Daily Archives: November 21, 2014

Milford Nature Center to host holiday open house!

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Visitors can view displays, enjoy special treats, and shop for nature-themed gift items

The staff at the Milford Nature Center, 3415 Hatchery Dr., Junction City, invite you and your family to a holiday open house Sunday, Nov. 30 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors can tour the nature center, enjoy refreshments, and register to win a birdfeeder. At 2 p.m., GearyCounty extension agent Chuck Otte will give a presentation on “Feeding Birds in Winter.” A special craft project will also be available for children to complete at the nature center. Admission is free.

Visitors can even finish their trip with some holiday shopping as the nature center will have great holiday gift and stocking stuff items available for purchase, including honey from the nature center’s bee hive.

Even if you can’t make the holiday open house, a visit to the MilfordNatureCenter is a great idea. The nature center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The center is closed on weekends from October to March.

For more information on this event and the MilfordNatureCenter, call (785) 238-5323.

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Landowner permission required to hunt private land.

Hunters must get permission to hunt private land whether it’s posted or not

Kansas is 97 percent privately owned, so most hunting occurs on private land. While there are more than 1.5 million acres of public hunting lands, including Walk-In Hunting Access, that represents only 2.5 percent of the land in Kansas. Landowners still provide access for most of our hunting opportunities. Kansas law requires all hunters to have landowner permission before hunting on private land whether the land is posted with “No Hunting” signs or not. If the land is posted with “Hunting With Written Permission Only” signs or marked with purple paint, hunters must have written permission from the landowner.

To avoid serious penalties and potentially harming landowner-hunter relations, giving all hunters a bad name, hunters should keep the following in mind:

Get landowner permission before accessing any private land for any reason. A convenient landowner permission card is available for download at www.ksoutdoors.com/Services/Law-Enforcement that hunters may use to document permission to hunt on private land.

Hunting from roads or railways without permission is a form of trespassing called criminal hunting; since the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) is one of 44 states in the Wildlife Violator Compact, conviction of trespass or criminal hunting may prevent the convicted person from enjoying hunting privileges in other states, as well.

Conviction of simple criminal hunting can result in a maximum fine of $500, plus court costs, and one month in jail on the first conviction. Additionally, the court can suspend or revoke license privileges for up to a year. A second conviction requires at least a one-year suspension of privileges in addition to any fines or jail time.

If you witness trespassing or illegal hunting, please call the Operation Game Thief toll-free hotline at 1-877-426-3843.

Dec. 3 marks opening day of firearm deer season

Hunters may pursue deer with firearms through Dec. 14, 2014

As November comes to a close, it can only mean one thing – it’s time to break out your blaze orange clothing and sight-in your rifle because the Kansas firearm deer season is almost upon us. From Dec. 3-14, hunters may pursue deer with any legal equipment, including any centerfire rifle and handgun; any gauge shotgun using slugs; and a muzzleloading rifle, musket, or pistol .40 caliber or larger and archery equipment.

All permits are valid during the firearm season; however, unit, species, antlerless and equipment restrictions listed on the permit are in effect. In addition to their deer permit, all hunters, unless exempt by law, must also have a Kansas hunting license. Hunters with archery permits must use archery equipment and hunters with muzzleloader permits must use muzzleloaders or archery equipment.

During the firearm season, all hunters must wear hunter orange clothing consisting of an orange hat and an orange vest that shows 100 square inches from the front and 100 square inches from the back. Camouflage orange clothing is legal if the number of square inches of orange is visible.

If you are a resident hunter and have yet to purchase a permit, you may do so wherever licenses are sold and online. Hunters must possess a permit that allows the harvest of a buck before they are eligible to purchase antlerless permits. Permits are now valid the same day of purchase.

Hunters should remember that all deer must be tagged before moving the carcass from the kill site. Certain permits, such as an antlerless whitetail permit, require that the head remain attached to the carcass during transport for sex identification, unless the hunter electronically registers the deer through the internet using photos taken at the harvest sight. Electronic registration is not required unless you want to bone out the carcass in the field and transport it without evidence of antlerless status attached.

For more information on current regulations and electronic registration, consult the 2014 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary, or visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Hunting/Big Game Information/Deer.”

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron by Ted Beringer

Great Blue Heron by Ted Beringer

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) Photo Credit: Ted Beringer

The Great Blue heron has a white face sporting a black eyebrow that extends back to two black plumes extending from the rear of its head.

The neck has black and white streaking down the front but is otherwise reddish gray. Mature or breeding birds have a dramatic plumage variety. The feathers on the lower part of the front neck form a long plume like a vest; it also has plumes on the lower back at the start of the breeding season. Immature birds have dull color, and lack plumes. The bill is dull yellowish, becoming orange briefly at the start of the breeding season, The lower gray legs become more orange during the breeding season. Whether hunting or resting on one leg, the Great Blue heron is a stately bird. When hunting it may stand motionless in shallow water, scanning for small fish. They also stalk with a precise, deliberate stride as they search for prey. This belies their agile ability to act rapidly with a thrust of their beak into the water, sometimes launching their entire body briefly into the air to follow prey with elaborate wing motions.

Diet: The primary food for the great blue heron is small fish, though it opportunistically consumes shrimp, crabs, aquatic insects, other small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, even turtles.

Its call is a surprising hoarse squawk that is often issued when disturbed while hunting. As it flies away appreciate the elegant six foot wingspan, its effortless, long slow wing beats, its long legs trailing behind. As it flies away, notice its head positioned to keep an eye on you.

The great blue heron adapts to a wide variety of wetlands, both fresh water and saltwater, marshes or swamps. They usually nest in trees near the water habitat where they feed. They are communal nesters that may establish a rookery of several nests with other herons to more than a hundred nests. Their nests, sometime 4 feet wide, are built of sticks. They abandon their eggs and chicks if nearby human activity becomes disruptive. Predators of eggs and nestlings include turkey vultures, ravens and crows, red-tailed hawks, black bears and raccoons. Great Blue herons will winter in the US east of the Rockies wherever there is unfrozen water with fish. Some migrate into Mexico and Central America in the winter. However in summer, it may migrate further north into Canada.