Monthly Archives: July 2013

Miss Manners Should Make a Visit to the Boat Launch Ramp

Impolite, self-centered behavior could well describe a kindergarten sandbox at recess, but it also fits the description of the mayhem that some boat launch ramps experience on a busy summer weekend. If America‘s famed etiquette expert, Miss Manners, were to visit a launch ramp, what lack of courtesy would she find? Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has the answer with these top five launch ramp etiquette rules that can make the task go a lot easier and faster for all.

Be talkative: The most surefire way to cause ramp snafus is to be silent with your guests. Speak up. Let them know they should avoid parking in spaces reserved for trailers/tow vehicles. Tell them how you will load and unload (more on that in a second). Before your return to the launch ramp dock, let your crew know what they can do to help. One more friendly tip: don’t yell.

Know where to load and unload: Unloading your gear at the bottom of the boat launch ramp, which could have been done while waiting in line at the top of the boat ramp, shows a lack of courtesy Miss Manners would detest. It also is an all-too-common mistake boaters make when launching and one of the biggest causes of delays. Plan ahead. Put a checklist on your sun visor.

Don’t be the launch ramp hog: Tying up your boat at the launch dock right next to the ramp, and then going to park the tow vehicle means the next person in line can’t launch until you get back. Save everyone time by immediately moving your boat to the far end of the dock so there’s room for the next person to launch or retrieve.

Delay-of-launch penalty: Not launching the boat immediately when it’s off the trailer and, instead, waiting for the crew to return from the bathrooms again adds delays and simmers tempers. This is true at the gas dock, too. Tie up at the dock, refuel the boat, and leave as quickly and safely as possible. Don’t keep others waiting to refuel because your crew has walked to a nearby restaurant – that earns you a serious “delay-of-launch” penalty.

Lend a hand: We all need help from time to time. Be kind to your boating neighbor.

Duck Numbers Remain Strong this Year

Despite slight declines, most species remain well above long-term averages

The US Fish and Wildlife Service released its report on 2013 Trends in Duck Breeding Populations on July 12, based on surveys conducted in May and early June. Total populations were estimated at 45.6 million breeding ducks in the surveyed area. This estimate represents a 6-percent decrease from last year’s estimate of 48.6 million birds, and is 33 percent above the 1955-2012 long-term average.

Of the 10 species surveyed, 7 were similar to last year’s estimates, including mallards. Scaup and blue-winged teal were significantly below last year’s estimates. Wigeon were 23 percent above last year. Mallards, similar in number to 2012, are 36 percent above the long-term average. Two species (northern pintail and scaup) remained below their long-term average and North American Waterfowl Management Plan goals.

View all the data and get a species-by-species breakdown

Keep kids safe outdoors from bees, wasps, ticks and mosquitos

David Mizijewski

National Wildlife Federation

Summertime is all about the outdoors. Yet, Americans spend more and more time indoors–and this sedentary lifestyle affects the health of our children. The average school-aged child spends almost 8 hours a day indoors in front of electronic media. Research and common sense tell us that kids who play outside are less likely to be obese, have diabetes, suffer from attention deficit issues and vitamin D deficiencies, and even be nearsighted. Kids that play outside are not only physically healthier, but they are more creative and do better in the classroom. Our families need less screen time and more green time.

Getting your family outdoors is not only good for their health, it’s a great way to explore nature. However, the fear of getting bitten or stung by bugs is a top reason why parents decide to keep their kids inside. But nobody should be terrified of the outdoors. Here’s how you can keep your family safe from bees, wasps, ticks and mosquitoes this summer, so they can enjoy all of the benefits of outdoor time.

Do learn how to identify bugs

The vast majority of insects and spiders are beneficial to your garden and the environment in general. Learning which ones actually pose a problem will help ease your anxiety about being outside. Understanding the habitat of problematic species will tell you exactly which areas to avoid and what times of day to stay inside.

Do wear long sleeves

Wearing long sleeve shirts and pants can help minimize that amount of time your skin is exposed to mosquitoes and ticks. If it is warm outside, wear loose fitting, lightweight clothing as it breathes best.

Do use repellents

Repellents can be effective at deterring mosquitoes and ticks. DEET-based repellents provide the longest protection. If you want to avoid spraying chemicals directly on your skin, choose a natural repellent that includes lemon eucalyptus. However, remember that natural repellents need to be applied more frequently.

Do use fans

Mosquitoes are weak flyers, and sometimes all you need is the wind from fans to keep them away from your deck or patio. Additionally, fans disperse the chemical trail of carbon dioxide that we exhale and exude from our skin, which female mosquitoes (the only ones that bite) use to target us. A fan is a simple and chemical-free way to avoid these insects.

Do teach your kids to be unafraid of nature

Children are not born to be afraid of the outdoors. In fact, they are naturally inquisitive. Kids learn their fear of insects from adults. Teach them that most bugs are okay, and that they don’t need to run screaming indoors every time they see one. By teaching them that bugs are not bad, you’ll both stop the spread of misinformation, and you will ultimately position your kids to avoid the negative consequences of a sedentary indoor lifestyle.


Do not spray pesticides

Spraying pesticides around your yard does little to actually eliminate insects in the long term. And these pesticides potentially expose your family, pets and wildlife to dangerous toxins.

Do not use a bug zapper

Mosquitoes are not generally attracted by light and very few are killed by electronic bug zappers. Instead, these zappers actually kill thousands of beneficial night-flying moths, beetles and other insects.

Do not destroy every bee or wasp nest

Did you know that the vast majority of the 4,000 bee species in North America won’t sting, and that ⅓ of all the food we eat is because bees pollinated our crops? Or that wasps are highly effective predators of parasites and garden pests? Killing every bee or wasp out of ignorance and fear does little to protect you–but does a great deal of harm to agriculture and the environment. If a nest is situated near your door, a walkway or your children’s play area, call a professional to remove it. Otherwise, let it be, and you shouldn’t have problems.
Do not burn or smother a tick

If you find a tick on you, simply use a pair of tweezers to grasp it by the head and pluck it out. Never burn or smother a tick because this may cause it to regurgitate disease-infected body fluids into the open wound. Don’t worry if a bit of the head remains. Disinfect the bite area and watch to see if a red swelling occurs. If it does, head to the doctor. Tick-borne diseases are easily treatable if diagnosed immediately.

Do not swat at a bee or wasp

Bees and wasps only sting defensively. Wildly swatting at one of these insects is the best way to provoke a sting. If one does fly near you, simply move away from it in a calm manner, and you won’t get stung.


            While summer is the perfect time to get your family outdoors into the fresh air and sunshine, it does not necessarily mean you will get eaten alive by the outdoor bugs. These simple tips will help you avoid getting bitten or stung, while you enjoy your summer outside. 

America’s Grasslands: The Future of Grasslands in a Changing Landscape

America’s Grasslands: The Future of Grasslands in a Changing Landscapewill bring together researchers, natural resources professionals, farmers and ranchers, policy experts and conservationists to discuss the conservation of North America’s grasslands and the opportunities and outlook for these vital ecosystems in a changing landscape. With over 60 speakers and 20 posters, you won’t want to miss out on this exciting conference.

This year’s conference will have a particular focus on working collaboratively with ranchers to conserve grasslands. The event will be preceded by a day of optional field trips to local grasslands on August 12th.

            This year’s conference will be August 12-14 and held at the Hilton Garden Inn, Manhattan. Register by July 15th for the early bird registration rate of $150.*

            Register online now at:

            *Thanks to a special grant from Kansas State University, graduate students may be eligible to be reimbursed for registration cost.

Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission Rejects Proposed Coyote Hunting Change

Commission votes to keep coyote hunting regulations as they are


At the public hearing conducted June 27 in Garden City, the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission rejected a recommendation to prohibit coyote hunting with the use of vehicles and two-way radios during the regular firearm deer season. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) law enforcement staff requested changes to the coyote hunting regulations because of incidents involving individuals using vehicles and radios to hunt deer under the guise of coyote hunting.

Current regulations allow coyotes to be hunted from vehicles and with the use of radios.

However, game animals, including deer, may not be hunted from vehicles or using radios and cell phones. KDWPT law enforcement officers expressed frustration with enforcing those big game regulations.

During the Workshop Session on this regulation at the April meeting in Wichita, the Commission listened to coyote hunters who felt they were being punished for the actions of a few hunting deer illegally. Ultimately, commissioners agreed. However, the commission asked for documented incidents after the 2013 firearm deer season and promised to revisit this issue early next year.

In other public hearing items, the commission approved regulations pertaining to agritourism, which were brought into the KDWPT regulation system as a result of ERO 36, which moved agritourism duties under KDWPT.

Commissioners approved a variety changes to furharvesting regulations including allowing the use of all foothold traps for water sets (only smooth-jawed traps may be used on land), and allowing incidentally trapped muskrats taken by beaver trappers after the muskrat season has closed to be possessed with a limit of 10 per season. Otter pelts must now be tagged similar to bobcat pelts, and the lower canine teeth must be submitted to KDWPT at the time of tagging. The season quota of 100 otters was removed, as well as the requirement to notify KDWPT within 24 hours of otter harvest. Licensed fur dealers now have until May 1 to submit all record books to KDWPT, and the running season was extended 7 days to November 8.

The commission also approved a regulation requiring all hunters who hunt big game or wild turkeys with a crossbow to obtain a free Crossbow Survey Number from KDWPT before hunting. The number can be obtained online. And deer season dates specific to the Fort Riley Military Reservation were approved, and can be viewed at

The commission approved several recommendations to the Public Lands reference document, which lists use restrictions on specific public lands, including requiring the use of non-toxic shot on designated dove fields. Other Public Lands recommendations approved include a change in the definition of blinds and stands allowed (removing the word “tree” before stand), as well as the definition of baiting so that certain food plot practices used to attract doves are allowed.

The last public hearing item presented to the commission was the recommendation for the early teal season. Commissioners approved a 16-day season in the Low Plains Zone (east of Hwy 283, Sept. 7-22, 2013, and a 9-day season for the High Plains Zone (west of Hwy 283, Sept. 14-22, 2013. Because of much higher than average blue-winged teal numbers surveyed, the USFWS frameworks allowed for an increase in the daily bag limit for teal during the early season from 4 to 6, which was approved.

KDWPT Biologist Receives Award from Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Small Game Coordinator Jim Pitman named “Wildlife Biologist of the Year”


The Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (MAFWA) recently recognized Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) small game coordinator Jim Pitman as the 2013 “Wildlife Biologist of the Year.” Pitman was presented the award by KDWPT Assistant Secretary Keith Sexson at the June 27 Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission meeting.

Each year, MAFWA recognizes an individual who has shown an unparalleled initiative toward the better understanding of wildlife and their conservation, and Pitman couldn’t have been a better choice.

“It is a huge honor to be recognized my peers,” said Pitman. “A person’s peers are usually the toughest critics, so winning an award from that group is the most meaningful recognition anyone could receive. I’m very appreciative of that recognition and humbled by it.”

Pitman’s most recent endeavor has been developing conservation strategies to address the potential listing of the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened or endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Pitman is the second KDWPT biologist in recent years to receive this award from MAFWA. In 2011, KDWPT Big Game Program Coordinator Lloyd Fox was also named Wildlife Biologist of the Year.

Comprised of 13 state and 3 provincial Midwest fish and wildlife agencies, MAFWA is an organization that strives to provide a common forum for fish and wildlife agencies to share ideas, information, pool resources, and form action initiatives to better manage and conserve fish and wildlife resources.

For more information on MAFWA and Pitman’s award, visit


Resident Firearm Either-species/Either-sex Deer Permit Application Deadline July 12

Resident Firearm Either-Species/Either-Sex Deer permits allow resident hunters to take a mule deer or white-tailed deer of either sex


The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism reminds resident hunters that Firearm Either-Species/Either-Sex Deer permit applications must be submitted online by July 12 in order to be considered for the 2013 drawing. Resident Firearm Either-species/Either-sex Deer permits allow for the taking of one white-tailed or mule deer buck, doe or fawn during the regular firearm season, using any legal equipment. Hunters who are unsuccessful at drawing a permit this year will be charged a $6.50 application fee, and in return, receive one preference point for next year’s drawing.

Resident Firearms Either-Species/Either-Sex Deer permits are limited to two mule deer zones: west and east. The West Zone is comprised of Deer Management Units (DMUs) 1, 2, 17, and 18, and the East Zone is comprised of DMUs 3, 4, 5, 7, and 16.

General resident permits are­ $37.50, landowner/tenant/manager permits are $22.50, and youth 15 and younger permits are $22.50. Applicants can view draw results online two to four weeks after the close of the application period at the same location the application was made. Successful applicants should receive their permit four to six weeks following the application deadline.

2013 Deer Season Dates

Youth/Disabled: Sept. 7 – 15, 2013

Muzzleloader-Only: Sept. 16 – Sept. 29, 2013

Archery: Sept. 16 – Dec. 31, 2013

Pre-Rut Firearm Whitetail Antlerless: Oct. 12 – Oct. 13, 2013

Firearm: Dec. 4 – Dec. 15, 2013

Extended Whitetail Antlerless: Jan. 1 – 12, 2014

Special Extended Whitetail Antlerless: Jan. 13 – Jan. 19, 2014 (units 7, 8, and 15 ONLY)

Extended Archery Season: Jan. 20 – Jan. 31, 2014 (unit 19 ONLY)

To apply for a 2013 Resident Firearm Either-Species/Either-Sex Deer permit, visit and click “Hunting/Applications and Fees/Deer.”  

More teal in early-season bag, higher possession limit encourage hunters

This fall, early-teal-season hunters may have an opportunity to bag more teal. Additionally, if the Department of Interior finalizes the waterfowl harvest regulations as initially proposed, the possession limit would increase. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed a six-teal bag limit for early teal season and a possession limit for all seasons equivalent to three daily bag limits. Current limits are a four-teal daily bag during the special season and a possession limit of two daily bag limits.

“Ducks Unlimited is always pleased to see increased opportunities for waterfowl hunting,” said DU Chief Scientist Dale Humburg. “Harvest regulations are biologically based, and teal population trends have certainly been favorable in recent years.”

Habitat conditions in the prairie pothole region have generally been wet and favorable for the last several years, laying the foundation for excellent nesting success for prairie nesters. Habitat conservation efforts by DU and others across North America have also served to bolster waterfowl populations.

“To date, Ducks Unlimited has helped conserved more than 13 million acres of important waterfowl habitat across the continent, but we cannot rest on that success,” Humburg said. “Despite record numbers in the breeding waterfowl survey over the last few years, if left unchecked, all prairie-breeding ducks will be negatively impacted by the continuing trend of wetland and grassland losses.”

The higher possession limit will be especially helpful for the thousands of waterfowl hunters who travel for hunting trips each year and want to take their harvest home with them. If approved, they will be able to possess up to three daily bag limits at a time, rather than two. For hunters that take week-long trips across the country to harvest waterfowl, this change will make a difference. Because state regulations may vary within the federal framework, DU reminds hunters to check state-specific regulations before heading to the marsh.

“If you support waterfowl conservation efforts in North America, you can look upon these regulation changes as the fruits of your labor,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “If you do not currently support waterfowl conservation, please consider helping ensure that future generations have the same chance to experience the majesty of waterfowl and other wetland-dependent wildlife that you have.”

SCI Foundation Commends Intentions of Executive Order on Illegal Wildlife Trafficking

On July 1, 2013, President Obama signed an executive order establishing a Presidential Taskforce on Wildlife Trafficking (Taskforce). Safari Club International Foundation (SCI Foundation) is pleased that the administration has taken such a strong step to combat the growing problem of poaching and illegal wildlife trade. The Taskforce will coordinate efforts among federal agencies and work with foreign nations and international bodies to aid in enforcement against crime related to wildlife trafficking.

“SCI Foundation looks forward to working with the Taskforce to address the poaching crisis and ensure a sustainable future for Africa’s wildlife,” stated SCI Foundation President Joe Hosmer. “With over 22% of sub-Saharan Africa protected in hunting preserves, it is vital that the Taskforce get the hunting community involved in this effort and SCI Foundation stands ready to help.”

SCI Foundation was also pleased to see that the President took the time to make the distinction between the illegal wildlife trade resulting from poaching, and the legal wildlife trade that provides over $200 million dollars in income to rural and underdeveloped African communities through sustainable-use hunting programs.

“The current poaching crisis is a nonpartisan issue that requires everyone’s attention,” concluded President Hosmer.

For more information about SCI Foundation and its work in Africa, visit


Hunters Needed for Assisted Deer Hunt

With the 11th annual youth/handicap assisted deer hunt just around the corner, now is the time to sign up. The Riley County Fish and Game Association, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), and the Corps of Engineers at Tuttle Creek Lake are seeking participants for the hunt which will be held September 7th and 8th.

Kansas youth 11 through 16 years of age and Kansas residents with a certified disability are eligible to participate in this hunt. Participants will need a Kansas hunting license, a deer permit, and, if required by Kansas law, will also need to take or have taken an approved hunter education course. Assistance meeting these requirements, including scholarship assistance to purchase a hunting license and deer permit, can be provided by the sponsoring agencies and associations.

If participants do not have a rifle or ammo for the hunt, these items can be provided. During the hunt, each participant will be paired with an experienced hunter who will serve as guide. Arrangements have been made with area lockers where basic processing of harvested deer will be handled free of charge.

Other items provided for this hunt include accessible hunting blinds, hunting locations, hunter orange hats and vests, and transportation to the field. 

Hunt participants will also be required to attend a firearm safety presentation and sight-in at the Fancy Creek Shooting Range at 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, August 18th.

Many thanks go to other groups and organizations contributing to this hunt such as the Friends of Fancy Creek Range, Kansas City Chapter of Safari Club International, Kansas State Rifle Association and the Tuttle Creek Lake Association.

If you are interested in participating in this great opportunity to hunt Kansas whitetail deer, want more information or need an application, contact Steve Prockish at the Tuttle Creek Lake Corps of Engineers office at (785) 539-8511, ext. 3167, or at [email protected]. Applications can also be downloaded here: Applications will be accepted thru July 31st.