Monthly Archives: September 2012

Cargill Cares Council Presents $10,000 Grant to Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors, Inc.

Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors announced today that it was awarded a $10,000.00 grant from the Wichita Cargill Cares Council.  This generous donation will be used to supplement Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors’ efforts to give more children the opportunity to experience the great outdoors with a caring mentor.  Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors works with state fish and wildlife agencies, conservation groups and youth organizations to reach out to underserved youth, giving them the chance to experience the great outdoors.

“Too many children are spending too little time outdoors,” indicated Michael Christensen, President of Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors, Inc.  “It is up to the outdoor community to step up and introduce these children to the great outdoors that we all know and love if we are to see our outdoor heritage passed along to the next generation.  This generous donation from the Cargill Cares will help young people in the Greater Wichita Metropolitan Area develop healthy lifestyles, understand the importance of their natural environment and avoid risky behavior through participation in traditional outdoor activities and practical environmental projects with carefully screened, caring adult mentors through programs provided in partnership with local conservation groups and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.”

“Cargill is a company with a long and rich heritage tied to agriculture, the land and nature, and we believe it is important for children to have an opportunity to experience outdoor activities and learn about, and appreciate, the importance and value of the natural environment,” said Matt Gardner, Wichita Cargill Cares Council chairman.  “We are pleased to be able to support such a worthy effort by an organization with the passion and commitment of Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors, Inc.”Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors has partnered with state fish and wildlife agencies, conservation organizations and youth organizations to give at-risk children outdoor opportunities they would not have had otherwise.  “There are many organizations providing outdoor activities.  It is imperative that we involve children who are not connected to these organizations to insure that they have the chance to experience the wonders and joys of the great outdoors that we all know and love,” stated Christensen.

For other opportunities to introduce children to the natural world see the links at the Kansas Wildlife Federation’s “Education” webpage at

EQIP for Forestry Concerns

Kansas landowners wishing to implement conservation practices by improving tree stands may be eligible for federal funding assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP),” said Eric B. Banks, State Conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

The program provides funds to help landowners manage woodlands, renovate windbreaks, protect against streambank erosion or implement other conservation practices on their land, said Bob Atchison, rural forestry program coordinator with the Kansas Forest Service.

            “Landowners who are interested should start the application process early by contacting their local Natural Resources Conservation Service Office, in your local U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Center (,” Atchison said. 

            A forester then visits the landowner’s property to identify natural resource concerns, such as gaps or dead trees in windbreaks and shelterbelts.  If the property has sufficient resource concerns making it eligible for EQIP funds, the forester creates a conservation plan and submits it to the NRCS, which ranks applications based on priority.

            Common resource concerns foresters are watching for include a shortage of trees next to streambanks, leading to bank erosion that contributes to the sedimentation of federal water reservoirs.  “We want trees planted along the banks to help hold the soil in place,” Atchison said.

            Foresters also examine the species present in woodland areas.  Most woodlands in Kansasare not managed, leading to an abundance of trees like honey locust and Osage orange, which are less beneficial than trees such as black walnut or bur oak.

            While the official deadline for applying for EQIP is November 16Atchison encouraged landowners to apply early and begin talking with their foresters about conservation practices now.

            “EQIP helps address the unique circumstances and concerns of socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers, who have natural resource concerns that need to be addressed on their land,” said Banks.  Qualifying Kansas producers compete separately and receive higher payment rates.

            Additional information about EQIP, may be found on the Web at

Calling all Refuge System photographers!

The 2012 Refuge Photo Contest is now open and accepting entries through October 12, 2012, the end of National Wildlife Refuge Week. This year Southwest Airlines, the official airlines of NWRA, has generously donated the grand prize of $2,000 and 4 round trip tickets. For more information and contest details please visit

Each year we receive outstanding images that showcase the natural beauty and wonder of our wildlife refuges. We look forward to your submissions!

Don’t forget to ‘like’ the National Wildlife Refuge Association’s facebook page for contest updates and previews of the outstanding 2012 photos!

TV Show Host Charged With Wildlife Violations

Court records indicate that Tennessee resident William “Spook” Spann, 49, was charged in U.S. District Court in Kansas CityKan. on Sept. 6 with transportation of wildlife from Kansas to Tennessee that he allegedly obtained in violation of Kansas hunting laws.

The violations are alleged to have occurred in November 2007, the same year Spann shot a non-typical whitetail buck that grossed about 230 inches and netted about 224 Pope & Young points in Stafford CountyKan., reports Wichita Eagle outdoors writer, Michael Pearce.

The deer was shot with archery equipment, during the state’s regular archery season.

At the time the deer was promoted as the largest whitetail buck ever taken on video. The story of Spann’s hunt was featured in national magazines, videos and TV shows.

Spann’s television show, “Spook Nation,” currently appears on the Pursuit Channel cable network.

According to court proceedings reported in the Wyandotte (Kan.) Daily News, count one of the indictment alleges Spann transported antlers from Stafford CountyKan., to Tennessee, knowing the deer had been taken in violation of state hunting laws. In count two, the indictment alleges Spann falsely reported the property where the deer was taken.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

Youth Outdoor Skills Event at Council Grove Sept. 22

Special event designed to encourage youth participation in outdoor shooting sports

Morris County area youth are invited to attend a free shotgun, pellet rifle, and archery shooting and safety clinic on Saturday, Sept. 22, at Council Grove Reservoir. Sponsored by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), the Flint Hills Chapter of Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation (QUWF), and Morris County Hunter Education instructors, this special event will provide participants an opportunity to enhance firearm and archery shooting and safety skills. Controlled live-fire instruction by certified instructors will teach safe, responsible shooting techniques.

All gear and supplies — including shotguns, pellet rifles, shells, bows, arrows, targets, and eye and ear protection — will be provided by KDWPT’s “Pass It On” and Hunter Education Programs. Teaching methods almost guarantee that students will break shotgun targets by the end of the session.

Anyone age 11 through 16 may participate. Participants are required to pre-register for the event by Sept.14. Students are not required to have completed a hunter education course, but prior completion is preferred. The event will begin at 12 p.m. at the COE-managed area between Marina Cove and Neosho Park, approximately 0.25 miles west of the COE office at the west end of the dam. Check-in and a free lunch provided by QUWF will be from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Instruction will begin at 12:30 p.m. and end at approximately 4 p.m.

To register or learn more about this special event, phone Brent Konen, Council Grove Wildlife Area manager, at 620-767-5900.

Hunters, Anglers Encouraged to Participate in Surveys

Last year nearly 23 percent of hunters lost access to land they had previously hunted, while just over 20 percent of anglers had to change or cancel plans to fish because certain waters or access points were no longer open to them. One reason for this lost access is due to development. Between 1982 and 1997, 41.3 million acres of rural land were turned into subdivisions, malls, office parks and the like. That’s roughly the size of Illinois and New Jersey combined, according to America‘s Farmland Trust. Could where you hunt or fish be next?

It’s more important than ever for today’s hunters and anglers to band together and be heard by the people and agencies that make decisions about our natural resources. Fortunately, the surveys available and provide the easiest and fastest way for sportsmen to provide feedback to make sure leaders have the information they need to support wise policies and programs.

Shrinking budgets, reduced services and more competition for available outdoor space from other recreational enthusiasts have all conspired to decrease the areas available for hunting and fishing. On the private side, high leases costs and changing land ownership are also taking their toll, making it harder for hunters and anglers to find suitable places to enjoy their activities. Strategic public solutions are more critical than ever if hunting and fishing are to survive, and every sportsman out there can make a big difference without spending a dime or much of their time.

How? Just participate in the online bi-monthly surveys at HunterSurvey.comShooterSurvey.comand The surveys are simple, fun and often take less than five minutes to complete. However, the results and data they yield are invaluable in helping fish and wildlife agencies, political leaders, conservation groups and even businesses in the outdoor industry understand what issues, concerns, services and products are important to hunters and anglers.

“We run the bi-monthly surveys to obtain sportsmen’s feedback on a wide range of issues and trends that affect them,” says Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, which designs and conducts the surveys. “The online surveys are designed to yield not only highly accurate results, but to make it easy for hunters, shooters and anglers to participate when their schedule allows. Their privacy is always maintained, and they never have to deal with annoying phone calls right at dinnertime.” Every participant who completes a survey is entered into a drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting goods retailer of their choice. Five winners are randomly selected from the pool of Hunter/Shooter Survey participants and five are chosen from Angler Survey participants. Other exciting prize incentives will be added this fall.

Simply visit and/or and click on the easy-to-find “Take the Survey” button. Then just follow the prompts. Participants do not provide their full names, just emails. After completing their first survey, sportsmen will receive a friendly notice in their email when a new survey is ready for their participation. Taking the surveys are the easiest, quickest and cheapest way American sportsmen can be sure their opinions will count on the issues that matter most-it could also prove to be the most effective way they can ultimately save hunting, shooting and fishing, too.

About and Launched in 2006, and help the outdoor equipment industry, government fisheries and wildlife officials and conservation organizations track consumer activities and expenditure trends. Survey results are scientifically analyzed to reflect the attitudes and habits of anglers and hunters across the United States. Follow them on Facebook at and or on Twitter at!/AnglerSurvey and!/HunterSurvey.

Expedition Captures Rare Millerbirds, Relocates Them to Remote Hawaiian Island

The second phase of an ambitious and historic effort to save one of the United States‘ rarest bird species from extinction reached another milestone as a group of 26 Millerbirds captured on Nihoa Islandwas released by biologists on the northwestern Hawaiian island of Laysan, some 650 miles away.

This second such translocation took place between August 12 and August 18, and was carried out by a team of biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), American Bird Conservancy (ABC), and other organizations as part of a multi-year effort to restore Millerbirds to Laysan Island within the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge and PapahÄ’naumokuÄ’kea Marine National Monument and World Heritage site.

Millerbirds have been absent from Laysan for almost a century as a result of habitat destruction due to introduced rabbits and other livestock. The last of these animals was removed from Laysan in the early 20th Century. FWS has been working to restore Laysan’s native vegetation for more than two decades. A self-sustaining Millerbird population on Laysan will ensure that the species is no longer vulnerable to extinction from a catastrophic event on Nihoa such as a hurricane or the accidental introduction of an alien predator or disease.

Last year, in the highly successful first phase of the translocation effort, 24 Millerbirds were moved from Nihoa to Laysan. Since their September 10, 2011, release this pioneer group of birds has survived and thrived, producing 17 young. The birds that are part of the second translocation also were captured on Nihoa and transported on a three-day boat trip to Laysan.

“So far, everything has gone extremely well for the birds,” said Sheila Conant of the University ofHawai’i, who pioneered the study of Millerbirds on Nihoa in the 1980s and is a member of this year’s translocation team. “They were captured without incident; they made it through the boat ride in good health; we had no problems attaching transmitters to them; and they have now been released to their new habitat without a hitch. So we are thrilled with the way this phase has gone.”

With the 24 Millerbirds brought to Laysan last year, “the team has now translocated 50 “founder” Millerbirds-the initial target number set by the conservation team for giving the species the best possible chance of establishing a self-sustaining population on Laysan,” said Don Palawski, Acting FWS Superintendent of the PapahÄ’naumokuÄ’kea Marine National Monument, which encompasses the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

During the voyage from Nihoa to Laysan aboard the vessel M/V Searcher, the Millerbirds were cared for by avian husbandry experts and a wildlife veterinarian from the U.S. Geological Survey. The itinerary included several days on Nihoa to capture the birds and allow them to acclimate to captivity prior to the sea voyage to Laysan, and three days on Laysan to release the birds and initiate radio-tracking of their movements. A Native Hawaiian cultural liaison accompanied the biologists on the translocation voyage and remained on Nihoa with the biological monitoring team. Two biologists will remain on Laysan through the end of October, and one will remain through the winter to monitor the newly released Millerbirds, the young produced in 2012, and the adults translocated in 2011.

“Certainly, there is much more to be done before we can say ‘we did it’ but I think everyone is satisfied that our plans were well thought-out and well-executed in a seamless and highly professional fashion, said George Wallace, ABC Vice President for Oceans and Islands. “So far, the results are even better than we had hoped.”

“This would not have been possible without a talented, dedicated team of biologists and a bird that is tough enough to withstand a three-day sea voyage of over 600 miles while retaining enough moxie to grab flies out of the air while a radio-transmitter is being glued to its back!” said Sheldon Plentovich, FWS Coastal Program Coordinator for the Pacific Islands, and lead biologist on the Millerbird project.

The Millerbird, which weighs less than an ounce, is a lively gray and brown bird that forages for insects among low shrubs and bunch-grasses. On Laysan, it joins the Laysan Finch, Laysan Duck, Hawaiian monk seal, several endangered plant species, and millions of nesting seabirds.

Close observation of the first group of translocated Millerbirds over the past 11 months has yielded significant new scientific information about the species, such as details of breeding chronology, the fact that pairs can produce more than one brood in a season, and a still-emerging picture of how young birds mature and enter the breeding population. All this information is important in assessing the progress toward population establishment on Laysan and is valuable in the conservation and management of the species. The success to date indicates that Laysan has suitable habitat and adequate food resources to support Millerbirds.

As a co-manager of the PapahÄ’naumokuÄ’kea Marine National Monument and World Heritage Site, the FWS is proud to lead this project in collaboration with American Bird Conservancy. We are grateful for the support and assistance from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the University of New BrunswickUniversity of Hawai’i, the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Research Center, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Chili Cook-off and Archery Shoot at Lovewell State Park

Competition for whole family on Sept. 9; free entrance day

Lovewell State Park will hold its final special event of the season, a Chili Cook-off and 3-D archery shoot, on Sunday, Sept. 9.

Participants will register for the archery shoot from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., and shooting will be completed by noon, with competition in divisions for men, women, and youth, with prizes awarded in each division. A $10 donation is suggested to enter.

This will be followed by a “steel deer” competition — shooting at a steel deer silhouette with a hole in it — at noon. A $5 donation is suggested for this event. Prizes will be awarded for the first-, second-, and third-place shooters overall.

The chili cook-off will be held at the Lovewell Marina area. Chili cookers must register no later than 10 a.m. at the park office. The first 100 people who contribute $5 for a taste-testing ticket will be judges. Donations will be used for prizes at Lovewell State Park’s special events throughout the year. Judging tickets will be available at the cook-off area beginning at 12:30 p.m., and judging will start at 1 p.m. and end by 1:30 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for the first-, second-, and third-place entries, by popular vote.

For more information, phone Lovewell State Park at 785-753-4971. Sunday is also a Free Park Entrance Day at Lovewell State Park. Vehicle permits are not required to enter the state park on that day, but camping permits are still required if camping overnight.

Guiding Permit Required on Public Lands

Hunting guides must obtain permit before guiding on public wildlife areas, other KDWPT-managed lands

At a June meeting of the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission, a new regulation regarding guide services on public lands was passed. Beginning with this fall’s hunting seasons, commercial guides must have a permit to guide on lands managed or owned by the department. The permit is free and available on the KDPWT, to guide on public lands. Click on “Hunting/Applications and Fees/Public Lands.” The permit must be specific to the land where guiding takes place. This includes public wildlife areas as well as Walk-In Hunting Access (WIHA) lands.

“Commercial guide” services means any commercial assistance to hunters, including providing any one or more of the following when used in conjunction with or for hunting activities: pack or riding livestock, transportation other than by commercial carrier, equipment, or facilities.

“Commercial” means that the recipient of the commercial guide services agrees to provide valuable consideration as compensation for the services, which are provided as part of a business relationship. Evidence of a business relationship shall include advertisement of the commercial guide services, written agreement of the terms of payment, or services provided by an employee of a commercial guide service.

Financial Re-LEAF for Forest & Grassland Workshop

“Financial Re-LEAF” will be held Wednesday, September 19th in Morris County at the Council Grove Wildlife Area. The workshop will begin at 9 am at the Canning Creek Campground, rain or shine.

Many people know the benefit that sustainably managed forests and grasslands provide for water quality, however, an upcoming workshop will also highlight the financial benefits that sustainable land management can provide to you, the landowner. Landowners and producers interested in sustainable and profitable forest and grassland management are encouraged to attend the upcoming “Financial Re-LEAF for Forests and Grassland” workshop. Here, education will be provided on field practices that not only impact water quality, but also provide a financial boost to the landowner’s bottom line.

The free event is sponsored by the Kansas Forest Service (KFS) and the Twin Lakes Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) group, with assistance from Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT). The event is aimed toward educating landowners and producers within the Twin Lakes (Council Grove Reservoir) watershed, as well as adjacent areas.

The workshop will kick off with a welcome from Twin Lakes WRAPS coordinator Angela Anderson. Angela will give an overview of the Twin Lakes WRAPS project, as well as explain how WRAPS is working to enhance both land and water quality, while positively impacting the bottom line of area producers.

Participants will then hit the field for a session with the Kansas Forest Service on tree planting and maintenance techniques for establishing high quality timber and wildlife habitat. Attendees will then stroll to an existing woodland where Thad Rhodes, KFS District Forester, will discuss Forest Stand Improvement efforts recently performed by KFS and KDWPT – efforts aimed at enhancing quality timber species, as well as providing food and habitat for wildlife.

Following the woodland session, the workshop will switch to a grassland and “edge” focus – starting with an up-close look at the results of a summer grassland burn performed by KDWPT. Brent Konen, Council Grove Wildlife Area Manager for KDWPT will discuss how burning in summer has impacted brush management and the quality of habitat for wildlife species such as quail.

The in-field workshop will wrap up with a discussion on managing “edge” habitat for wildlife, the transition zone between forest and grassland that is critical for species such as deer, rabbits, and quail. The morning in-field events will conclude around 11:30 am, at which time participants will return to the Canning Creek campground for a 12 pm catered lunch.

During lunch, attendees will hear Billy Beck, KFS Watershed Forester, share information on a low cost stream bank stabilization technique that uses dead, cut cedar trees to reduce stream bank erosion. Beck will share photos from recent projects along with examples of gear required for installation, and will also touch on the economics of this unique practice.

Angela Anderson and members of the Morris County Conservation District will conclude the workshop with a discussion on available cost share that can make practices described throughout the event a reality to landowners. Speakers will be available following the event to talk one-on-one with attendees, if desired.

Please join us and bring other producers to this free event. Please RSVP by September 15 to Billy Beck, Kansas Forest Service, by calling (785) 532-3693 from 8 am to 5 pm, or by email at [email protected].  Feel free to leave a voice message outside of office hours. An RSVP from interested participants will help to provide an appropriate amount of lunches, snacks and beverages.

This event will take place rain or shine, so please dress appropriately. A majority of the event will occur in the field, so mud boots and a portable chair may significantly increase your comfort level. Light off-road walking will be required, so if you need mobility assistance during the workshop, please contact Billy Beck for arrangements.   

Landowners and producers interested in enhancing water quality, as well as their bottom line, through sustainable forest and grassland management will definitely benefit from the September 19 “Financial Re-LEAF” event! Remember to RSVP immediately and by Saturday, September 15.

Because of bridge closures, attendees will be required to take the following route to Canning Creek Campground (route will be marked with signage): From Council Grove, head West on State Highway 56. Take Highway 56 to 1300/Lake Rd. and turn north. Follow 1300/Lake until it veers east and becomes

Lake Rd. Follow Lake Rd. east

 until you see the turnoff for Canning Creek Campground on the north side of the road. Turn north onto the campground road and follow signs to the event.