Daily Archives: August 31, 2013

Teal Season Kicks off Sept. 7

Teal may be the smallest duck, but they are a fast and challenging quarry for waterfowl hunters

It’s waders and whistles, it’s the sound of the marsh waking up, it’s what thousands of hunters around the state have been waiting for – it‘s teal season. An early migrant, teal are the first waterfowl to pass through Kansas each fall, and come Sept. 7, waterfowl hunters will be waiting.

Using U.S. Highway 283 as a dividing line, Kansas is split up into two teal hunting zones: Low Plains and High Plains. The Low Plains Zone (anything east of U.S. Highway 283) will kick off the season Sept. 7, and run through Sept. 22, while the High Plains Zone (anything west of U.S. Highway 283) will open Sept. 14 and end Sept. 22.

As if recent rains filling the marshes weren’t enough of a bonus for early season waterfowl hunters, regulations now allow hunters to take six of these puddle ducks in a daily bag limit, a two-bird increase from the traditional early teal season daily bag of four. Also new this year, migratory bird possession limits have increased to three times the daily bag limit.

All hunters participating in teal season who are required to have a hunting license must also possess a Kansas HIP permit and State Waterfowl Permit. All hunters 16 and older must have a Federal Waterfowl Stamp. Hunters age 65-74 are reminded that they now need the state HIP permit and State Waterfowl Permit, in addition to the Federal Waterfowl Stamp. Kansas HIP permits and State Waterfowl Stamps can be purchased online at ksoutdoors.com, and Federal Waterfowl Stamps can be purchased at your local U.S. Post Office and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism regional offices.

For more information on migratory bird regulations, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Hunting/Migratory Birds.”

Zebra Mussels Found in Lake Shawnee, Topeka

Lake Shawnee the latest to be infested with invasive species

Acting on a report from an alert angler, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Lake Shawnee. Zebra mussels are bean-sized mollusks with striped, sharp-edged, two-part shells. They were found at multiple locations on rocks and on underwater portions of a dock ladder. The discovery brings the total of Kansas lakes infested with zebra mussels to 19 and highlights the need for anglers and boaters to know the dangers of moving water and bait fish between lakes.

            “We were notified about the zebra mussels by a conscientious angler who found them on a piece of wood he pulled from the lake,” said Jessica Howell, KDWPT Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator. “This is a perfect example of how important it is for the public to be vigilant and report anything they suspect could be an aquatic nuisance species,” she added.  

            Lake Shawnee is a heavily-used 416-acre lake owned by Shawnee County. “The presence of zebra mussels in Lake Shawnee will not in any way change the mission of Shawnee County Parks and Recreation of providing quality parks, golf courses and recreation facilities and opportunities to meet the recreational needs and interests of rural and urban residents throughout Shawnee County. Lake Shawnee will continue to be a gem in the area for recreational pursuits to hundreds of thousands of people yearly,” said Terry Bertels, Parks Director, Shawnee County Parks and Recreation.

The lake will be added to the list of ANS-designated waters in Kansas, and notices will be posted at various locations around the lake. Other lakes in northeast Kansas with zebra mussel infestations include Perry, Milford and Melvern reservoirs. Like those lakes, LakeShawnee is safe to use for a variety of recreational activities. Since the sharp-shelled zebra mussels attach to solid objects, visitors should be careful when handling mussel-encrusted objects and when grabbing an underwater object when they can’t see what their hands may be grasping. Visitors should protect their feet when walking on underwater or shoreline rocks, a helpful precaution any time they are outdoors. 

            There is no known method to rid a lake of zebra mussels. According to Howell, prevention is the best way to avoid spreading ANS. “All lake users should take precautions to prevent the movement of ANS from those waters,” she said. “The zebra mussels probably were accidentally carried to the lake from another location in the water from boats or bait buckets.” Anglers and boaters should thoroughly clean, drain and dry their boats and equipment after using any body of water. Regulations require that they drain livewells and bilges and remove drain plugs from all vessels prior to transport from any Kansas water on a public highway. Further, people should not take water away from the lake in bait buckets or for aquariums or any other use. Also, anglers cannot transport live fish from any ANS-designated water.

            Zebra mussels are just one of the non-native aquatic species that threaten our waters and native wildlife. Boaters and anglers must remember to follow regulations and precautions that will prevent their spread:

            · Clean, drain and dry boats and equipment between uses

· Use wild-caught bait only in the lake or pool where it was caught

· Do not move live fish from waters infested with zebra mussels or other aquatic nuisance species

· Drain livewells and bilges and remove drain plugs from all vessels prior to transport from any Kansas water on a public highway.

For more information about aquatic nuisance species in Kansas, report a possible ANS, or see a list of ANS-designated waters, visit www.ProtectKSWaters.org

Youth and Disabled Deer Season a Great Opportunity for First-time Hunters

Youth and disabled hunters don’t have to be involved in a special hunt to participate in this season, but for first-time hunters, a special hunt may be the way to go

There’s a first time for everything, and for youth and disabled deer hunters, Sept. 7 marks the first day of a very special nine-day season. From Sept. 7-15, youth 16 and younger and disabled hunters will have the opportunity to hit the field, taking first pick of Kansas deer. This not only provides a greater potential for harvesting deer, but it also allows youth and disabled hunters to enjoy hunting in milder temperatures, without the hunting pressure and competition of a regular season.

For youth who may be hunting for the first time, special hunts can be a great way to start. Through a Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) program called Pass It On, department staff at various state parks and wildlife areas around the state sponsor special youth deer hunts. For example, staff at El Dorado State Park staff will host a special youth deer hunt on Sept. 7-8. At this particular event, eight lucky youth will participate in a two-day, guided hunt completely free of charge. The event will also include activities that teach proper gun handling and hunter safety in the field, as well as give participants hands-on experience during a wingshooting contest.

“This event helps get youth interested in the outdoors and creates a memorable experience at the same time,” said El Dorado State Park ranger Kyle Hoover, “and it has been a huge success.”

Young hunters interested in participating in a special hunt should contact their local KDWPT regional, park or wildlife area office to find out about local opportunities. Most special hunts limit the number of participants, so pre-registration is required. KDWPT-sponsored special hunts connect youth and an accompanying adult with a local guide and provide a prime hunting spot. Often with the help of local members of a conservation organization, these hunts teach youth about our hunting heritage and provide them with a high-quality hunting experience.

But youth and disabled hunters don’t have to be involved in a special hunt in order to participate in this unique season. Youth age 16 or younger, who possess a valid deer permit, may hunt during this special deer season as long as they are under the immediate supervision of an adult 18 or older. This season is also open to any person who possesses a valid deer permit and has a permit to hunt from a vehicle pursuant to KAR 115-18-4 or a disability assistance permit issued pursuant to KAR 115-18-15.

All resident and nonresident permits are valid during this special season, and equipment restrictions designated on permits apply. Hunter orange is required. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

For more information on the 2013 deer season, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Hunting/Hunting Regulations.” To find a special hunt near you, check the “Events” section ofwww.ksoutdoors.com.