Daily Archives: October 18, 2013

State Park Cabins Serve as Ideal Base Camps for Hunters

Lodging at a comfortable state park cabin can save hunters money and time

Hunters have to factor in a lot of components when planning a hunt and one of the most important aspects focuses on timing. Whether you are figuring out what time to wake up, when to change locations, how soon to call an animal in, or even when you should shoot, it’s always better when a hunter has time on their side. State park cabins can offer hunters an affordable base camp that won’t require factoring in a ton of extra time for travel. Often located within just a few miles, some even within walking distance, of some of the state’s most popular public hunting areas, state park cabins are a great way to enjoy the outdoors long after shooting hours are over.

Offered in either “deluxe” or “sleeper” styles, state park cabins provide the flexibility that comes with lodging at a chain hotel, without the brand-name price. Depending upon the season and amenities offered, nightly fees vary from $35 to $110 and can sleep anywhere from four to ten adults. Deluxe cabins offer heating and air conditioning, a bathroom, shower, and often a furnished kitchen equipped with a refrigerator, stove, microwave, and coffee pot. Sleeper cabins are a little more rustic with fewer amenities, but are still equipped with heating and air conditioning, as well as electricity. Beds are included; however guests are required to bring their own linens.

Reservations can be made online at reserveamerica.com as far out as 364 days in advance and as soon as three days in advance. If booking on a Friday, cabins must be reserved for both Friday and Saturday, and cabins booked on a Saturday must be reserved for both Saturday and Sunday. Hunters wishing to make a reservation one to two days in advance my contact the nearest state park office for availability, or call (620) 672-5911 for assistance.

For more information on state park cabin locations and amenities, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “State Parks / Reservations.”

Treestand Hunters are Encouraged to Harness Up

Fall-restraint systems can be a life-saving tool when hunting from a treestand

The deer rut can be some of the best hunting all year for bowhunters, and in the whirlwind of activity that takes place during this special time, it can be easy to get lackadaisical about safety practices. Every year, a surprising number of treestand hunters fall from treestands, some suffering serious injury or death.

“I’ve found that approximately 50 percent of all treestand hunters do not use any form of fall arrest devise,” says Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism assistant hunter education coordinator Aaron Austin, “so it’s not surprising that up to 30 percent of hunters who hunt from treestands will have an incident sometime in their lives.” Since treestand incidents aren’t required to be reported the way firearm-related hunting incidents are, Austinbelieves the number is a lot higher.

“As a bowhunter, I feel that being 20 feet up in a tree is part of the tradition of deer hunting, but it is important for hunters to be aware of the dangers of treestand hunting,” says Austin. “There are some great products on the market that fix this problem such as the Hunter Safety System Lifeline used in conjunction with a safety harness. This system allows the hunter to stay attached to the tree from the ground to the stand using a simple Prusik knot that slides up and down the line while ascending or descending the tree.”

Apart from using a proper-fitting full-body fall arrest system, Austin recommends treestand hunters keep the following in mind to stay safe this season:

– Select a live, straight tree to hang a stand on, and never hang a stand on a power pole.

– While hanging a stand or climbing a tree for the first time, use a full-body fall arrest system that is equipped with a lineman style climbing belt. A climbing rope, such as a HSS Lifeline, can then be permanently attached above the stand and to the base of the tree so that the hunter is always attached to the tree.

– Permanent stands are particularly dangerous and should be avoided because nails always pull out over time.

– ALWAYS maintain three points of contact with your steps or ladder while climbing up or down the tree.

– Use a haul line to raise or lower hunting equipment instead of trying to carry it.

– While the hunter is seated, there should be little to no slack in the tether that secures the hunter to the tree. Failure to keep the tether above the hunter could result in the hunter being unable to reboard the stand platform after a fall.

– Cold weather can affect the body and mind in several ways, including a delayed down reaction time, tightened muscles, and numbness, therefore treestand hunters should take every precaution to stay as warm as possible while hunting.

– Hunters should be cautious of any surface on the treestand that is wet, frosty or muddy. Failure to take notice of this can cause a hunter to lose traction, creating a potentially serious hazard.

For more information, including videos and current statistics on treestand safety, visit www.projectstand.net.

Kansas Deer-Vehicle Collisions Peak during November

In 2012, nearly 8,700 vehicle accidents in Kansas involved deer

Deer can be spotted near our state’s roadways any time of the year. However, in the fall, motorists should be especially vigilant for deer crossing the highways. Deer breeding season peaks in mid-November, and this marks the period when deer-vehicle collisions are highest. That’s why the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), and the Kansas Highway Patrol are working together to raise awareness and help drivers avoid collisions with deer.

According to KDWPT biologist Lloyd Fox, the increase in deer-vehicle crashes is strongly influenced by the deer mating season, called “rut.” During rut, deer focus on mating; they travel more than in other seasons and pay less attention to hazards such as vehicles. Also during the fall, many deer move to more secure areas as crops are harvested and leaves fall from trees and shrubs.

Not only are deer more active during the fall, but shorter days mean dusk and dawn — when deer are more likely to be on the move — occur when commuter traffic is highest. According to KDOT spokesperson Steve Swartz, 15 percent, or 8,695, of all traffic crashes in 2012 involved deer. Two people were killed and 322 were injured in these crashes. Deer-vehicle collisions occur in every Kansas county. In most cases, counties with high human populations and high traffic volumes record the most deer-vehicle crashes. Johnson County recorded the most crashes with 304, followed by Sedgwick County with 293, and Reno County with 237. The good news is the number of deer-related accidents has continued to decline since 2004 when 9,954 accidents were recorded.

Motorists should observe the following tips to avoid deer collisions:

♦ Be especially watchful at dawn and dusk when deer are particularly active;

♦ Watch for more than one deer, as they seldom travel alone;

♦ Reduce speed and be alert near wooded areas or green spaces such as parks or golf courses and near water sources such as streams or ponds;

♦ Don’t swerve to avoid hitting a deer – the most serious accidents sometimes occur when motorists swerve and collide with another vehicle or run off the road and hit an obstacle;

♦ Heed deer crossing signs;

♦ Always wear a seat belt and use appropriate child safety seats; and

♦ Use bright lights and slow down whenever the reflective eyes of deer are spotted.

According to KHP Lieutenant Joshua Kellerman, if you hit a deer, slow down and pull onto the shoulder, turn on your emergency flashers, and watch for traffic if you have to exit your vehicle. If you have a cellular phone and are on a Kansas highway, dial *47 (*HP) for a highway patrol dispatcher, *582 (*KTA) for assistance on the Kansas Turnpike, or dial 911.

Anyone involved in a vehicle-deer crash resulting in personal injury or property damage that totals $1,000 or more is required to immediately report the crash to the nearest law enforcement agency. Failure to report any traffic crash is a misdemeanor and may result in suspension of driving privileges.

A salvage tag is required to remove a deer carcass from an accident site. Tags can be issued by KHP troopers, sheriff’s deputies, or KDWPT natural resource officers.

If you are involved in a non-injury crash on an interstate, U.S. highway, or any divided or multi-lane road in the state of Kansas, and if you are not transporting hazardous materials, you are required by law to move your vehicle out of the lane of traffic. This law is intended to help keep drivers and passengers safe by getting them out of the lane of traffic and away from oncoming vehicles.