Daily Archives: September 18, 2014

Flower Seeds for the Goldfinch

Goldfinch eating Bee balm seeds.

Goldfinch eating Bee balm seeds.

Goldfinches on Purple coneflower seed heads.

Goldfinches on Purple coneflower seed heads.

Particularly during late August or most of September in Kansas, certain flower seed heads should be left alone after the blooms have been spent to allow birds to feed on the seeds. This practice particularly benefits American goldfinches that love the seeds of bee balm, Purple coneflowers, and all varieties of sunflowers. It’s often tempting to cut off the seedpods to make the flower garden look neat but it deprives these birds of a vital food source. When I watch them pecking seeds from my helianthus, they will often complete their meal by selecting one yellow flower petal that they gulp down almost as quickly as the seeds. The slender stems of bee balm are still sturdy enough to support Gold finches standing on the seed head while they extract the seeds one at a time. Many seeds often remain behind even after purple coneflower seed heads have turned dark brown or black. Usually Gold finches will be seen in groups dining on the seeds of all these flowers whose seeds become available in September when the birds are moving through the area. Gold finches may be permanent residents in other parts of Kansas but where I live in northeast Kansas, they are just pausing for a few weeks on their way further south. If you have bee balm, purple coneflowers and sunflowers in your yard, expect to see many visits from the American goldfinch this fall. – Ted Beringer

2014 Kansas upland bird hunting forecast now available

2014 Upland bird forecast shows improvements in pheasant, quail, prairie-chicken populations

2014 Upland bird forecast shows improvements in pheasant, quail, prairie-chicken populations

A copy of the 2014 Kansas Upland Bird Forecast is now available and from the looks of things, upland bird hunters will see improved populations this fall. Although below-average harvests are expected this year, hunters should see more birds and have more opportunities than the 2013 season. To view the entire forecast, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Hunting,” then “Upland Birds.”

PHEASANT

After three consecutive years of statewide declines, spring breeding populations for pheasant stabilized in 2014. The only region showing a significant decrease was the Northern High Plains. Summer brood counts show an increase of 70 percent when compared to 2013. This increase should offer improved hunting opportunities, and the best hunting this year will likely be in the Smoky Hills region. Kansas still contains one of the best pheasant populations among states and the fall harvest will again be among the best in the country; however, Kansas will again have a below-average pheasant harvest this fall.

Regular Season: Nov. 8, 2014 – January 31, 2015; Youth Season: November 1-2, 2014. Daily Bag Limit: 4 cocks in regular season, 2 cocks in youth season.

QUAIL

Roadside surveys for quail showed a statewide increase of 50 percent compared to 2013. However, statewide populations are still below historic averages, and Kansas will likely have a below-average quail harvest this fall. Populations in much of the central and western portions of the state have not fully recovered from the drought. While opportunities will be better throughout most of the state this year, the best opportunities will likely remain in the eastern third of the state, particularly in the Flint Hills region.

Regular Season: November 8, 2014 – January 31, 2015; Youth Season: November 1-2, 2014. Daily Bag Limit: 8 in regular season, 4 in youth season.

PRAIRIE-CHICKEN

Prairie-chicken populations are generally up where the appropriate habitat exists. Hunting opportunities should be improved throughout the greater prairie-chicken hunting unit; however, the best opportunities this fall will be in the Smoky Hills Region.

Early Season (Greater Prairie-Chicken Unit): Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, 2014; Regular Season (Greater Prairie-Chicken Unit): Nov. 15, 2014 – Jan. 31, 2015. Daily Bag Limit: 2. Southwest Unit closed to all prairie-chicken hunting.

To view the complete forecast, including detailed regional information, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Hunting/Upland Birds.”

Application deadline for Special Hunts Sept. 29

Hunters have until 9 a.m., Sept. 29 to apply for fall and winter special hunts

 

Outstanding hunting grounds exist throughout the state, but for the average hunter, gaining access to private land areas may be difficult. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism designed the Special Hunts Program to ensure hunters have quality outdoor experiences. Special hunts provide hunters with temporary access to lands not normally open to unrestricted hunting. Hunters interested in experiencing a special hunt for this fall or winter can apply online at ksoutdoors.com by clicking “Hunting/Special Hunts Information.” The deadline for Nov.-Jan special hunts is Sept. 29 at 9 a.m.

Approximately 650 hunts are currently available for the fall and winter months, and a random computer drawing will be conducted within one week of the application deadline to determine who will be awarded special hunts. Lucky hunters can draw hunts that provide access to specific areas for just a day or up to the entire season.

During the application process, hunters will select what species they want to hunt as well as what type of hunt they prefer, be that an open hunt, a youth hunt, or a mentored hunt. Open hunts are available to all successful applicants, regardless of age or hunting experience. Youth hunts require parties to include at least one youth 18 or younger, accompanied by an adult 21 or older who will not hunt. And mentored hunts are open to both youth and novice hunters supervised by a mentor 21 or older who may also hunt.

Hunters are reminded that special hunt permits only provide access to the properties and do not include any licenses or permits.

For more information on the Special Hunts Program, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Hunting/Special Hunts Information,” or contact KDWPT public land supervisor Mike Nyhoff at (785) 628-8614 or by email at [email protected].

Spots available for Angler Instructor course

Get certified to teach basic fishing skills in Kansas

 

If you’re passionate about fishing, and have a desire to share that passion with others, you can still enroll in aKansas angler education certification course. Fishing’s Future and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism will sponsor a fishing instructor course for 40 volunteers who want to learn about teaching fishing techniques in Kansas. The instructor course will be held Oct. 4 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the National Guard Training Center, 2930 Scanlan Ave, Salina.

During the certification course, anglers will learn about working with children, sample curriculums, fishing regulations, species identification, ethics, knot-tying and more.

To learn more about the fishing instructor certification program and to register for the Salina course, go towww.fishingsfuture.org, click on “Upcoming Events”, then “Kansas Angler Education Training Program.”

Questions may be directed to either Kevin Reich of Fishing’s Future at [email protected], or Sgt. James Merriman at (785) 826 3761.