Monthly Archives: August 2014

Poachers hitting deer near Cedar Bluff Reservoir

By Molly Hadfield


Deer hunting season doesn’t start until December, but that’s not stopping some poachers near Cedar Bluff Reservoir.

State wildlife officials found six deer off the highway near Cedar Bluff Reservoir, all killed by poachers in July.

“Well, the unusual part about it is that, in the middle of summer it’s just something that usually doesn’t happen. Occasionally in deer season you’ll have some issues with people shooting stuff, and taking parts and just leaving other parts, but with this it’s in the middle of summer and they haven’t taken anything,” said Owen Johnson, a Game Warden with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

The poachers didn’t take any meat or antlers from the deer.

“They’re just being shot and wasted. They’re not doing anything with them. They’re just driving by and shooting them and driving off and leaving them to waste there in the grass,” said Johnson.

Several of the deer were shot in this field. You can see the shine of their eyes at night. As people drive down the highway, it’s easy to shoot the deer from a truck.

“It only takes a few seconds to stop, roll your window down and shoot at one or two and keep going down the interstate. The whole act only takes fifteen to twenty seconds before the person’s going back down the road again,” Johnson said.

The worst part is that these deer are being killed in fields reserved for youth hunts. They are for kids to hunt with mentors who otherwise wouldn’t get the opportunity to go hunting.

“The fields are protected all year round from all other hunting. And then for someone to come along and just kill them and not do anything with them. They’re essentially taking away from those kids who are counting on that as a place to hunt,” said Johnson.

If you know anything about the deer poachers, you can report them anonymously to Operation Game Thief at 1-877-246-3843.

To see the video report from KSN News TV, go to:


Two Recommended Kansas Daytrips: Dyck Arboretum & Maxwell Game Refuge

The lake at Dyck Arboretum of the Plains

The lake at Dyck Arboretum of the Plains

Here are two daytrip suggestions that would appeal to folks looking for a day-long car trip to view the natural world in Kansas. These suggestions would be practical for anyone living near Wichita, Hutchinson, Salina, McPherson, Lindsborg or even Emporia.

The Dyck Arboretum of the Plains boasts 13 acres of native plants that will support wildlife, especially pollinating insects. The destination is worth the trip and the drive should be wonderful also. It is located at 177 W. Hickory Street in Hesston, Kansas, just north of Newton.

The Maxwell Wildlife Refuge encloses four square miles of land dedicated to bison elk and other prairie species. The Maxwell Refuge is the only public place in Kansas where herds of both bison and elk can be viewed in a native prairie environment. Plus learn about big bluestem, little bluestem, Indiangrass, switchgrass, sideoats grama, native sand plum and smooth sumac.

We’ll be adding many other Daytrips during the year. If you have a favorite day trip, let us know.

Practice shooting skills for upcoming hunting seasons.

Accuracy in the Field Requires Practice


Now is the time to practice shooting skills for upcoming hunting seasons


When hunting season kicks off, nothing can be more frustrating than a bad shot. Contrary to a popular notion, good shooters aren’t born that way. Good shooters get that way through pre-season practice, and those shooters will have more successful hunts this fall.

Three major seasons are on the cusp of arriving in Kansas, including dove, teal, and deer. Whether your quarry flies in the sky or trots on the ground, here are a few suggestions for better accuracy in the field. And remember, always handle firearms safely.

Dove season is Sept. 1-Oct 31 and Nov 1-9. Teal season is Sept. 13-28 in the Low Plains Zone and Sept. 20-28 in the High Plains Zone. To brush up on your shotgun skills before the dove and teal seasons open, visit a local trap, skeet, five-stand or sporting clays range. Unless you shoot competitively, you probably don’t get the opportunity to shoot much during the off-season. After a long layoff, you may be surprised at how rusty your shooting skills have become. If you don’t have a shotgun range nearby, get permission to access a field or pasture from a landowner and shoot some targets from a hand target thrower. Shooting just a few boxes of shells at targets will improve your eye and create muscle memory for proper shotgun mounting.

The Youth/Disabled Deer Season is Sept. 6-14, and all young hunters should be given the opportunity to practice with the equipment they will use. Preseason practice is a great way for a young hunter to become familiar with firearm or archery equipment, learn shooting fundamentals and reinforce safety habits.

The regular archery season is Sept. 15-Dec. 31. Successful bowhunters usually have a regular practice schedule for several weeks or months prior to the archery season. It’s a good idea to practice several times a week or even daily, shooting just a few arrows each session. Concentrate on technique and strengthening the muscles necessary to draw the bow smoothly and hold steady while aiming. As the season draws closer, practice with broadheads and even don your hunting coat and other equipment you’ll wear while hunting. If you hunt from a treestand or elevated blind, find a way to practice shooting from an elevated position. Pay attention to shooting distances you’re most accurate from and keep those in mind while hunting. An ethical hunter knows his or her limitations and shoots within them.

The Muzzleloader Deer Season is Sept. 15-28. Hunting with a muzzleloader presents a unique challenge because of the distance limitation and the fact that a follow-up shot requires a time-consuming loading procedure. A muzzleloading rifle is very accurate as long as the hunter finds the right powder and bullet combination and learns to shoot the gun. Time on the range, learning both your own and your gun’s limitations will increase your odds of success this fall.

Start preparing for a great fall hunting season now by finding a gun range and honing your shooting skills. and “Services/Education/Shooting Ranges,” or visit to find a range near you. Later this season, you and your stomach will be glad you did.

Spotted Bass

Spotted bass by Eric Engbretson

Spotted bass by Eric Engbretson

Spotted Bass: Photo by ERIC ENGBRETSON

The Spotted bass (Kentucky bass) (Micropterus punctulatus) is a freshwater fish belonging to the Perch family. In Kansas it is native to many eastern streams, especially those streams in the Flint Hills with limestone bottoms that also have some aquatic vegetation. The male will form a nest by sweeping silt from the bottom for the female’s eggs that he then guards. Spotted bass consume other small fish, crayfish and aquatic insects. It spawns in smaller tributaries of larger streams and reservoirs in early spring. It resembles the Largemouth bass in general appearance and coloration but with the presence of irregular spots along the lateral line. There are also small black spots along the belly. By comparison, the white bass has a more linear lateral line. Also the Spotted bass has a smaller mouth that extends just below the eye.

Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana)

Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana)  Photographer: James Getman

Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana) Photographer: James Getman

Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana)  Photographer: James Getman

The Virginia opossum is found throughout Kansas in woodlands, croplands and urban yards. It is a marsupial, meaning the female has an external pouch (marsupium) that the newborn must enter to get nourishment from the teats located there. As they grow and develop, they may chose to temporarily leave the pouch, sometimes clinging to the mother’s back as in this photo. Opossums have semi-prehensile tails that allow them to grip tree branches for leverage. However, these prehensile tails are not strong enough by themselves to suspend the animal. As they walk, their tail is often seen grasping leaves to line their nests in the holes of trees or abandoned animal burrows. Their hind feet have an opposable digit that lacks a claw. They can climb trees with ease and spend much of their time there.

They eat small rodents, fruits such as berries, insects, various seeds, snails, crayfish, frogs, lizards, and the eggs of ground nesting birds. Dogs, cats, owls, and other predators kill them but many are killed by cars as they attempt to cross roads.

Kansas has Record Year for Hunting Safety

Six reported hunting incidents in 2013 marks lowest number since records have been kept

Kansas has a lot of to offer hunters. Abundant wildlife, a multitude of hunting opportunities, and diverse landscapes are just a few of the things that make Kansas truly a hunter’s paradise. And while it’s always been a safe place to hunt, it’s a safer-than-ever place to hunt, now, according to the 2013 Kansas Hunter Education Hunting Incident Report. A total of six reported hunting incidents took place last year, the lowest number of incidents reported since the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) began keeping record over 50 years ago. Luckily, none of these incidents resulted in fatalities, but all incidents can be prevented if basic gun safety rules are followed. Hunting is one of the safest outdoor activities when you consider the low number of incidents compared to the millions of hunter days recorded by Kansas hunters each fall. However, even veteran hunters must keep safe gun handling first.
♦ Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded.
♦ Never point your firearm at anything you don’t want to shoot.
♦ Keep the safety on until right before you shoot.
♦ Know your target and what lies beyond it.
♦ Never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
Rules of gun safety are just one of many lessons taught during Hunter Education courses in Kansas, and the program is a big reason hunting-related incidents in the state are at an all-time low. Since 1973, more than 500,000 students have completed the Kansas Hunter Education course.
If you, or someone you know, is interested in taking a Hunter Education course and continuing good hunting practices, visit and click “Services/Education/Hunter” for more information.
Kansas Hunter Education courses are conducted solely by volunteer instructors who graciously offer their time and expertise at no cost to KDWPT. Courses can be found through the KDWPT website listed above, however students should keep in mind that classes offered are based on instructor availability.

This email is free from viruses and malware because avast! Antivirus protection is active.