel and length limits, license fees and legal fishing methods, anglers will also find a helpful section highlighting new regulations for the 2014 season in the summary. This publication is a must-have for anglers because creel and length limits vary from lake to lake.

Included in a special 16-page section, this pamphlet also lists all public waters, along with their location and any special regulations in effect. At the turn of a page, anglers can see which community lakes don’t charge extra fees for fishing, as well as community lakes designated as Family Friendly Facilities (FFF)thatwill include flush toilet facilities, security patrols, security lighting, easy access to the water and do not allow alcohol.

Information is also provided on aquatic nuisance species (ANS), as well as regulations governing the use of live baitfish. Five pages are devoted to fish identification, featuring color illustrations by Joe Tomelleri. Current state record fish are listed, and there is also a Master Angler Application for anglers who catch fish that qualify forthis certificate award program.

The2014 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summarypamphlet is truly an angler’s “Bible.” Grab a copy, read it, and keep it by your side. Available at more than 200 outlets statewide, and online, there’s no excuse to ever find yourself without one.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Wichita’s GPNC recognized for its unique partnerships

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell presented the 2013 Partners in Conservation awards at a ceremony in Washington, DC on Jan. 16. The Secretary honored 20 partnership projects that have demonstrated exemplary natural resource conservation efforts through public-private cooperation. Four
partnerships nominated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service(USFWS), including The Great Plains Nature Center in Wichita,received awards.

 The Great Plains Nature Center, located at 6232 E. 29th Street N in Wichita, is a wild oasis in an urban setting. Each year the Center provides outdoor recreation and educational opportunities to hundreds of thousands of visitors. The facility is a one-of-a-kind partnership that began in 1988. It serves as an outdoor education center for the City of Wichita, a regional office for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism, and an administrative site for theUSFWS. The Friends of the Great Plains Nature Center help visitors learn about the plants and animals of the Great Plains through live animal exhibits, dioramas depicting native flora and fauna, and nature trails leading to abundant wildlife viewing opportunities on the adjacent Chisholm Creek Park. Its education programs operate throughout the year, and a highlight of the Center is a massive 2,200-gallon aquarium offering close-up views of native fish.

Other award winners include the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program in Texas, the Klamath Tribal Leadership Development for Integrative Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge Program in northern California and southern Oregon, and the Center for Land-Based Learning Partnership in California.

Partnerships are vital to wildlife conservation efforts nationwide as they allow us to combine the strengths of our stakeholders with the resources and abilities of our staff, saidUSFWSDirector Dan Ashe. Almost anything is possible when you leverage the skills, talents, dedication and abilities of diverse groups of stakeholders that share a common conservation agenda.

A total of 14 partnerships were submitted nationwide by Service staff for consideration as part of this year’s awards.

Additional information on the selected programs and full listings of entities involved are available here: