Monthly Archives: January 2015

Flint Hills Gobblers to host 14th annual spring turkey hunting clinic

Event open to first 250 who register


The Flint Hills Gobblers Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will hold the 14th Annual Spring Turkey Hunting Clinic and Internet-Assisted Hunter Education Class on Saturday, March 28. The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Dry Creek Sporting Clays, south of Emporia and is open to anyone interested in learning how to become a better turkey hunter.

Participants 17 years old and younger will receive commemorative t-shirts and JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) memberships. Prizes will also be drawn for youth at the end of the clinic. Lunch will be provided. There is no fee to participate; however, preregistration is required.

Participants will go through several education stations covering various aspects of turkey hunting, including:

Turkey biology and management • turkey hunting equipment and safety • turkey calling and locator calling • scouting and roosting • bowhunting for turkeys • shotgun hunting and safety • trap shooting • and target shooting.

An Internet-Assisted Hunter Education Class will also be taught during the clinic; however it will be limited to 24 students.

For more information or to register for the clinic or Internet-Assisted Hunter Education Class, contact Gib Rhodes at (620) 437-2012.

Learn outdoor skills at women-only workshop

Three-day event is perfect place to learn ins and outs of outdoor recreation


If you’re intimidated by the thought of picking up a bow, if you’re stumped at what lures to use when fishing, or if you’ve always wanted to kayak down a river, but don’t know how to get started, consider the Becoming An Outdoors-Woman (BOW) workshop May 15-17. Conducted at the Rock Springs 4-H Center near Junction City, the workshop will offer participants courses on everything from woodcarving and GPS basics, to rifle marksmanship and fly fishing. Participants get hands-on experience in several areas of their choice, while surrounded by peers with similar interests.

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 more than 30 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.

To register, visit, click “Services/Education/Becoming an Outdoors Woman,” and download a registration form. Must be 18 or older to attend. Early registration will be open to first-time participants through April 3. If spots still remain, past participants may register beginning April 4. Applicants are encouraged to apply early as the spring workshop has limited space and the application period will close May 1.

For questions, call or email Jami McCabe at (785) 845-5052 or [email protected].

Learn more and view pictures of past workshops at the BOW Facebook page found under “Becoming an Outdoors Woman KANSAS.”

Stop The Seizure of Public Lands; Sign this Petition

Multiple wildlife organizations have signed onto a petition to prevent the sell off of public federal lands that belong to every American. The organizations include: the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Trout Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, and many more.

You can learn more about the petition and sign it by visiting



NWTF Flint Hills Gobblers Chapter Wins Two National Awards

The National Wild Turkey Federation, located in Edge Field, South Carolina, notified the Flint Hills Gobblers Chapter from Emporia, that it will be receiving two national awards for two of the chapter’s 2014 programs. Receiving awards includes the March 15th, 2014 Women in the Outdoors Archery Day which featured 2013 Miss Kansas Theresa Vail. The Flint Hills Gobblers Women in the Outdoors members won the “Special Event” category.

The other national award won by the Flint Hills Gobblers Chapter was for “Best JAKES Event” for last year’s March 29th, 13th Annual Spring Turkey Hunting Clinic and Hunter’s Education Class. This is the largest JAKES (youth) event held in Kansas. Last year, 147 youth attended. This was the second year in a row that the Flint Hills Gobblers Chapter has won a national award for this event.

Both national awards will be presented at the 39th Annual NWTF Convention & Sport Show held in Nashville, TN, on Friday, February 13th.

Greater Sage Grouse, male

Photo by USFWS Pacific Southwest Region Photostream

Sage-Grouse are an iconic bird of the west evoking images of wild prairies. Their mating dance is among the most unique in the animal kingdom. Living in open sagebrush plains, the Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) is the largest grouse species in North America.

Greater Sage-Grouse are notable for elaborate courtship rituals. Each spring males congregate in leks to perform a “strutting display” that sounds like a coffee percolator. Females observe these displays and select the most attractive males. Females make nests on the ground at the base of a sagebrush plant or grass patch. After her clutch of 6-13 eggs hatches, the young are immediately able to follow her.

Greater Sage-Grouse are totally dependent on sagebrush-dominated habitats where they forage on the ground. Lacking a muscular crop they are unable to digest hard seeds like other grouse. Sagebrush is a crucial component of their diet year-round, with leaves, buds, stems, flowers and fruit, as well as insects, the primary food of the Greater Sage-Grouse.

Currently, Greater Sage-Grouse occupy approximately 56 percent of their historical range in the western U.S. They were never native to Kansas. Evidence suggests that habitat fragmentation and destruction has contributed to significant population declines over the past century. If current trends persist, many populations may disappear in several decades, with remaining fragmented populations vulnerable to extinction. The Fish and Wildlife Service has concluded that the Greater Sage-Grouse warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act but is precluded since the needs of other species facing more immediate and severe threat of extinction take priority. Greater Sage-Grouse live in wilderness areas of western states that are also home to mule deer, elk and pronghorn antelope. We need to protect Sage-Grouse habitat from irresponsible off-road vehicle use, damaging drilling, mining, transmission and other energy development activities.

Remember the Chickadee Checkoff on your Kansas Tax Return!

This is your chance to assist non-game wildlife!!!chickadee_checkoff_logo_medium

The Chickadee Checkoff is a line appearing on the Kansas Individual Income Tax forms. Since1980, it has provided Kansans an opportunity to contribute to wildlife programs. The checkoff has allowed donations to projects for species of wildlife not normally hunted. In other words, if you want some money to go to projects to help eagles, songbirds, threatened and endangered species, turtles, lizards, butterflies and pretty little stream darters, then this gives you the opportunity to donate directly to these programs. Since 1980, over $4 million dollars have been donated for nongame. It surprises many that there are relatively few who keep this vital program going.  The mean number of contributors throughout the checkoff’s history is a little over 16,000. The highest year saw 26,572 contributors and was largely due to the first time the chickadee logo appearing on the tax form and, therefore, creating an effective visual reminder to folks to donate to wildlife.  In recent years around 10,000 folks still donate to this important program for nongame but they give more than twice of what they used to when the program was conceived, going from an average donation of $5.24 to over $12 per contributor. The mean annual donations total $143,590.

2014, the Warmest Year on Record!


by Ted Beringer

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that 2014 was the warmest year on record. For the 134 year period, beginning in 1880 when accurate measurements were first recorded, 2014 eclipsed them all. The NOAA statement on their website reads:

“In 2014, the combined land and ocean surface temperature was 1.24°F (0.69°C) above the 20thcentury average, making the year the warmest since records began in 1880. The ocean alone was record warm, while the land alone was fourth warmest.  Five months set new records for warmth: May, June, August, September, and December.  October tied for record warmest.

The 20 warmest years in the historical record have all occurred in the past 20 years. Except for 1998, the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2002.”

Annual temperatures since 1880 compared to the twentieth-century average.  The ten warmest years on record (darkest red) have occurred in the most recent decades. Graph by NOAA, based on data from the National Climatic Data Center.

Annual temperatures since 1880 compared to the twentieth-century average. The ten warmest years on record (darkest red) have occurred in the most recent decades. Graph by NOAA, based on data from the National Climatic Data Center.

In the United States, nine western states experienced one of their top ten warmest years; seven states in the midwest and Mississippi Valley experienced one of their top ten coolest years.

Meanwhile the World Wildlife Fund projects serious impacts on several species of wildlife: Polar Bears, marine turtles, American Pika & many species of birds. Polar bears are dealing with reduced sea ice and thickness thereby reducing the time for hunting to fatten up for nursing. Marine turtles are dealing with hotter sand temperatures that impact egg hatching success. Pikas need to move to higher altitudes to find the cool temperatures they require; and, moving up a mountain is inherently space-limiting. Birds of all types will have to deal with shrinking habitat as global warming narrows their inhabitable environmental range.



Warmer temperatures will begin causing weak spots on frozen waters


PRATT – A recent cold-spell had many Kansas lakes covered in thick ice, creating ideal conditions for ice fishing, but even with very cold temperatures, ice anglers must be vigilant. Now that temperatures are warming, extreme caution must be used in avoiding weak spots on lakes and reservoirs.

If you have an itch to drop a line this winter, keep these following common-sense ice safety rules in mind:

  • Wait for at least 4 inches of clear, hard ice before venturing out on foot.
  • Make test holes as you venture out to determine the thickness and quality of ice.
  • Avoid ice over moving water, springs, or where large flocks of ducks and/or geese have roosted.
  • Never icefish alone.
  • Carry or wear a personal floatation device.
  • Carry ice handspikes, which can help you climb out of the water and on to ice if you fall through.
  • Include in your gear a length of rope and float cushion; something that could be thrown to someone who’s fallen through.
  • Avoid ice if temperatures have recently warmed; avoid honeycombed or dark ice.

Remember that no ice is truly safe. Err on the side of caution, and if you have any doubts, stay off. It only takes minutes for hypothermia to take effect in icy water, making a fall through the ice deadly serious. Icefishing is a great way to catch fish and enjoy the winter outdoors, but it requires attention and caution.


Posted by Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism on Jan15, 2015


The annual birding competition sports big results, big-name prizes

PRATT – You may not consider yourself a “birder,” but if you’ve ever watched a hummingbird sip at a feeder, took note of a flock of geese up high, or watched a robin build a nest in your front yard – you’re a birder. And if you can find a way to positively identify each species you spot this year, you just might win the 2015 Kansas Birding “Big Year” competition running Jan.1-Dec. 31.

Hosted annually by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), the Big Year is an informal competition where birders compete to see who can observe the most bird species in Kansas in one calendar year. Participants can compete in one of three categories: novice, intermediate, and advanced. Winners of each category will receive prizes to be awarded January 2016. Prizes this year were donated from Acorn Naturalists, Bass Pro Shops, Bushnell, Coleman, and other sponsors.

Participants are encouraged to carry a pocket-sized notebook and pencil to record their findings. Jotting down information such as size, color, sounds, and surrounding habitat, followed by a quick thumbnail sketch of the bird can prove to be very helpful for beginners.

Participants are asked to log their findings into the online service, eBird, available through the Cornell University web site, The data collected is used to aide researchers in the study of species abundance, species range, and time spent in the field by observers, and more.

For more information on the 2015 Kansas Birding Big Year, or to register, visit, or email Mike Rader at [email protected].

Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark by Mia McPherson

Western Meadowlark by Mia McPherson

Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta); Copyrighted Photo by Mia McPherson


The Western meadowlark is the state bird of Kansas. It has a yellow chest with a black “V” below its throat. Meadowlarks are ground nesting birds. They create nests covered with a roof of grass and bark that is woven into the surrounding vegetation. The nest may be connected to a grass tunnel several feet long. Consequently, untimely mowing, hay cutting or burning may destroy eggs and young. Meadowlarks are most abundant in native grasslands. They forage on the ground on low to semi-low vegetation eating mainly insects, beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers and snails plus seeds & berries in winter. They will also consume waste grain on cultivated land. However, habitat has been lost to intense agricultural development. It is still abundant but slowly declining throughout much of its range. A short video captures its song at:

For a kinetic map of the distribution of Western Meadowlarks during the year visit:

To view more of Mia McPherson meadowlark photos visit