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 ksoutdoors.com. Click “Hunting/Special Hunts.” Those who do not have computer access may apply by telephone at 620-672-0791.
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.
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 TuttleCreekState 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 ClintonState Park near Lawrence.
Fall RiverState 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 RiverState Park. Events are planned for all ages. Call the park office at 620-637-2213 for more information.
MeadeState 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 MeadeLakeVisitorCenter. 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 MeadeState 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 nearHillsdaleState 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 HillsdaleLake. Call Corps of Engineers Park Ranger Jim Bell at 913-783-4366 for more information.
MilfordState 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 MilfordNatureCenter,MilfordState 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, KanopolisState 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 atwww.prairielongrifles.com 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 www.natrc.org.