Monthly Archives: September 2012

Kansas Fall Turkey Season Opens October 1

Chance for Thanksgiving wild turkey dinner

The fall turkey season doesn’t have the tradition or build-up that surrounds the spring turkey season but only because it’s overshadowed by deer, waterfowl and upland bird hunting seasons. Kansasfall turkey hunters enjoy unsurpassed opportunities, in terms of season length, generous bag limits and odds of success.

The fall turkey season opens Oct. 1 and runs through Jan. 31, 2013, closing during firearm deer seasons. Hunters may hunt with shotguns, 20 gauge or larger using shot size No. 2 or smaller, and archery equipment. There are six Turkey Management Units established for the 2012-2013 season. In the past, the state was divided into four units; however biologists felt that new unit boundaries would allow more precise turkey population management and enhanced hunting opportunities. Unit 4 (southwest) is closed to fall turkey hunting. Hunters may obtain one turkey permit, valid in Units 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6, and hunters who possess a turkey permit may also purchase up to three turkey game tags, which are valid in Units 2, 3, 5 and 6. The turkey permit and turkey game tags each allow the harvest of one hen or tom turkey. Consult the 2012 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary for more information, as well as a map showing the new Turkey Management Units.

Last fall, just more than 8,000 hunters pursued turkeys in Kansas, and more than 30 percent of them took at least one turkey. All units provide excellent hunting opportunities, and the good news is that after several years of poor production and declining numbers, the population in southeast Kansas is rebounding. Many public lands managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, as well as Walk-In Hunting Access lands hold turkeys, so hunters have a variety of choices.

Hunters also have several choices when it comes to the way they hunt fall turkeys. In the spring, only tom turkeys are legal, and most birds are taken when they respond to hunters’ calls imitating a hen. In the fall, there is no breeding activity, so hunters usually stalk birds or set up a point of ambush and hunt from a blind. However, calling can be effective in the fall. A popular hunting technique in regions with more fall turkey hunting tradition is to use a dog to scatter turkey flocks. Once dispersed, the hunter and dog hide quietly for a time. There is safety in numbers for turkeys, and the urge to re-flock is strong. Birds will use a “kee-kee-run” call to regroup, and the hiding hunter can imitate this call to bring a bird within shotgun or bow range. Dogs are not allowed during the spring season.

Whatever the technique, fall turkey hunting can be a break from the more traditional fall pursuits, as well as an exciting adventure. And those who’ve tried it will testify that roasted wild turkey is a welcome addition to the Thanksgiving table.

Monster Blue Catfish Certified as Kansas Record

New record blue cat betters old record by more than 8 pounds

After the required 30-day waiting period, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has officially recognized a 102.8-pound blue catfish as a new state record. Rob Stanley, ofOlathe, caught the fish, which bests the former state record blue by more than 8 pounds.

When Stanley hooked into a blue catfish while fishing the Missouri River on August 11, he was pretty sure it was bigger than most he’d caught. Stanley had taken a 70-pounder from the Kansas Riverearlier in the summer, and this fish was showing his heavy tackle surprising power as it bulldogged in the big river’s muddy current.

After a 40-minute battle that required pulling anchor to follow the fish downstream and prevent it from taking all of Stanley’s 80-pound-test line from his reel, Stanley and his boat partner, Brad Kirkpatrick, realized the fish wouldn’t fit in their over-sized net. They wrestled the monster fish into the boat and immediately weighed it on a digital scale. When it “bottomed-out” the 100-pound scale, Stanley and Kirkpatrick knew they had a special fish.

After calling KDWPT fisheries biologist Andy Jansen, Stanley kept the big cat in an aerated tank near the river. After weighing the fish on certified scales and species confirmation by Jansen, Stanleyreleased the fish back to the Missouri River.

Stanley caught the new state record blue catfish at 5 a.m. using cut bait (Asian carp caught from the river). The fish was 56.75 inches long and had a girth of 39 inches.

            Blue catfish are native to eastern Kansas rivers, and there are historical records of fish weighing more than 100 pounds. However, interest in catching blue catfish has been growing in recent years afterKansas biologists began stocking them into reservoirs. Milford Reservoir, near Junction City, received its first blue catfish stocking in 1990 and has gained a reputation for producing blue cats weighing more than 50 pounds. Some anglers believe the next state record is already swimming in Milford. Other reservoirs stocked with blue catfish include Tuttle Creek, El DoradoClinton, Perry, Melvern, Wilson, Cheney, John Redmond, Kanopolis, Lovewell and Glen Elder. It’s too early to tell if blue cats will thrive and grow in other reservoirs the way they have in Milford, but if they do, anglers better hang on to their rods.

Kansas Forest Service’s 125th Anniversary Open House Oct. 4

 Earlier this year the Kansas Forest Service turned one-hundred twenty five years old. In honor of that milestone event, the Agency is hosting an open house at 

2610 Claflin RoadManhattanKS

 from 2:00 to 6:00 pm Thursday, October 4.

            Planned educational activities and demonstrations include:

♦ experiencing a 75-year-old Ponderosa Pine plantation,

♦ updates on pine wilt and emerald ash borer,

♦ touring the greenhouse and shade house seedling production operation,

♦ seeing a tree planter and weed barrier fabric machine used to plant tree seedlings,

♦ getting an up-close look at a wildfire engine and a wildfire tender truck,

♦ seeing the conversion of logs to lumber via a portable sawmill,

♦ viewing woody biofuels (pellets and bricks), and unique tree species in the Agency’s memorial and honorarium garden,

♦ learning how to properly care for your trees, and

♦ touring a unique hardwood paneled office building,

            Demonstration, tour and discussion start times are 2:30, 3:15, 4:15 and 5:00.

NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant Applications Due October 15

$5 Million in Conservation Innovation Grants Available

for Development of Novel Agricultural Practices

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Eric B. Banks, reminds private individuals, tribes, local and state governments and non-governmental organizations that applications for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) are due October 15, 2012.  Apply electronically at or contact the NRCS National CIG office at (703) 235-8065.

Banks said that up to $5 million in grants are available to evaluate and demonstrate agricultural practices that help farmers and ranchers adapt to drought.  NRCS is taking applications for CIGs to help producers build resiliency into their production systems so they can adapt to climatic extremes, such as the historic drought impacting the nation.

            NRCS is offering the grants to partnering entities to evaluate innovative, field-based conservation technologies and approaches.  These technologies and/or approaches should lead to improvements such as enhancing the water-holding capacity in soils and installing drought-tolerant grazing systems, which will help farms and ranches become more resilient to drought.

            “Severe drought conditions across the U.S. have greatly impacted the livelihood of our farmers and ranchers,” said NRCS Chief Dave White.  “Conservation Innovation Grants allow us to generate and deploy as soon as possible cutting-edge ideas that help farmers and ranchers run sustainable and profitable operations.”

            Funds will be awarded through a competitive grants process for projects lasting for one to three years.

            NRCS is especially interested in projects that demonstrate:

♦ Cropping or grazing systems that increase resiliency to drought through improved soil health

♦ Increases in available soil water-holding capacity by enhancing organic matter with reduced tillage, cover crops, and organic amendments

♦ Improvements in water use efficiency for agricultural production

♦ Coordination with NRCS Plant Material Centers in using drought-resistant plants and practices

♦ Recommendations for appropriate nutrient management following an extended drought

♦ Analysis on a regional basis of how agricultural production and conservation systems faired during drought conditions

♦ Agricultural approaches that flourished in low-precipitation areas

♦ Traditional/historical production practices that have proven effective in dealing with drought

♦ Alternative feeding systems for confined animal operations that incorporate novel drought-tolerant feedstocks

♦ Alternative housing or cooling systems for improved energy efficiency and better climate control in confined animal operations

♦ Technologies that reduce water use in confined animal operations

View the complete Announcement of Program Funding at or NRCS is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Quail Initiative Field Day

If you are a landowner or land manager interested in improving your property for quail, you should attend the Quail Management Field Day October 20th at the Melvern Wildlife Area shop at Reading. The event starts with a breakfast being served at 8 am. Presentations will include quail biology and management, habitat improvements in the field, and cost share programs available to put quail habitat on your land. There also will be a demonstration of a tree saw and clipper. The event should end around noon.

The event is presented by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. Registration is required so they have enough food! Call 620-342-0658 by October 16 for reservations.

The event is mostly designed to introduce landowners within the KDWPT Kansas Quail Initiative northern focal area to this new program. However, presenters will discuss general quail biology and management and also look at some of the practices used at Melvern Wildlife Area to improve quail habitat, so area constituents may be interested in attending.

Sponsors of the event include: Emporia Chapter of Upland Wildlife FederationNeosho Valley Chapter of Quail ForeverNatural Resources Conservation ServiceOsage County Conservation DistrictCoffey County Conservation DistrictLyon County Conservation DistrictMelvern Lake Watershed Restoration & ProtectionNational Wild Turkey FederationFlint Hills NWR – U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; and Reed Company LLC of Lebo.

October 1 Deadline for Fall/Winter Special Hunt Applications

Nearly 300 Kansas special hunts are available by drawing for fall 2012; October 1 deadline

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) Special Hunts Program offers a variety of limited hunts, many designed to introduce youth and novices to hunting in an uncrowded setting with opportunity for success. About 300 special hunts are available.

The application period for November, December, and January special hunts runs through 9 a.m. on Oct. 1, with drawing results emailed by Oct. 5. Special hunts will be conducted in all regions of the state on both public and private land. The hunts are located on KDWPT managed lands, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-managed lands and some WIHA properties.

Not all special hunts are for youth or novices. Many are open to all hunters, and each special hunt targets specific game species, including doves, upland game, waterfowl, and deer. Hunts on public lands are typically on refuges and state parks where access is limited to a few opportunities each year.

Specifically, there are three categories of hunts: open, youth, and mentor. Open hunts are available to all hunters. Youth hunts require parties to include at least one youth 15 or younger who must be accompanied by an adult 18 or older. Some youth hunts may have more specific age requirements, and adults may not hunt. Mentor hunts are open to both youth and/or inexperienced hunters who are supervised by a licensed adult 18 or older (mentor). A mentor is a licensed hunter 18 years or older who supervises and/or participates in a hunt restricted to youth or novice hunters. Some hunts require the supervising adult to be 21 years or older.

Many veteran hunters find new satisfaction in serving as mentors, introducing a relative, friend, or neighbor to the wonder of the hunt in a wildlife-rich setting. Parents or grandparents may take children or grandchildren who have never hunted but show an interest. Mentors and novices do not have to be related.

Hunter Education is not required for youth 15 and younger accompanied by an adult 18 or older. However, persons 16 and older who do not have hunter education may purchase a one-time-deferral apprentice hunting license, which exempts them from the hunter education requirement through the calendar year in which it is purchased. All hunters 16 and older need a valid Kansas hunting license.

For more detailed information or to apply, go online to Click “Hunting/Special Hunts.” Those who do not have computer access may apply by telephone at 620-672-0791.

Drought Affects Kansas Trees

Extreme drought causes early onset of fall color; resource damage expected

The Kansas drought is impacting all native habitat elements, including those normally most resistant – trees. Currently, more than 88 percent of the state falls into “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, causing visible damage and unusual conditions in timber resources. Onset of fall color is at least a month early, and many weakened trees may die over the next few years.

Katie Dhungel, District Forester based in Iola for the Kansas State Forest Service, is receiving numerous calls about residential and forest trees. “The color we’re seeing right now is an indication that trees are suffering. It’s actually somewhat muted compared to real fall color. Some trees are simply scorched with leaves turning brown. In others, drought has caused an abnormal early shutdown, so that secondary leaf pigments are simulating fall color.”

Making matters worse, recent rains have reversed this confused growth cycle in some locations, so that new leaves are actually shooting out. New growth may not have time to mature and harden against coming cold weather, which will further weaken the trees.

A return to more normal precipitation will help, but drought-damaged trees will be vulnerable to insect and disease problems. Tree mortality will certainly occur, with native trees like hackberry, maples, and oaks on sunny, exposed hillsides most at risk. Should the drought continue, tree damage will be worse.

“I expect a lot of calls early next year,” says Dhungel. The worst drought-stricken trees will probably try to leaf out and then die in early summer.”

All of Kansas is affected, though current tree problems are most noticeable in the state’s eastern third, where trees are abundant. Hardest-hit areas are the southern half of this region, with slightly-better soil moisture conditions occurring north and east.

Visit Kansas State Parks for Late-Season Events

Fall events scheduled; Pleasant weather makes camping enjoyable

Labor Day marks the end of camping season for many, but don’t stop yet. Kansas outdoors enthusiasts who venture out now can see the year’s best color while enjoying mild weather. And Kansasstate parks continue to provide opportunities of special interest for those who visit public lands.

Todd Lovin, Tuttle Creek State Park Manager, reminds football fans that Tuttle Creek State Park is a great place to camp with quick access to K-State home football games. Motel rooms can be hard to find on game weekends, even in outlying cities. Located just a few miles from the stadium, the state park offers a nifty alternative, especially with the new online reservation system that allows one to check availability and reserve a place for desired dates. KU fans have the same opportunity at Clinton State Park near Lawrence.

Fall River State Park southeast of Eureka hosts its annual Fall River Rendezvous on September 29, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., in the Fredonia Bay Area. This event is a living history encampment of Mountain Men and American Indians from the early 1800s era. Demonstrations include blacksmithing, flint knapping, Dutch oven cooking, weaving, black powder shooting, tomahawk throwing, and archery. The event also celebrates National Public Lands Day and allows free entrance to Fall River State Park. Events are planned for all ages. Call the park office at 620-637-2213 for more information.

Meade State Park and its friends group will host the Second Annual Car and Bike Show, Saturday, Sept. 29, 9:00 a.m – 3:00 p.m., in the parking lot of the Meade Lake Visitor Center. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m., with a $25 fee for the first vehicle and $10 for additional entries. Registration fees include a park permit, one meal ticket, a dashboard plaque, and a T-shirt.

Awards for antique and modern cars and bikes will be awarded for Best of Show, People’s Choice, and Longest Distance for participation. Friends of Meade State Park will also present a Friend’s Choice cash award, with the winning car and bike used in advertising for next year’s show.

All spectators will have free park entrance for this event. A meal will be provided at the cost of $7 for exhibitors and $8 for spectators. For more information call the park office at 620-873-2572.

A Hillsdale Lake National Public Lands Day-Fish Habitat Project is scheduled on Sept. 28-29 nearHillsdale State Park north of Paola. Volunteers are needed to assist with anchoring trees and placing brush in shoreline zones that are critical fish habitat. Low lake levels provide an ideal time for this construction, which should improve fishing at Hillsdale Lake. Call Corps of Engineers Park Ranger Jim Bell at 913-783-4366 for more information.

Milford State Park will host its annual “Monster Myths By Moonlight” on October 13 at the MilfordState Park office from 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. This popular event, themed for Halloween, features a hayrack ride, a trail walk with various live animal presentations, and park staff dressed in costumes. Refreshments are served. The event draws up to 1,000 people annually and is sponsored by Milford Nature Center,Milford State Park, and the Milford State Park Friends Group.

Event admission is free, though a state park vehicle permit is necessary to enter the park. Youngsters are encouraged to dress in Halloween costumes. For more information, call the state park office at 785-238-3014.

Rounding out the fall season, Kanopolis State Park hosts its 33rd Prairie Long Rifles Fall Rendezvous, October 28 at Mulberry Campground. Admission to the event is free, but a vehicle entrance permit is required to enter the park. Camping and shooting events are planned. Merchants and craftsmen in character will display skills, and share goods for sale or barter. Information is available Also at Kanopolis, a North American Trail Ride Conference competitive trail ride will be held October 26- October 29, at Rockin’K Campground, Multi-Use Trails and Rockin’K Shelter. For more information, visit online at

The 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act

   The 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act is October 18, 2012.

                                  by Ted Beringer

Prior to passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, over 60% of the lakes, rivers and coastal water along the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts were judged unsafe for swimming and fishing. Although a forerunner of the Clean Water Act was essentially passed in 1948 as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, it was not adequately enforced.  In the 1960s a group of blue-collar fisherman became incensed by flagrant disregard for the original law by corporations that caused fish to die or taste like motor oil in the Hudson River. They organized the Hudson River Fisherman’s Association and successfully brought the Penn Central Railroad to court and stopped them from dumping oil into the Hudson River. They collected $2,000 under a 19th century statute forbidding pollution of American waters that also stipulated a reward for reporting violations. The ability of citizens to bring such lawsuits was given greater leverage by passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972. The Clean Water Act intended to achieve “zero discharge of pollutants into navigable waters by 1985, and fishable and swimmable waters by 1983”. As a result, many of the nation’s waterways have been significantly improved. Nevertheless many lakes, rivers and estuaries remain polluted while continuing attempts to weaken the Clean Water Act intensify by mining and agricultural organizations as well as by many land developers and energy companies. In 2001, the Clean Water Act was weakened by a stunning Supreme Court decision that effectively exempted many creeks, rivers and streams in the United States from protection under the Clean Water Act. Protection of wetland habitat used by migratory birds was particularly undermined by the Court decision that exempted “isolated wetlands” from protection.

In the local context of Kansas, the American Rivers organization has named the Kansas River as one of the ten most endangered American rivers for the year 2012. The fear is that unabated sand and gravel dredging could cause severe harm to clean water and wildlife. For a complete the list of endangered rivers visit

Waterkeeper Alliance, the organization that evolved from the original Hudson River Fisherman’s Association, has placed its magazine issue commemorating the Clean Water Act online at

Moms & Children Getting Outdoors

How Moms and Their Children Can Stay Fit Outside in a Busy World

by Len Saunders

A vast majority of moms want to maintain a healthy lifestyle through a regimented wellness program, but their time is limited. Once a mom starts juggling so many obligations, exercise, sadly, gets a low priority on her “to do” list. At the same time, they want to get their children involved in physical activities since so many of our youth have developed a sedentary lifestyle. So, how does a mom satisfy and balance all her needs?

Fear not, as all of us share one common ‘workout’ gym – The Great Outdoors – and there are no monthly fees to join.

Going outside with your children is a very positive and rewarding experience, while also being beneficial to a child’s normal growth and development. Many parents are now taking the “lead by example” approach with regards to playing in the great outdoors with their children. Olympic gold medalist and mother,Shannon Miller, agrees, saying, “Vitamin D and fresh air are always a plus when you play outside with your children. Getting outdoors is a good way to vary the terrain and try new things. There are endless games and activities that you can enjoy to keep it fresh and exciting.  In addition, outdoor play is typically very inexpensive. Hiking, biking, swimming, or even morning yoga is a perfect way to squeeze in exercise without making it feel like work.”

Parents are so influential in the health of their children.

If a parent leads a sedentary lifestyle, this is what the child sees as the “norm.” If a parent is active outside on a regular basis, going for walks or hikes, then a child sees this as the standard. In the latter scenario, both parent and child will benefit performing activities together outside that promote physical activity. Sadly, playing outside is slowly becoming a lost art for kids for many reasons:

• Parents want their kids supervised 24/7 for safety

• Technology is becoming a child’s number one choice for play

• Too much homework to finish

• Social responsibilities

• Lack of outside “play creativity”

• Weather/climate issues

A parent that successfully gets their child outside on a regular basis is teaching their child a valuable lesson about a healthy lifestyle, and creative positive, lifetime habits that will carry on well into adulthood.

The Benefits of Outdoor Play

Countless individuals do not understand the value of playing outside. In fact, the EPA estimates that most Americans spend an average of 90% or greater of their time indoors. In our busy world, getting outside sometimes gets pushed to the curb. Tina Vindum, the author of “Outdoor Fitness- Step Out of the Gym and into the Best Shape of Your Life,” suggests some great health advantages to exercising outside.

• Learn a new degree of body/mind awareness by using a variety of movement patterns over varied terrain- building muscle, burning fat, and increasing joint stability.

• Be truly in the company of Mother Nature, where all your senses come alive; leaving you feeling refreshed, invigorated, and motivated.

• Lose more body fat on colder days- Outdoor Fitness enables people to use up to 12% more calories and burn up to 32% more fat than a typical indoor workout.

• Nature-based exercise not only builds physical fitness, but also strengthens our senses, our intellectual capacity, and our emotional health.

• Mood elevation and stress relief that leaves you feeling alert, refreshed, and alive through the intake of fresh air and natural light- called the “Biophilia Effect.”

• Spending time in greenery and forests increases the production of Natural Killer Cells- anti cancer proteins. Studies show that this boost can last 7-30 days.

The most important thing: just get your kids outside and play with them whenever you get the time. The benefits will lead the way to a healthier lifestyle for your children.

Activities Parents and Children Can Do Outside:

Playing with your children outside helps them develop physically, mentally, and socially. Many of those activities you used to do as a child still work today. A little creativity can take you a long way. Personal trainer Nicole Palacios gives these suggested activities for you and your child while playing outside.

♦ Running- Place your young child in a stroller and job, or if they are bigger, have them run alongside you at the park or playground. Make a game out of it if the child is too old to go running the stroller. Catch, chase, tag, etc. Everyone gets their exercise!

♦ Obstacle courses- Step up an obstacle course in your home yard or outdoors at a park. Run, jump, crawl, and go over and under.

♦ Outdoor baby or toddler fit exercise class- Mom works out for her needs, child gets to spend time with mom and interact with other babies/toddlers.

♦ Hiking- Hike with your baby in a backpack or have your toddler/child hiking with you. Take in nature and make a scavenger hunt where you look for certain nature items along the way. Enter your zip code in NatureFind to find great outdoor places near you.

♦ Go Geocaching- If your kids are 6 or older, kick up the hike a notch with Ranger Rick’s Geocache Trails, an outdoor treasure hunt using GPS technology to find items hidden in the great outdoors.

♦ Pick-up sports- Playing soccer, badminton, hockey; whatever you enjoy doing with your kids that takes you outside.

Find out more ways to get outside in the great outdoors. Sign up for our free monthly e-newsletter.