Kansas Wildlife Federation

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Thursday, September 1 2005

Remembering Harold Ensley

It’s appropriate for us to mark the passing of Harold Ensley, The Sportsman’s Friend.

Mr. Ensley was a pioneer of outdoor broadcasting, one of the inventors of the medium. The business of companies like the Outdoor Life Network owe a great deal to Mr. Ensley.

But even more than that, Mr. Ensley passionately loved the outdoors and wanted to share that with us. It’s people like him who have made hunting and fishing beloved traditions in Kansas, and we have a lot to celebrate in this state because of his efforts and the efforts of those he inspired.

+ Dan @ 02:54pm

Wednesday, June 29 2005

Electricity official: “Wind energy is too expensive”

The fight over wind energy in the Flint Hills is hardly unique: it’s one of many. Controversies over appropriate wind energy installations are taking place in West Virginia, New England, Idaho, and overseas in places such as Denmark, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

One of the places where developers are looking to put in wind energy turbines is England’s Lake District, which has been a resort for travellers looking for scenic beauty for hundreds of years.

This article from England’s “News & Star” tells how one electricity expert has declared that wind power is too expensive. It’s commonly assumed that because wind itself is free that wind energy will be “too cheap to meter.” But wind energy usually increases electric bills, because now two power plants are required - the wind turbines themselves, and then a back-up generator for when the wind dies down, or blows too hard, or is blowing a little bit but not very much, or…. You get the idea.

+ Dan @ 05:16pm

Tuesday, June 14 2005

Water, water everywhere….

… at least in parts of Kansas, where we’re at triple the normal rainfall for the month.

In south-east Kansas, Fall River State Park is shut down due to flooding. Cross Timbers State Park is also mostly under water, with the lake being 27 feet above normal. That’s more than a gallon or two.

Continuing with the theme of water, those no-good tree-huggers over at Forbes Magazine carry this article on the effects of fertilizers and manures, which may have effects on freshwater lakes for hundreds of years to come. Predictably, the Farm Bureau’s reaction is “this is not our fault.”

For some good news, there are lots more Kansas lakes open to the average angler, with the state’s new community lake leasing program.

One concern that we have about this program is that it may harm some of the state’s fisheries by exposing them to much more fishing pressure. That bears watching. But on the whole, the benefit to anglers across the state is clear - especially with high gas prices, as many of these smaller community lakes can be worked on foot.

+ Dan @ 12:22pm

Thursday, May 19 2005

See Kansas natural springs on Memorial Day

The Hillsboro Free Press has this terrific story on an upcoming tour of natural springs in the Flint Hills.

The tour is put on by the Peabody Historical Society, as part of their work to preserve the history of Marion County.

The tour includes nine springs, requires hiking shoes, and sounds like a terrific opportunity to see the Flint Hills. For tour reservations or more information, call 620-983-2438 or 620-983-2815.

I’m surprised none of the landowners in question are trying to make money off their springs. In Texas, springs like this are frequently swimming holes, with a little parking, a soda machine, and a few dollars for an entry fee. It’s a way to make money off an asset.

+ Dan @ 02:29pm

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

Wednesday, March 9 2005

Grassland Reserve Program application deadline is near

If you have at least 40 contiguous acres of grasslands, and would like to get some help preserving it, it just might be worth your time to make an application to the USDA’s Grasslands Reserve Program. Kansas has a Fiscal Year 2005 allocation of $2.5 million for ranchers who want to participate in GRP. You’ll need to get moving - the FY 2005 application deadline is April 1, 2005.

A capsule description of GRP from the Natural Resources Conservation Service:

In its third year of existence, GRP is a voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance grasslands on their property through easements (permanent or 30-year) and rental agreements (10-year, 15-year, 20-year, or 30-year). In Kansas, approximately $1.8 million will be set aside for easements, which includes $250,000 that Congress designated for counties in the Flint Hills. Approximately $750,000 will be set aside for rental agreements. Priority will be given to easements and 20-year and 30-year rental agreements. The program emphasizes the preservation of native and natural grasslands and shrublands, support for grazing operations, plant and animal biodiversity, and the protection of grassland that is under multiple threats of conversion.

Grazing, haying, mowing, and harvesting for seed production are all allowable uses under the GRP program. For more information about the program, call 785-823-4571, or go to the Kansas website of the NRCS.

+ Dan @ 01:24pm

Monday, January 31 2005

Kansas State Rifle Association Auction

Our friends over at the Kansas State Rifle Association send word that they’re putting on an auction to benefit their Foundation, and it looks like a doozy. Two hundred guns are up for bid along with hunting accessories, ammunition, reloading equipment, books, and other items.

The auction benefits the KSRA’s efforts to support junior shooting programs such as the Shooting Sports Camp, 4-H Regional and State Shooting Championship, State Daisy/Jaycee B.B Gun Championship, Intermediate/Advanced Junior Olympic Shooting and similar activities.

The auction bill says that the auction starts at 9am on Sunday, February 13, at the Carr Auction Gallery in Larned. There’s also a preview on Saturday, February 12 from 1-4pm, but no doubt you’ll be at the Kansas Wildlife Federation’s Annual Meeting that day.

For more information, including directions or to see the full bill of sale, go to the Carr Auction & Real Estate website.

+ Dan @ 11:35am

Thursday, January 27 2005

The Dark Side of Wind Power

A powerful combination of article and editorial from the Massachusetts paper, the North Adams Transcript. The Berkshire Hills are one of the many places in New England that have been targeted for commercial wind energy.

In Kansas, the issue of wind power is often portrayed as an issue of property rights. One key question in that regard is “what effect do my actions have on my neighbor’s property and its value?” Take a look at some of the quotes regarding the noise impact of wind turbine installations on their neighbors. Here’s one example:

In New York, Pastor Kathleen Danley lives two good-size fields from the Fenner wind-power plant, and describes the noise as “a loud clothes dryer; that would probably be the closest sound, that constant turning sound.”

She explains, “We were told that the windmills had been redesigned so as not to be noisy, but the grinding noise goes on 24 hours a day (when they are operating) and at times is far worse than other times.”

When people ask why wind turbines are incompatible with the Flint Hills, stories like these provide part of answer.

+ Dan @ 10:45am

Tuesday, January 25 2005

Some important dates to keep in mind

Here are some upcoming events that will be of interest to the sportsmen and women of Kansas:

  • On Saturday, February 12, KWF will be holding its Annual Meeting and its Conservation Awards Program at the Holidome in Manhattan. The Annual Meeting is open to all current KWF members, and this is where we’ll decide many of our organization’s stands on the issues we’ll face over the next 12 months. This is your organization too, so if you haven’t come to one of our annual meetings before, please come share your ideas.
  • That night, we’ll be having the Conservation Awards Program, which recognizes real life Kansas heroes who have been making a difference in the state. Come share in our celebration of people who are making Kansas an even better place to live.

  • On Tuesday, February 22, 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.
  • 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 @ 08:18pm

    Monday, January 17 2005

    Prairie Chickens for days!

    Steve Sorensen sends along this link to a picture of a field full of prairie-chickens.

    I can’t count that high, but Steve says there’s about 275 in the picture, which is a panorama of a field in the Flint Hills, near Allen.

    + Dan @ 11:56am

    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

    Friday, January 7 2005

    Fishing and family

    When we’re talking about state-wide policy, it’s easy to talk only about the big things, like the dollars spent by anglers, or the amount of water in the aquifers, or the number of acres in CRP.

    But at the end of the day, what we’re really talking about is the experiences that people have when they go outdoors, and the way that those experiences build traditions and draw families and friends together.

    Brent Frazee has a great example in this Kansas City Star columnabout a father-son team who have been fishing together for more than 40 years. They liked it enough to turn it into the family business. If you’re going to the Kansas City Sportshow, you just might see them.

    + Dan @ 09:56am

    Wednesday, December 29 2004

    2005 Memberships

    Kansas Wildlife Federation is 501c3 organization, and so your membership contributions are fully tax-deductible.

    You can still get in a 2004 tax-deduction - and renew your membership for 2005 - by using our secure online giving page. By typing in your MasterCard or Visa number and selecting an amount before January 1, 2005, you can help out yourself and the outdoors of Kansas.

    If you’ve gotten a membership renewal form from us recently, here’s an easy way to get that taken care without having to find a stamp or get to the post office!

    + Dan @ 02:56pm

    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

    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

    Wednesday, December 8 2004

    NWF, KWF, and the EPA

    The title of this post is quite an alphabet soup, but it is accurate.

    This past week, representatives from National Wildlife Federation affiliates met in Washington DC with senior leadership from the Environmental Protection Agency. The Kansas Wildlife Federation was one of the more than 20 state groups that sent a representative.

    While it’s hard to have an open dialogue with so many people in one room, the meeting did show that there is truly nation-wide interest on the part of hunters and anglers in regards to the issues of mercury emissions and wetlands.

    What we communicated as a group is a level of frustration with the White House’s initiatives in these two areas, mostly because we view the policies as self-contradictory. While it’s great that the President wants to add 3 million acres of wetlands in America, it’s hard to do this when the EPA is still telling the Corps that “isolated wetlands” enjoy no protection.

    If you’re a waterfowler, you know how important seasonal wetlands such as prairie potholes are to the success of duck and goose migration and nesting. A policy to add wetland acreage is laudable, and very possible, but only if we close up a loophole that currently places about 20 million acres at risk.

    Our other agenda item was on mercury. The White House has floated a plan that would cut mercury emissions by 30% over 5 years and 70% over 15 years.

    The problem is that it’s possible to do much better. It’s realistic and cost-effective to cut mercury emissions by 90% by 2010. While we can discuss the right mechanism to cut those emissions, the nation is not served when the goals laid out are so modest.

    Mercury is a special issue for Kansans: we’re 32nd in population in the country - and 18th in mercury emissions.

    + Dan @ 06:07pm

    Monday, November 22 2004

    Join or renew online!

    It’s only a start, and we’re going to work to make it more sophisticated soon, but it’s better than nothing: KWF’s Online Store is now open for business.

    We’re hoping to have some items such as hats and Kansas landscape photography up on the site in time for your Christmas shopping, so watch this space for more details. In the meantime, you can renew your membership or join right now with your Visa or Mastercard.

    + Dan @ 04:26pm

    Wednesday, November 10 2004

    Mountain lions in Kansas

    The question of mountain lions in Kansas comes up pretty frequently. The predators seem to pass through the state from places like Colorado and New Mexico, but it’s doubtful they stay too long here.

    A woman in Colby says she’s spotted a mountain lion near her place. Her neighbors seem to shrug it off:

    Carson said others have seen the cat. “We all leave it alone,” she said. “We all get along with it.”

    + Dan @ 10:20am

    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

    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.


    + Dan @ 04:18pm

    Friday, October 1 2004

    Kansas Deer Forecast

    ESPN Outdoors is always worth checking out, and here’s their Kansas whitetail forecast. Unfortunately, you’ll have to suffer through the cutsie “Wizard of Oz” references, but there’s still good information here.

    One interesting piece to note: bowhunter success rates for residents are actually higher than rifle success rates -47% vs. 43%.

    And if you don’t feel like going all the way to the end of the article, here’s an interesting quote:

    Did you know? Kansas is one of the best trophy buck states in North America, with a virtual lock on big non-typicals in the Pope & Young record book. The Sunflower State has three of the top five, six of the top 10, and 11 of the top 25 non-typicals in the P & Y book …

    + Dan @ 06:14pm

    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:


    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

    Thursday, September 23 2004

    Letter to Editor on Proposed Coal Fired Power Plants

    KWF, along with the Conservation Federation of Missouri, are keeping tabs on a proposed complex of four coal-fired power plants north of Kansas City. The original plans have called for two plants on the Kansas side and two plants on the Missouri side.

    This letter to the editor neatly spells out the many problems associated with the proposal. Kansas is already 18th in the country in mercury emissions, although we’re 32nd in population.

    KWF board member Matt Nowak has been helping to organize opposition to the proposal, and has done some tremendous work. More on this as it makes it way through the planning process.

    + Dan @ 10:07am

    Wednesday, September 15 2004

    Wind Power Forum In Geary County on Sunday

    Jayne Link sends along this notice of a forum this Sunday, put on by our friends at the Tallgrass Ranchers and Protect the Flint Hills.

    Right now, for better or worse, county governments are making the decisions about commercial wind energy in the prairie. Too often, this issue is treated as one of aesthetics, rather than of conservation, ethics, and heritage. This forum should be excellent, and if you live in Geary County, or just care about the county, we’d urge to attend the meeting and find ways to get involved with the decisions your county is making.

    Join Us for a Group Discussion about Industrial Wind Developments in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

    SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2004

    7:00 PM



    Our invited guest speaker is Rose Bacon, who is a rancher from Council Grove. Rose was member of Governor Sebelius’s Wind and Prairie Task Force. A portion of the film ‘Last Stand of the Tall Grass Prairie’ will also be shown, followed by questions and discussion


    Though we are zoned Agricultural, an industrial wind development is being planned for a large area between Humboldt Creek and McDowell Creek. If allowed to go through, this installation would change the quality of life forever.

    Citizen action can affect the outcome but only if we:

    1) Inform Ourselves


    2) Make Our Voices Heard


    This event is sponsored by the Geary County Chapter of Tallgrass Ranchers and Protect the Flint Hills Organizations. For further information call 785-776-8852.

    + Dan @ 12:46pm

    Friday, September 10 2004

    Fancy Creek Range Youth and Disabled Site-in Day

    Bennett Jedlicka sends along this email, announcing a site-in day at a range he works with:

    The Fancy Creek Range will open to sponsor a site in day on Thursday, September 23, to check the accuracy of rifles that will be used for used for the Youth and Disabled deer season. This special season will be Sept. 25 and 26, 2004.

    Fancy Creek Range is located Tuttle Creek State Park at Randolph, Kansas, and has begun its third year of operation. This range facility has hosted members of the public for enjoyment of shooting rifles, pistols and primitive firearms for the past two years. Events geared toward the area youth have included O.K. Kids Day, Youth Hunter Education Challenge, and merit badge classes for interested scout troops. The past two years have also included hosting several adult special events including the popular Women On Target program.

    An active core of volunteers have made the successful operation of this facility possible. The upcoming year includes expanded days of operation. This year, the range is open for the public on all Saturdays in October and November, in addition to year-round first and third weekends and fourth Thursday schedule.

    Events planned for this upcoming year include Hunter Safety class live fire, site in days for firearm deer seasons and fun shoots to introduce novice shooters to the shooting sports. Each month several hours are planned to welcome women to participate together in informal competitions.

    Fancy Creek is an area of Tuttle Creek State Park and more information may be obtained by calling the park office at 785 539-7941.

    + Dan @ 10:03am

    Friday, September 3 2004

    Volunteer Opportunity

    The Kansas Wildlife Federation, in conjunction with Kansas Big Brothers/Big Sisters, is working to put on a Casting Clinic for Kids in El Dorado, on Saturday, September 25. We have just about everything we need, but we need a few more instructors.

    Our goal is to teach the good casting form for all kinds of fishing methods, and set these anglers on the right track for terrific presentation.

    If you have some time on that Saturday morning and would like to volunteer your services, please email us here in Topeka or call the KWF office at 785-232-3238.

    + Dan @ 10:58am

    Tuesday, August 17 2004

    New State Smallmouth Record

    Congratulations are in order for Jason Heis, a Salina man who set the new state record for smallmouth bass, bringing in a 6-pound, 11-ounce fish.

    Jason caught his fish off the dam face at Milford, which has to be one of the best fishing lakes in the Great Plains.

    + Dan @ 09:38am

    Friday, August 6 2004

    Information Needed on Styrofoam and Turtles

    The quoted email below is from Joseph Collins at the Center for North American Herpetology sent over this email, looking for assistance. The short version: we need to find out whether styrofoam is a threat to turtle survival in the outdoors. If you have any information, please scroll down to the bottom and follow up on the email address provided.

    Common Snapping Turtles and Styrofoam

    We received this call for information regarding Common Snapping Turtles. If you have any information regarding this request, please use the contact information below.

    I recently received a message about a turtle die-off in northeastern Wisconsin and then had a follow-up call that one of the not-so-fresh dead turtles was cut open to examine stomach content. The turtle, a Common snapping Turtle, had a bunch of white Styrofoam in its stomach that was one of those small night crawler boxes prior to consumption. The caller wondered if the smell of the worms had caused the turtle to be attracted to the box or if it simply went after the white Styrofoam. This is one of several reports I have received in recent weeks about turtle die-offs, usually involving a small number of turtles. Die-offs at this time of year are usually uncommon to non-existent here as most usually appear to be associated with over wintering mortality or post-emergence die-offs of weakened animals.

    I am writing to see if anyone has documented or found anecdotal information regarding the threat of Styrofoam to turtles and whether the discarded night crawler box issue is cause for concern related to turtle survival. I tend to see these discarded boxes almost everywhere I see fishing activity, so this problem could be a potentially serious one for turtles if consumption causes mortality.

    Respond to:

    Robert Hay
    Cold-blooded Species Manager
    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
    Endangered Resources Program
    P. O. Box 7921
    Madison, WI 53707
    email: robert.hay@dnr.state.wi.us

    + Dan @ 11:05am

    Thursday, July 22 2004

    Beautiful letter about wind energy

    It’s important to keep re-iterating that the Kansas Wildlife Federation is not against commercial wind power - but we are for the Flint Hills - and all the rest of our state’s remaining grasslands. When you examine the question of wind energy from this angle, you start to see some serious flaws in the plan.

    So while we wouldn’t agree with everything in the letter quoted below, it’s an example of some important truths that often get overlooked in the discussion about commercial wind power.

    The Manhattan Mercury News doesn’t seem to link its Letters to the Editor page, so I’ll just quote this piece in its entirety. Click on “more” to read it: (more…)

    + Dan @ 10:37am

    Tuesday, July 20 2004

    Platte River Input Needed by August 20th.

    Kansas is one of the most important stops along the Central Flyway for migratory birds.

    But all of the Great Plains states are important for that migration route, and Nebraska’s Platte River plays a critical part for cranes, shore birds and waterfowl.

    Like many rivers west of the Mississippi, the Platte is over-allocated - more water is awarded for pumping out than actually flows in.

    Right now, our partners in the National Wildlife Federation and the Nebraska Wildlife Federation are working hard to make sure that management plans for the river take wildlife into account.

    You can help by sending in your comments to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. NWF has made it easy for you: all you need to do is to click on this link and you’ll be taken to NWF’s letter page, where you can send your comments off in a few seconds.

    And if you want to take a look at what’s at stake, National Geographic has some highlights of this year’s crane migration through the Platte River area.

    + Dan @ 01:48pm

    The Cabela’s Catfish Tournament

    Did you know that one of the four stops in the Cabela’s national catfishing tournament, the KingKat series, was held at Milford? Somehow I missed that.

    Here’s a story about your winners: a pair of anglers from the Naperville, IL area. Jack Paul and Benji Powell did their homework, spent a day out scouting, and then teamed up to reel in 85 pounds of catfish.

    The “in your face” moment, however, comes here:

    “We could have brought in seven fish,” Paul noted. “But we only brought in six (for the victory). We didn’t have enough room in our boat’s live well. ”

    + Dan @ 01:29pm

    Thursday, June 24 2004

    Migratory Bird Management Shift Proposed

    Steve Sorensen, KWF President, sends along this email:

    There is bad news in Washington regarding migratory bird management. The Fisheries Subcommittee of the House Resources Committee is conducting a hearing Thursday, June 24, on H.R. 3320, introduced last fall by Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.). The bill would place all activities under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act under the auspices of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, instead of the Fish and Wildlife Service. It would also exempt the agency from the National Environmental Policy Act.

    Please take a moment and contact your U. S. Representative (go to http://www.house.gov/) and ask him what kind of politics they are playing in Washington. Putting the Agriculture Department in charge of migratory birds is like putting a weasel in charge of the rabbit hutch. It will be interesting to see how they respond to your inquiry. Excluding non-native birds from the migratory treaty act is a good move, since it would allow control of such invasive species as mute swans, which have wrecked havoc on the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.

    Steve sends along the following article, which is quoted in its entirety, as it’s behind a paid subscription wall. Click on “more” to see it.


    + Dan @ 10:53am

    Wednesday, June 16 2004

    What’s Going on with the Flint Hills?

    Awhile back, we got word from Audubon of Kansas about a “Kansas Field Tour” of the Flint Hills. One full day was given to the topic of commercial wind energy development, with two speakers from wind power companies, and one rancher who’s been a wind power booster.

    Conspicuous by their absence was any presenter with doubts about commercial wind energy and the industrialization of the Flint Hills. Ron Klataske got in touch with one of the organizers and asked about this lack of balance, and he was told the conference wasn’t intended to be balanced.

    That’s a problem. KWF wrote the following letter to the Governor, just to ask what was happening and what the intent was. To date, we haven’t heard back, but in fairness, I was told the staffer who was assigned to respond to us had been ill lately. To read the letter, click on “more.”


    + Dan @ 08:54am

    Thursday, June 10 2004

    Natural Resource Leadership Camp for Youth

    John Bond of the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams sends along this announcement of the Natural Resources Leadership Camp.

    This looks really neat. The camp is from July 5 to July 10, at the Rock Springs 4-H Camp near Junction City and Manhattan. Here’s some more of the description:

    The Natural Resource Leadership Camp is a week long camping experience for Kansas youths ages 12-15, with lots to do, plenty to learn, and many new friendships to make, all in a unique and positive setting. The emphasis is on learning, fun, and leadership.

    Learn about Kansas natural resources and how to protect them
    Get hands-on instruction from resource professionals.
    Develop leadership skills in games and community involvement
    Expand on leadership skills in second and third years with camp leader roles and resource based business visits

    For more information, call Laura Downey, Executive Director of the Kansas Association of Conservation and Environmental Education, at 785-532-3322.

    + Dan @ 05:18pm

    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

    Friday, May 7 2004

    If Only There Were More Like Him….

    Steve Sorensen sends this news along from the Kansas Wildlife Officers Association. No link, so I’ll quote the whole thing:


    Long-time dedication to natural resource law cited

    At the Kansas Wildlife and Parks annual law enforcement in-service training in Salina last March, Magistrate Judge Adrian Lapka, Minneapolis, received an award of appreciation from the Kansas Wildlife Officers Association. Judge Lapka received his recognition plaque for his years of support to the natural resources of Kansas while serving as magistrate judge of Ottawa and Saline counties.

    “Judge Lapka has a history of solid judgments against wildlife violators who are found guilty in his courts,” says local natural resource officer Greg Salisbury, who nominated Lapka for his award. “Judge Lapka levies appropriate fines to those who harm the natural resources of the state of Kansas.”

    Magistrate Judge William Barker of Abilene also received recognition from the Kansas Wildlife Officers Association.

    For me, the critical point is in the second paragraph. The fact that the judge stands out for levying appropriate fines not only says good things about him, but also why Kansas has a problem with poaching and illegal hunting.

    + Dan @ 11:01am

    Monday, April 26 2004

    Flint Hills Burns

    One of the most dramatic sights in Kansas is a prairie fire at night. The Topeka Capitol Journal has this article giving an overview of spring range burning.

    Range burning in Kansas simulates pre-settlement prairie fires, but “natural” fires would vary in time throughout the year, and might happen once every two or three years. Why does intense burning happen in one short period of time, every year?

    Here’s the money quote, (literally speaking):

    “There’s plenty of research showing that if you burn at the right time, your cattle could gain as much as 30 pounds per head in weight,” McClure said. “Historically, in Riley County, that ‘right time’ is between April 15 and May 1.”

    With live cattle recently priced at $86 per hundredweight, a shipment of 1,000 cattle could gain a $25,000 price advantage from the grass being burned at the “right time.” That’s awfully hard to walk away from.

    Unfortunately, there are other impacts. The tremendous amount of acreage being burned at more or less the same time creates air quality problems in Kansas City (which has enough all on its own), and harms prairie-chicken populations as well as other birds in the Flint Hills.

    It’s important to keep in mind that conservation problems rarely have simple causes, simple effects, or simple solutions.

    + Dan @ 09:59am

    Wednesday, March 17 2004

    Fear Mongering, Part 5,162

    One of the most objectionable tactics of The Old Guard in Kansas is that they never hesitate to pump in a bunch of fear and loathing into the debate over how we should manage our natural resources.

    This letter to the editor is a prime example. You can search all through this letter, but you won’t find any mention of the coming water crisis in Kansas, or of how the rural economy of Kansas has been slowly sinking out of sight. What you will find is an attempt to whip people into a frenzy over the prospect of “land grabbing bureaucrats.”

    America has enough real enemies. We don’t need to be inventing phony ones.

    + Dan @ 04:27pm

    Thursday, March 4 2004

    Crane Cam!

    KWF President Steve Sorensen sends along this link to a live webcam of the Rowe Sanctuary along the Platte River.

    To view the cam, click on the link above, then click on Launch Crane Cam. It runs at limited hours, which are posted on the web site. As of this writing, those are 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. this week and then longer hours as daylight lengthens and crane numbers increase. Happy Viewing!

    + Dan @ 08:13pm

    Tuesday, March 2 2004

    Pass It On Fundraising Event

    Pheasants Forever has teamed up with Kansas Big Brothers/Big Sisters to create Pass It On. The Big Brothers take their charges out hunting and help pass on the tradition. You can find out more about it (and support it) by going to their next benefit, the 2004 Bust-a-Clay for Kids’ Sake.

    + Dan @ 05:21pm

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