Kansas Wildlife Federation

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Sunday, October 16 2005

Farm bill conservation programs need your support

This article from Babe Winkelman’s syndicated column points to the need for sportsmen to make a ruckus now in order to save the farm bill conservation programs.

These programs, such as CRP, Wetlands Reserve Programs, and other important means of helping farmers and ranchers preserve habitat, are on the chopping block along with many other programs post-Katrina.

Part of the basic purpose of government is health and security. CRP, WRP, etc., don’t just benefit wildlife, they benefit humans by cleaning our water. If you want to step up for these programs, call Senator Sam Brownback at (202) 224-6521, and/or Senator Pat Roberts at (202) 224-4774. Ask them to send you in writing their stances on full funding in the 2007 Farm Bill for conservation programs.

+ Dan @ 02:37pm

Wednesday, September 21 2005

Tips for hunting the rut

Kansas deer hunting shows up big again on ESPN.com’s Outdoors section. The main thrust of the article is on tree stand selection for maximum success during the rut, but us Kansans can’t help but notice - whether good, bad, or indifferent - the way that the rest of the nation is coming here for deer hunting.

+ Dan @ 11:23am

Wednesday, September 14 2005

Your Kansas pheasant outlook

ESPN Outdoors has this story on this year’s pheasant season outlook.

Things look quite good for Kansas, which is expected to have the third-largest pheasant harvest in the nation this year.

+ Dan @ 03:35pm

Friday, August 19 2005

Birds and birds

Two different bird-hunting issues are coming our way here.

1) In this story from the Lawrence Journal-World, we get a reminder that dove season is only 12 days away. This article has a number of good tips on how to get ready and how to get the most out of your experience.

And if you need some ideas on what to do with your harvest, this recipe page from North Carolina State’s extension service has some great recipes for dove (and much more. )

2) The US Fish & Wildlife Service is considering an idea called the “hunter’s choice” bag concept. Essentially, what this idea boils down to is that instead of having many distinct waterfowl seasons, hunters would be responsible for setting their own bag limits within an overall limit framework. This would avoid some season closures and would help keep hunters from accidentally violating the law.

If after reading the story, you have an opinion on the concept, email us at info@kswildlife.org.

+ Dan @ 12:12pm

Tuesday, July 26 2005

2005 Outdoor Skills Camp!

If you’re between 12-18 years old - or if you know a budding outdoorsmen who is - then take this opportunity to get involved with KWF’s Outdoor Skills Camp for 2005.

Outdoor Skills Camp is a program to develop young people into being better hunters, anglers, and furharvesters. OSC features small groups and expert instruction. Since every attendee must be accompanied by an adult, it makes for an ideal weekend for father and sons - or fathers and daughters.

Classes will be held in wildlife habitat management, furharvesting, wingshooting, fishing, wild turkey hunting, and more. The intensive nature of the classes guarantees that youngsters will come away with a deepened passion and expertise.

Outdoor Skills Camp will be held at Rock Springs 4-H Camp, which is south of Junction City, and the camp is on October 1-2.

For more information, or to enroll, call Charlie Lee at (785) 532-5734.

+ Dan @ 07:42pm

Tuesday, July 12 2005

Public lands: keeping wildlife habitat intact

One of the slogans in Kansas is “private land in private hands.” There’s a proud tradition of independence and good stewardship reflected in that sentiment.

As suburban sprawl changes the landscape, it also has changes that affect everyone who lives in the area. Water quality is harder to maintain, and wildlife habitat fragments, or disappears entirely.

One good example is the land owned by KWF member William Pracht. As detailed in this Wichita Eagle article on his privately-owned wetland area, Mr. Pracht is trying a wide variety of strategies to keep his land from becoming 80 acres of houses.

In many states, this could be accomplished by giving the the deed for the property to a non-profit, and then the non-profit would deed it over the state’s wildlife agency to be managed as a public wildlife area.

+ Dan @ 12:53pm

Thursday, July 7 2005

Rural land: Buy it if you can while you can

Not too many people are in a position to become landowners of recreational ground, which is one of the reasons KWF believes so strongly in the state’s being able to buy land for public wildlife management.

However, if you are thinking about buying some ground to hunt on, the old rule of real estate is still true: the time to buy is now. That’s particularly true of farm ground, as this article from the Financial Times shows: rural property values are climbing fast.

What’s driving this explosion? A combination of factors, but urban sprawl pushes up value, as does the need for recreational property, as does a recent wave of good crop prices.

Land doesn’t usually get cheaper after gets more expensive, so if you have your eye on something, now may be the time.

And if you can’t buy something of your own, there’s one thing you must do: call your state legislator, and ask that he or she back the purchase of wildlife management areas. If you don’t know who your legislators are, call us at the KWF office, and we’ll fill you in.

+ Dan @ 12:27pm

Tuesday, June 28 2005

Pheasant and quail seasons changed

Despite objections from Kansas landowners, the Kansas Wildlife & Parks Commission voted last week to substantially change pheasant and quail seasons in the state.

The landowner objections stem from a fear that there will still be a lot of crops in the field in the first week of November. That puts the farmers in the position of either refusing permission to hunt (and possibly losing income, if they charge for that) or losing crops to human trampling.

What’s disturbing to us about this change is two things. One is that the Department is making these changes especially to be “competitive in the marketplace.” But it’s not seasons that make us competitive, it’s quality. Also, it’s not the Department’s job to be a tourism agency, it’s their job to manage and steward the resource. Of course you can make the argument that without good funding, they can’t do that, but managing explicitly for the out of state hunter is a very troubling development for the Kansas agency in charge of our outdoor resources.

The other troubling idea is this quote:

“What we’ve learned over the years is that we get almost all negative responses (to a change).” said (John) Dykes, commission chairman. “We try to weigh all the factors and do the right thing.”

While anyone can appreciate that only hearing negative commentary is tiresome, there is an implication here that changes can be made at any point despite public input, since the public input will always be negative.

+ Dan @ 12:01pm

Wednesday, June 15 2005

Wildlife & Parks Commission Meeting in Hays on June 23

If you’re an upland bird hunter, you may want to make sure to attend the upcoming meeting of the Kansas Wildlife & Parks Commission in Hays on June 23. Directions, time, and a pdf file of the agenda are available at the Department of Wildlife & Parks website.

On the agenda will be significant changes to upland bird hunting regulations and traditions; proposals that have been tossed around include shortening quail season, making a statewide quail opener, shortening prairie chicken season, and moving the pheasant season opening a week earlier.

The discussions around these changes have mostly been from the perspective of the management level - how Kansas fares in comparison to Nebraska and South Dakota, what the impact will be on bird populations, etc. What hasn’t been well represented, and what needs to be included in the discussion, is a lot more “war stories” from hunters in the field. What impact would it have on you to move pheasant season up a week? What impact would you see from curtailing quail season by a week or more? These are the kinds of questions where your input is needed.

If you can’t make the Commission meeting, KWF will be happy to communicate your views to the Commissioners. Email us at info@kswildlife.org, and we’ll send along your viewpoints.

+ Dan @ 12:50pm

Tuesday, May 31 2005

A round-up of conservation links

No urgent news is jumping out at us from the world of conservation, so here are a few outdoor stories from the Great Plains and beyond that have caught the eye over the past few days:

The Kansas City Star carries this story on Kansas scenic byways. Three Kansas roadways, including the Flint Hills Scenic Byway, the Post Rock Scenic Byway, and the Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway, have been nominated for National Scenic Byway designation, which can help fund the development of communities and attractions along those roads.

You know it’s a big fish when it takes two hours of fight to get it to the boat. Andrew Miller had to call friends on his cellphone for help in getting the state’s new record grass carp out of the water. The fish weighed in at 67 pounds.

Zebra mussels seem to have disappeared from Cheney Reservoir. This is very good news for a variety of reasons, but the invaders, which can kill off game fish and screw up water lines, are still present in El Dorado. Boaters have to be very responsible in all of Kansas waters, making sure to empty out live wells and bait wells before leaving the reservoir. Other tips on keeping zebra mussels from spreading are at the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks website.

And finally, speaking of boating on Kansas waters, two Wichita anglers won this weekend’s tournament in the Grand National Walleye Cup series at Wilson Lake on Sunday. Doug Duncan and Tim Brockman brought in a six-walleye limit weight of ten and a half pounds, for which they received $1,000. Not a bad day at the lake.

+ Dan @ 03:05pm

Tuesday, May 17 2005

The Governor backs down on the Circle K

The purchase of the Circle K Ranch seems to be off the table, for the foreseeable future at least.

The newly-signed state budget includes a provision prohibiting the Department of Wildlife & Parks from buying the Circle K Ranch.

I’m afraid this decision may have to go into the “only in Kansas” file: you have a willing seller, a public starved for outdoor recreation opportunities, and a water crisis as aquifers are beginning to run dry. This purchase would have helped address all three of those problems, for an incredibly reasonable price.

But the Legislature rejects the proposal because it might take farm ground out of production.

Now, what’s the biggest issue in farming? Low prices for crops. What do low prices signify? Over-supply. And over-supply means excess production capacity. So how does keeping farm ground in production help farmers again?

+ Dan @ 06:01pm

Friday, May 13 2005

The poaching bill is now official…

Very quietly, Governor Sebelius has signed HB 2253 into law. That’s the bill that increases criminal penalties for repeat convictions of Kansas wildlife statutes. We’re a long way from being as tough as Wyoming or Colorado, but this is a big step forward from the merry-go-round of diversions and $100 fines.

Jeff Glines of the Pittsburg Morning-Sun has this write-up of the story which includes a little of the background about the partnership of organizations that helped make this bill happen. (If you get asked for a username, use “kswildlife” as the username and “Topeka1″ as the password.)

+ Dan @ 05:15pm

Monday, May 2 2005

You have 4 weeks left…

You have until May 30 to enjoy your spring turkey season in Kansas, which gives you an even four weeks as of today. Of course if this cold snap doesn’t end, it’s going to feel like fall turkey season….

And to make sure you enjoy it, here’s an article from Great Plains Game & Fish on successful hunting in the gusty Kansas conditions.

There’s a good story in there about trying to hunt in gale-force winds, and then there’s this quote:

Sound emitted by and responded to by both birds and hunters often figures into the success or failure of spring turkey hunts. “So when the wind kicks up, it’s time to change tactics a bit,” said Eric Johnson, a diehard turkey hunter who has experienced more than his share of foul-weather hunts. “Soft-sounding mouth calls and slate calls are traded for the loud, resonating tone of a good box call that cuts the wind and carries a considerable distance.”

+ Dan @ 04:53pm

Wednesday, April 27 2005

Shotgun patterning for turkey

Some good things do come out of Missouri, including this article from the Missouri Department of Conservation on how to pattern your shotgun effectively for turkey hunting.

Lots of good tips in here to make sure you get the most out of your spring turkey season - you’ve got a month left, so get out there and test your pattern!

+ Dan @ 07:54pm

The menace of feral hogs

Forbes.com carries this story on the damage that feral hogs do to native landscapes.

While the article focuses on Texas, the lessons it carries - the damage these animals can do to crops and rangeland - applies here to Kansas as well.

I’ve heard stories in many different places about wild pigs in Kansas. The KDWP has exactly the right idea here: no season, no bag limit. In places where pigs have become sport animals, the attempt to manage them as game has put real hardship on the land, as in most cases, it was land that was never meant to have them there.

+ Dan @ 07:39pm

Monday, April 18 2005

Pre-emption bill passes

The Wichita Eagle has this article on a new law pre-empting local laws on firearms transport in Kansas. The practical upshot is that it will be legal in Kansas, no matter where you are, to have your firearm in your car if it’s encased and unloaded.

It’s important to point out that this isn’t a requirement that firearms be encased - if your city or county currently does not require casing, then you are still not required to carry your firearm cased. What the bill does do is make a uniform standard across the state that should give hunters a lot of peace of mind.

This is one of the bills that the Kansas Wildlife Federation worked on during the session, and we’re quite pleased to see the Governor has signed it.

+ Dan @ 03:04pm

Monday, April 4 2005

Legislative wrap-up

Michael Pearce has this legislative wrap-up in the Wichita Eagle.

One good thing to note is that the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact has passed and will be signed by the Governor.

Also the bill that would sabotage land acquistion in the state looks like it’s going nowhere. Special thanks go to the emailers who’ve been hitting this one - When I chatted with Senator David Weysong about this bill, he said “every email I’ve gotten on this one tells me to vote against it.”

Look for an update later this week on what we can do to save the poaching bill.

+ Dan @ 03:59pm

Wednesday, March 30 2005

Show us the data….

You might have seen the movie “Jerry Maguire” where the sports agent brings negotiations to a halt by shouting “Show me the money!”

If you changed that to “Show us the data!” that would be our reaction to a new proposal by the Department of Wildlife & Parks to expand the hunting seasons for prairie-chicken and quail.

Maybe there is some scientific support to justify a longer hunting season. If that’s true, the KDWP should be trumpeting itself in biological and land-management publications across the world, as prairie-chicken and quail populations have been in decline across their ranges in North AMerica.

This idea of extending the seasons on these birds has come up before. Dr. Robert Robel, a wildlife biologist with decades of experience in Kansas, helped kill that proposal by putting forward evidence to the Wildlife & Parks Commission that some of the quail hunting in Kansas is producing “additive mortality.”

This isn’t to say that Dr. Robel is anti-hunting - he’s also a life member of KWF and a life-long hunter himself. But to the best of our knowledge, we certainly don’t have room to talk about expanding quail and prairie-chicken seasons. If the birds really are on the rebound, what’s responsible to the resource is to talk about how we can keep that rolling, instead of expanding a hunting season too soon.

+ Dan @ 03:58pm

Thursday, March 17 2005

URGENT ACTION NEEDED: Please call your State Senator on HB 2226

Thanks to the efforts of two Representatives with an antipathy to
the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks, the House has on General Orders HB 2226, which is one of the more serious threats to the public and to wildlife to come out of this legislative session.

When a bill is placed on General Orders, only a straight up or down vote is allowed, and a bill placed on General Orders almost always passes. We anticipate the bill will go to the Senate.

HB 2226 is designed to keep the state of Kansas from buying any land for wildlife areas or state parks. Any acquisition of property of 480 acres or more would have to be subjected to approval from the full legislature - not just the monetary allocation, but the act of accepting the land itself.

This means that a willing seller could not sell his land to the state without gathering full legislative approval, and it also means that someone could not donate land or leave land to the state without legislative approval. As always, the Representatives who talk the most about property rights are the ones most willing to legislate against them.

As people lose their hunting grounds, public wildlife areas are going to become increasingly important - both as places for public access and as dedicated wildlife habitat. If this bill passes, it will be a major setback for the ability of the average Kansan to enjoy the outdoors.

You can see the full text of HB 2226 at the Kansas Legislature website. Note that you’ll need Acrobat Reader to see the text.

The most urgent need at this point is for communication from you to your state Senator, asking them to work against the passage of HB 2226.

As always, if you need information about how to contact your Senator or additional talking points, please don’t hesitate to contact the KWF office at 785-232-3238.

+ Dan @ 07:12pm

Friday, March 11 2005

More on mercury

The EPA will announce new rules next week governing mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The good news is that mercury emissions from coal burning will finally come under some kind of regulation. That can’t happen quickly enough, as evidence continues to mount up that the toxic metal presents a major new threat. This story from the Boston Globe, for example, details how mercury is being found in songbirds and other forest-dwelling species. Previously, mercury was thought to only be a threat to fish and birds (and people) that ate the fish.

The bad news is that the new controls are less than what the law might actually require. The Clean Air Act would have required the best available controls, which currently filter about 90% of the mercury coming out of a powerplant. Under the new rules, the EPA will require a 70% reduction by 2018. Call me impatient, but I don’t see why we should have to wait 13 years.

What does this mean practically? Let’s say for the sake of argument that a power plant is currently emitting 100 pounds of mercury per year. Under the Clean Air Act as it’s been written and interpreted, that would drop to 10 pounds per year. Under the new rules, that same power plant might put 1,000 pounds more of mercury into the air by 2018. The worst part is that this is easily avoidable given current technology.

The Washington Post has more on the story. If you get a registration screen, use “register@kswildlife.org” as your email and “topeka” as your password.

+ Dan @ 12:37pm

Wednesday, March 9 2005

Are hunters criminals?

Depends on the day and what you’re doing, but many of our state’s hunters could be risking arrest every time they put a gun in the car.

There is no simple way to know that you’re carrying your firearm inside a car legally in Kansas. Because every locality is free to set its own rules on firearms transportation, what’s perfectly legal in Miami County could get you arrested in Kansas City.

This has real consequences - the legal costs for dealing with such an arrest can easily exceed $2,500, including attorney fees and court costs. What’s just as bad: your conviction is listed in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database as a “weapons violation”.

KWF is working with the National Rifle Association, Representative Candy Ruff, and other organizations on behalf of HB 2439, which would keep cities and counties from passing stricter vehicle transportation requirements than the state. That way, the state’s 290,000+ hunters can get in the car and have peace of mind that they’re doing the right thing in the right way.

If you want to help get 2439 passed, call Representative John Edmonds, the Chair of the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs. His number is 785 296-7681, or you can email him at edmonds@house.state.ks.us. Let him know you’d like to see 2439 get out of committee.

+ Dan @ 01:44pm

Monday, February 28 2005

Poaching bill passes House, 122-0

HB 2253, which would set in place progressively increasing minimum penalties for repeat violators of our state’s wildlife laws, has gotten out of the Kansas House of Representatives by a vote of 122-0.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that it doesn’t yet have a committee assignment in the Senate. More than one bill has passed the House by a huge margin and then has died in the Senate - and vice versa.

To make sure we don’t lose momentum, call your state Senator today and ask for his or her help in moving HB 2253 through the Senate. For more information, call us here at 785-232-3238, or email info@kswildlife.org.

+ Dan @ 01:20pm

Monday, February 21 2005

Lobby Day is tomorrow

Our Lobby Day for the Kansas outdoors is tomorrow - and has gotten a nice write-up from Brent Frazee at the Kansas City Star.

A few things for tomorrow:

1) Don’t worry about coming for a long period of time. The important thing is to come by and talk to your legislators. We’ll have some hand-outs and talking points prepared for you, but feel free to come with your own viewpoints and ideas.

2) The Capitol is a lot of fun to visit. Make sure to take a look at the House and Senate chambers from the galleries, but also make sure to look for the famous Kansas murals along the second floor.

3) If you’re coming from a ways away, it’s worth it today to call your legislator and get an appointment. Generally you’ll get a ten minute slot.

4) If you don’t know who your legislator is, go to University of Kansas’ map of elected officials. Click the boxes for KS House districts and KS Senate districts, and then go to the top and select your city.

Or you can call us at 785-232-3238 and we’ll do all the work for you over the phone with you in about a minute.

+ Dan @ 01:06pm

Friday, February 18 2005

Two items of note from Michael Pearce

Michael Pearce, whose outdoor column for the Wichita Eagle should be one of your regular stops on the web, has two items in his most recent column.

The first is that the KDWP’s FISH Atlas is just about ready, and if you do any angling in the state, you should call and get one. Details are inside the story, but the upshot is that this is a public access program for anglers, similar in nature to the successful Walk-In Hunting Areas program.

The second is that the Senate passed the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact, and this is good news. Contact your state representative and ask that the compact get a vote in the House soon.

+ Dan @ 01:29pm

Wednesday, February 16 2005

Poaching bill is out of committee

Today, the House Wildlife, Tourism & Parks Committee unanimously passed our anti-poaching bill out of committee with a recommendation to the House for passage. The bill, HB 2253, is a measure that would stiffen penalties for repeat violators of Kansas wildlife laws.

That’s good news, but it’s just the start. Our bill is “below the line,” which means that it will only get heard if the House gets passed a certain number of other bills ahead in the traffic.

To generate some enthusiasm for this bill, please call your state Representative and let him or her know you want to see HB 2253 come up for a vote. If you don’t know who your state Representative is, call us at 785-232-3238, and we’ll be able to tell you in less than a minute.

Another way to get some steam behind the bill is to come out to the Capitol building on Tuesday, February 22. That’s when we’ll be having the Sportsmen’s Lobby Day. Anyone who’s gone hunting or fishing in Kansas is encouraged to come to Topeka, where we’ll be on the second floor rotunda. Your perspective of the management decisions made by state government officials is important. This is your opportunity to speak up for the outdoors.

Coffee and doughnuts will be provided, and this is an easy and fun way to get involved in our state’s future. Come for an hour, or come for the whole day - what’s important is that there’s a voice for the outdoors.

The Sportsman’s Lobby Day is a joint effort between the Kansas Wildlife Federation, Audubon of Kansas, the Kansas Bowhunters Association, the Kansas chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Kansas State Rifle Association, and the Kansas Outfitters Association.

For more information, call us at the Topeka office at 785-232-3238, or send an email to info@kswildlife.org.

+ Dan @ 08:47pm

Wednesday, February 9 2005

Defending hunting

One of the great things about the Kansas hunting scene is that there’s no real “anti” movement here; we don’t have to worry about PETA or the Humane Society coming into the Legislature and blowing our traditions out.

But as James Swan points out in this column on ESPN Outdoors, that’s not enough all by itself. Just as one example, the Humane Society is on a national campaign to stop archery hunting, and with $95 million to spend, they’ve got the resources to have an impact in more than one state. And I don’t think anyone believes for a second they’ll stop with getting rid of bowhunters.

Nationwide, about 6 percent of the population goes hunting, and yet that small minority funds a great deal of our nation’s habitat and restoration. We need to be a lot better at explaining to the rest of the country about the benefits we bring to America’s outdoors.

Mr. Swan gives some great examples of worthwhile projects that will help us communicate to non-sportsmen about the positive impact we have on the American outdoors. While you’re looking at supporting those, you might also take a moment and check to see if your KWF membership is up to date.

+ Dan @ 02:55pm

Tuesday, February 8 2005

Wetlands and property

One of the issues that comes up when dealing with wetlands is the question of landowner rights. Environmental laws that protect wetlands are often labeled as being intrusions into the rights of the property holder.

On the other hand, laws that protect downstream property rights for surface waters are established and more or less unquestioned. No one really argues that landowners should have the right to build dams where ever they want with no regulation, or that surface water diversion rights should be unregulated.

Laws that protect wetlands perform the exact same function - they protect the quantity and quality of water available for the downstream user.

Here’s one excellent example of the value that wetlands provide: the erosion of coastal wetlands in Louisiana. As it turns out, this isn’t just a crisis for the state’s wildlife and for the Gulf of Mexico - it also turns out that the loss of coastal barrier wetlands is endangering the state’s oil and gas industry. Flood control is one of the more important economic functions of wetlands areas.

To the Pacific Legal Foundation, that’s not a good enough reason to have a law. The PLF is going to attempt to get a Supreme Court ruling to get a Michigan man off the hook for his chronic violations of the Clean Water Act. This is the Foundation’s second attempt; the Court refused to intervene last year. Hopefully, they’ll do so again this year, as their SWANCC decision has already created enough problems as it is.

+ Dan @ 04:13pm

Friday, February 4 2005

Conservation groups have our own poaching bill

While the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks has their own anti-poaching bill, Kansas sportsmen are also pushing a complementary effort.

This is a team of conservation organizations put together by KWF which includes our state’s wildlife officers, Audubon of Kansas, Kansas Bowhunters Association, Kansas National Wild Turkey Federation, Kansas Outfitters Association, and the Kansas State Rifle Association.

After considerable discussion among ourselves, we put together a bill which would do the following:

  • 1) Reform how diversions are used for wildlife crimes, so that violators would get out of a revolving door of continual violation.
  • 2) Institute minimum penalties for repeat violators, so that penalties increase as the number of convictions increase.
  • 3) Equalize minimum fines for in-state and out-of-state residents on many violations, so that resident violators don’t get a hands-off treatment.
  • To track our bill, or to see its wording, head over to the Kansas Legislature’s bill tracking page. To find out how you can support the bill, call the Topeka office at 785-232-3238 or email us at info@kswildlife.org.

    + Dan @ 12:09pm

    Thursday, February 3 2005

    Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact is in the Senate

    Today, the Kansas Wildlife Federation presented testimony in favor of the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact. This is a bill that would make it possible for Kansas to deny hunting licenses to out of state hunters who are violators in their own states. It also would make it easier for Kansas to enforce hunting laws for non-residents, because essentially, a violation in one state becomes a violation in all of the member states to the compact.

    This is a good bill that will help our state’s conservation officers do their jobs more efficiently and protect our state’s resources.

    Click here to read the text of the bill. Please note that this is a large Acrobat Reader document.

    To read the testimony of KWF in favor of this bill, click on “more”. To find out how you can help this bill go forward, call the KWF office at 785-232-3238 or email to info@kswildlife.org

    (more…)

    + Dan @ 05:41pm

    Friday, January 14 2005

    NRA targets hunters

    The National Rifle Association has created a position dedicated to helping hunters. Dawson Hobbs, formerly a legislative liason for the Kansas Legislature, is now the NRA’s Manager of Hunting Policy.

    There’s lots of work to be done, and I’m sure the NRA can make really important contributions for America’s hunters. Hopefully they’ll be able to address the habitat issues that are causing great problems for the hunting and angling public.

    + Dan @ 05:00pm

    Wednesday, January 12 2005

    Another state record

    The Wichita Eagle brings us the news that a Leavenworth man may have taken the new state record buck for archery.

    Ron Ewert’s buck has been scored by Pope & Young at 266 2/8 inches.

    Wonder what they’re putting up in the water over by the Missouri border? In the past year we also had the state record paddlefish taken from over that way.

    + Dan @ 11:12am

    Tuesday, December 28 2004

    Another neat Internet tool

    Discover the Outdoors has this fun and useful tool of clickable hunting zone maps for Kansas.

    Using easy to navigate pull-down menus, you can easily build up different maps according to their various species. It’s easier to use than the Department’s site, in my opinion.

    And if you need it, there’s a list at the same website of Kansas game processors by city.

    + Dan @ 11:47am

    Thursday, December 23 2004

    More on sandhill cranes

    The agenda for the January 20th meeting of the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission is now up on the Department’s website. (Note that this is an Acrobat file.)

    On the agenda is a discussion of sandhill crane hunting season. If you value that hunting opportunity, please consider showing up to the Commission meeting, or sending in written comments in advance of the hearing if you can’t be there in person.

    As this article from the Kansas City Star relates, there will be a move to eliminate the sandhill crane season.

    KWF believes that good science belongs in the driver’s seat as we make wildlife decisions. Does the science suggest we can build up whooping cranes by eliminating sandhill crane season? Judge for yourself:

    People have been allowed to hunt sandhill cranes in Kansas since 1993. According to the state wildlife and parks department, 4,284 people have hunted 15,269 days, bagging 10,908 sandhill cranes in those 11 hunting seasons.

    So in 15,000 tries, there’s been one bad incident. There’s no reason to say that the incident wasn’t a bad thing - and the shooters in question are in the federal process now - but there’s nothing in those numbers that suggests that Kansas is keeping whooping cranes back.

    + Dan @ 10:24am

    Wednesday, December 15 2004

    Good news about whooping cranes

    While we all know the bad news about the whooping cranes that were shot in Kansas, it’s good to keep in mind that there is good news on that front as well. The Kansas City Star has this article from Brent Frazee on the whooper’s come-back.

    It’s too early to declare victory, of course, with only 460 or so of the birds in existence. But by the same token, that’s a bigger number than we’ve seen for 100 years now. Wildlife officials estimate that the whooping crane population is growing by 4% each year. Unlike the days of my childhood, extinction no longer seems imminent.

    + Dan @ 11:15am

    Tuesday, December 14 2004

    KWF announces youth hunting essay contest

    The Kansas Wildlife Federation, a statewide organization of hunters and anglers, is calling for essays from youth hunters who want to share their pride in the outdoors.

    Youths ages 12 to 15 who live in Kansas are invited to submit essays for KWF’s essay contest on the theme “Why I’m Proud to Hunt.”

    The winner will receive a free guided hunt from Paradise Adventures, Altoona, during the 2005 youth turkey season. KWF will reimburse the family for mileage needed to drive to Altoona.

    These days, there are so many things for kids to do,” said Dan Ward, KWF’s executive director. “A lot of them keep kids indoors, so it’s important for the kids who hunt to share that tradition with their peers.” (more…)

    + Dan @ 07:57am

    Thursday, December 9 2004

    What do deer really see?

    Terrific, although long, article on ESPN Outdoors entitled “What do deer see?”

    The main conclusion of the article: deer have a very hard time with the lower end of the color spectrum - ie, red and orange. But not only are they capable of seeing blue and green very well, there’s evidence that their eyesight goes up into the UV spectrum, giving them superior night vision compared to us humans.

    + Dan @ 02:39pm

    Thursday, November 18 2004

    Peak days for deer-car collisions

    One of the issues that always comes up during a discussion of deer hunting laws is the subject of deer-car collisions. These incidents in Kansas seem to peak about November 17 of each year, so this is the prime time for caution and high-beams.

    This story from the Lawrence Journal-World has good information, not only on how to avoid the collisions, but why this is such a hot issue in the state. Looking at the table that accompanies the story, the rate of deer-car accidents doubled in just ten years.

    Kansas roads are safer than some states and more dangerous than others. Drivers in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Missouri contend with larger deer populations than we do, and have more drivers on the roads, yet have fewer accidents.

    Of particular note is this piece of advice:

    Don’t swerve to avoid a collision with a deer. The most serious accidents occur when motorists are taking evasive action.

    Remembering that in the actual moment, of course, is something else entirely.

    + Dan @ 01:03pm

    Wednesday, November 10 2004

    Turkeys not destroying crops

    The successful increase in turkey populations in Kansas has a cost: many Kansans believe that turkeys are responsible for the decline in quail populations or that turkeys are causing massive amounts of crop damage.

    But research that’s come out from Purdue University shows little crop damage from turkeys. Field biologists worked for two years to try to find significant damage to corn and wheat fields in Indiana from turkey populations, using night vision cameras and tracking devices.

    What they found instead was that nocturnal animals such as deer and racoons were the pillagers, doing 95% of the damage.

    The word can’t get spread fast enough: California grape growers are looking for crop depredation permits to kill turkeys, believing that the birds are destroying their vineyards. (Warning: this link has a lot of annoying pop-ups.)

    + Dan @ 10:16am

    Wednesday, November 3 2004

    Felony poaching conviction

    It seems a little ungrateful to be anything other than enthusiastic about a felony conviction for poaching in Kansas, yet it’s hard to get too excited about the expected sentencing for Steven Pittman.

    Pittman was found with parts from 60 different deer, but is being sentenced for possessing six. For a felony conviction, Pittman will serve 90 days in a work-release setting, and will be find $6,000. Frankly, for someone who’s killed 60 deer and sold their antler racks, that’s walking around money. Additionally, work-release programs are for people who pose a minimum risk to the community, and it’s hard to see how Pittman fits that description.

    + Dan @ 09:37am

    Monday, November 1 2004

    Web resource for landowners with quail

    While looking for information on the new “bobwhite buffers” program, I came across this website for the Missouri Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

    The MASWD has a useful online newsletter called “The Covey.” This is a great little resource, full of land management techniques, information on government programs, and this particular issue has some info on why turkeys are not a threat to bobwhite quail.

    Highly recommended. I looked for a Kansas equivalent, but couldn’t locate it - if you know of one, please email to info@kswildlife.org.

    + Dan @ 02:02pm

    Tuesday, October 26 2004

    Playa lakes now part of Conservation Reserve Program

    This story from about playa lake enrollment in the CRP is fairly old, but there’s so much information these days that some things slip under the radar.

    Simply put, this is really good news. Playa lakes are the “intermittent wetlands” that are so often derided by groups like the Kansas Farm Bureau, and it’s true that these areas may not be wet for more than two weeks out of every two years.

    But as the story shows, there’s a lot of enlightened self-interest involved in preserving these areas as well, since they are the recharge zones for the Ogallala Aquifer.

    If you have land that might qualify for this new initiative of the CRP, contact the Kansas office of the Farm Service Agency, and ask about enrolling your land in “CP23a”, the CRP program for playa lakes.

    Also, if you want to learn more about why playas are so important, you can check out the website of the Playa Lakes Joint Venture, a collaborative effort between conservation organizations and government agencies.

    + Dan @ 10:25am

    Tuesday, October 19 2004

    Keep Fort Riley in mind

    Michael Pearce has a good reminder in his Wichita Eagle column: don’t forget about Fort Riley. While getting on the base requires going through some hoops, once you get there, you’re in one of the largest publicly accessible outdoor spaces in Kansas.

    Deer and turkey populations are doing especially well there, and quail numbers are up this year as compared to previous years.

    For more about Ft. Riley’s hunting opportunities and regulations, call (785) 239-6211, or log onto Fort Riley’s Outdoor Recreation Center website, which can tell you how to get the required permits.

    + Dan @ 10:34am

    Terrific Website for Waterfowlers

    Ducks Unlimited has a great new resource for waterfowl hunters up at their new site, waterfowler.com. This is a membership site, but a lot of goodies are available for free, including a discussion board for hunting experiences (here’s the one for Kansas) and a map of reported waterfowl observations.

    This is the kind of thing that the Internet can do - link up a lot of diverse data into one easily usable resource.

    + Dan @ 10:24am

    Wednesday, October 13 2004

    Quail are having a hard time in many places

    From the Wichita Eagle comes this story about quail in Georgia.

    Whenever I do a public speaking engagement, quail and their decline in Kansas is always a subject. But as this story shows, quail aren’t just having a hard time here.

    A telling quote from the article:

    Biologists cite the elimination of hedgerows and weedy strips between fields, and the reliance on pesticides that don’t discriminate between true crop pests and bugs that quail eat.

    I was talking to a landowner the other day who told me about how he hasn’t seen quail on his property since spraying for grasshoppers 5 years ago. While habitat is an important question, how much food the quail have to eat also needs some attention.

    + Dan @ 11:38am

    Thursday, October 7 2004

    National Wildlife Federation Releases “Blueprint for America’s Wetlands”

    We received this email from the National Wildlife Federation today, which is looking for organizations to sign onto its new agenda for wetlands preservation and restoration. If you belong to a club, group, or organization that wants to take action that will keep wetland areas intact, please take a look at their Blueprint.

    Hunters and anglers across the country have time and time again shown their support for protection of wetlands. Sportsmen and women know that wetlands are critical to both humans and wildlife. Yet the nation continues to lose around 130,000 acres of wetlands per year and what remains, is increasingly degraded. What will it take to save America’s wetlands for future generations of humans and wildlife?

    NWF has attempted to answer this question in the form of a “Conservation Blueprint for America’s Wetlands.” The Wetlands Blueprint sets out an aggressive and comprehensive agenda, in the form of 10 essential steps for the protection and restoration of the nation’s wetlands. We would like to ask for you to join us in endorsing and promoting this critical Blueprint.

    (more…)

    + Dan @ 04:18pm

    Friday, September 24 2004

    NWF: Sportsmen a Bigger Factor Than Ever

    Our sister organization in the DC area, the National Wildlife Federation, recently this around to the 47 state affiliates, and it’s very interesting reading on how hunters and anglers are beginning to become important voting groups in elections:

    CANDIDATES COURT SPORTSMEN

    Even before NWF released its poll on the attitudes of hunters and anglers on key conservation issues back in July, members of Congress and even the presidential candidates themselves have been courting sportsmen to a greater extent than in years past. The Bush Administration has issued several executive orders, including one expanding hunting opportunities in wildlife refuges and one announcing the “Cooperative Conservation Conference” would be held next year (see this link for more.) It has launched The Bush Cheney ’04 Sportsmen’s Team site and posted several fact sheets on the Interior Department’s website defending its record.

    Meanwhile, Senator Kerry has released his “Sportsmen’s Bill of Rights” and participated in a magazine interviews along with the President. He’s even taken the initiative to call prominent outdoor writers.

    For its part, NWF continues call on both presidential candidates - and all politicians for that matter - to address the major conservation issues that are of concern to hunters and anglers, including the impacts of mercury pollution on recreational fishing, the impact of oil and gas development on key wildlife habitat and the continued loss of wetlands due to current government policies. In fact, NWF has just launched a new “Blueprint for the Conservation of America’s Wetlands” that sportsmen’s groups can endorse. Ultimately, members of Congress and other politicians will be asked whether they too support this more ambitious agenda that can truly help protect and restore wetlands.

    For more information about the blueprint contact Julie Sibbing at Sibbing@nwf.org.

    + Dan @ 01:28pm

    Friday, September 17 2004

    Some Welcome Weeds at Cheyenne Bottoms

    Michael Pearce from the Wichita Eagle writes about the current situation at Cheyenne Bottoms.

    When I was out there last, things looked pretty grim - most of the Bottoms looked flat and parched, like a dried-up Nevada lakebed.

    But the silver lining to the drought was that staff have been able to burn and then till up the cattails that were infesting the area. Since then, kochia has taken root and this fall, some of the pools will be terrific duck hunting habitat.

    + Dan @ 06:26pm

    Thursday, September 9 2004

    Act Now to Go Bowhunting in Leavenworth

    Suburban areas create unbeatable deer habitat - lots of food, plenty of water, lots of places to hide, and almost no predators or hunting pressure.

    That’s about to change in Leavenworth, which is kicking off a new bowhunting program in the city, starting October 1st.

    There’s always a catch, and the catch here is that you have to attend one of two special orientation sessions. One is being held on September 11th, and one is being held on September 18th. Those interested in the program should call John Goodman at (913) 682-9201. I just got off the phone with John, and the city has a list of landowners he can provide you with, once you get into the orientation.

    Property owners are still needed, and if you have a parcel of three acres or more in Leavenworth and want to provide some hunting access, give John a call at the number above.

    For more information on the program, you can also visit the City of Leavenworth website.

    + Dan @ 09:49am

    Outlook For This Fall’s Pheasant Season

    This article from Great Plains Game and Fish has a four-state forecast for pheasant hunting this year. The outlook for Kansas is better than it’s been for awhile, with state biologist Randy Rogers saying we’ve had the best spring breeding season in about four years.

    North-central Kansas looks like it’s going to be the state’s hotspot, so grab your WIHA atlas (available at the Department of Wildlife and Parks website) and start making plans.

    + Dan @ 09:30am

    Wednesday, September 1 2004

    Hunting, Fishing, & Furharvesting School Enrollments Open

    One of KWF’s most successful programs is our program for kids 12-18, which is intended to help youth further master their basic outdoor skills. Hunting, Fishing, and Furharvesting School has trained hundreds of kids over the years. The 2004 edition is set for October 2-3, at the Rock Springs 4-H Center near Junction City.

    Enrollment for this year’s class is now open. The cost is $75 per participant, and each youth must attend with a parent or anoher responsible adult.

    This year’s activities and classes include Fishing, Rifle Marksmanship, Furharvesting, Wingshooting, and more. Applications are due September 10. If you want an application form sent to you, contact us here at the KWF office - (785) 232-3238 - or email us at info@kswildlife.org.

    + Dan @ 10:56am

    Monday, August 30 2004

    Migratory Birds: Season Dates and Recipes

    The migratory bird seasons change from year to year, so here are this year’s dates and limits for the various federally regulated birds.

    Note that the light goose season is effectively six months long. It’s one of your best hunting opportunities, but a lot of people don’t like the taste of the bird. So here are a few recipes for snow goose. Additionally, this man says that the key to great snow goose chili is to make sure and get all the blood out of the meat.

    Happy hunting and happy eating!

    + Dan @ 09:47am

    Tuesday, August 17 2004

    One Week Left to Register for Becoming an Outdoors Woman

    You have to look around the registration form’s fine print to find it out, but you only have one week left to register for this year’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman Kansas workshop. Registration closes on August 24, and the camp runs from September 24-26 at Rock Springs Camp, near Junction City.

    The BOW program looks terrific this year, with sessions on archery, shotgunning, beginning and advanced hunting techniques, mountain biking, botany, canoeing, and a lot more. The full brochure and registration form is online at the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks website. Note that the brochure is a six-page Adobe Acrobat form, so it might take some time to download.

    Get the registration form and program by clicking here, or you can call our state’s coordinator, Jami Vonderschmidt, at (785) 368-5449.

    + Dan @ 10:02am

    Friday, July 16 2004

    The NRA Tangles with Outdoor Writers

    The Washington Post carries this story detailing a spat between the National Rifle Association and the Outdoor Writers of America.

    The quick summary: the NRA warned the Outdoor Writers against supporting organizations like the Sierra Club, saying these groups are anti-hunting. The board of the Outdoor Writers of America sent a letter strongly condemning the NRA’s stance, and making the suggestion that the NRA doesn’t care about hunting and the natural resources of our nation.

    Plenty of fault on both sides, actually. The NRA’s priority is guns in and of themselves, and whether or not there’s anything to hunt with your rifle or shotgun seems pretty far down their list of priorities. It certainly seems outlandish for the NRA to maintain that it “has contributed more to preserve hunting lands than any organization in this country.” I’m sure that would come as news to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation or Ducks Unlimited.

    At the same time, it’s a little naive to think that there’s a natural friendship between the Sierra Club and hunters and anglers. When the Sierra Club magazine ran a piece called “Why I Hunt,” the article triggered a deluge of letters from members who were outraged that such a piece had sullied their newsletter. When Paul Watson ran for the organization’s Presidency, he made it clear his goal was to drive out hunters and anglers out of America’s National Forest lands.

    We all want the same thing: a thriving outdoor world. But the vision of what we’re going to be allowed to do with it varies greatly from group to group, and it’s important to be honest about those differences.

    + Dan @ 01:23pm

    Wednesday, July 14 2004

    Less Than a Week for WIHA Enrollment

    If you have 80 or more contiguous acres, and have thought about enrolling it with the KDWP’s Walk-In Hunting Area program, you have less than a week to get your application in. The deadline for enrollment is July 20th.

    A basic description is here at the Hutchinson Daily News - it’s the second entry down.

    Take a look, and if you think you’d like to apply for a WIHA lease, call your nearest Wildlife & Parks regional office - a directory can be found on this portion of the KDWP’s website.

    + Dan @ 09:55am

    Tuesday, July 13 2004

    More Developments with the Circle K

    The Dodge City Daily Globe has this story on the latest developments with the Circle K Ranch.

    As you might remember, the appraised value came in at about $3.2 million. The problem now is that the city leadership of Hays has ruled out selling at that price.

    So the newest wrinkle is a possible co-purchase between the KDWP and Big Bend Groundwater Management District.

    While the addition of 7,000 acres of wildlife habitat is a tremendous interest, the reason the Groundwater Management District might be involved is the retirement of 8,000 acre-feet of water rights.

    + Dan @ 03:29pm

    Pennsylvanians Come to Kansas

    It’s quite a ways from Noxen, PA to Kansas. So who makes the trip?

    Someone who wants to experience great turkey hunting. Read more in this story from NorthEast Pennsylvania’s Times-Leader about Tony Hudak, the 100th person ever to complete a ‘Royal Slam.’

    Particularly interesting is this quote:

    He explained that the Midwest holds ideal turkey habitat.

    “A lot of it, about 90 percent, is farmland interspersed with woodlots. You have these little shallow ravines surrounded by oak and hickory. Surrounding that, you have fields with corn, soybeans and alfalfa. You don’t have mountains like around here,” he said.

    In other words, it’s a quality hunting landscape that many people can’t enjoy along the East Coast.

    + Dan @ 03:18pm

    Tuesday, June 29 2004

    Quail and Prairie-Chicken Seasons Will Stay Put

    The Kansas City Star carried this short story covering last week’s Wildlife and Parks Commission meeting. The KC Star site requires registration, use “register@kswildlife.org” for the email and “topeka” as the password.

    There are some important details that the story doesn’t mention. One is that there were also proposed changes for prairie-chicken hunting, including a 138-day season for Greater Prairie Chickens, which certainly are not flourishing.

    Also not reported is that this was an effort on the part of a lot of groups: Quail Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Audubon of Kansas, and KWF all showed up and asked the Commission to refrain from the proposed changes. Dr. Robert Robel, of Kansas State University, deserves particular mention, as his authoritative testimony grounded the discussion in facts and may have turned the tide.

    + Dan @ 11:04am

    Circle K Ranch Appraisal In

    The news is in, and it’s surprising: the Circle K Ranch is worth about $3.2 million.

    During the Legislature, there were two objections from House legislators about the proposed Circle K purchase: one was that the Farm Bureau didn’t like it, and the other was that there was no appraisal, so the KDWP wasn’t being clear about how much money was actually on the line.

    The upshot is that for about $800,000, we can retire about 8,000 acre-feet of water rights and open up 12 square miles of quail, pheasant, and mule deer habitat. That’s because state government land purchases for wildlife and hunting areas are eligible for a 75% reimbursement from excise taxes, which you pay every time you buy ammunition or guns. Kansans are paying this tax, we might as well get some of that money back here in the state.

    So one objection down. What happens with the other one depends on whether or not the hunting community shows up in the next legislative session.

    + Dan @ 10:54am

    Tuesday, June 8 2004

    Kansas Bowhunting: Best in the Nation?

    The headline of this article from Buckmasters.com caught my eye, simply because of the title: “It Just Doesn’t Get Any Better Than Kansas.”

    I know a lot of resident bowhunters aren’t terribly glad to see out-of-state hunters coming in, taking big prize bucks and paying high fees for land leases. I’ve talked to many people who have been shut out of places where they hunted for years because of the boom in this new industry. Even so, there are a couple of things in the article worth noting, especially this quote:

    I found out later that he was in a bidding war - on e-Bay of all places - for Kansas tags while we were on the phone. It’s a somewhat complicated arrangement to explain, especially with new regulations for 2004, but the short version would be that Kansas landowners receive a portion of the allocated non-resident archery tags, which they can issue/use in the manner they see fit. I guess you could call it a government subsidy for the farmers (to help make up for some of their deer-related crop damage), but the Kansas Wildlife and Parks folks wouldn’t be happy about it being described that way.

    Well, if the shoe fits…. Transferable deer tags are in essence meant to be a secondary income for landowners. I don’t necessarily see a problem with that, nor do I see a problem with out of state hunters coming into Kansas. Where I see the giant, economy-sized problem is with the number of tags that get issued - especially when those tags are issued regardless of the condition of the habitat.

    Kansas may be unbeatable now, but as we continue to take more deer than we’re growing, we not only lose a trophy deer population and a second income for landowners, but we also lose the great past-time and tradition for residents as well.

    + Dan @ 12:28pm

    Friday, June 4 2004

    Who’s Releasing Diamondbacks into Kansas?

    I’m one of those people who don’t like snakes in general. So this story from ESPN is particularly disturbing to me.

    Some knucklehead has been releasing diamondback rattlers into Kanopolis State Park. These snakes are both bigger and deadlier than native prairie rattlesnakes. In addition besides the problem of non-native species, you also have the more immediate problem of ending up very sick or dead.

    There’s been at least 10 sightings of the snakes in Kanopolis. If you have any hints or ideas as to who might be releasing the snakes, call James Cherry, the local wildlife officer, at 785-658-2339.

    + Dan @ 03:16pm

    Wednesday, May 26 2004

    Outdoor Adventure Camp Enrollment Now Open

    If you are a Kansas youngster - or have a youngster who will be between the ages of 10 and 12 this summer and who enjoys the outdoors - now is the time to make plans to attend Outdoor Adventure Camp. The camp will be held at the Camp WaShunGa area of Rock Springs 4-H Center (just south of Junction City) and runs from Saturday, July 17 through Thursday, July 22. Outdoor Adventure Camp (OAC) is sponsored by the Kansas Wildlife Federation and is open to all Kansas youngsters, male or female.

    Mornings will be spent hiking the grounds at Rock Springs with instructors, getting a hands-on feel for how the various animals and plants live together in the place we call Kansas. Afternoons are spent learning about several general interest areas of the Kansas outdoors, including mammals, insects, birds, fish, and amphibians and reptiles. Instructors come from the ranks of Wildlife and Parks, Kansas State University, NRCS, County Conservation Districts, and other organizations.

    Since the prairie doesn’t go to sleep at sundown, neither will you. Depending on the evening, you may be out and about prowling for owls, star-gazing, or watching bats gobble bugs. Daily dips in the pool are always on the agenda (sometimes twice) and you will get a chance to sit around a campfire, eat s’mores, and tell stories. Always one evening, we go up to the pond and have a friendly bit of competition with a FISHING CONTEST!

    Other activities planned are scavenger hunts; water sports to include swimming and canoeing; fishing; shooting sports to include rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader, archery, and pellet gun; arts and crafts; and even horseback riding. You will get to pick your choices for some of these activities and be able to participate in all if you like. We always take a day-trip to the Milford Nature Center and Fish Hatchery too.

    So, a swimsuit, sleeping gear, and clothes you’ll wear for a week are about all you need to bring along. Food, instruction, and lodging are all included in the price of the camp. Things like sunscreen, insect repellent, a cap, and a water bottle are other things that will certainly come in handy. The price for the entire week is $215. Space is limited and the registration deadline is July 15.

    Send your application and full fee to Theresa Berger, Outdoor Adventure Camp, 406 S. New York Ave, Sylvan Grove, Kansas 67481. Checks should be made out to the Kansas Wildlife Federation. If you need more information or an application, phone 785-526-7466 evenings or 785-658-2465 during the day. You can e-mail us at bergkwf@wtciweb.com.

    + Dan @ 03:11pm

    Thursday, May 20 2004

    Chronic Wasting Disease Not Found in Missouri

    It’s not often that not finding something is news-worthy, but here’s an exception: a study of the Missouri deer herd found no evidence of chronic wasting disease.

    Let’s hope they keep not finding it - there hasn’t been a lot of good news on CWD.

    + Dan @ 02:41pm

    Thursday, May 13 2004

    Californians Come to Kansas

    Interesting and fun story from the LA Daily News: a 12-year old boy from Pasadena gets his bird in the Governor’s Turkey Hunt. Take a look at the story; Tim Hoffman didn’t just get a 19-pounder in the one shot event. He also won the National Wild Turkey Federation’s youth writing contest, along with some nice prizes, with this essay.

    Two things that pop out at me here. One is that I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have a week like that when I was twelve. What a go-getter kid! The other is that I know there is good hunting in California. If someone’s willing to bring his kids to Kansas from there, that says a lot about what we have here. It’s too bad more Kansans (like many in the Legislature, for instance) don’t realize what a special place we have.

    + Dan @ 08:55am

    Tuesday, May 11 2004

    Chronic Wasting Disease Lingers

    Not exactly a day-brightener, but it’s worth reporting: chronic wasting disease apparently lingers in the environment. The disease is not only tranmissable from animal to animal, but also from ground to animal, for as long as two years. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is acting to kill off as many infected animals as possible, in an attempt to limit possible sources of new disease exposure.

    CWD is apparently similar to Mad Cow Disease, whereby prions infect the brain tissue of the animal. It’s important to point out that cooking doesn’t protect you from the disease.

    + Dan @ 02:52pm

    Wednesday, May 5 2004

    Spring Turkey Hunting Tips

    In an earlier post, I mentioned that a lot of you are leaving me some water while doing some spring turkey hunting. If you haven’t gotten out for that yet, here’s a good article from ESPN Outdoors on spring turkey hunting tips.

    A couple of good points in the article. One, with all of the spring turkey hunts that have been happening, the turkeys that are out there have heard your calls before, and they’re getting wise. Secondly, a lot of mating has already happened by the time most states have their openers, so softer and less frequent calls may be more productive.

    The spring season ends on May 31, so us working stiffs have four more weekends to make it happen.

    + Dan @ 12:25pm

    Another Poaching Story

    Don’t know how I missed this one the first time around, but it’s a biggie: an Augusta man and a minor have been charged in one of the biggest Kansas poaching cases in recent history.

    Evidence found included parts of more than 60 deer and 114 turkeys. The alleged poacher in question is looking at 24 misdemeanor counts and 2 felonies.

    District Attorneys and judges in Kansas often look on wildlife crimes as being “not really crimes.” But this one will (hopefully) be hard to ignore.

    + Dan @ 12:08pm

    Friday, April 9 2004

    Well, it’s a start….

    Kansas Agriculture Secretary Adrian Polansky gave a talk on the future of rural areas here. The link goes to a short write-up in the LJ World.

    But even in this short write-up, you can see the gap between where we are now and where we need to go. Hunting and fishing is mentioned as a subset of “agri-tourism.” That’s exactly the approach that’s not going to pay off in the long run.

    For example, one of the reasons mentioned in changing the opening of quail season is the need to help the state’s “marketing plan.”

    No one’s going to deny a need for hunting and angling to play a role in the state’s economy. But it’s our responsibility as hunters and anglers to treat the resource and our natural heritage with respect. That means that we first have to manage for the health of the habitat and the wildlife.

    If wildlife management becomes shunted off into the corner marked “tourism” then we’ve started to treat the outdoors like a gold mine. And what do all gold mines have in common? Eventually they’re played out and they’re empty.

    + Dan @ 03:17pm

    Saturday, March 27 2004

    Federal Case on Illegal Hunting Operation

    The Topeka Capital Journal reports on an undercover operation that resulted in the arrest of three Kansans who are accused of running an elaborate illegal hunting operation in the western part of the state.

    The three are, of course, innocent until proven guilty, but if they are proven guilty, they are in for a world of hurt. That’s a shame, considering how much the Krebs have put into their operation, but the game laws are there for a reason. Illegal and/or unethical hunting outfits don’t help anyone.

    + Dan @ 08:06pm

    Monday, March 8 2004

    MSNBC Gets “Isolated Wetlands”

    Most of the reporting I’ve seen on the “isolated wetlands” issue gets the story wrong. The most common error is an implication that the issue is over and that the conservationists have won.

    This story from MSNBC.com gets the issue exactly right. All the pieces that are usually missing are in the story, including how duck hunters helped bring pressure on the President, how the Corps is still enforcing the White House’s rulemaking that endangers isolated wetlands, and how a normally rock-solid Republican vote is being eroded. Excellent reading, if you want to catch up on the latest developments in the issue.

    + Dan @ 11:17am

    Tuesday, March 2 2004

    No Respect, I Tell Ya

    Is there any group that gets less respect from the Legislature than hunters and anglers? Well, actually there is one - the professionals who manage and protect our resources. Representatives Clay Aurand and John Ballou showed the contempt they have for wildlife management and for good habitat practices at a recent legislative hearing. Remember - if the current crop of legislators had its way, there wouldn’t be any deer hunting in Kansas. If you want to let Representatives Aurand or Ballou know how you feel about what they said, why not dash off an email? (But please, keep it polite.) Representative Aurand’s email is aurand@house.state.ks.us, and Representative Ballou’s is john@johnballou.org.

    + Dan @ 05:26pm

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