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 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: 
1st- Tony Pianalto,“Sumac Buck”
2nd- Chuck Gibson,“Great Blue Heron”
3rd- Dale Roark,“Towhee”
Honorable Mention- Aaron Thompson,“Focused Eagle”
1st- Amelia Kilmer,“Monarch”
2nd- Ross Ifland,“Upland Sandpiper”
3rd- Christina Craig,“Halloween Pennant”
Honorable Mention- Julien Reynard,“Moonlight Geese”
1st- Aaron Thompson,“Wood Skeleton”
2nd- Tony Ifland,“Dewy Prairie Morning”
3rd- Robert Dilla,“Foggy Sunrise”
Honorable Mention- Jay Miller,“Kansas Night Sky”
1st- Christina Craig,“Almost Spring”
2nd- Grace Young,“Marais Des Cygnes”
3rd- Amelia Kilmer,“Tree Arch”
Honorable Mention- Julien Reynard,“Sunset in The Spring”
1st- Tony Ifland,“Duck Season Training”
2nd- Darrell Skrdlant,“Flying High”
3rd- Ken Brunson,“Sylvie Spots Mushrooms”
Honorable Mention- Chuck Gibson,“Gone Fishin’”
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

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 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
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, 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
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

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

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, 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, 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 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.