Daily Archives: February 27, 2014

Youth Invited to Hunt Turkey at Jeffrey Energy Center

Applications will be accepted through March 14, or until all spots are filled

Westar Energy invites youth age 12-17 to participate in a spring turkey hunt, April 1-20, atJeffrey Energy Center, located seven miles north of St. Marys. The event is open to all youth who meet the age requirement and have yet to harvest a turkey. Participants must be accompanied by an adult mentor, preferably one who does not have turkey hunting experience. Participants will need a shotgun; however, no special clothing, calls or decoys will be required. Hunters 15 years and younger must purchase a youth spring turkey permit. Hunters 16 years and older will need a unit three turkey permit, hunting license and hunter education card.
Participants will hunt from enclosed blinds around small crop fields scattered over the property where turkeys are abundant. Hunts will take place primarily in the mornings and on weekends, but weekdays and afternoons are possible based on volunteer guide availability.
Registration will be open through Friday, March 14, or until all slots are filled. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis with preference given to inexperienced mentors. For more information and to apply, contact Barb Cornelius at (785) 575-8125.
This project is supported by Westar Energy Green Team volunteers who are veteran hunters available to assist the youths and their mentors.

Pheasants Forever State Habitat Convention March 7-8

Fourth annual event celebrates Kansas’ tradition of upland hunting and conservation

Kansas Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever will host its fourth annual state habitat convention March 7-8 at the Great Plains Nature Center in Wichita. The two-day event is designed for landowners, conservationists and hunters interested in improving wildlife habitat, and will also celebrate and discuss avenues to enhance the upland hunting tradition in the Sunflower State.
Open to the public, the state meeting is an opportunity for local sportsmen/women and chapters to meet and discuss concerns and opportunities regarding upland wildlife in their area. The habitat-heavy event will also focus on youth, women, and dog enthusiasts within the state.
“We have an outstanding event this year thanks to our volunteers and our partners,” said Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Western Kansas regional representative, Chris Blackledge. “I am greatly looking forward to meeting with individuals from across the state who are ready and willing to help ensure Kansas’ upland hunting heritage.”
Saturday’s keynote speakers include:
Dave Nomsen, vice-president of governmental affairs for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, will discuss issues in Washington D.C. that affect conservation. Additionally, he will update attendees with news about the Federal Farm Bill.
Jake George, private lands coordinator for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism, will be on hand to discuss Walk-In Hunting Access programs that are opening up more great locations to the public each year around the state.
Jim Pitman, small game coordinator for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, will be discussing bag limits and population dynamics for hunting regulations.­
Nadia Marji, associate editor for Kansas Wildlife & Parks magazine, will share her journey of transitioning from a “city girl” to an “accidental huntress” in an effort to engage more women and youth in the outdoors.
Speakers will also be on hand to discuss the importance of pollinators and insects in increasing upland bird populations, new ways to engage youth through chapter outreach, issues with stocked birds, landowner success stories, managing deer and upland birds at the same time, taxidermy, and management implementation.
All sessions at the Great Plains Nature Center and the Wichita Marriott are open to the public for a price of $65. Ticket price includes Friday’s Pheasants Forever Kansas Hall of Fame Reception, State Habitat Convention Saturday and the Partners in Conservation Banquet Saturday evening.
For more information, contact Chris Blackledge at (620) 767-2121,[email protected] or visit www.kansaspfqf.org to register.

APPLICATIONS BEING ACCEPTED FOR OUTDOORS-WOMAN WORKSHOP

PRATT ­– If you’ve ever wondered what baits catch what fish, how to start a fire with your bare hands, or even
have thought about coasting a creek in a canoe, youshouldsign up for the 2014 Spring Becoming An Outdoors-Woman (BOW) workshop thisMay. Held at Rock Springs 4-H Center May 16-18,the workshop will offerparticipants courses on everything from wood-carving and GPS basics, to rifle marksmanship and fly fishing.
Offered through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, BOW is a non-profit, non-membership program designed for teaching women outdoor skills. The workshop will offer over 25 different classes thanks to a core of volunteer instructors, including KDWPT employees, law enforcement officials, and even past participants, all of whom are considered to be experts in their field.
Cost for the three-day workshop is $250, which includes lodging, meals and class supplies. Three $100 scholarships are available to first-time participants based on financial need.
Early registration will be open to first-time participants through March 15. If spots still remain, past participants may register beginning March 16. Applicants are encouraged to apply early as the spring workshop is limited to 48 participants and the application period will close May 2. To register, visitwww.ksoutdoors.com, click “Services/Education/Becoming an Outdoors Woman,” and download a registration form.
For questions, call or email Jami McCabe at (785) 845-5052 or [email protected] To learn more, and view pictures of past workshops, visit the BOW Facebook page found under “Becoming an Outdoors Woman KANSAS.”

Kansas Recognized for Use of Native Grasses in CRP

Group Achievement Award presented to Kansas federal agriculture agencies

The National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) recently bestowed their Group Achievement Award to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Kansas. The award reflects achievements of groups of individuals or organizations that have had a measurable positive impact on wild bobwhite quail populations. The NBTC consists of the nation’s top bobwhite biologists, researchers, resource managers and conservation groups who are dedicated to restoring native bobwhite quail populations.
With this award, the NBTC is praising the Kansas offices of NRCS and FSA for their unique implementation of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which became part of the Farm Bill in 1985. CRP pays private landowners to take highly-erodible farmland out of production and plant it to grass. In the program’s early stages, Kansas policy makers were faced with critical decisions about the types of grasses that would be required in a state with such a wide diversity of soil types.
Those policy makers determined the most beneficial cover for CRP would be mixes of warm-season, native grasses, the same grasses found in our native prairies. Looking back, it appears to have been one of those moments in time where all the stars aligned and policy was developed that would have major implications for the future of wildlife and other natural resources in Kansas.
The decision was not met with unanimous support. Other states wanted consistency across state lines and were pushing the use of Old World bluestems, which were cheap and relativity easy to establish. Native grasses were more expensive and practical experience in establishing those grasses was lacking. Many assumed the CRP program would not be around long enough to warrant the cost of expensive grass mixes only to see the land broken out again in the future.
But staff in Kansas NRCS offices reasoned that establishing a mix of native grasses would provide the producer greater options for future use once the contracts expired. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism staff knew the value of native grasses to wildlife and the department’s field biologists had been working with private landowners to establish native grasses through wildlife habitat enhancement programs. A seed company in western Kansas was already selling native plant materials and had experience developing mixes for various parts of the state.
With agreement among technical staff across agency lines in Kansas and private industry ready to meet the needs of producers, administrators within NRCS and FSA strongly backed the decision to use natives, ensuring long-term benefits for many Kansas wildlife species.
During the late 1990s, KDWPT began documenting the presence of the lesser prairie-chicken in portions of their historic range where they had not been seen for more than 60 years. This significant re-occupation was due to nesting cover provided by native grasses in CRP. FSA and its partners in Kansas had been targeting CRP enrollment within the historic range of the lesser prairie-chicken since 1996 by establishing Conservation Priority Areas. Since that time, increases in pheasant and quail populations have also been observed in those same areas. That portion of western Kansas is one of the only places in North America where quail populations have trended upward over the last couple of decades.
In making this award to NRCS and FSA, the NBTC also wanted to recognize individuals who were instrumental in making the “first native first” policy a reality nearly 30 years ago. Those individuals include James Habiger, former NRCS state conservationist, Jess Crockford, former NRCS state range conservationist, Bob Higgins and Rich Hager, former NRCS biologists, Al Schmatter, former FSA Conservation Program Manager, Bob Wood and Charles Lee, former KDWPT agriculture liaisons and Sharp Brothers Seed Company of Healy Kansas.