Friday, December 18, 2015

Kansas Wildlife and Parks Magazine Announces Photography Contest Winners

PRATT – For the third year running, Kansas Wildlife & Parks magazine staff have not been disappointed by the entries received in the “Wild About Kansas” photography contest. What used to be a contest only open to youth age 18 and younger was expanded to accept entries from photographers of all ages and skill levels.
A total of 124 participants submitted work this year in hopes of landing on the pages of Kansas Wildlife & Parks magazine, and 24 of them will realize that dream in the 2016 January/February photo issue. To obtain a copy of the special photo issue out in early January, call (620) 672-5911, or become a subscriber at ksoutdoors.com by clicking “Publications,” then “KDWPT Magazine.”
“Wild About Kansas is really about appreciating Kansas outdoors from all perspectives,” said Kansas Wildlife & Parks managing editor, Nadia Marji. “We’ve seen incredible photos taken from the heart of the suburbs, and we’ve seen equally stunning photos taken from the middle of the prairie. It’s just a true testament to the diversity of our state and all that our landscape has to offer.”
Photos were judged based on creativity, composition, subject matter, lighting, and overall sharpness. The 2015 “Wild About Kansas” award winners are as follows: 
WILDLIFE
Adult
1st- Tony Pianalto,“Sumac Buck”
2nd- Chuck Gibson,“Great Blue Heron”
3rd- Dale Roark,“Towhee”
Honorable Mention- Aaron Thompson,“Focused Eagle”
Youth
1st- Amelia Kilmer,“Monarch”
2nd- Ross Ifland,“Upland Sandpiper”
3rd- Christina Craig,“Halloween Pennant”
Honorable Mention- Julien Reynard,“Moonlight Geese”
LANDSCAPE
Adult
1st- Aaron Thompson,“Wood Skeleton”
2nd- Tony Ifland,“Dewy Prairie Morning”
3rd- Robert Dilla,“Foggy Sunrise”
Honorable Mention- Jay Miller,“Kansas Night Sky”
Youth
1st- Christina Craig,“Almost Spring”
2nd- Grace Young,“Marais Des Cygnes”
3rd- Amelia Kilmer,“Tree Arch”
Honorable Mention- Julien Reynard,“Sunset in The Spring”
OUTDOOR RECREATION
Adult
1st- Tony Ifland,“Duck Season Training”
2nd- Darrell Skrdlant,“Flying High”
3rd- Ken Brunson,“Sylvie Spots Mushrooms”
Honorable Mention- Chuck Gibson,“Gone Fishin’”
Youth
1st- Katelyn Ifland,“Camping Moonrise”
2nd- Callie Bowley,“Kansas Winter Trout”
3rd- Christina Craig,“Fishing on Glass”
Honorable Mention- Andrew Fischer,“Hunting Sunset” 
Details on the 2016 contest will be made available after the New Year on ksoutdoors.com.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

KDWPT Christmas Holiday Hours

English: Two campers with gear hiking through ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
PRATT – The Christmas holiday is almost upon us, and that means it’s time to gather with family and friends. While the staff at the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) hope you will enjoy part of your holiday outdoors, we hope you’ll appreciate the fact that staff will spend time with their families, as well. Outdoor enthusiasts can still enjoy a hike on a state park trail, a hunt on a wildlife area or a campout at a state park; however, depending on the days you visit, KDWPT offices may be closed. All department offices will be closed Dec. 24-25, 2015 and Jan. 1, 2016; however, some state park offices will be open on Jan. 1 to conduct First Day Hike Programs.
Most licenses or permits can be purchased online at www.ksoutdoors.com or through the more than 600 license vendors across the state. Park daily vehicle and camping permits can be obtained at entrance kiosks, and cabin reservations may be made online at reserveamerica.com
We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday, and we’ll see you in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Get In The Christmas Bird Count Spirit

PRATT – It is the most wonderful time of the year, especially if you enjoy birdwatching. Christmas Bird Count traditions provide a great way to spend time outdoors, learn about birds and enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded birders. And the best part: it’s free.
Birders of all skill levels are welcome to the events, where groups will spend time canvassing established circular census areas, recording species and numbers of birds observed. Information recorded at events is entered into regional and national databases and can show population and migration trends. Some Christmas Bird Counts have been conducted for more than 100 years, and more than 2,000 events are conducted across the U.S. each year, so databases are extensive. There are usually more than 50 events conducted in Kansas each winter between Dec. 13 and January 9.
To learn more about Kansas Christmas Bird Count locations, go to the Kansas Ornithological Society’s (KOS) website, www.ksbirds.org. You’ll find a list of events scheduled to date, along with locations and contact information. To learn more about Audubon-sponsored events go to www.audubon.org.
All you need to participate is clothing appropriate for traipsing outdoors on a mid-winter day, a pair of binoculars, and a good field guide. Spotting scopes are handy if large wetlands or reservoirs are included in the census area. Add in a little adventurous spirit and some good friends and you have the recipe for a great day in the Kansas outdoors.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Last Chance To Buy Lifetime License Before Fees Increase

PRATT – As 2015 winds to a close, there are several important things Kansas hunters and anglers need to know: 2015 licenses expire December 31. All 2016 licenses will go on sale December 15, and if you purchase a 2016 license before January 1, it is valid through the rest of 2015 and all of 2016. You should also know that fees will increase for 2016. However, new license options provide significant savings. Remember, too, that lifetime licenses can be purchased through December 31, 2015 at the current price – $440. The new fee will be $500 for a lifetime fishing, hunting or furharvesting license, beginning January 1, 2016. A combination fishing/hunting combination license will cost $960.
The new fee for an annual fishing or hunting license will be $25. However, if you purchase an annual combination hunting/fishing license beforeFebruary 1, the price is $40. After February 1, an annual combination hunting/fishing license will cost $45.
Another way to save is to purchase the 5-year hunting and fishing licenses. A five-year hunting or fishing license is $100, a $25 savings over purchasing the license every year. And a 5-year hunt/fish combination license is $180, a $70 savings over purchasing each license individually every year.
Hunting and fishing licenses make great stocking stuffers and a lifetime license is truly a gift that keeps on giving. You will find the application for a lifetime hunting, fishing or furharvesting license and see all new fees for 2016 at www.ksoutdoors.com.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Landowners Earn Income For Allowing Fishing Access

PRATT – The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) Fishing Impoundments and Stream Habitats Program (F.I.S.H.) pays landowners to allow fishing access to their private ponds and streams. F.I.S.H. is patterned after the hugely popular Walk-In Hunting Access program (WIHA), and both programs were designed to increase access to quality hunting and fishing opportunities across Kansas. Because more than 97 percent of Kansas land is privately owned, providing hunting and fishing access to private land is a KDWPT priority.
The F.I.S.H program leases private waters from landowners and opens them to public fishing. Landowners participating in F.I.S.H. receive payments for the use of their land, and anglers are in turn provided with a place to fish that might not have been available otherwise. The enrollment deadline for 2016 is December 15, 2015.
Special regulations are in place for F.I.S.H. properties, and KDWPT officials periodically patrol the areas. Violators will be ticketed or arrested for vandalism, littering or failing to comply with fishing regulations. Access is limited to foot traffic, except on roads designated by the landowner in the case of very large tracts of land. Additionally, under this program some landowners are eligible for fish stocking, habitat management, fence crossers, cattle guards, rock boat ramps, or rocked parking areas.
Each year, KDWPT publishes a fishing atlas, featuring maps that show each body of water enrolled in the program, boating allowance, and fish species available. Most F.I.S.H. sites are open for public access from March 1 to October 31, but some contracts pay landowners more to allow year-round access.
Pond Leasing
Privately-owned ponds are leased by the acre with base lease rates ranging from $75 to $125 /acre/year, depending on where the pond is located. Boating allowance bonuses are available, as well. Ponds allowing carry-in boats are eligible for an additional $10/acre/year, and properties allowing all boats access (adequate launching site must be present) are eligible for an additional $25/acre/year.
Stream Leasing
Annual lease rates for stream fishing access range from $500 to $1,500/mile/year, depending on the quality of the fisheries.
River Access Leasing
The Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri rivers are considered navigable waters and are open to public use between the ordinary high-water marks. However, adjacent land is often privately owned, and public access points are limited. To increase public access to these rivers, the F.I.S.H. program leases access sites from willing landowners. Landowners with adequate launch facilities receive $1,500/site/year. If the site is within 10 river miles of any other public access site, a landowner can receive $2,000/site/year.
For more information on enrolling your water in the F.I.S.H. program, contact your nearest KDWPT office, or the Pratt Operations office at (620) 672-5911. You can also learn more about F.I.S.H. at www.ksoutdoors.com.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Electronic Registration Allows Hunters to Process Deer Before Transport

Current Kansas regulations require hunters to tag their deer before being moved from the site of the kill. Unless a hunter has an either-sex permit, the head must remain attached to the carcass while in transit to a residence, place of commercial processing or place of preservation. For hunters who want to bone out deer onsite prior to transport, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) offers a voluntary electronic deer check-in system. To access the electronic deer check-in, visit www.ksoutdoors.com, and click “Hunting/Hunting Regulations/Deer/Electronic Registration.” 
Electronic registration is completely voluntary, but it’s a convenient option that allows hunters to register their deer through the Internet, using photos taken at the harvest site. If Internet access is unavailable at the kill site, the hunter can retain the photographs while in transit and a registration number can be obtained later.
This registration process requires a hunter to submit two digital photographs — one close-up clearly showing the completed tag attached to the deer and a second showing the entire body of the deer with the head still attached. Once logged on to ksoutdoors.com, a hunter must submit the photos and enter the KDWPT number from their permit, time and date of the kill and the county where the deer was taken. A confirmation number will be issued by email when the photos and data are successfully received. This confirmation number must be retained during transportation.
The system allows KDWPT staff to see the deer and the hunter’s completed tag without the time and expense of maintaining physical check stations. This flexibility is a benefit to both the hunter and KDWPT.
For more information on big game regulations, consult the 2015 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary, or visit ksoutdoors.com and click “Hunting/Hunting Regulations.”

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Hunting Private Land in Kansas is a Privilege

PRATT – Property boundaries aren’t always clear-cut, but the rules for hunting private land are. Because Kansas is 97 percent privately owned, landowners still provide access for most of our hunting opportunities. Know and follow some of these key private land hunting rules to prevent an early end to your season, and more importantly, to ensure good relationships are maintained between hunters and landowners.
-Kansas law requires all hunters to have landowner permission before hunting on private land whether the land is posted with “No Hunting” signs or not. If the land is posted with “Hunting With Written Permission Only” signs or marked with purple paint, hunters must have written permission from the landowner.
-Make a point to notify the landowner of when you plan to hunt and how many will be in your party. This is a common courtesy that will help keep the lines of communication open, and also can aid landowners in determining whether illegal hunters are trespassing on their property.
-Leave the land how you found it, or better. This can include things as simple as closing gates after you leave, sticking to maintained roads, and removing any trash you find.
-All deer hunters and persons assisting them must wear orange during an open firearm or muzzleloader season. An orange hat and at least 200 square inches of orange is required. Of this, 100 square inches must be visible from the front and 100 square inches must be visible from the back on the upper half of the body. Camouflage orange providing the required orange is legal.
-Know the property boundaries and know them well. Hunting from roads or railways without permission is a form of trespassing called criminal hunting; since the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) is one of 44 states in the Wildlife Violator Compact, conviction of trespass or criminal hunting may prevent the convicted person from enjoying hunting privileges in other states, as well.
Hunting private land in Kansas is a privilege and should be treated as such. Take advantage of private land access and chances are, you may be looking for a new spot next season. Treat landowners and their property with the same respect you would expect from someone on your land, and great things can come of it.
If you witness trespassing or illegal hunting, please call the Operation Game Thief toll-free hotline at 1-877-426-3843.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Women and Youth Invited to Celebrity Pheasant Hunt Dec. 12

GLEN ELDER ­– Women and youth ages 11-16 are invited to the 18th Annual Youth and Women’s Celebrity Pheasant Hunt at Waconda Lake on Saturday, December 12
 beginning at 7:15 a.m. This special hunt is geared toward providing a comfortable and positive hunting environment for new and inexperienced hunters. To be selected for one of the 40 slots available for this hunt, contact the Glen Elder Area Office at (785) 545-3345 by Thursday, December 3.

Event festivities will begin with a hunters’ breakfast in the Hopewell Church basement at Glen Elder State Park, followed by a pre-hunt safety discussion before participants are divided into hunting groups. Hunters, guides, and mentors will then head out to various refuge areas around Glen Elder Reservoir where only a very limited amount of hunting is allowed. Parties will hunt through the morning and early afternoon before breaking for lunch, courtesy of the Waconda Lake Association.
A unique aspect of this event is that participants will get to interact with and hunt alongside a few Hero-celebrities who have been invited to serve as hunting mentors. Event celebrities range from former professional athletes and TV personalities to military personnel who have recently returned from deployment.
In addition to field time, trap shooting stations will be set up for hunters wanting to refine their shooting skills.
All participants will receive a commemorative t-shirt, and each youth hunter will receive an additional gift courtesy of sponsors.
A hunters’ banquet will be held in the evening. All participants are invited to attend and will be asked to RSVP when they sign up for the hunt.
For more information or to volunteer as a mentor for this event, contact Chris Lecuyer at (785) 545-3345.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Game Wardens Seek Public Assistance in Poaching Cases

PRATT – If you’ve ever seen a photo of a poached deer, chances are you wish you hadn’t. The sad reality is countless numbers of big game animals are illegally killed in Kansas each year. While Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism game wardens make every effort to solve these cases, lack of evidence often leaves criminals unpunished. The good news is, you don’t have to be a game warden to play a significant role in helping solve a poaching case.
Operation Game Thief (OGT), 1-877-426-3843, is a toll-free line available 24/7, 365 days a year, where citizens can anonymously report wildlife-related crimes. Once a call has been placed, the message is relayed to the game warden nearest the violation.
If you suspect you are witnessing a wildlife crime do not confront the suspects. Pay attention to detail so you can provide as much specific information as possible when you call OGT. Information such as vehicle model and color, license tag numbers, descriptions of people involved, location, and the time the incident occurred will help game wardens find the poachers.
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.

Friday, November 27, 2015

State Competition Tests Students’ Plant and Animal Knowledge

PRATT ­­– Think you know Kansas’ flora and fauna inside and out? Would you be willing to put your knowledge to the test? Seventy-nine students from 12 schools across the state did just that during the 17th Annual Kansas ECO-Meet State Finals competition on November 5, and the results were impressive. Held at the Camp Wood YMCA, near Elmdale, the ECO-Meet tested students’ knowledge via a wetlands and aquatic ecosystems test, invertebrates test, live plant scavenger hunt, and an interpretive event.
To compete at the state level, students had to qualify at one of seven regional competitions held in September and October at Milford Nature Center, Lakewood Discovery Center, Dillon Nature Center, Wilson Lake, Great Plains Nature Center, Southeast Kansas Education Service Center, and Ernie Miller Nature Center.
At the state competition, a total of 21 teams participated, along with six students who qualified as individuals in the two test events. Schools represented at the state competition included Clay Center, Goddard, Goessel, Inman, Maize, Miltonvale, Nickerson, Pike Valley, Pratt, Salina South, Shawnee Mission South, St. Mary’s-Colgan of Pittsburg, Tescott, Tonganoxie, Wakefield, and Wilson.
2015 Kansas ECO-Meet State Finals Results are as follows:
Overall Team
1st – Shawnee Mission South High School Team A: Megan Jenkins, Joe Petty, Kara Pringle and team coach PJ Born - $300/student scholarships awarded.
2nd – Goddard HS: Sarah Tomtschick, Clara Towey, Brooke Wentz, Brooke Wetta and team coach Marylee Ramsey - $200/student scholarships awarded.
3rd – Wilson HS Team A: Anna Criswell Aaron Dlabal, Trey Fink, Kyle Goldwater and team coach Melanie Falcon - $100/student scholarships awarded. 
Individual Events
Invertebrates
1st – Joe Petty, Shawnee Mission South High School A - $200 scholarship
2nd – Kara Pringle, Shawnee Mission South High School A - $100 scholarship awarded.
Wetlands/Aquatic Ecosystem
1st – Joe Petty, Shawnee Mission South High School A - $200 scholarship
2nd – Aaron Dlabal, Wilson High School A - $100 scholarship awarded.
For more information on the Kansas ECO-Meet, and to find out how you can get involved, visit www.kansasecomeet.org or contact program coordinator Mike Rader at mike.rader@ksoutdoors.com or (620) 672-0708.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Christmas Celebration at Great Plains Nature Center

WICHITA ­– Christmas cheer will soon be filling the rooms of the Great Plains Nature Center (GPNC), 6232 East 29th St N, Wichita, and staff invite families to join the celebration. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 4, visitors can enjoy games, crafts, snacks and music, all free of charge. 
Santa will be present to hear the holiday requests of youngsters, while mom and dad enjoy 15 percent off their Christmas shopping at the Owl’s Nest Gift Shop.
Help the staff at GPNC celebrate the holidays and welcome in the new year at this fun, family-friendly event
For more information, visit www.gpnc.org, or call (316) 683-5499.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Atchison County To Host Landowner Stewardship Workshop

ATCHISON – Private landowners interested in improving their natural resources are encouraged to attend a Landowner Stewardship Workshop onWednesday, November 18, 2015. Registration for the workshop will start at 5:30 p.m., with presentations starting at 6:00 p.m. Hosted by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), in cooperation with the Atchison County Conservation District, the workshop will take place at the Benedictine Bottoms Wildlife Area Office, 3.5 miles northeast of Atchison on River Road.
Natural resource professionals will discuss technical and financial assistance available to landowners through state cost-share programs and the federal Farm Bill. Attendees will also hear about current management activities on the wildlife area.   
Admission is free. For more information contact Tim Urban, KDWPT wildlife biologist technician at 913-422-1314 x 105 or by e-mail at tim.urban@ksoutdoors.com.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Little Apple Glow Paddle On The Kansas River

MANHATTAN – If you’re looking for a unique outdoor experience, the Little Apple Glow Paddle should fit the bill. On Saturday, November 7, 2015, paddlers are invited for an evening canoe and kayak float on the Kansas River.
Sponsored by the Manhattan Parks and Rec Department, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau, the evening float will begin at 5 p.m. when paddlers will meet at the Linear Trail Head for a bus ride to Fairmont Park. At 5:30, canoers and kayakers will begin paddling back to the Linear Trail Head.
Paddlers can bring their own canoe or kayak or rent one at the event. All boaters must wear life jackets. There is a $10 registration fee for those who bring their own vessel, $15 for registration and rental of a single person kayak, $25 for registration and rental of a two-person kayak or two-person canoe. The float will conclude with s’mores around the campfire.
Spaces are limited, so register today by calling or emailing Marcia Rozell, (785) 776-8829Marcia@mahnattan.org.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Trout Season Offers Hot Fishing During Colder Months

PRATT – Kansas fishing fun doesn’t have to end when winter begins. A unique angling opportunity is about to kick off in select waters throughout the state, and with the right permit and some layered clothing, you just might find you have one more reason to fire up the grill – trout.
Trout are stocked in more than 30 locations around the state during the season, which runs Nov. 1, 2015 - April 15, 2016. Anglers can try their luck at trout fishing in Type 1 waters, which require all anglers to possess a $12.50 trout permit, and in Type 2 waters, which require only those fishing for or possessing trout to purchase the permit. The permit is valid for the calendar year and can be purchased wherever licenses are sold and online atksoutdoors.com.
Trout fishing opportunities are available at the following locations:
TYPE 1 LAKES: TROUT PERMITS REQUIRED OF ALL ANGLERS
Cedar Bluff Stilling Basin
Dodge City Lake Charles
Ft. Scott Gun Park Lake
Glen Elder State Park (SP) Pond
Kanopolis Seep Stream
KDOT East Lake in Wichita
Lake Henry in Clinton SP
Mined Land WA Unit #30
Pratt Centennial Pond
Walnut River Area in El Dorado SP
Willow Lake at Tuttle Creek SP
Webster Stilling Basin
Sandsage Bison Range and WA Sandpits (Periodically Dry)
Vic’s Lake and Slough Creek in Sedgwick County Park
Topeka Auburndale Park
Garnett Crystal Lake
TYPE 2 LAKES: TROUT PERMITS REQUIRED ONLY FOR TROUT ANGLERS
Sherman County Smoky Gardens Lake
Solomon River between Webster Reservoir and Rooks County #2 Road
Ft. Riley Cameron Springs
Lake Shawnee - Topeka
Salina Lakewood Lake
Moon Lake on Fort Riley
Scott State Fishing Lake
Scott State Park Pond
Hutchinson Dillon Nature Center Pond
Atchison City Lake # 1
Belleville City Lake (Rocky Pond)
Holton-Elkhorn Lake
Syracuse Sam's Pond
Cimarron Grasslands Pits
Colby Villa High Lake
Great Bend Stone Lake
Herington - Father Padilla Pond
TROUT Permit required year-round
Cherokee County – Mined Land Wildlife Area No. 30
*Because trout survive through the summer here, a trout permit is required year-round for anglers utilizing the lake.
Residents 16-74 years old, and all nonresidents 16 and older must also have a valid fishing license. The daily creel limit is five trout unless otherwise posted. Anglers 15 and younger may fish without a trout permit, but are limited to two trout per day, or they may purchase a permit and take five trout per day. Possession limit for trout is 15. 
For information on trout stocking schedules, visit ksoutdoors.com and click “Fishing / Special Fishing Programs for You / Trout Stocking Schedule.”

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fishing Regulation Changes Slow the Spread of Asian Carp

PRATT – Many anglers remember when the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) changed bait regulations in 2012 to limit the use of wild-caught bait to within the drainage where collected as well as the 2013 amendment to lessen restrictions for bluegill and green sunfish. The intent of these regulations was to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species such as Asian carp, white perch, and zebra mussels. Sampling conducted earlier this year appears to show that anglers adhering to the bait regulations helped slow the spread of Asian carp through Kansas waters.
In July 2015, KDWPT partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to sample 11 locations from six river basins throughout Kansas to detect the presence of environmental DNA (eDNA) left behind by bighead and silver carp (collectively known as Asian carp). Over a three-day span, two field crews, each comprised of two KDWPT Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) program staff and one USFWS staff, collected 204 eDNA samples. An additional USFWS crew, manning a portable trailer with cooled centrifuges, prepared the samples for shipment to and processing by the USFWS Whitney Genetics Lab in LaCrosse, Wis.
Results were released to KDWPT earlier this month and are available at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/fisheries/eDNA.html, but to summarize, none of the samples collected contained Asian carp eDNA. ANS program coordinator Jessica Howell has a good guess as to why.
“We believe the bait regulations have had a positive impact on protecting our natural resources from ANS such as Asian carp, as evidenced by the apparent lack of spread of bighead and silver carp throughout the state,” said Howell. She went on to add that locations such as Atchison State Fishing Lake and the Kansas River above the Bowersock Dam in Lawrence are areas we would have expected to see positive samples if the fish were moved upstream. Instead, these popular fishing locations were negative for eDNA, despite downstream populations where reproduction by the fish has been documented.
Regulations were changed because ANS, including Asian carp and white perch, can easily be confused with similar-looking native species by anglers catching bait. Small bighead and silver carp look very similar to native gizzard shad. White perch look very similar to native white bass. When the KDWPT Commission amended the regulations in 2013 to allow bluegill and green sunfish to be moved, part of the decision was that bluegill and green sunfish do not look like invasive fish currently in Kansas (bighead carp, silver carp, and white perch).
Anglers and boaters should be aware of Kansas regulations enacted to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species, including:
  • Wild-caught bait must be used in the common drainage where collected and may not be moved upstream of a dam or natural fish barrier. Bluegill and green sunfish collected from non-designated aquatic nuisance waters may be possessed as live bait anywhere in the state.
  • No live fish may be taken from designated aquatic nuisance waters, including sport, non-sport, and baitfish.
  • Anglers fishing with bait purchased from a commercial dealer must have the receipt in their possession while fishing with purchased bait.
  • Boaters must pull drain plugs and drain livewells and bilges before transporting their boat on public highways.
  • It is illegal to possess certain species or to release wildlife on department lands or waters, federal reservoirs, and navigable publicly owned rivers.
KDWPT recommends that all water users Clean, Drain, and Dry all equipment after each use to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species.
  • Clean – Remove all plants, animals and mud; thoroughly wash everything, especially crevices and hidden areas.
  • Drain – Eliminate all water before leaving the area, including livewells, ballast and engine cooling water. Dispose of unused bait on land or in an approved bait receptacle.
  • Dry – Allow five days for your equipment to completely dry before transporting to other waters. If you cannot wait five days, clean your boat with high-pressure hot water (140 degrees for 10 seconds of contact).
For more information on eDNA sampling efforts, and how you can help play a part in the fight against ANS, visit www.protectKSwaters.org or contact Howell at Jessica.howell@ksoutdoors.com.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Youth Pheasant and Quail Season Prime Opportunity

PRATT – Two days, November 7-8, 2015, should be marked on every young hunter’s calendar. The youth pheasant and quail season allows all youth 16 and younger to hunt, under the supervision of an adult 18 or older, for pheasants and quail statewide. The daily bag limits during the youth season are 2 rooster pheasants per day and 4 quail per day. All state and federal lands normally open to public hunting are open, and all Walk-in Hunting Access lands are open. Hunting pressure is generally light, ensuring high-quality and productive hunting opportunities for youth.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism established youth hunting seasons through Pass It On, the department’s hunter recruitment program. Special youth seasons are set for spring turkey, deer, waterfowl, pheasants and quail. The youth seasons open before regular season openers, giving young hunters first crack. Setting youth seasons separate from regular seasons allows mentors to work with young hunters without giving up their traditional hunts.
Resident youth 15 and younger do not need a hunting license, and while Hunter Education certification is not required when hunting under adult supervision, it is highly recommended. Sixteen-year-old residents and all nonresidents must have hunting licenses. The adult mentor may not hunt; however the youth season can provide a great opportunity to scout potential hunting areas and get dogs primed before the regular opener.
With improved pheasant and quail populations predicted this fall, the youth season will provide a fantastic opportunity to introduce a youngster to the hunting tradition. For many veteran hunters, that experience is more rewarding than the hunt itself.

Kansas Angler Discovers Rare Eel on End of Line

PRATT – A Kansas angler got quite the surprise when he reeled to the surface not a just an ordinary fish, but a 30-inch-long eel from the Kansas River, below the Bowersock Dam near Lawrence. After closer inspection, it was determined the catch was an American eel, a species that hasn’t been seen in Kansas for nearly 10 years.
“This species spawns in the Sargaso Sea of the Atlantic Ocean,” said Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Fisheries section chief, Doug Nygren. “So, this eel made a long journey from the Atlantic Ocean, through the Gulf of Mexico, up the Mississippi, took a turn at St. Louis to enter the Missouri River, and another turn to go up the Kansas River to the Bowersock Dam.”
The American eel once inhabited waters as far as the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastlines, from Greenland to Brazil, and inland from Minnesota to central New Mexico. In the early 1800s and 1900s, there were several accounts of the American eel in Kansas, but dams blocking upstream migrations have made this species’ appearance a rarity today.
Less active during the day, eels will often remain under logs or other cover until night approaches. They feed primarily on invertebrates and soft-bodied fish.
Although the age of the eel caught from the Kansas River is unknown, records indicate the American eel can live to about 20 years. The current state record American eel was caught in 1987, also from the Kansas River, and weighed 4.4 pounds.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Deer-vehicle Crashes Increase in Fall

TOPEKA ­– Mating season and the quest for more secure habitat have deer on the move this time of year, increasing the chances of vehicle collisions. Typically, the greatest occurrence of deer-vehicle crashes is in mid-November when the rut, or mating season, peaks.
“In addition to the rut, deer are also on the move in mid-fall seeking new locations as crops are harvested and leaves fall from trees and shrubs, leaving them less secure than in their summer habitats,” said Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism biologist Lloyd Fox.
According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, 15 percent of Kansas crashes last year were deer-related (crashes in which a deer and vehicle actually collided or the presence of a deer was a contributing circumstance). Although crashes involving deer occur throughout the year in every Kansas county, the highest number of crashes typically occur where there are the most vehicles. Sedgwick County had 422 deer-vehicle crashes in 2014, the most of any county.
The Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) cautions drivers to avoid taking extra-ordinary measures to avoid striking a deer in the road, lest a bad situation become even worse.
“If you are unfortunate enough to have a deer enter the highway in front of your car, it is best to hit the animal and not swerve to avoid it,” said the KHP’s Lt. Adam Winters. “Often we find more serious crashes occur when you swerve in avoidance.”
Other tips to avoid deer collisions include:
  • Be especially watchful at dawn and dusk when deer are particularly active.
  • Watch for more than one deer, as they seldom travel alone.
  • Reduce speed and be alert near wooded areas or green spaces such as parks or golf courses and near water sources such as streams or ponds.
  • Deer crossing signs show where high levels of deer/vehicle crashes have occurred in the past.
  • Use your bright lights to help you detect deer as far ahead as possible.
  • Always wear a seat belt and use appropriate child safety seats. Even if you are waiting in your car, it is best to wear your seat belt, and have your children in car seats.
If you do hit a deer, here are some additional tips:
  • Don’t worry about the animal. Law enforcement will arrange to have the animal removed from the road when they arrive. Tell law enforcement dispatch if the deer is still in the road when reporting the crash call.
  • If possible, remain in the vehicle, and remain buckled up, protecting yourself in the event there is a secondary crash involving another vehicle.
  • If you must be outside your vehicle, stand as far off the road as possible; make sure hazard lights are activated; don't stand between your vehicle and another vehicle; and make sure children are kept properly restrained in your vehicle.
  • If you hit a deer, slow down, pull onto the shoulder and turn on the emergency flashers.
To report a crash on Kansas highways from a cellular phone, call *47 (*HP) for a highway patrol dispatcher or *582 (*KTA) for assistance on the Kansas Turnpike. The crash can also be reported by dialing 911.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Youth Shooting Sports Clinic Planned

COUNCIL GROVE – Youth age 11-16 are invited to attend a fun and friendly shotgun and archery shooting and safety clinic on Saturday, October 24 at Council Grove Reservoir. This special event is part of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s “Pass It On” program and will provide participants with opportunities to enhance firearm and archery shooting and safety skills, in a controlled, safe environment. There is no cost to attend and all equipment, including shotguns, shells, bows, arrows, targets, and eye and ear protection will be provided. Youth need only a desire to learn and have fun. Interested youth must preregister by Oct. 20.  Students are not required to have completed a hunter education course, but prior completion is preferred.
The event will begin at 12 p.m. at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-managed (COE) area between Marina Cove and Neosho Park, approximately 0.25 miles west of the COE office at the west end of the dam. Check-in and a free lunch will take place from 12 p.m.-12:30 p.m., courtesy of the Flint Hills Chapter of Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation. Instruction will begin at 12:30 p.m. and will end approximately at 4 p.m. Participants will be provided with safety and shooting instruction by certified firearm and archery skills instructors, and teaching methods almost guarantee that students will be breaking shotgun targets by the end of the session.
Door prizes will be awarded, including a youth model .243 bolt action rifle with scope, donated by the Chisholm Trail Chapter of Safari Club International.
Additional event sponsors include the Bill Young Foundation and Morris County Hunter Education instructors.
For more information, contact Council Grove Wildlife Area manager, Brent Konen, at (620) 767-5900.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Beginner Venison Processing Class Oct. 24 in Pratt

PRATT – You’ve bought your deer tags, put in time scouting, spent countless hours in the field, and have finally shot a deer. Now what? From field dressing to processing your deer at home, the
“Venison 101: From Field to Table” class on Oct. 24 will answer your “now what?” questions and more. Hosted by the Pratt County Extension Office and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), Venison 101: will take place at the Pratt Area 4-H Center, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Hunters of all skill levels and ages are welcome. The cost to attend is $5 per person, or $10 per family, and will include a chili lunch.
Topics covered in the one-day class include safe field dressing and home processing methods for preparing your own venison, in addition to a live butchering demonstration.
KDWPT game warden Jason Harrold will also share updates to hunting laws and answer any questions participants may have.
Drawings for door prizes will be available for those in attendance.
For more information, and to register, contact the Pratt County Extension Office at (620) 672-6121