Daily Archives: February 10, 2014

2014 Spring Turkey Special Hunts Application On-line

Hunters have until Feb. 24 to apply for spring special hunts
Snow might be covering your block, but spring is just around the corner, and that means turkey season is on its way. Spring turkey hunters can get a head start on the season by applying now for exclusive entry into areas with limited access through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Special Hunts Program. While there is no guarantee of success, this special access usually means a higher quality hunt and potentially greater harvest rates. From Feb. 1-24, hunters can apply for a special hunt at ksoutdoors.com by clicking “Hunting/Special Hunts.” Following the application period, a random drawing will be held with notifications sent to successful and unsuccessful applicants vie e-mail. 
This year, the Spring Turkey Special Hunts Program is offering 202 different individual turkey hunts on 23 properties.  Half the hunts are “Open,” 58 are “Youth” hunts and 43 are “Mentor” hunts. The spring turkey special hunts occur on lands not normally open to public hunting including, but not limited to, wildlife areas, state parks, Corps of Engineers properties, National Wildlife Refuges, city and county parks and on private lands enrolled in the special hunts program. 
Open hunts are available to all hunters with no age or experience restrictions. Youth hunts are open to hunters 16 and younger accompanied by an adult. Mentor hunts are open to youth and novice hunters accompanied by an adult mentor. Both the youth/novice and the mentor may hunt during a mentor hunt. A novice is defined as a hunter who has not hunted turkeys in the last three years. Hunts can range from one day to several days, with some open the entire spring turkey season.
To view a list of current special hunts available, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Hunting/Special Hunts Information.”

2014 Fishing Forecast a Recipe Book for Great Angling

Anglers can dish up a great day on the water using information found
in the 2014 Fishing Forecast
You don’t have to be a world-renowned chef to recognize a good meal when you eat one, and now you don’t have to be a Master Angler in order to catch fish like one. The 2014 Fishing Forecast, produced by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), is an instrumental ingredient when creating the perfect day on the water. Simply take a helping of research, combined with a few choice lures, add in some free time, and you just might find yourself with a recipe worth revisiting this fishing season.
Since the 2014 Fishing Forecast uses data gathered from sampling efforts of public waters during annual lake monitoring, anglers can rest assured they are receiving the best possible information on where to fish and what to fish for. In addition to what species of fish can be caught at any given body of water, the forecast also includes tables with Density Ratings, Preferred Ratings, and Lunker Ratings, as well as information on the Biggest Fish sampled, Biologist’s Ratings, and a Three-Year Average of popular species.
The Density Rating is the number of fish that were high-quality size or larger sampled per unit of sampling effort. High-quality size, listed in parentheses at the top of the Density Rating column, is the length of fish considered acceptable to most anglers and is different for each species. The higher the Density Rating, the more high-quality-sized or larger fish per surface acre in the lake. Theoretically, a lake with a Density Rating of 30 has twice as many high-quality-sized fish per acre as a lake with a Density Rating of 15.
The Preferred Rating identifies how many above-average-sized fish a water contains. For example, a lake may have a good density of crappie, but few fish over 10 inches. The Preferred Rating tells an angler where to go to for a chance to catch bigger fish.
The Lunker Rating is similar to the Density Rating, but it tells you the relative density of lunker-sized fish in the lake. A lunker is a certain length of fish considered a trophy by most anglers. It also differs with each species and is listed in parentheses at the top of the Lunker Rating column. For example, most anglers consider a channel catfish longer than 28 inches a lunker. Many lakes may have a lunker rating of 0, but this does not mean there are no big fish in that lake. It just means that no lunker fish were caught during sampling, and they may be less abundant than in lakes with positive Lunker Ratings.
You can use the Density Rating and Lunker Rating together. If you want numbers, go with the highest Density Rating. If you want only big fish, go with the Lunker Rating. Somewhere in the middle might be a better choice. A lake with a respectable rating in all three categories will provide the best overall fishing opportunities.
The Biggest Fish column lists the weight of the largest fish caught during sampling. A heavy fish listed here can give the lunker fishermen confidence that truly big fish are present.
The Biologist’s Rating adds a human touch to the forecast. Each district fisheries biologist reviews the data from annual sampling of their assigned lakes. This review considers environmental conditions that may have affected the sampling. They also consider previous years’ data. A rating of P (poor), F (fair), G (good), or E (excellent) will be in the last column. Sometimes the Density Rating may not agree with the Biologist’s Rating. This will happen occasionally and means the Density Rating may not accurately reflect the biologist’s opinion of the fishery.
The Three-Year Average rating refers to the averaging of the Density Rating over the previous three years of sampling to help show a trend for a particular lake.
Copies of the 2014 Fishing Forecast can be found in the March/April issue of Kansas Wildlife & Parksmagazine, at any KDWPT office or license vendor, or online at ksoutdoors.com by clicking “Fishing/Fishing Forecast.”

Lesser Prairie-chicken Conservation Plan Landowner/Producer Sign-up Period Open

WAFWA accepting
applications through Feb. 28

Landowner/producers can apply to enroll their land in the Lesser
Prairie-chicken Conservation Program through Feb 28, according to the Western
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA). Those with land in the Lesser
Prairie-chicken range willing to implement conservation practices beneficial to
Lesser Prairie-chickens are eligible. Landowner/producers who are accepted will
receive a sign-up incentive and payments for implementing conservation
practices designed to maximize the value of their property to Lesser
Prairie-chicken. Those practices include mechanical brush removal, prescribed
grazing, and establishment and management of planted native grass stands. Only
producers not currently enrolled in federal farm bill programs will be eligible
to apply for five- and 10-year contract options.
The WAFWA will rank applications based on their value to Lesser
Prairie-chickens and select the highest ranking offers for enrollment. Accepted
landowner/producers located in the high-priority locations can receive payments
of up to 125 percent of the estimated cost of implementing the conservation
plan. If the species becomes federally listed, participating producers will be
exempt from the take prohibition of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) if the
take occurs while implementing the practices prescribed in their conservation
plan. Producers who are interested in the program should contact their
local state wildlife agency office for more details or to complete an
After the sign-up period is complete, the WAFWA will also be
developing similar conservation plans for producers who just want to be
exempted from the take prohibitions of the ESA. The management prescriptions in
these plans won’t be as conservative, and landowners won’t receive payment for
implementing them. However, if the species is listed, any take that occurs
while implementing the prescribed practices will be exempt from the take
prohibitions of the ESA. Producers interested in this type of conservation
plan should also contact their local state wildlife agency.

The WAFWA consists of 23 state and provincial wildlife agencies
that have primary responsibility and authority for protecting and managing fish
and wildlife in the western United States and Canada. The state wildlife
agencies in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado are members of
the WAFWA. Through the WAFWA, those five state wildlife agencies worked
cooperatively over the last two years to produce the Lesser Prairie-chicken
Range-wide Conservation Plan (RWP) as a means to preclude a federal listing of
the species under the ESA. On October 23, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service (USFWS) endorsed the RWP as “a comprehensive conservation plan that
reflects sound conservation design and strategy that, when implemented, will
provide a net conservation benefit to the Lesser Prairie-chicken.” To date, the
RWP is the only plan that has been endorsed by the USFWS and is the only
pathway that has the potential to lead to a not warranted final decision. The
amount of voluntary enrollment in the RWP will likely weigh heavily into the
final listing decision that must be announced by the end of March.

This map depicts
the area of eligibility for the WAFWA lesser prairie chicken conservation
program. Offers received from focal areas and connectivity zones will receive
higher priority in the application process.

Cabela’s Donates West Wind Dome Tent to KWF Auction at Annual Meeting

Cabela’s has donated a 6 person West Wind Dome Tent for the auction at the upcoming Annual Meeting of the Kansas Wildlife Federation Meeting in Salina, Kansas on February 22nd. Many other interesting items will also be auctioned that Saturday evening immediately prior to the Conservation Awards Banquet. Everyone is welcome! Check out the meeting and registration details at http://kwfnews.blogspot.com/2014/02/kansas-wildlife-federation-annual.html