Monthly Archives: August 2013

Women in the Outdoors Day event September 14

The National Wild Turkey Federation’s Upland Pioneers–WITO will hold a Women in the Outdoors event in LeRoyKS on Saturday, September 14. This event is only for women 18 years and older and starts at 10 AM. The event is limited to the first 50 and pre-registration is required.

Optional classes include 3-D Archery Range, learn how to shoot compound and/or traditional bows at targets 10-15 yards away; Fly Fishing, learn the basics of casting techniques, fish habitat and species identification; BB Gun Range, learn the basics of rifle shooting with air rifles; Trap Shoot, learn how to shot a 20ga or 12ga shotgun and hit a flying clay target; .22 Long Riffle, learn how to shot a riffle and sight in on a target; First Aide/ Survival Skills, learn the basic of first aide and survival while out in the woods hunting;Hand Gun Range, learn how to shoot a pistol; Women’s Self Defense, being taught by Crosshair Firearms and Training, Humboldt, KS; and Hunter’s Education, to take this class you must have taken the online class within 90 Days of September 14, 2013. This is not a requirement for this event. We must have 12 participants so notify us as soon as possible.

            The fee for the day is $35.00 and includes use of all equipment, lunch, one-year subscription to theTurkey Country magazine and special invites to Kansas – WITO events. Deadline to register is Sept. 10. For more information or a registration form, contact Jennifer Foster, 1120 N. Jefferson, Iola, KS 66749  620-496-8062.

2 Million Acres of Wetlands and Fragile Land Go Under the Plow

Analysis reveals hotspots for conversion are hotspots for crop insurance payouts

 

Sara Sciammacco

Environmental Working Group

 

A new analysisreleased by Environmental Working Group shows that 1.9 million acres, or near 3,000 square miles of wetlands and nearby habitat, went under the plow in the United States between 2008 and 2012.

EWG’s researchers found that over the same time period, 5.3 million acres, or 8,300 square miles of highly erodible land – mostly fragile grassland – was also plowed up to grow row crops.

Using modern mapping and geospatial technologies, researchers documented that the most dramatic loss of wetlands occurred in three states – South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota– the core of the critically important Prairie Pothole Region. Exploitation of highly erodible land is more widespread, with 10 states – Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Montana, North Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota, Kansas and Nebraska – accounting for 57 percent of all the highly erodible land converted to cropland.

The new analysis, titled, “Going, Going, Gone!”, is a follow-up to EWG’s widely cited Plowed Underreport, released in 2012, which found that over the same four years, 23.6 million acres of grasslands, wetlands and shrublands had been converted to row crops.

“By taking a closer look at the data, we were able to reveal with unprecedented precision the ‘hotspots’ where conversion of large blocks of fragile land to row crops is most extensive,” said Craig Cox, EWG’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “What’s most troubling is the correlation between these areas and the counties with the highest average crop insurance payouts.”

For an interactive map showing county-by-county wetlands and wetland buffer conversion rates, click here.

For an interactive map showing county-by-county highly erodible land conversion rates, click here.

In particular, the county-by-county mapping analysis shows:

● In the 71 counties that lost more than 5,000 acres of wetlands and wetland buffers, the average crop insurance payout was $10.1 million – more than four times the $2.3 million average across all 3,109 U.S. counties..

● The average crop insurance payout in the 235 counties that were hotspots for conversion of highly erodible land was $5.8 million – two and a half times the national average.

● In the 12 counties that were hotspots for both wetland and highly erodible land conversion, the average payout was $7.5 million – three times the national average.

● The total payout in the 294 counties with the highest rates of conversion of wetlands or highly erodible land was an astounding $8.3 billion.

“The data strongly suggest that over-subsidized crop insurance policies are greasing the wheels of conversion to row crops,” said Cox. “The government is picking up too much of the risk of plowing up and planting fragile land, all at a cost of billions of dollars to taxpayers and untold environmental degradation.”

Taxpayers pay, on average, 60 percent of crop insurance premiums, and in some cases the entire cost. However, premium subsidies are not subject to the same conservation requirements that apply to other farm programs.

The pending Senate-passed version of the farm bill would ensure that farmers take basic steps to protect land in exchange for receiving taxpayer-funded crop insurance subsidies and reduce those subsidies for landowners who plow up native prairie and grassland; the House version would not.

The EWG report also shows just how effective this simple conservation quid pro quo would be in slowing down wetland conversion and protecting millions of acres of fragile land.

It concludes, “Strengthening the conservation compact is the single most important action Congress could take to halt the environmental disaster taking place as millions of acres of environmentally sensitive land go under the plow.”

Jail Time for William "Spook" Spann

The Outdoor Wire

 

A professional hunter from Tennesseeviolated his federal probation and must spend a total of 30 days in Bureau of Prisons custody, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said July 31.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James P. O’Hara ruled that William “Spook” Spann, 50, Dickinson, violated the conditions of his release after his conviction for a misdemeanor Lacey Act violation in Kansas. O’Hara’s order states that Spann:

– Continues on probation until Feb. 28, 2016.

– Is ordered to spend a total of 30 days during nights and weekends in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons between now and Feb. 28, 2014.

– Is ordered not to hunt anywhere in the United States or the world until Aug. 1, 2014.

Last year, Spann pleaded guilty to transporting across state lines a white-tailed deer that was unlawfully taken in Stafford County, KS. As part of the probation he was prohibited from hunting for six months, admonished not to commit any further federal crimes and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and $10,000 restitution.

On June 10, the federal probation office in Kansasfiled a petition alleging Spann violated his probation by hunting in Tennesseeand violating a Tennesseelaw against baiting wildlife. O’Hara ruled that Spann violated the terms of his probation by hunting in the United Stateswithin six months of his sentencing and baiting turkeys in violation of Tennesseestate law.

Grissom commended the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency and Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Oakley for their work on the case.

Registration Still Open for KGLC Tallgrass Range School

With less than a month until our TallgrassRangeSchoolstarts we still have our scholarship process and registration open,” said Tim Christian, Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition (KGLC) state coordinator.  “We are extending the scholarship cut-off to August 13 to encourage interested people to apply for underwriting to cover up to half the fee for the school.”

            The annual school runs from August 20-22 at Camp Wood YMCA near Elmdale in ChaseCounty, he said. Fees are $300 per person and covers materials, on-site lodging and meals, and other related costs.  Scholarships are available to eligible participants including ranchers, students, and agency staffs.  Ranchers, landowners, and students may qualify for a $150 scholarship if they meet eligibility and request one using KGLC’s scholarship form.  Agency staffs may qualify for $100 in scholarships.  The form and more information on the schools are available at www.kglc.orgunder 2013 Range Schools found in the navigation bar.

            Rangeland ecology and management topics with plenty of hands-on, in-the-field training highlight the course. Wednesday features a day on the Miller Ranch southwest of CottonwoodFalls with the owner and operators discussing their challenges, successes, and opportunities to continue to improve the grazing lands and be profitable.

            The school would not be as affordable without funding partners including the NRCS; Fort Hays State University; Kansas State University; Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism; Kansas Farm Bureau; The Nature Conservancy; Kansas Section of the Society for Range Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service Partners Program, Graze the Prairie, and the William F. Bradley Jr. Trust.

            Get more information on the RangeSchool by contacting Christian, at 620-241-3636, 620-242-6440, email to [email protected], or Ken Sherraden, assistant coordinator, 785-922-7061, email to [email protected]  Also, visit the web at www.kglc.org.

Governor’s Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas

Registration is now open for the annual Governor’s Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas to be held October 24-25 at the Hilton Garden Inn and ConferenceCenterin Manhattan. Make sure you take a few moments to register as registration is limited and the conference sold out last year.

This year highlights the latest policy and research development of water issues in Kansas. The conference brings together scientists, water managers, state and federal officials and legislators, city and county administrators, environmental organizations, irrigators and citizens who share an interest in Kansaswater resources. Many great speakers and topics are planned; a few are highlighted below:

·         Charles Fishman will be discussing the value of water. The author of two bestselling books: The Big Thirst and The Wal-Mart Effect, he speaks nationally on economic and social issues.

·         Pat Mulroy who oversees the Las Vegas Valley Water District and Southern Nevada Water Authority, will talk on drought management.

·         Dr. James Stack, Director, of the Great Plains Diagnostic Network and Professor of Plant Pathology, KSU, will speak on day 2.

Visit http://www.kwo.org/Ogallala/Governors_Conference/Governors_Conference.htmto find conference details, our sponsors and hotel information. Registration deadline is October 15. 

Calling All Turkey Callers

At the Midwest Huntfest August 10th, which is going to be held at Century II in Wichita, TurkeyTalker Game Calls is sponsoring a turkey calling contest. Winners of this event will be able to compete at the nationals in Nashville.

            Registration starts at 9 am and the competition starts at 10 am. Registration cost is $25.00 for adults. There will be two categories: Open and Friction. Youth registration is $10 and there is only an Open division for youth. Registration information and rules can be found on the NWTF (http://www.nwtf.org/in_your_state/calling_events.php) site under ‘Kansas‘.

Also, Turkey Talker Game Calls is looking to sponsor some callers to participate in the competition. Turkey Talker Game Calls will pay registration, provide a shirt, and all the calls you need. There is a chance for any winner to help design future calls, name them, and even have all travel expenses to Nashvillefor the competition paid for!

Turkey Talker Game Calls is especially interested in Kansasresidents and youths. If you are interested in being sponsored, call Clint McBroom at 316-641-5946 or look them up on Facebook ‘Turkey Talker Game Calls’.

Westar Energy Green Team to Host Youth Dove Hunt

Participating youth will have the opportunity to hunt wheat stubble and sunflower fields during the Labor Day weekend hunt

 

The Westar Energy Green Team will host a youth-only dove hunt Sept. 1-2 at the Jeffrey Energy Center (JEC) Wildlife Area, north of St. Marys. The event is open to youth age 16 or younger and hunts will take place during early morning and late afternoon on both days.

According to JEC wildlife area staff, the fields are in great condition, and there should be plenty of birds flying at close range. The hunts are an excellent way for kids 16 and younger to get hands-on experience and learn the basics of dove hunting.”

The registration deadline is Aug. 26, with hunters being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Youth must bring their own shotguns and be accompanied by a non-hunting adult. Non-toxic shells will be provided to all participants. Hunters age 16 must possess a Kansashunting license and HIP permit.

Hunters or mentors interested in participating in this event can contact Barb Cornelius at (785) 575-8125.

The 2013 dove season is Sept. 1 – Oct. 31 and Nov. 2 – 10. For more information on dove hunting, visit www.ksoutdoors.comand click “Hunting/Migratory Birds.” 

End of Summer Bash at Elk City State Park Aug. 10

From dawn until dusk, ElkCityState Parkwill be hosting a plethora of family-friendly events

 

A 6 a.m. catfishing tournament will kick off a day’s-worth of festivities on Aug. 10 during ElkCityState Park’s End of Summer Bash. The tournament, which requires no pre-registration, isn’t the only thing that will be offered free of charge on Saturday – ElkCityState Parkis also offering park goers a free vehicle entrance that day, as well.

After catching a limit of catfish, visitors can enjoy a host of other activities revolving around water including a jet ski simulator, canoeing and kayaking, and a seemingly-endless supply of water balloons.

For those who wish to stay ashore, visitors can help raise funds for the Elk City State Park Friends Group by trying their luck at a dunk tank.

As the catfish tournament comes to a close around 6 p.m., park goers can enjoy a free cookout that will begin at 6:30 p.m.

For more information, contact the ElkCityState Parkoffice at (620) 331-6295.

Clinton State Park to Host Special Kids Event

Youth can complete up to eight of the 15 required activities for the WildLifer Challenge during this one day event

 

For those visiting ClintonState Park Aug. 10, Saturday will be anything but ho-hum. From free park entrance, a fishing derby loaded with tons of prizes to a reptile “show and tell” session that will showcase venomous species, visitors will experience more than just the average “day at the park.”

The first event of the day will be a kids fishing derby at 9 a.m. at LakeHenry, just south of the park office. Prior to lines hitting the water, staff from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism fisheries division will teach youth about fish identification, casting skills, as well as how to properly bait a hook. At the tournament’s close at 11 a.m., prizes will be awarded to the youth anglers who caught the biggest fish caught, the smallest fish, the most fish, as well as several other categories. Poles, bait and goodie bags will be provided.

As evening temperatures cool, visitors can get up-close views of native reptiles during the evening snake and turtle program from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at shelter No.6 in campground No.3.Take-home snake identification booklets will also be given out to those in attendance (while supplies last).

Youth participating in the Kansas Wildscape Foundation’s “WildLifer Challenge,” can complete up to eight of the 15 challenges within the confines of the park. As an added bonus, youth who complete the WildLifer Challenges will be eligible to earn extra prizes. For more information on the WildLifer Challenge, visit kansaswildscape.org.

For more information on the activities being offered, or directions to ClintonState Park, contact the Clinton State Park Office at (785) 842-8562. 

Recent Rains have Boaters and Anglers Singing

Rains improve boating access at several central-Kansas lakes

 

Singing in the rain; that’s what some state park managers, boaters and anglers were doing last week.

After two years of drought conditions, low lake levels and limited boating access, recent rains have been well received.

Heavy rain in central Kansasbrought a welcomed change to Kanopolis Reservoir in EllsworthCounty, and no one is happier than Rick Martin, KanopolisState Park manager. Kanopolis Reservoir had been so low over the past year that boat ramps were high and dry. After a little inflow and some dredging work by park staff early this summer, one boat ramp allowed boaters on the water. However, water levels were less than ideal for recreation and fishing. According to Martin, that changed this week with the rain and the lake is predicted to be above normal conservation pool level by the weekend. And while that will allow the marina to open, make most boat ramps usable, and the beaches to open, the level will still be below what is considered the ideal summer elevation. Kanopolis is normally held at 4 feet above conservation for the summer recreation season.

That’s music to Martin’s ears because he wants to see the state park full of happy campers. While KanopolisState Park offers a variety of outdoor fun, including hiking, biking and horse riding trails, boating and angling are big draws.

Other reservoirs returning to normal include El Dorado and Marion. El Dorado Reservoir came up two feet and was 2.5 feet below conservation pool level on July 31. Marion Reservoir came up to just above conservation pool level as of July 31. Cheney Reservoir west of Wichitaalso saw some increased inflows, but still remains below conservation pool. The boat ramp in Marina Cove at Cheney allows boating access.

Heavy rains farther east pushed Toronto Reservoir to almost 7 feet above normal; however CrossTimbersState Park manager Kimberly Jones didn’t anticipate any impact on state park activities. Fall River Reservoir had risen just 2 feet above conservation pool by July 31.

And while summer fun is still on everyone’s radar, duck hunters are keeping an eye on Cheyenne Bottoms, which finally received some runoff this week. Water is being diverted into the deep-water storage pool to prevent evaporation loss. With water stored, hunting pools can be flooded this fall just prior to hunting season.

Some parts of western Kansasstill feel the effects of long-term drought, but recent rains have improved conditions and perhaps show a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.