Thursday, May 28, 2015

Water Safety Can Prevent Drowning

Recent heavy downpours and flood warnings issued this spring should serve as reminders to everyone spending time outdoors to be cautious around rising or moving water. A sudden influx of water from a severe thunderstorm can make peacefully flowing streams dangerous, flood roadways and create hidden washouts. Rising water levels in lakes can hide obstacles from boaters and drop-offs from swimmers and waders. However, a few simple safety rules can keep everyone safe.

When boating, observe all Kansas boating regulations, including having properly fitting life jackets in reach for everyone onboard. Boating laws require all youngsters 12 and younger to wear life jackets while on the water, and it’s smart for everyone onboard to wear life jackets. If the lake level has recently risen, boaters must be aware that obstacles hidden just beneath the surface can cause damage and serious accidents. Be cautious and operate at safe speeds near shore.

For those swimming or wading in lakes and streams, be aware that moving water can be much more powerful than it appears and undercurrents near low-water crossings, low-head dams, and logjams can create death traps. Remember that swift moving water can soften or undercut stream banks, so keep well back from the water’s edge. Swim only in designated areas on reservoirs and avoid jumping, diving or wading into unknown waters. Children should be kept in sight at all times near water, and it’s a good idea to strap a life jacket on them if they’re going to be near water.

If you’re driving and waters suddenly rise, remember that just 6 inches of water will reach the bottom of most cars, and many vehicles will start to float in just one foot of water. Two feet of moving water can easily sweep even a large SUV off the road. When in you encounter water over a roadway, heed the warning, “Turn around, don’t drown.”

After the long-term drought much of Kansas endured prior to 2014, we can’t complain about rainfall. However, there can be too much of a good thing, especially with water. Just remember to use common sense and err on the side of caution.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tuttle Creek Lake Association To Hold Kids Fishing Clinic for 21st Year

For the past 20 years, the Tuttle Creek Lake Association (TCLA) has sponsored an event that teaches fishing skills to about 100 kids each year. This year’s Annual Youth Fishing Clinic, to be held May 29-30, marks the 21st year for this outstanding event, which is open to youth ages 8-12. All young anglers must be accompanied by an adult for the Friday evening class and the Saturday fishing experience. The TCLA and the City of Manhattan split the $3,000 purchase price for 700 to 1,000 harvestable-sized channel catfish that will be stocked in Jerry Dishman Lake in Anneberg Park, 3801 Anderson, Manhattan. A sizable number of these fish are lunkers and will provide real thrills for lucky young anglers. A three-fish limit is in effect for channel catfish during the clinic.

The event begins on Friday evening, May 29, with a two-hour education session. After the evening session, a drawing will be held for the kids and then each will receive a goodie bag of other fishing items. The TCLA realizes that this event couldn't happen without the parents’ support, so several nice prizes will be drawn for them, too.

Saturday morning starts with donuts donated by Varsity Donuts in Aggieville. Poles are handed out and the fishing starts. Each young angler will receive a rod-and-reel outfit, bait, and even a stringer free of charge. After about an hour and a half, the catches will be weighed to determine trophy winners. Trophies are given for biggest fish, smallest fish, and heaviest stringer in boy and girl divisions. After all this, the kids are treated to a pizza and soda lunch.

TCLA is funded mostly by donations from businesses, individuals and memorials. Raffle ticket sales account for a small portion of the income.

Preregistration is required to attend the clinic. For more information and to preregister, go to

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Kids Fishing Clinic at Lovewell State Park June 7

Whether your child has yet to be introduced to fishing, or is already proficient at baiting a hook and casting, consider treating them to a free Kid’s Fishing Clinic at Lovewell State Park on June 7 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The clinic is open to youth ages 7-16 and will cover fish identification, knot tying, casting, lure selection, and fishing hot spots. Participants will also watch a demonstration on fish cleaning. Preregistration is required by June 1and space is limited to 50 anglers. Parents can preregister their youth in person at the Lovewell State Park office, or by calling (785) 753-4971.

A hot dog lunch and drinks will be provided, made possible by donations from many area businesses. Following lunch, youth will have the opportunity to put their newly-acquired skills to the test and fish with a mentor until 3 p.m. All fishing equipment and supplies will be provided.

There is no cost to attend, however drivers without a park entrance permit will need to purchase a daily vehicle permit to enter the park.

For additional information, and to register your child, contact the Lovewell State Park office at (785) 753-4971.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Two Kansas Duck Zone Boundaries Information Nights Left

 Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) staff are hosting a series of informational meetings to hear public input on duck hunting zone boundaries in the Kansas Low Plains Early, Late and Southeast Zones and two meetings remain. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend one of the informational nights listed below.

Potential changes to the current Kansas duck zone boundaries would go into effect beginning with the 2016-2017 season and remain in place through the 2021-2022 season.
For more information, contact Tom Bidrowski at or by phone at (620) 566-1456.

Dates and times for the remaining public meetings are as follows:
May 21, 6:30 p.m.
Great Plains Nature Center
6232 E.29th St. N
Wichita, KS 67220
May 22, 6:30 p.m.
Tony’s Function Junction
10300 Highway 59
Erie, KS 66733

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Friends of Fancy Creek Range to Host Kids Day

Friends of Fancy Creek Range will host a shooting clinic for youth ages 8-15 on Saturday, June 27 from 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Open to youth of all skill levels, the event will consist of four instruction and practice stations where participants can become familiarized with BB guns, .22 rifles, black powder rifles, and archery equipment. Space is limited to 36 participants and the deadline to register is June 12. Spots will fill fast, so families are encouraged to register early. To register, contact Rick Scheidt at (785) 776-3821 or, or Heath Ritter at (785) 293-4406 or

The cost to attend is $10 per youth and includes lunch, eye and ear protection, use of loaner equipment, ammunition, and instruction. Parents are welcome to stay and observe, as well as join the group for lunch at an additional cost of $5 per parent.
The event will be held rain or shine. In the event of rain, some events may be modified.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Enroll Land in Walk-in Hunting Access Program Through July 15

Landowners interested in sharing the joys of hunting with others, and receiving additional income, are encouraged to enroll in the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s Walk-In Hunting Access (WIHA) program. Enrollment for the fall season is currently open and will close July 15. Land enrolled inWIHA still remains in private ownership and payment rates are often negotiable based on the number of acres, quality of habitat, and length of the lease access period. Landowners interested in enrolling can learn more by visiting, or by calling (620) 672-5911.

Land used for the WIHA program is typically Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres, but land with similar qualities and hunting opportunities, such as native rangeland, weedy wheat stubble, milo stubble, riparian areas, and wetland areas are also considered for enrollment.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Man Discovers Rare Tropical Bird at Scott State Park

Chris Lituma, a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture, had no idea a fleeting trip to Kansas would result in a monumental discovery. 

Lituma was leading a group of students through a multi-state field study, including a stop in Scott City. Friend, and Kansas-native, Mike Hudson, had recommended Scott State Park just north of Scott City to Lituma as a good place to go birdwatching – a hobby of Lituma’s for the past 11 years. Upon arrival, Lituma began helping students identify the various birds, but one bird in particular was no ordinary migrant.

“The students asked me ‘hey, what’s this bird?’ and I briefly looked at it and assumed it was a black-headed grosbeak,” said Lituma.

Students then looked up the grosbeak in a field guide to find it was not the same bird they were looking at.

“At that point, I took another look at the bird and almost immediately realized this was no grosbeak, this was something very special; something rare.”

Lituma thumbed through one of his field guides but was unable to find the family of birds he thought the bird belonged to. He then grabbed a National Geographic field guide and was able to narrow his identification down to three birds. After a brief discussion with the students, everyone was in agreement that they were looking at a piratic flycatcher.

Hailing from as far as Argentina, piratic flycatchers are tropical birds belonging to the genusLegatusand are the only species to hold this classification. They are strongly migratory birds, and have been known to fly out of range, but rarely as far as North America. According to the American Birding Association (ABA), less than 10 of these birds have been recorded in the U.S. If Lituma’s sighting is accepted by the ABA, it will be the first record for Kansas and the farthest northerly record of the bird, as well.

Scott State park manager, Greg Mills, said the sighting has brought in nearly 75 birders from 13 states, including Virginia.

Although the bird has yet to be seen at the park again sinceitslast sighting at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 10, experts believe the bird could still be in theSunflowerState.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Kansas Duck Zone Boundaries to be Discussed During Information Nights

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) staff are hosting a series of informational meetings to hear public input on duck hunting zone boundaries in the Kansas Low Plains Early, Late and Southeast Zones. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend one of the informational nights listed below.

Potential changes to the current Kansas duck zone boundaries would go into effect beginning with the 2016-2017 season and remain in place through the 2021-2022 season.
For more information, contact Tom Bidrowski at or by phone at (620) 566-1456.

Dates and times for the public meetings are as follows:
May 14, 6:30 p.m.
KS WetlandsEducation Center
592 NE K-156 Hwy
Great Bend, KS 67530 
May 18, 6:30 p.m.
Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge
530 West Maple Avenue
Hartford, KS 66854
May 19, 6:30 p.m.
The McPherson Public Library
214 W.Marlin St
McPherson, KS 67460
May 20, 6:30 p.m.
Museum at Prairiefire
5801 W. 135th Street
Overland Park, KS 66223
May 21, 6:30 p.m.
Great Plains Nature Center
6232 E.29th St. N
Wichita, KS 67220
May 22, 6:30 p.m.
Tony’s Function Junction
10300 Highway 59
Erie, KS 66733

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

2015 Nonresident Deer Permit Draw Results Available

Nonresident hunters wishing to check the status of their deer permit application may do so by visiting and clicking  “Licenses/Permits” and then “Search Draw Status.” Hunters can search for their results by inputting their last name and date of birth, or their Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism number and date of birth.

Nonresident hunters who drew deer permits for the 2015-2016 season will receive their permits via mail in June. Nonresident hunters who have not yet purchased a 2015-2016 Kansas hunting license will need to do so before they can use their permit.

A total of 957 Nonresident Deer Permits were not drawn and will be made available for purchase on a first-come, first-servedbasis beginning July 1 at 12 a.m. 
CST on Whitetail Either-sex Permits are still available in Deer Management Units 6, 10, 13, 15, 16, and 18. Leftover permits may also be purchased over the phone beginning July 1 by calling(620) 672-0728.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Switchgrass Dubbed Most Popular Mountain Bike Trail in Kansas, an online website for outdoor enthusiasts that centers around camping, hiking, skiing, and mountain biking, recently came out with a list of the Most Popular Mountain Bike Trails for 2015 and Switchgrass Trail at Wilson State Park in Russell County took the lead for Kansas. 

Open year-round in the Hell Creek area of the Park, Switchgrass Trail is nearly 24 miles of biking paradise. Awarded the “Epic” designation by the International Mountain Bicycling Association in 2012, Switchgrass Trail has consistently proved to be a trail worth visiting.
Rated as moderate to easy, Switchgrass Trail can be enjoyed by the whole family, especially when taking shorter “green” sections such as the EZ loop, or utilizing the trail’s intermediate “blue” paths. For experienced bikers, technically difficult sections of the trail also exist, including “black” sections that consist of rocky terrain, sandy areas, elevated paths, and steep drops.

Apart from the wide variety of loops and paths within Switchgrass Trail suited to bikers of all skill levels, the area also boasts incredible wildlife viewing opportunities, and the beautiful  9,000-acre Wilson Reservoir.

For more information on Wilson State Park’s Switchgrass Trail, contact the Wilson State Park office at (785) 658-2465.

Singletracks compiled the list by taking into consideration a given trail’s average reviewer rating, total number of reviews, number of Singletracks members who have ridden the trail, and number of Singletracks members who want to ride the trail.

To see Singletracks’ complete review of Switchgrass Trail, including the list of top trails for other states,

Friday, May 8, 2015

Cheney State Park Makes Top RV Parks List

Whether you’re passing through the Sunflower State on a roadtrip or are just looking for a reason to gas up your RV, Cheney State Park is waiting for you. RV Travel Contributing Writer for, Stuart Webb, recently compiled a “5 Kansas RV Parks You Must Visit” list and Cheney State Park was among the chosen. Webb writes of Cheney:
“You wouldn’t expect a windsurfer’s paradise in the middle of Kansas but that’s exactly what you get when you stay atCheney State Park. The park itself is not going to blow you away with its amenities but there are 222 RV-friendly sites with water and electrical hookups. The park also provides dump stations, group picnic areas, restrooms and shower houses.”
Webb continues on to say the reason most people head to Cheney is to enjoy the park and its 9,600-acre reservoir and nearly 2,000 acres of public land.

“Try your hand at windsurfing, relax on the boat, ski or get some fishing in on the reservoir,” says Webb. “For those who prefer dry land, there is plenty of birdwatching, hunting, hiking and biking.”

For information on Cheney State Park, visit and click “State Parks / Locations / Cheney.”

To read about the four other RV hotspots in Kansas, view the complete article online at

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Mountain Men Event at Maxwell Wildlife Refuge May 9

CANTON – If tradition, self-reliance, hard work, and the great outdoors are all things that ring true for you, The Friends of Maxwell Wildlife Refuge invite you to attend their Mountain Men Days At Maxwell May 9 from 10 a.m - 4 p.m. Celebrating the history of the American mountain man, the one-day event will draw visitors from across the state to learn about and celebrate activities such as primitive camping, blacksmithing, flint knapping, trading, and more. The refuge is located at 2565 Pueblo Road, Canton and gate entry fees will be waived the day of the event.

Food will also be available, as well as buffalo tours on the prairie every hour, courtesy of the Friends of Maxwell.

Maxwell Wildlife Refuge is located six miles north of Canton, in the very southeastern tip of the scenic Smoky Hills, an area of large rolling hills. It is the only location in Kansas where public herds of both bison and elk can be viewed in a native prairie environment.
For information, contact Betty Schmidt at (620) 628-4455, or by e-mail at

Fight the Bite: Tips to Prevent Tick Bites, Tick-borne Disease

Spring and summer are hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking seasons. It is also the time of year when ticks are out. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) remind those spending time outdoors to take precautions to avoid tick bites.

In 2014, 212 cases of tick-borne diseases including ehrlichiosis; anaplasmosis; spotted fever rickettsiosis, also known as Rocky Mountain spotted fever; tularemia; and Lyme disease were reported in Kansas, and 75 of those patients required hospitalization. Kansans are encouraged to follow these steps to prevent tick bites: Dress, DEET, Avoid and Check.
DRESS: Wear protective clothing when practical (long sleeves and pants). Clothing should be light-colored to make ticks more visible. When hiking, wear a long-sleeved shirt tucked into pants, long pants tucked into high socks and over-the-ankle shoes to keep ticks out. Products containing permethrin, which kills ticks rather than merely repelling them, can be applied to clothing and equipment but not directly to skin. Garments must be allowed to dry thoroughly before wearing. Clothing and tents pre-treated with permethrin are available, and the protection can remain active through several washings. Be sure to follow label directions.

DEET: Insect repellents also reduce the risk of being bitten. When outdoors, use insect repellant containing 20 percent to 30 percent DEET on exposed skin and clothing for protection that lasts up to several hours. Follow the directions on the label. Other repellents registered by the Environmental Protection Agency can be found at

AVOID: Ticks are usually found on vegetation close to the ground. In addition to regular mowing, avoid wooded or bushy areas with tall grass and leaf litter and walk in the center of trails. 

CHECK: Check yourself at least every two hours for ticks when outside for extended periods of time. Pay special attention to areas in and around your hair, ears, armpits, groin, navel and backs of the knees. Promptly remove a tick if one is found. The sooner a tick is removed, the less chance it will transmit a disease to its host. If you find a tick, grasp the tick with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and slowly pull it straight out. Do not crush or puncture the tick and try to avoid touching the tick with your bare hands. Thoroughly disinfect the bite area and wash your hands immediately after removal. Be sure to also examine pets and gear, as ticks can ride into the home on animals, coats, backpacks and blankets, etc.

Symptoms of tickborne disease can include any unusual rash and unexplained flu-like symptoms, including fever, severe headaches, body aches and dizziness. Prompt treatment with antibiotics can prevent serious illness or even death. See your doctor immediately if you have been bitten by a tick and experience any of these symptoms.

For more information about tick-borne diseases, visit and