Monthly Archives: July 2014

8th Annual TJ’S Memorial Youth/Disabled Deer Hunt Sept. 6-7

Applications due August 24, Hunt Cedar Bluffs Wildlife Area

The Hunting Heritage Group and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) invite youth, age 10-16, and disabled hunters to apply for a spot in the 8th Annual TJ’s Memorial Deer Hunt September 6 and 7. Interested hunters must be Kansas residents and submit applications no later than August 24. There is no fee to participate and lodging will be provided. To obtain an application, visit and click “TJ’s Memorial Hunt Application.”

On September 6, participants will receive classroom instruction on shooting, safety, and deer hunting, followed by a trip to the range to sight in firearms. Lunch will also be provided.

Later that evening, guides and hunters will depart to their assigned hunting spots. Hunters who are unsuccessful on the first evening will be invited to hunt September 7.

Some hunters will hunt from blinds with experienced guides on private land neighboring the Cedar Bluff Wildlife Area in TregoCounty. Others will have the opportunity to hunt in specially-designated areas on the Cedar Bluff Wildlife Area.

For more information contact Kent Hensley at (785) 726-3212, or Owen Johnson at (785) 483-0504.

Special hunts like this one are part of the Kansas Hunter Recruitment and Retention Program called “PASS IT ON.” This program exists to provide any youngster with a desire the opportunity to hunt in Kansas.

Dogbane Leaf Beetle

Dogbane Beetle on a Black-eyed Susan.

Dogbane Beetle on a Black-eyed Susan.

Dogbane Leaf Beetle:  Photo by George Grall

The dogbane beetle (Chrysochus auratus) is primarily found east of the Rocky Mountains. It is easy to spot with its iridescent colors of blue-green, metallic copper, with golden or crimson. It has a convex shape. It eats milkweed and dogbane. Dogbane is relative of milkweed and toxic to dogs.

National Geographic states: “This iridescent dogbane leaf beetle, found on a black-eyed susan in Frederick, Maryland, can trace its ancestors to the lower Permian, some 260 million years ago. Beetles survived the massive Permian and Triassic extinctions as well as two subsequent global extinctions, and now, with some 350,000 identified species, they are the animal kingdom’s most successful members.”

Half CRP Acreage Still Available for Bobwhite Quail Conservation

The Outdoor Wire

With the reopening of federal Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) practices this summer, more than 250,000 acres – half the nationwide allotment – have been enrolled in the CRP “Habitat for Upland Birds” practice. This leaves about 250,000 available for signup by landowners, acres that, once enrolled, will improve habitat for northern bobwhite and other wildlife.

Officially known as Conservation Practice 33, the program is most commonly referred to as “bobwhite buffers” as the purpose of this practice is to reverse the long-term decline of northern bobwhite and other upland bird populations by providing needed nesting and brood-rearing habitat adjacent to cropland. These important components of northern bobwhite habitat have declined due to more intense grazing and cropping practices – resulting in the elimination of weedy field borders, abandoned farmsteads and small, recently disturbed areas loved by northern bobwhites. There are currently 250,073 bobwhite buffer acres enrolled across the country.

“Many landowners still don’t know about the availability and advantages of this program,” says Rick Young, Quail Forever’s Vice President of Field Operations, “The ‘bobwhite buffers’ program is a ‘win-win’ – for landowners, it allows unproductive field margins to be restored to grassland habitat, often with net financial gains through practice incentives. Those grassland acres then provide critical habitat for northern bobwhite and other upland wildlife.”

State Allocation (Ac)     Acres Currently Enrolled         Bobwhite Buffers Available (Ac)

Colorado                           610                                          171                                         439
Kansas                         70,500                                     40,493                                     30,007

Missouri                       52,300                                     34,350                                     17,950

Nebraska                     12,000                                       6,053                                       5,947

Oklahoma                      1,600                                       1,048                                          552

Landowners interested in the bobwhite buffers practice can enroll at any time by contacting the Quail Forever or Pheasants Forever farm bill wildlife biologist in their area or by visiting their localUSDAServiceCenter. There are more than 103,000 Conservation Practice 33 acres on reserve, meaning they will be allocated to states once current allotments are used up.

Over-the-Counter Deer Permits Available August 1

New reduced youth fees make experiencing the outdoors more affordable than ever

It won’t be long and trail camera pictures won’t be the only thing resident hunters will be clicking through on a computer. At 12:01 a.m. August 1, over-the-counter deer permits go on sale at, and for resident hunters with deer fever, it’s the perfect remedy to make it through until September.

Adding to the anticipation is the fact that parents and mentors purchasing youth permits will see reduced youth fees this year. For less than $13 each, resident youth can enjoy an Any-Season White-tailed Deer Permit, an Archery Either-species/Either-sex Deer Permit, or a Muzzleloader Either-species/Either-sex Deer Permit; and for less than $10 each, they can obtain an Antlerless White-tailed Deer permit and Antlerless Either-species Deer permit.

To purchase a 2014 deer permit online, visit and click “License/Permits,” or visit your local Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism office or license vendor.

2014 Resident Deer Permit Pricing

Any-Season White-tailed Deer Permit

General resident: $32.50

Landowner/tenant: $17.50

Youth (15 and younger): $12.50

Archery Either-species/Either-sex Deer Permit

General resident: $32.50

Landowner/tenant: $17.50

Youth (15 and younger): $12.50

Muzzleloader Either-species/Either-sex Deer Permit

General resident: $32.50

Landowner/tenant: $17.50

Youth (15 and younger): $12.50

Hunt-Own-Land Deer Permit

Landowner: $17.50

Tenant: $17.50

Antlerless White-tailed Deer Permit

General resident: $17.50

Youth (15 and younger): $10.00

Antlerless Either-species Deer Permit

General resident: $17.50

Youth (15 and younger): $10.00

Hunters must first have a resident deer permit that allows the taking of an antlered deer before purchasing an antlerless permit, unless the antlerless permit is purchased after Dec. 30. A limited number of Antlerless Either-species Deer Permits are available, first-come, first-served.

In addition to a deer permit, resident hunters age 16 through 74 must have a resident hunting license, unless exempt by Kansas Law.

Task Force Formed to Counter Cyber Threats to Hunters

Sportsmen, conservation organizations and outdoor personalities met at the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) headquarters July 22 to develop strategies to counter the recent increase in cyber-attacks on hunters.

The group makes up the Hunter Advancement Task Force with most members sharing a common theme of having been targeted by animal rights activists through social media.

“This is a great opportunity to start developing ways to hold those responsible for the recent wave of cyber-attacks against sportsmen accountable,” said Nick Pinizzotto, USSA president and CEO. “The task force is not only working to stop direct attacks on hunters but also discussing how best to educate the public on the vital role sportsmen play in the conservation of all wildlife.”

Attendees included outdoor television personalities Melissa Bachman and Jana Waller, Colorado hunter Charisa Argys along with her father Mark Jimerson, Doug Saunders of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Bill Dunn of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, John Jackson of Conservation Force, Dennis Foster of the Masters of Foxhounds Association, Tony Schoonan of the Boone and Crockett Club and Mark Holyoak of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Other attendees included USSA President and CEO, Nick Pinizzotto, Evan Heusinkveld, USSA vice president of government affairs, Bill Horn, USSA director of federal affairs, Michelle Scheuermann of Bullet Proof Communications and author Michael Sabbeth.

Bachman, a television producer and host, found her life and career threatened after posting a photo of an African lion she harvested to her Facebook page last year. Almost immediately, Bachman came under attack from anti-hunters around the world. Bachman also found herself the target of death threats that “hit way too close for comfort” when anti-hunters showed up at her office.

“Regardless of your beliefs about hunting, Americans can all agree that threatening someone’s life is simply unacceptable.” said Bachman.

Other members of the task force have also had personal experiences with cyber-bullying including Waller who has had not only threats to her life, but also to her career. Waller, the star of Skull Bound TV, found herself having to defend her livelihood after an anti-hunter called her show sponsors to accuse her of poaching.

“The whole issue of harassment is so important,” said Waller. “I am scared it is going to deter people from standing tall and proud as hunters.”

While attacks on outdoor-celebrity hunters have been going on for years, average hunters have largely avoided the wrath of the anti-hunting community.  Earlier this year, however, Charisa Argys was thrown into the spotlight when a picture of her legally harvested mountain lion appeared online. The image brought a flood of criticism and threats not only to her, but to family members as well.

“Just because some anti-hunters in Europe went ballistic over a legal hunt, this issue is going to be associated with me for the rest of my life,” said Argys. “It is never going to go away. It’s going to be there forever. It could affect my job prospects and my life.”

This initial task force meeting was just the first of many to develop short and long-range strategies to protect hunters from cyber harassment.

“In the short term we are developing aggressive legal approaches to pursue both civil and criminal legal actions to prosecute anti-hunting harassers.” said Bill Horn, USSA director of federal affairs. “In the long term, we would like to cultivate strategies to provide additional legal protections for hunters who are finding themselves the target of cyber bullying.”

Pinizzotto added, “What this group discussed today and the ideas generated are a terrific first step in protecting hunters now and in the future. We have some of the brightest minds in our industry working on this critical issue. I look forward to continuing this discussion and adding additional key groups and individuals to the team in the coming weeks.”

Bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus):

Bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus): Photo Credit Judd Patterson.

Bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus): Photo Credit Judd Patterson.

Bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus): Photo Credit Judd Patterson.

The Bobwhite Quail is a ground-dwelling bird native to eastern North America. Its name is derived from its easily recognizable clear whistle call (“bob-WHITE” or “bob-bob-WHITE”). Each syllable is slow and distinctly spaced, with the last syllable being a higher pitch than the first syllable. Because quail are shy, if you are walking in appropriate habitat, you’re more likely to be aware of its presence by its call than visually spotting one. If you walk close enough to flush one, it will take an evasive low-level flight.

The Bobwhite quail’s rufous plumage is interrupted by subtle gray mottling on the wings and more obvious white scalloping along the flanks and underparts. Males have a white throat & brow stripe. Females are similar overall but have a buff throat and brow. They have a dark, short curved bill. Loss of adequate nesting cover, brood range and escape thickets are responsible for its declining population. Currently the Bobwhite quail can be found all over Kansas but mostly in northeast & southeast portions of the state. It prefers

agricultural lands, grasslands, as well as open woodland areas and the edges of woodlands. It can be found along roadsides where cover is natural. Learn about the Bobwhite Quail Initiative to enhance habitat.

Prescribed Burning Field Day, August 21, 2014

Burning Day

                                         Thursday, August 21,9am-12:00

Meet on the east side of Highway 183, 9 miles south of Sitka, Kansas, or 15 miles north of Buffalo, Oklahoma

(We will meet at this location and then caravan another 7 miles back into the Barby Ranch to the demonstration site.)

Featured Topics Include:

Review prescribed burning effects on the Barby Ranch


Ranch Goals

Grazing Management

Assistance Programs

Prescribed Burn Associations

REFRESHMENTS PROVIDED BY:  The Kansas Prescribed Fire Council

If you have Questions: Call Heather Grigsby(620-635-2822) or

Jess Crockford(620-664-4882)

(Please inform us of any special accommodations that you may require)


Raccoon (Procyon lotor)

Raccoon (Procyon lotor)  Photo Credit:

Raccoon (Procyon lotor)
Photo Credit:

Raccoon (Procyon lotor)

Photo Credit:

Raccoons are highly intelligent & inquisitive. They are easily identified by the black mask around their eyes and by the vertical black stripe between their eyes. They have a ringed tail and pointed muzzle. They are excellent swimmers and good climbers. Molecular studies indicate raccoons are related to the bear. Raccoons are most abundant in the eastern part of Kansas where there are more mature deciduous and mixed forests, waterways and agriculture. Since amphibians, crustaceans and other animals found around the shore of lakes, rivers and marshes are an important part of the raccoon’s diet, lowland deciduous and mixed forests sustain the highest population densities of raccoon. The exceptional tactile sensation on their front paws helps them detect food in streams. Being omnivorous, they also eat corn, milo, acorns, mulberries, fruits, nuts, berries plus grasshoppers, fish, frogs, clams, crayfish and eggs. Although they do not hibernate, they will den to avoid cold weather or deep snowfall. Dens are hollow trees, rock crevices & burrows of other animals including abandoned beaver lodges. Fossils found in the Great Plains date back to the Pliocene era. Today raccoons are expanding their range north into Canada as temperatures continue to rise. Oh yes, since they are nocturnal, if they get into your attic they will keep you up all night. Since raccoons have the potential for carrying rabies, programs exist for trapping, vaccinating and releasing animals to reduce the spread of the disease.

What do Cover Crops have to do with Wildlife?

By Lara Bryant
NWF’s Wildlife Promise

National Wildlife Federation has been working hard for the past few years to overcome barriers and support champions of cover crop adoption. In fact, we just released two new reports on cover crops: Counting Cover Crops and Clean Water Grows. When I explain my work to people, they often ask, “What are cover crops, and why is National Wildlife Federation promoting them?”
Cover crops are grown in between cash crops, to cover the soil when it would ordinarily be bare or fallow. Cover crops hold the soil in place on the land, and keep it from washing away into rivers and streams. Cover crops improve water quality and soil quality, and they also sequester carbon, which helps mitigate climate change. Climate change has been identified as one of the greatest threats to wildlife, and clean water is a key ingredient for wildlife habitat. Some cover crops, such as buckwheat, may also benefit wildlife as winter forage and cover, while others, such as red and white clover, are great for pollinators. So, as far as wildlife is concerned, cover crops are the bee’s knees.


Cover crops make bees happy. Photo: flick user steveburt1947

Wildlife and Cover Crops in the Mississippi River Basin (MRB)
The Mississippi River Basin is the world’s fourth largest watershed. Did you know that parts of 30 states from the Appalachians to the Rockies drain into the Mississippi? Thousands of species live near or depend on the 12 major rivers that drain into the Mississippi – black bears, alligators, and map turtles, to name a few. Needless to say, clean water in the MRB is a priority for wildlife.
Yet, Counting Cover Crops shows that cover crops are grown on only 1.8 million acres, or less than 2% of cropland in the Mississippi River Basin (MRB). Instead of looking at the glass like it’s half empty, let’s say that there is a tremendous opportunity to improve wildlife habitat on working lands and in rivers and streams by getting more cover crops on the ground.
By 2025, NWF would like to see 100 million acres of cover crops planted across the United States; 60 million acres would be in the MRB. But how can that vision become reality? We wrote Clean Water Grows to provide some examples of successful efforts to grow more cover crops.
I interviewed 14 hard-working people who are improving water quality in the MRB, the Great Lakes, and the Chesapeake Bay. It was inspiring to hear about water utilities and state agencies working with local conservation districts and farmers to reduce water pollution with cover crops.
For example, in Indiana, three counties banded together and used funding from Clean Water Indiana to provide expert assistance and partially fund the cost for farmers in their districts to plant cover crops. They planted 7,000 acres of cover crops across the three counties in two years. This kept 2,380 tons of sediment, 2,942 lbs of phosphorus, and 5,880 lbs of nitrogen from reaching rivers and streams, annually. Imagine how much cleaner the Gulf of Mexico would be if 60 million acres of cover crops were planted in the MRB?
Read more inspiring stories in Clean Water Grows, and think of how cover crops could clean lakes, rivers, and estuaries near you.

Meet the Cover Crop Champions

By Lara Bryant

NWF’s Wildlife Promise


Last year NWF began a new program for cover crop expert farmers and agricultural professionals, called the “Cover Crop Champions.” The champions receive small grants to pay the cost of their travel, time, and various expenses to share their expertise and passion for cover crops with farmers in their region. Recently, NWF staff took a look at the champions’ first year reports and found that so farour champions have directly reached nearly 2,500 farmers and over 100,000 more indirectly through media. We calculate that this will result in at least 42,651 new acres of cover crops in the Mississippi River Basin – which is great for wildlife and reducing pollution in the Gulf of Mexico! Cover crops not only help hold soil in place and clean water, but they can also provide forage and cover for wildlife.  Read more here.


Is there a cover crop champion near you? NWF accepted applicants from Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin to share their expertise. Map created by NWF staff using Batchgeo.

According to the 2012 Agricultural Census, 10.3 million acres of cover crops were planted nationwide in 2012. USDA has a goal to get 20 million acres of cover crops planted by 2020. The cover crop champions can help pave the way to reaching that goal.

We had time to catch up with a couple of our champions and hear their stories, which I have shared below.


Bobwhite photo donated by National Wildlife Photo Contest

entrant Douglas Elsaesser.

Mark Peterson, Iowa

Mark Peterson farms approximately 400 acres of row crops in a corn and soybean rotation. Mark started growing cover crops two years ago, after learning about their benefits from experts at Practical Farmers of Iowa, a farmer-led non-profit organization that values good agricultural stewardship.

Since he started growing cover crops, Mark noticed that there was less erosion after a rainfall where he had cover crops planted.

As an unexpected bonus, Mark found a covey of quail on his farm for the first time in 8 years.Cover crops create a place for quail to raise their young.

I asked Mark what the highlight of the champions program was for him and he told me a story about some farmers who approached him after a meeting where he spoke about using cover crops. They said they had been thinking about growing cover crops for a long time, and listening to you today finally got us motivated to do something.” Kent Solberg, Minnesota

Kent runs a rotational-grazing dairy and pastured hog farm in central Minnesota. Adding cover crops to his operation provides feed for livestock and builds soil health.

When Kent first purchased the farm, the soils were coarse and worn out. During drought time, the pastures would dry up and the price of irrigation was too high to make a profit. Kent started looking for alternatives and started the farm on a path to improve soil health. He takes some pasture out of production and plants it to a complex cover crop mix to boost soil microbe activity. This improves the soil for the next crop or pasture. Kent uses cover crops for mid-summer and fall forage. “If I could change anything, it would be that I wish I had started sooner. Every year I use covers, I wish I had done more.”

Kent says that being a part of the champions program has created an opportunity to bring the message of soil health to other producers.

“If not for the program, I don’t think I would have been able to speak to as many people as I have in the past 6-8 months. It has also helped build a network I can tap into to help multiply the adoption of cover crops,” Solberg said.


Photo courtesy of Kent Solberg

Eventually, I hope to tell more stories about the cover crop champions on this blog, but in the meantime, feel free to check out this portfolio of their inaugural year, or read more about NWF’s work on cover crops.