Membership/Donate

Monthly Archives: March 2015

2015 Women On Target Clinic May 23

 

The Geary County Fish and Game Association will conduct its annual clinic on Saturday, May 23 at Sportsman’s Acres on Milford Reservoir. It is a favorite for both experienced and beginning female shooters. Participants enjoy an entire day learning gun safety, techniques for shooting clays with shotgun, pistol target shooting, rifle target shooting and loading and shooting Black Powder guns!

This clinic could not be possible without all the help of local volunteers who love to share their sport and teach others. Interested sponsors to provide funding and supplies for the clinic are being sought. For a $100 sponsorship, you can get your name or your company name on the t-shirt each of the ladies receive for participating.

Your help is needed and greatly appreciated. Call the club at 785-223-1960 or Shirley Allen at 785-375-7305 by May 10th to become a sponsor.

 

Common goldeneye

Common Goldeneye

by Ted Beringer

Male Common goldeneye

Male Common goldeneye

 

 

In North America the Common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) is a diving duck that winters across the United States but breeds in the boreal forests of Canada. For this reason, mining of tar sands that requires scouring the boreal forest is destroying critical habitat for these birds and many others that breed there. Construction of the XL pipeline intended to transport these tar sands across the United States for export will hasten this loss of habitat.

 

Description: The female has a milk chocolate brown head above a white neck ring.

Female Common goldeneye

Female Common goldeneye

Its eyes are pale yellow to white. It has a short, triangular black bill sometimes with a yellow to white tip. Its back, wings, and tail are slate gray. Its flanks, belly, and breast are white.

The male Common goldeneye has a greenish-black head with a dramatic golden-yellow eye as well as a conspicuous round white spot in front of each eye immediately behind its short black triangular bill. Its black back, tail and secondaries plus white flanks are easily apparent on the water.

Habitat: Their breeding habitat in North America is the boreal coniferous forest in North America with nearby lakes, rivers and bogs that have enough irregular shoreline to provide protective brood shelter. They nest in cavities in large trees especially in open-top or “bucket” cavities. They also use natural tree cavities created by broken limbs or tree cavities created by pileated woodpeckers and black woodpeckers.

            Diet: In the summer they prefer ponds without fish that compete for insects or even prey on their ducklings as in the case of Northern pike. The Common goldeneye forages underwater consuming mostly crustaceans (crayfish, crabs, shrimps & amphipods) and aquatic insects (naiads of dragonflies & damselflies) as well as some mollusks (especially blue mussel). They will also consume small fishes and their eggs, marine worms, and frogs. They enjoy aquatic plants like pondweeds, spatterdock, bulrush, and wild celery.

The common goldeneye is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies. However, both breeding and winter habitat of these birds has been degraded by clearance and pollution. For further information about the Common goldeneye, visit the following excellent websites:

 

http://www.nwf.org/~/media/PDFs/Global-Warming/2014/Tar-Sands-Fact-Sheet_Pelly-Amendment-UPDATE.pdf

http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/common-goldeneye

http://www.borealbirds.org/bird/common-goldeneye

NWF celebrates a new national monument: Colorado’s Brown Canyon

 

By Judith Kohler

Ourpubliclands.org

 

President Barack Obama’s plan to declare Colorado’s Browns Canyon a national monument means sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts will be able to enjoy its spectacular landscapes, world-class whitewater rafting and hunting and fishing for generations to come.

The White House announced in late February that Obama will designate use his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate Browns Canyon as a national monument.

“Browns Canyon is widely revered for its rafting, fishing, hunting, hiking, wildlife watching, and rugged backcountry,” said Collin O’Mara, the National Wildlife Federation’s CEO and president, “This is why folks from all walks of life, lawmakers from both parties, and conservation leaders across Colorado, including our state affiliate the Colorado Wildlife Federation, have worked for more than two decades to protect it.  On behalf of the entire National Wildlife Federation, we are grateful to the president for supporting wildlife and amazing outdoor experiences by permanently protecting this conservation jewel.”

Browns Canyon, about 140 miles southwest of Denver, is known nationwide for whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River. The Colorado River Outfitters Association said recreation on the river generated nearly $56 million in economic benefits in 2013. The area’s gulches, rocky cliffs, forests and meadows provide habitat for mule deer, elk, black bears, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, eagles and falcons. A 102-mile stretch of the Arkansas is classified as Gold Medal trout waters, based on the quality and quantity of fish. Hikers in Browns have great views of some of Colorado’s most dramatic Fourteeners – mountains more than 14,000 feet in elevation.

“We’ve been waiting a long time for this. Making Browns Canyon a national monument has overwhelming support from the public, especially from people who live the closest to it. We know what we have and we don’t want to lose it,” said Bill Dvorak, NWF’s public lands organizer in Colorado and a longtime rafting and fishing guide on the Arkansas River.

News that Obama will proclaim Browns Canyon a national monument this week follows a recent public meeting in Salida that drew about 700 people. Former Sen. Mark Udall hosted the meeting in December so federal officials could gauge support for protecting Browns. Udall, Sen. Michael Bennet and Gov. John Hickenlooper asked Obama to use his executive authority after Udall’s bill to establish a monument stalled in Congress.

“Presidents since Teddy Roosevelt have used the Antiquities Act to conserve some of our country’s most stunning landscapes and important ecosystems. The Grand Canyon, Chaco Canyon and Muir Woods are just a few of the places set aside by presidents. We can add Browns Canyon to the list of American treasures that showcase the best of the natural resources that make us the envy of other countries around the world,” said Kent Ingram, Colorado Wildlife Federation president.

Join NWF in thanking President Obama for continuing to protect America’s outdoor heritage. Tweet: @WhiteHouse Thank you for protecting America’outdoor heritage. #BrownsCanyon #AntiquitiesAct @NWF

Majority of Roan Plateau leases canceled

 

17 of 19 leases on the Roan Plateau officially canceled.

By Meghan Cornwall

Ourpubliclands.org

 

On January 16th, 2015, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officially cancelled 17 of the 19 oil and gas leases that are on top of the Roan Plateau. This is in accordance to the settlement agreement reached in November 2014, stating that the leases had to be canceled within 60 days of the agreement. There are still 12 No Surface Occupancy leases at the base of the plateau. The BLM is working on a plan to allow the two remaining leases on top of the plateau and the 12 others near the base to be developed using directional drilling techniques.

Multiple stakeholders such as local, state, industry and conservation organizations, wanted to see a viable, balanced solution to support the wildlife, outdoor recreation, and energy development opportunities the Roan Plateau offers. The varied habitat and vegetation of the plateau make the area one of the most diverse places in Colorado. There are plants that are only found around the Roan Plateau, rare populations of native genetically pure Colorado River cutthroat trout (which are inhabiting only 10% of their historic range now) and many other species that depend on the plateau for their habitat. Because of these special species, the BLM has identified areas that are eligible as areas of critical environmental concern for protection.

“The Roan Plateau is a key part of the area economy and helps sustain the hunting, fishing, wildlife watching and other recreation. We appreciate a balanced settlement that will help to protect this important habitat,” said Suzanne O’Neill, executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation.

Additionally, the public lands on top and at the base of the plateau provide crucial winter and summer habitat, as well as migration corridors for big game such as mule deer and elk. Sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts come to the Roan to hunt, fish and watch wildlife. The area is at the heart of what had been nicknamed by sportsmen as the “mule deer factory of Colorado”, due to the abundant mule deer. Muley numbers, however, have plummeted in recent years. Western Colorado’s overall estimated deer population of about 300,000 in 2012 was more than 110,000 short of the state’s objective. While there are likely many causes for the drop in numbers, one looms large: habitat loss. Oil and gas drilling and new roads and buildings have fragmented and covered over habitat. Reducing the footprint of oil and gas development on the Roan will help address those habitat losses.             While the cancelation of these 17 leases is a great step forward, there is still work to be done. Sportsmen groups, conservation organizations, state, local and industry leaders will still need to collaborate during the drafting of the new Resource Management Plan. The BLM is currently writing the new management plan for the plateau and will consider a settlement alternative. It will hopefully include undisturbed big game winter ranges at the base of the plateau, intact big game migration corridors, state of the art drilling practices and no development in Colorado River Cutthroat Trout drainages to protect this iconic species.

Walleye tagging study at Milford Reservoir

 

Walleye will be tagged this spring at Milford Reservoir and tags returned by anglers will provide fisheries biologists with valuable information needed to manage the fishery. On April 1, biologists will begin tagging 500 walleye with numbered, blue plastic tags that will be inserted into fish near the dorsal fin. Anglers who catch a tagged fish and intend to keep it are asked to return the tag along with a completed tag reporting card, which can be obtained from the Milford State Park office, local businesses, and at www.ksoutdoors.com.

Because the success of this study depends on angler participation, those who return a tag will receive a limited-edition Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) “Walleye Research Team” hat. Awards will be mailed to anglers after staff receives the completed tag reporting card.

Returned tags will provide staff with information about a variety of population characteristics and trends in angling exploitation. The information obtained will also be used to guide walleye management at other Kansas reservoirs.

For more information on this study, contact the Emporia Research and Survey Office at (620) 342-0658.

Public land turkey hunters encouraged to use iSportsman

 

Turkeys can be unpredictable – one minute they’re off in the distance, the next minute they’re approaching you from behind. Every minute counts during turkey season, and time spent filling out a traditional daily hunt permit card could mean the difference between a good hunt and a great hunt. Optimize your time afield this spring by utilizing the iSportsman electronic check-in system and ensure your hunting hours are saved for the field.

The iSportsman electronic permit system, which is more efficient and economical than the paper system, offers hunters the flexibility to check in and out of select wildlife areas from any computer, smart phone, cellphone or landline. Hunters can register for a free account by logging on to https://kdwpt.isportsman.net. Upon completing the registration, hunters will obtain a general access permit. They can then log on or call in before they plan to hunt to “check in.” After a hunt is complete, hunters can then log on or call in to report harvests and “check out” of the system.

Male Turkey strutting and displaying

Male Turkey strutting and displaying

The iSportsman electronic check-in system is currently in use at the following wildlife areas: Cheyenne Bottoms, Clinton, Elwood, Isabel, Jamestown, Kansas River, Lovewell, Lyon, McPherson Wetlands, Melvern, Milford, Neosho, Slate Creek Wetlands, and Texas Lake. A similar system has been used at Fort Riley for several years.

For more information on iSportsman, call (620) 672-5911 or visit https://kdwpt.isportsman.net

Fisheries newsletters will help YOU catch more fish

 

Did you know that more than 93 bass per hour were sampled last fall at Bone Creek Lake in Crawford County? You would if you subscribed to the Pittsburg District Fisheries Newsletter written by fisheries biologist Rob Friggeri. Ninety-three bass per hour is a very good sampling rate, but the fact that more than 30 percent of those bass were longer than 15 inches seals the deal for bass anglers. That little tidbit was in the newsletter, too.

Or did you know that in 2014, the biologist at Perry Lake sampled the largest number of white bass he’d seen in years? You would if you subscribed to the Perry News written by district fisheries biologist Kirk Tjelmeland. Knowing that could put anglers in the right spot to take advantage of a great Perry Lake white bass spawning run this spring.

Each of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) 17 district fisheries biologists produces several newsletters each year to inform anglers of programs, projects and sampling results for the lakes they manage. Together, they manage 24 federal reservoirs, 40 state fishing lakes, and more than 200 community lakes. That’s a lot of water and fish to keep track of, but the newsletters can help. You might even discover a lake in your area you didn’t know existed.

So how does an angler get wind of this valuable information? It’s easy, and it’s just a click away at www.ksoutdoors.com. From the “Fishing” page, click on the “Newsletter Request Forms” link on the right-side menu. You can subscribe to any or all of the newsletters, which will be conveniently emailed to you when they are published. You can also download and view past newsletters. Once you receive the newsletters, you can combine the information contained in them with the 2015 Fishing Forecast and the “Weekly Fishing Reports” (also online) to make intelligent decisions on where to go for your next fishing trip.

Use these three tools to catch more fish this spring.

An open letter to America’s anglers

 

By Todd Tanner

Hatch Magazine

 

We love to fish. We love it. Not in that juvenile, sloppy-wet-kiss way that so many of us remember from high school, but with an “I come alive with a fly rod in my hand” love that’s grounded in maturity, appreciation and respect for our angling traditions. We’ve been fishing for decades and there are very few other activities that bring us so much joy or help us connect to the natural world on such an elemental level.

Unfortunately, those of us who love to fish, and who see the necessity for protecting our landscapes and waterways, are coming under attack. It turns out - and no, we’re not making this up - that we are “radicals.” As Ty Hansen pointed out in a recent Hatch Magazine piece, the energy and resource extraction industries are targeting hunters and anglers. Those of us who support conservation are being portrayed as extremists and radicals.

So what is a radical? Seriously, what does it mean? Is protecting our favorite trout stream a radical act? What about defending an Alaskan salmon river from a mining company? Or how about passing on a healthy natural world to our kids and grandkids? Because those of us who want to share clean water, clean air and healthy landscapes with future generations are being ridiculed and marginalized. It’s almost as if our love for the great outdoors is standing in the way of “progress.”

Here’s something you should know. Most people don’t give a damn whether we hold on to our fishing. They don’t care if there are trout in our streams, or bass in our ponds, or bonefish cruising our saltwater flats. We live in a culture where growth, both physical and economic, trumps everything else; where no tradition, no heritage, no single aspect of American life is deemed so sacrosanct that it can’t, and shouldn’t, be tied down and sacrificed on the fetid, blood-specked altar of progress. It’s grow or die; it’s balls to the wall; it’s greed is good. Nobody - not the President, not Congress, not Wall Street - is willing to consider that unfettered, unexamined growth might not be the best path forward, or that we should steer the good ship America toward a more sustainable, more balanced future.

Sadly, if you agree with us you’re just another radical. You don’t want the Pebble Mine? You’re a radical. You don’t want corporate farms to dump pesticides and herbicides and fertilizers into our streams and rivers? You’re a radical. You don’t want suburban sprawl to trash the landscapes you loved when you were a kid? You’re a radical. You don’t want oil and gas rigs to despoil your favorite section of National Forest? You’re a radical. You want to keep our public lands in public hands? You, dear friend, are a dyed-in-the-wool, honest-to-goodness radical.

Oh, and you say you’re concerned about climate change? Well, not only are you a radical, but you’re a communist. You should go back to Mother Russia, comrade, and take all your commie friends with you.

And that, sadly, is what we’re up against - that kind of hostile, knee-jerk, reactionary crap, which paints sportsmen as radicals working to undermine everything good and decent and pure about America. Clean air is a luxury we can’t afford. Clean water is something we should get from the private sector - but only, of course, after we’ve paid for it. Public land should be sold off to stoke the engine of economic growth. Fishing … well, fishing is probably okay, as long as it doesn’t interfere with anything important, and as long as anglers don’t try to protect America’s natural resources from aggressive exploitation.

That’s the playbook. That’s the meme coming from our opponents. But you know what? It’s bullshit.

That’s right, we call bullshit. Because we aren’t radicals. And we’re getting tired of all these morally-bereft, intellectually-challenged, “greed is good” free market fundamentalists painting us as the exact opposite - the exact opposite - of what we really are.

We’re patriots. We love America. Our sporting roots run deep, and we were raised to appreciate our outdoor heritage. We want - and this is the crux of it; this is vital - to hold on to the things that make our country great; to share them with our families, and our friends, and with generations still to come. We want our kids to have access to the same incredible fishing we’ve enjoyed, and if we’re lucky enough to have grandkids, we want them to grow up in a country that still revels in the outdoors and that still shares in the sweet, ripe fruits of freedom. America is the best country in the world for anglers because we’ve fought, time and again, for clean water and clean air and healthy landscapes. We’ve fought to give our kids and grandkids a shot at a decent future. What could be more noble, or more honest, or more ethical?

The real radicals are the people who put profits above everything else; who can’t wait to carve muscle from bone as this great American experiment in self-governance slowly collapses under the weight of their greed and ignorance. The real radicals are the rapacious profiteers who hate public lands and public waters because our landscapes are protected, at least partially, from their insane “profit at all cost” mentality. They’re the folks who, without a second thought - hell, without an initial thought - are willing to sacrifice their children and grandchildren to the cannibalistic gods of free market fundamentalism.

Enough. We have literally had enough. We’re sick of liars and sociopaths pointing at us and yelling “Radicals!” We’re tired of hired guns sitting down at their keyboards and smearing good organizations like Trout Unlimited and Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. We refuse to sit silently on the sidelines while America-haters wear our flag - while they literally wrap themselves in Old Glory - to camouflage their true intentions.

So we have a message for all the haters who are attacking sportsmen. It’s a simple message, but it’s heartfelt.

We love America. We love our landscapes, and our sporting traditions, and our rich outdoors culture, and our fisheries, and we’re willing to fight for it; for all of it, for every last inch, for every river and stream and forest and meadow, for every kid who dreams of trout or salmon or bass or bluegills or tarpon. Greed will not triumph. Flat-earth idiocy will not reign supreme. Our fisheries will not fall prey to snake oil salesmen and crooked politicians. Not on our watch.

Signed,

Todd Tanner

Ted Williams

Tom Davis

Tim Romano

Mike Sepelak

Chris Hunt

Steve Zakur

Chad Shmukler

 

Upland CRP acres available

 

State-specific, wildlife-targeted CRP programs currently available with competitive rates across the country

 

From The Outdoor Wire

 

While a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general signup hasn’t been scheduled for 2015, farmers and landowners do have current opportunities to explore eligibility in one of the many Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP) practices available. In particular, the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) portion of CRP has more than 350,000 acres available for enrollment to landowners interested in creating and conserving upland habitat for pheasants, quail and other upland wildlife.

“CRP remains the most expansive, impactful conservation program in the country. Historically, landowners have looked to a general signup and its competitive bid process to enroll in the program. But landowners should consider SAFE acres, as well as other continuous programs, as valuable additions to existing contracts,” says Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s vice president of government affairs. “CRP SAFE practices are the best thing going for pheasant and quail habitat creation. The programs are open until allocations are reached and they pay competitive rates. If landowners have an expiring CRP general contract, SAFE practices – or one of the other continuous CRP practices – are something they should strongly consider.”

Created nearly a decade ago, SAFE practices allowed states to design CRP practices that maintained the program’s hallmark soil and water conservation benefits while targeting specific wildlife species. Because of continued, and in some cases, rapid upland habitat loss, many states tailored their programs to benefit pheasants and quail. The nationwide SAFE allocation is 1.35 million acres. There are nearly 1 million acres enrolled in the various 100 SAFE practices across the country, leaving more than 350,000 available to landowners for enrollment. Among the SAFE practices geared specifically or primarily to the creation of pheasant and quail habitat include:

State                 SAFE Practice                         Acres Available for Enrollment*

Arkansas         Grass SAFE (quail)                        803

Iowa                 Pheasant Recovery                   22,524

Kansas             Upland Game Birds                    8,569

Missouri          Bobwhite Quail                               532

Nebraska         Upland Bird                               14,910

Oklahoma       Mixed Grass Prairies (quail)    8,081

South Dakota  Pheasants                                   14,432

*Statistics updated in January 2015 / Source: USDA

Continuous CRP Signup

Environmentally desirable land devoted to certain conservation practices may be enrolled in CRP at any time under continuous signup. Offers are automatically accepted provided the land and producer meet certain eligibility requirements and acres are available. Offers for continuous sign-up are not subject to competitive bidding. Continuous sign-up contracts are 10 to 15 years in duration. To offer land for continuous signup, producers or landowners should contact their Pheasants Forever or Quail Forever Farm Bill wildlife biologist or visit their local USDA Service Center.

Historic Heads-and-Horns exhibit moves to Springfield, MO

 

From The Outdoor Wire

 

The National Collection of Heads and Horns, an exhibit dedicated in 1922 to “the vanishing big-game animals of the world” and helped spark America’s conservation movement, is relocating to a new home in Springfield, MO.

The collection, owned by the Boone and Crockett Club, will reside at America’s Wildlife Museum and Aquarium.

Formerly known as Wonders of Wildlife, the facility is expanded, renovated and targeted for reopening in spring 2016. Located adjacent to Bass Pro Shops’ flagship store, the all new, state-of-the-art showcase of hunter-and-angler led conservation is the vision of Bass Pro Shops founder and Boone and Crockett Club member Johnny Morris.

Tony Schoonen, Club chief of staff, said, “Boone and Crockett is honored to share our historic collection with what will be the most elaborate conservation education attraction in the world. Johnny’s museum builds on a rich legacy of conservation and ensures that future generations will join us in sustaining wildlife and stewarding habitat.”

The National Collection of Heads and Horns, housed for many years at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyo., originally opened at the Bronx Zoo in New York City.

At the time, many believed that big-game species were fast tracking toward extinction. Bison, elk, white-tailed deer and others had been largely decimated by market hunting, unregulated subsistence hunting and habitat loss. Boone and Crockett Club member William T. Hornaday worked industriously to establish the collection so that future generations could see animals that had once inhabited North America.

Visitors to the exhibit were both saddened and infuriated to learn the plight of wildlife. More importantly, they were motivated to do something about it, fueling one of the most successful wildlife restoration, conservation and management stories in history.

The collection also was the genesis of Boone and Crockett’s scoring system, which also originated as a way to collect details on species once thought headed for extinction.

“Now, the National Collection of Heads and Horns stands as a testament to hunters who were then, and still are today, determined to keep wildlife populations healthy across our continent. The collection is an important, historical artifact that helped shape the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation,” said Schoonen.

The collection includes many fine specimens such as the L.S. Chadwick Stone’s sheep, acclaimed by many as the finest specimen of North American big game ever taken. It is an outstanding collection that will give much enjoyment to the hunter and other serious students of native North American big game.

Boone and Crockett’s website has more info and a photo archive of the collection.