Monday, August 15, 2016

Commission To Discuss 2017 Turkey Hunting Regulations

PRATT – The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission will conduct a public meeting in Clay Center at Life’s Finer Moments, 1285 16th Road, on August 11, 2016. The afternoon session will begin at 1 p.m. and recess at 5 p.m. The evening session will convene at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend both sessions and time is set aside for public comment at the beginning of each for discussion of non-agenda items.
The afternoon session will begin with Secretary Robin Jennison’s report on the agency and state fiscal status and an update on pertinent 2016 legislative actions. The General Discussion portion of the meeting will include a review of big game regulations, a Tourism Division update, discussion on the Flint Hills Nature Trail Project, and an update on Ducks Unlimited wetlands projects in the state.
The evening portion of the meeting will convene at 6:30 p.m. for the Workshop Session where topics include 2017 turkey regulations, park regulations, fishing regulations, and regulations pertaining to threatened and endangered species will be discussed.
If necessary, the commission will reconvene at the same location at 9 a.m., August 12, to complete any unfinished business. Information about the Commission, as well as the August 11 meeting agenda and Briefing Book, can be downloaded at ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Commission/Upcoming-Commission-Meetings.
Live video and audio streaming of the August 11 meeting will be available at ksoutdoors.com. If notified in advance, the department will have an interpreter available for the hearing impaired. To request an interpreter, call the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at 1-800-432-0698. Any individual with a disability may request other accommodations by contacting the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission secretary at(620) 672-5911.
The next Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commission meeting is scheduled for October 20, 2016, in Liberal.

Register for Mentored Dove Hunt On Clinton Wildlife Area

PRATT – The Jayhawk Chapter of the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation (QUWF) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) invite youth age 16 and younger to register for the 9th Annual Youth Dove Hunt. The Sept. 1 opening-day hunt will take place at Clinton Wildlife Area west of Lawrence and will begin at 3 p.m. Mentors will accompany all participants, but non-hunting family members are encouraged to attend, as well.
Non-toxic shells, and eye and ear protection will be provided to participants, who are encouraged to dress in camouflage or dark-colored clothing. Shotguns may be provided upon request.
Participants age 16 must have a Kansas hunting license, unless exempt by Kansas law, and a Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit. For more information, visit ksoutdoors.com and click “Services / Education / Hunter.”
For more details and to register, contact Dr. John Hill at (785) 841-9555 or (785) 550-5657, or by e-mail at hills4ku@hotmail.com.
The 2016 hunting season for mourning, white-winged and exotic doves (Eurasian collared and ringed turtle) is Sept. 1-Nov. 29. The season for exotic doves only is Nov. 30, 2016 - Feb. 28, 2017 for the exotic dove season. For information regarding migratory bird hunting regulations, license and stamp requirements, legal methods of take, non-toxic shot and more, visit ksoutdoors.com and click “Hunting,” “Hunting Regulations,” then “Migratory Birds.”

Youth Outdoor Festival In Hays August 20

ELLIS – If you’re interested in introducing your child to the world of shooting sports, hunting, fishing and other outdoor-related activities, mark your calendar for Saturday, August 20. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Hays area businesses, conservation groups and shooting sports groups will offer a free day of target shooting and outdoor activities for youth 17 and younger at the 19th Annual Youth Outdoor Festival. The event will be conducted at the Hays City Sportsman’s Club, ¼ mile north of I-70 Exit 157.
Youth will learn about and experience trap and skeet shooting, archery equipment, air rifles and BB guns, muzzleloaders, small-bore rifles, and more. There will also be a casting competition, paintball target shooting, and a furharvesting demonstration.
Youth will be closely supervised at each station by expert volunteer instructors, and all equipment will be supplied. Hunter education certification is not required, but youth must be accompanied by an adult. Registration for the event can be completed onsite prior to participation. Lunch will be provided, and youth will have a chance to win prizes, including guns, fishing tackle and other outdoor equipment.
For more information, contact Kent Hensley at (785) 726-3212 or Troy Mattheyer at (785) 726-4212.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Become A Certified Fishing Instructor In Salina

SALINA – The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) and Fishing's Future will host an Angler Education Instructor Certification Course on Saturday, August 20. Class starts at 9 a.m. and concludes at 12 p.m. at the Lakewood Discovery Center, 250 Lakewood Dr., in Salina. It is free to any angler aspiring to teach fishing techniques to youth and families.
All participants are required to go online to programs.ksoutdoors.com/ans and complete the KDWPT Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Certification Course, and bring their ANS certification card with them to class. Students will also be asked to sign a release allowing KDWPT to run a background check to ensure the safety of the children.
Participants will receive valuable information regarding working with children, sample curriculums, and tips for preparing a class or clinic. Other subjects covered in the three-hour class include current fishing regulations, species identification, fishing ethics, equipment, knot tying, casting, fish habitat, aquatic nuisance species, and conservation practices.
Teens between the ages of 12 to 17 may attend and receive a Junior Ambassador card, the youth equivalent certification, upon completion. This requires a permission form to be signed by a parent or legal guardian.
For more information and to register for this class, please visit www.fishingsfuture.org

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Learn To Shoot At Gals-Only Event

RANDOLPH – Women interested in becoming more comfortable and familiar with firearms are invited by the Friends of Fancy Creek Range to attend a Women On Target (WOT) event on Saturday, Sept. 10. This women-only event is designed to provide female shooters with instruction on basic handling and shooting skills for handguns, rifles, muzzleloaders and archery in a safe and comfortable environment. No experience or equipment is necessary. The $50 registration fee covers loaner equipment, ammunition, eye and ear protection, instruction, and lunch. Deadline to register is Aug. 26.
Fancy Creek Shooting Range is located at the Fancy Creek area of Tuttle Creek State Park, approximately one-half mile east and one-half mile north of the junction of U.S. Hwy. 77 and K-16 on county road 893, near Randolph.
To register, contact Marci Ritter, (785) 293-4406, or hmm131616@twinvalley.net. Space is limited to 36 participants, so shooters are encouraged to register early.
WOT is one of the National Rifle Association’s programs for women shooters. For more information on WOT, visit www.women.nra.org.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tuttle Creek Blue Catfish Tagged For Research

MANHATTAN – If you catch a blue catfish from Tuttle Creek Reservoir this summer, be sure to check for a little yellow tag just below its dorsal spine. A blue catfish tagging project is underway to help biologists learn more about blue cats in Tuttle Creek. Biologists are collecting blue cats with an electrofishing boat, weighing and measuring all of them. Any blue catfish longer than 14 inches will receive a yellow tag with a unique number so it can be identified.
The blue catfish population at Tuttle Creek Reservoir is still fairly young. Most of the fish being tagged measure between 16 and 22 inches. The largest fish tagged so far was 27 inches long and weighed 8.3 pounds.
The yellow tags have information printed on both sides. On one side of the tag will be the tag number and a phone number. The other side of the tag will have an email address. Anglers who catch tagged blue catfish are asked to report them using either the phone number or email address, or in person at the Tuttle Creek State Park Office. Biologists want to know the tag number, the general location where the fish was caught, the length of the fish, and if it was harvested or released.
As tagged fish are recaptured over time, biologists will be able to determine how well the fish are growing. The tagging study will also provide a better understanding of how far fish are swimming upstream of the lake and how many fish are migrating downstream out of the lake.
Fisheries staff want to thank anglers in advance for taking the time to share tag information. With help from anglers, biologists will continue to enhance fishing opportunities at Tuttle Creek Reservoir.
For more information, contact the Tuttle Creek State Park Office at (785) 539-7941 or ely.sprenkle@ksoutdoors.com.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Take Hunter Ed Now To Hunt This Fall

PRATT – A right of passage, an initiation, a crash-course, call it what you will, but for those who have taken a Kansas Hunter Education course, they know it’s definitely one thing: worth it.
Because classes are offered in one of two formats – traditional and Internet-assisted – new hunters can find a class to fit nearly any schedule. Traditional courses are 10 hours, typically in a classroom setting, and are usually held over the course of two to three days. Internet-assisted courses involve online classwork that can be done at home, followed by a required field day, which includes live-fire, trail-walk and safe gun handing exercises before final testing and certification. Students must register for an Internet-assisted course field day before completing the online work. To view a current list of all upcoming classes, visit ksoutdoors.com and click “Hunting,” then “Hunter Education.” Students must be 11 or older to participate.
Kansas Hunter Education classes cover a variety of topics including hunter responsibility, ethics, fair chase, history of firearms, firearms basics, ammunition, basic gun safety, field safety, bowhunting, conservation and wildlife management, wildlife of Kansas, outdoor emergencies, Kansas hunting regulations and boating safety for hunters.
Kansas law requires anyone born on or after July 1, 1957 be certified through an approved course in hunter education before hunting in Kansas, except that anyone 15 or younger may hunt without hunter education certification provided they are under the direct supervision of an adult 18 or older.
Sign up now, because classes fill up fast, and hunting season will be here before you know it. Invest time in a class now, so you, too, can enjoy opening day.

How To Land Summer Bass

PRATT – It’s hard to think about fishing on a sweltering summer day, but when the sun sinks toward the western horizon, everything changes. Warm water and direct sun make the bass sluggish during the day, but as evening temperatures cool, the fishing can get hot. Now it’s time to grab your bass rods and find the nearest farm pond, state fishing lake or community lake.
Pick a shady shoreline and look for brush, docks, vegetation – anything that provides dark hiding places for bass. Start out with a weedless plastic bait that can be flipped right into the cover. Fish slow and thoroughly, hitting every visible bass lair. Bass are ambush hunters and a slow meal dropped right in front of them can be irresistible.
As daylight fades and the breeze dies, tie on a topwater bait just for fun. There’s nothing like the thrill of a bass exploding on a surface lure. Fish will be more spread out now, so cast along the shore and any weedbed edges. Land the bait as close to the edge as possible, then let it sit for several seconds. Twitch it tantalizingly several times before beginning to retrieve. And it’s a good idea to pause several times during the retrieve. A brief pause can sometimes be too much for a bass watching from below, triggering an explosive strike. The anticipation can also be too much for a bass angler. When fishing topwater, wait until you feel the strike before setting the hook. If you rear back as soon as you see and hear the topwater strike, you’ll pull the bait right out of the fish’s mouth.
There are thousands of farm ponds tucked away all across Kansas’ countryside, and many have great bass fishing. Anglers need landowner permission to fish private ponds except for those leased by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and opened to public fishing through the F.I.S.H. program. To find them, download the 2016 Kansas Fishing Atlas at www.ksoutdoors.com. The atlas contains maps of all F.I.S.H. waters, as well as all other public fishing lakes and reservoirs. You’ll also find the 2016 Kansas Fishing Forecast, which will tell you which public waters have the best bass populations.
Don’t just dream about fishing this summer, take advantage of the cooler evenings and explore a Kansas farm pond, local community lake or state fishing lake. The bass are waiting.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Elk and Either-Species Deer Permit Applications Due July 8

PRATT – The application period for two of Kansas’ most coveted big game permits is open and will close at midnight on July 8, 2016. Kansas residents are eligible to apply online for the 10 Any-elk permits and 15 Antlerless-only Elk permits allocated for Units 2 and 3 (Unit 2 includes Ft. Riley). And resident hunters who want to hunt mule deer with a firearm can apply for limited Either-species Deer permits valid in the East and West Either-species zones. A hunter who does not wish to hunt this year may purchase a preference point that will count toward a firearm Either-species/Either-sex deer permit in a future drawing or a bonus point for limited elk permits. Unsuccessful applicants automatically receive preference or bonus points.
For more information on season dates and to make application, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click on “Hunting,” then “Applications and Fees,” or call(620) 672-0728.
PERMIT FEES
Deer Firearm Either-species/Either-sex permit (white-tailed or mule deer buck, doe or fawn): General Resident – $52.50; Resident Landowner/Tenant – $32.50; Resident Youth (15 and younger): $22.50; Nonresident Tenant – $97.50 Preference Point – $11.50
Elk Firearm Either-sex: General Resident – $302.50; Landowner/Tenant – $152.50; Resident Youth (15 and younger) – $127.50; Nonresident Tenant – $152.50.
Elk (antlerless): General Resident – $152.50; Landowner/Tenant – $77.50; Resident Youth (15 and younger) – $52.50; Nonresident tenant – $77.50
The fee to apply for an elk permit or purchase a bonus point is $12.81.

Conservation Easements Conserve Flint Hills Vistas, Wildlife

TOPEKA – The Nature Conservancy of Kansas (TNC) has protected 3,285 acres of Flint Hills tallgrass native prairie with a conservation easement in Chase and Lyon counties. The landowners, Bill and Maggie Haw of Shawnee Mission, are firm believers in conservation easements, having previously donated to TNC easements on other land they own and manage in the Flint Hills. This recent easement brings their total land protection contribution to more than 17,000 acres, including 16 scenic miles of highway frontage along the Kansas Turnpike (I-35) and the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway (K-177).
Tallgrass prairie is the most altered major habitat type in North America in terms of acres lost. Yet, in Kansas, a significant swath of tallgrass prairie – the Flint Hills –remains intact. TNC views conservation easements as a golden opportunity to help landowners conserve this intact and fully functioning tallgrass prairie ecosystem.
A conservation easement is a legally recorded agreement between the granting landowner and a land trust. The agreement permanently restricts uses of the property that would damage its conservation values. Conservation easements do not interfere with traditional uses of the land, such as grazing and prescribed fire, but it may restrict incompatible activities, including many types of development. Public access is generally not required by a conservation easement, and, like all other easement provisions, it must be agreed to by the landowner. An eased property may be sold, transferred or inherited, and the easement conditions transfer to each subsequent landowner.
“By placing these acres under the protection of a conservation easement, the property’s ranching legacy, as well as its economic and ecological integrity, will endure,” said Brian Obermeyer, director of the TNC’s Flint Hills Initiative.
“Maggie and I are committed to the idea of preserving not only the pristine views but also the wonderful cattle culture of this area where generations of same-family cowboy caretakers have learned to operate the best yearling grazing operations in the world,” said Bill Haw. “It is the perfect convergence of an important food-producing activity that maintains the ecosystem, which developed with bison grazing over thousands of years. The Nature Conservancy is the perfect partner to recognize and enforce those two compatible goals for many generations to come.”
The recent Haw easement takes TNC over the 100,000-acres-preserved mark in Kansas.
For more information about The Nature Conservancy and conservation easements, contact Shelby Stacy at sstacy@tnc.org or (785) 233-4400.

Register For Youth And Disabled Hunter Deer Hunt At Tuttle Creek

MANHATTAN – Youth and disabled hunters have until July 21 to apply for an assisted deer hunt at Tuttle Creek Lake. This event is limited to 25 hunters. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Riley County Fish and Game Association and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Tuttle Creek Lake are partnering to conduct the 2016 Tuttle Creek Youth/Disabled Assisted Deer Hunt on Sept. 10-11. The hunt is free and open to resident youth ages 11-16 and anyone with a certified disability interested in hunting Kansas whitetails.
An experienced hunting guide will assist each participant, and hunters will be provided with accessible hunting blinds, transportation to prime field locations and hunter orange hats and vests. Area meat lockers will provide basic processing of harvested deer free of charge. Applicants will be notified following the July 21 deadline. All hunters must have a deer permit and those age 16-74 must also have a Kansas hunting license.
Successful applicants are required to attend a firearm safety presentation and firearm sight-in at the Fancy Creek Shooting Range, Sunday, Aug. 21 at 4 p.m. Scholarship assistance for the purchase of licenses and permits is available, and rifles and ammunition are also available on request.
For more information, call Steve Prockish, Tuttle Creek Lake natural resource specialist at 785-539-8511, ext. 3167, or Stephen.E.Prockish@usace.army.mil.
This event is made possible by Friends of Fancy Creek Range, Kansas City Chapter of Safari Club International, Kansas State Rifle Association and the Tuttle Creek Lake Association.

Kansas Bowhunters Association To Host Glen Elder Bowfishing Contest

GLEN ELDER – The Kansas Bowhunters Association (KBA) will hold a carp bowfishing contest at Glen Elder Lake on July 9-10. The group will headquarter at the Boller Point Campground (take Lake Drive south out of Cawker City across causeway and then west to campground). Signs will direct archers to the area.
KBA members invite anyone who has an interest to attend. Whether you’re an expert or a beginner who wants to learn more about bowfishing, the event is perfect for all levels of experience. Members will have bowfishing rigs available for those who don’t have their own.
Bring your own food and drink and plan to camp. The KBA will serve fish and onion rings on Saturday evening. Participants will compete to see who can bring in the most pounds of carp. The event will officially start on Saturday at 12 p.m. and end Sunday at 12 p.m. Only carp shot within that time frame will count. Archers may fish in the lake, river above and tailwater below.
For anyone bowfishing, a Kansas fishing license is required (unless exempt by law). Arrows must have barbed heads and be attached by a line to the bow.
Contact Kent Davis at 620-873-5264 or kdavis@cmselectric.com for more information.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Lifetime Fishing License Sweepstakes

PRATT – The Active Network is teaming up with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks (KDWPT) and Tourism to offer Kansas anglers a chance to win a lifetime fishing license. Anyone purchasing their fishing license online at www.ksoutdoors.com is automatically entered into the sweepstakes. If you already have your license, you can still enter the sweepstakes by filling out the online entry form and clicking on “Enter Sweepstakes.” But hurry, the Lifetime Fishing License Sweepstakes closes June 30, 2016.
You must be a Kansas resident and 18 years old or older to enter. Go to www.ksoutdoors.com and click on the “LIFETIME FISHING SWEEPSTAKES” button to learn more and enter.
Active Network is a leading global marketplace for activities and events, and contracts with KDWPT to manage and market license and permit sales.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Kansas Bowhunters Association To Hold Carp Contest

MELVERN LAKE – The Kansas Bowhunters Association (KBA) will hold a carp bowfishing contest at Melvern Lake on June 11-12, 2016. The group will headquarter at the Sundance Primitive Campground north of Lebo. Signs will direct archers to the area.
KBA members invite anyone who has an interest to attend. Whether you’re a seasoned bowfisher or a beginner who wants to learn more, the event is perfect. Members will have bowfishing rigs available for those who don’t have their own.
Bring your own food and drink and plan to camp. The KBA will serve pork steak on Friday evening. Participants will compete to see who can bring in the most pounds of carp. Only carp shot during the daytime count toward an angler’s total. Contact Bob Griffin, 785-806-1493bgriff812kba@gmail.com for more information.
A Kansas fishing license is required, unless exempt by law, for anyone bowfishing. Arrows must have barbed heads and be attached by a line to the bow.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

New Habitat First Program Offers Wildlife Habitat Assistance

Habitat First is a new program developed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) Wildlife Division for private landowners interested in developing or enhancing wildlife habitat on their land. Under the program, district wildlife biologists will deliver the following services to interested landowners:
            -Technical assistance: planning, land management support, and habitat development tools
            -Financial assistance: cost-share and sign-on incentives for habitat improvements
            -Equipment loans: native grass drills, tree planters, fabric machines, prescribed burn equipment, and root plows
            -USDA programs: assistance with Environmental Quality Incentive Program applications benefiting wildlife, Conservation Reserve Program enrollment, and management
Standardized practices and rates make the program easy to explain and understand. Habitat management plans can be tailored to the property and to landowner preferences.
Visit ksoutdoors.com/Private-Lands, call 620-672-5911 or contact the nearest KDWPT office to learn more.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Kansas Game Wardens Recognized For Exemplary Service

PRATT – The Law Enforcement Division of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism recognized officers and other individuals for work and services performed above and beyond the call of duty. The annual awards are presented in several categories, including Meritorious Work, Lifesaving, Natural Resource Education, Boating Safety Enforcement, Investigations, Cooperative Projects and Officer of the Year.
The Merit Award was presented to Capt. Dan Melson for his work in developing and maintaining the Game Wardens’ Facebook page and an application allowing the Law Enforcement Division to more efficiently record violations.
Game warden Jonathan Rather was awarded the Natural Resource Education Advancement Award for his work in implementing hunter education programs in the area school systems.
 The Boating Officer of the Year Award was presented to game warden Jeff Clouser for his extensive work in the area of boating safety enforcement, including dealing with stranded boaters, investigating boating accidents and enforcing boating under the influence laws.
Game warden Hal Kaina received the Lifesaving Award for his efforts in two incidents where individuals were facing life-threatening circumstances. In one incident, officer Kaina rescued a hunter who had broken through the ice. In another incident, officer Kaina aided in the rescue of four individuals, including children, after their boat had sunk in the middle of the reservoir. Game warden Cody Morris was awarded the Lifesaving Award for his assistance in rescuing a family adrift on a boat with a motor that would not start.
Lt. Rick Campbell and game wardens Jesse Gehrt and Travis Schulte received Lifesaving Awards for rescues they performed on the Kansas River. In one situation Lt. Campbell and officer Gehrt rescued a man whose canoe had overturned in the river. Later in the summer, a family who were floating the Kansas River became stranded on a sandbar after getting caught in a severe thunderstorm. Officers Gehrt and Schulte, along with a local emergency medical technician, got the family, which included a 4-month-old baby, to safety.
The Richard Harrold Memorial Award for Investigations was presented to game warden Josh DeHoux for his efforts investigating big game violations in his assigned area.
The Director’s Award was presented to a large group of game wardens, department staff and a private citizen for their work in hosting the conference of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. Those recognized include: Major Dan Hesket, Capt. B.J. Thurman, Lt. Eric Deneault, Lt. Dave Adams, Lt. Jeff Sutton, Lt. Mike Peterson, Lt. Scott Hanzlicek, Lt. Bob Funke, game wardens Michael McGinnis, Cody Morris, Jesse Gehrt, Tracy Cikanek, Dennis Zehr, Jim Bussone, Matt Hanvey, Jon Entwhistle, Vince Wonderlich, Scott Leamon, Jeremy Stenstrom, Ross Uhrmacher, Glenn Cannizzaro, Mike Hopper, Greg Salisbury, Landen Cleveland, Ryan Smidt, Lance Hockett, Chris Stout, Daniel Howard, Aaron Scheve, Clint Lee, Jacob Greene, Lynn Koch and Jonathan Rather; Erika Brooks and Shelby Stevens of the Education Section; Jason Deal and David Jenkins of the Public Lands Division; Tony Reitz of the Parks Division; and volunteer, Jenna Scheve.
Game warden Jesse Gehrt received the Officer of the Year Award, a joint recognition by the Law Enforcement Division and the Shikar Safari Club International. Gehrt has performed his duties above and beyond what is normally expected, and is extensively involved in all aspects of being a game warden. Apart from his daily duties, ties to his local community, and many other contributions around the state, Gehrt is also a member of the division’s Honor Guard.

Friday, June 3, 2016

El Dorado State Park To Host Great Outdoors Day And Governors Campout June 18

EL DORADO STATE PARK – Across the U.S., state governors have declared June to be “Great Outdoors Month” to remind us of the fantastic outdoor recreational opportunities we can enjoy. In conjunction with Great Outdoors Month, June 18, 2016 has been designated Great Outdoors Day in Kansas by Governor Brownback and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT). The day will be celebrated at El Dorado State Park and will culminate with the Governor’s Campout. Great Outdoors Day activities and displays can be enjoyed free of charge from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at El Dorado State Park’s Walnut River Amphitheater Area.
Those attending the Great Outdoors Day will be able to shoot bows and airguns, catch bugs and crawdads, learn to paddle a kayak or canoe, learn about nature, and see the latest camping and outdoor gear. Other activities include a KDWPT K-9 demonstration, aquatic education programs, flint knapping demonstrations, horse rides, a fishing clinic, and KDWPT’s mobile aquarium.
The Governor’s Campout will begin Saturday evening. Anyone interested in camping must pre-register by calling Kati Westerhaus at 620-672-0740 or emailing Kati.westerhaus@ksoutdoors.com. Slots for campers are limited. The campout will begin with registration at 4:30 p.m. After a welcoming ceremony, campers can enjoy a national park exhibit, supper and programs including live animal education demonstrations, Dutch oven cooking, cowboy campfire stories and songs and telescope star gazing. Campers will enjoy breakfast and a closing ceremony with certificates and door prizes on Sundaymorning.
Sponsoring participants include Coleman Factory Outlet, Kansas Golf and Turf, Sutherlands, Bicycle X-change, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Boys and Girl Scouts, Shady Creek Sales, John K. Fisher, Cabela’s Butler County Extension Office and 4-H, the National Wild Turkey Federations, Butler County Rescue and EMS and Wildscape.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Biologists Take Tissue Samples To Evaluate Bass Stocking Program

EMPORIA – Fisheries biologists at the Meade Fish Hatchery have been fooling Mother Nature to get largemouth bass to spawn earlier than normal. By controlling water temperature and photo-period (day length), along with other biological factors, hatchery staff are able to create an environment where largemouth bass spawn up to two months earlier than they would in the wild. The fry produced have a huge advantage over naturally-spawned bass because they are large enough to feed on small fish through the spring and summer. By fall, these larger bass are more likely to survive their first winter in a Kansas lake.
So far, early-spawn bass have been stocked into select Kansas reservoirs where bass are popular with anglers but natural reproduction and normal stocking practices aren’t maintaining good bass populations. To evaluate the success of the early-spawn program, fisheries staff have conducted creel surveys to determine if catch rates have improved. In addition, DNA testing of adult bass caught in these lakes will tell biologists what percentage of the bass population is made up of early-spawn fish.
A unique quality of the early-spawn program is that genetic records kept on the brood fish allow each bass produced to be traced back to the hatchery. KDWPT biologists are working with bass tournament organizers to obtain samples from bass brought to tournament weigh-ins at select lakes. Recently, staff worked with the East Kansas Bassmasters club during a tournament on Hillsdale Reservoir where early-spawn bass have been stocked since 2012. Fingernail-sized clippings from the upper caudal fin were collected from fish at the weigh-in before the bass were released. The tissue samples will be tested to determine if they came from fish produced at the Meade Fish Hatchery.  
In the past five years, more than 10 million largemouth bass have been produced and stocked through the early-spawn procedure. The evaluation efforts will help biologists determine the program’s effectiveness in bolstering bass populations, as well as what changes should be made to improve stocking success.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Master Angler Awards Go To Lucky Anglers

PRATT ­– So, you caught a big fish; was it luck or was it skill? There’s no doubt a little luck never hurts, but good anglers make their own luck by refining their skills, paying attention to environmental conditions and being persistent. And for that, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) wants to recognize them when they catch trophy-class fish.
KDWPT’s Master Angler Award program provides anglers with a certificate when they catch a fish that is at or above the minimum length set for that species. All an angler needs is a tape measure and a camera. Measure the fish, snap a color photo and fill out the application, available in the 2016 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary or at www.ksoutdoors.com; click on “Fishing” then click on “Special Fishing Programs.”
Minimum lengths are listed for 33 different species of fish in the regulations summary and online. For example, to receive a Master Angler Award for a largemouth bass, the fish must measure at least 23 inches. The color photo allows species identification.
Even if you are luckier than you are good, and you catch that monster bass, send us an application and we’ll mail you a custom certificate suitable for framing. May is one of the best months of the year to catch big fish, so what are you waiting for?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Leave Wildlife Wild


It’s human nature to “save” a young animal that appears abandoned or lost. However, when a person with good intentions picks up a baby bird, squirrel, or deer, the young animal is usually as good as dead. The best option is always to leave them alone and let nature take its course, even though it’s not always pretty. Often, the young animal is still being cared for by its parents and will have a better chance of surviving if simply left alone.
Unless you’re a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, it is not legal to possess live wild animals. And it can be dangerous because they may carry rabies or distemper. Wild animals commonly have fleas and ticks, which can transmit blood-borne diseases, and they carry bacteria, roundworms, tapeworms, mites and other protozoans that     could infect humans and their pets.
Unfortunately, fawn deer are commonly “saved” by people who find them alone and assume they’ve been abandoned. Most of the time, the doe is nearby, but the mother instinctively stays away from her newborn except at feeding time to avoid drawing the attention of predators. Fawns are scentless and survive by holding absolutely still, even when humans approach.
Storms may blow young birds out of their nests. If the young have feathers and can perch, place them back in a tree or shrub, away from cats or other pets. The parents will still care for them. And don’t worry, they’ll care for them even if you touch them. Birds have a very poor sense of smell and human touch won’t drive the parents away. If you find a nest with featherless nestlings, place it in a plastic bowl and back in the tree. This will be their best chance of survival.
Enjoy watching wildlife this spring, especially if you see youngsters. But make a pact to leave them alone. Let nature take its course and know they have the best chance of survival by staying wild.