Monthly Archives: April 2015

OK Kids Day at Meade State Park


If you’re in need of a family-friendly outdoor activity for your children, consider bringing them to Meade State Park’s annual OK Kids Day on Saturday, May 9 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Open to children of all ages, the free event will include fun activities such as fishing, wingshooting, archery, crafts, a treasure hunt, sandcastle contest, paddle boating, and more. There is no cost to attend and no daily park pass will be required the day of the event; however registration is required. Preregistration will be available Friday, May 8 from 4 p.m. - 9 p.m. onsite at the Visitor’s Center, and again from 8 a.m. - 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 9.

Thanks to local and corporate sponsors, participating youth will have the opportunity to win several great prizes including a fishing rod/reel combo or tackle box and sleeping bag. Prizes are limited but youth age 7 and under are automatically eligible for a prize.

A complimentary lunch of hamburgers, elk burgers, and hotdogs will be served.

For more information on this event, or to volunteer, call the Meade State Park office at (620) 873-2572.

OK Kids is developed and operated by the Kansas Wildscape Foundation.

“Little Helpers on the Prairie” kids event in Wichita


A frontier-themed OK Kids Day event will be held at the Great Plains Nature Center, 6232 E 29th Street North, Wichita, Saturday, May 9 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. All ages are invited to attend. Activities include fishing, archery, crafts, live animals, games, vintage photo station, fun-filled presentations, and more. Guests will be present from the Mid-America All-Indian Center and Old Cowtown Museum, and live music will be provided by the Tallgrass Express String Band.

There is no cost to attend; however a $2 lunch option will be available.

For more information, contact the Great Plains Nature Center at (316) 683-5499, or visit them on Facebook.

OK Kids is developed and operated by the Kansas Wildscape Foundation.

Crappie days are here again


If someone wishes you a “crappie day” this time of year and you’re an angler, you accept that wish with a smile. It’s a good thing. Crappie anglers wait all year for late April and early May when water temperatures in Kansas lakes warm to the high 50s and low 60s. That brings one of our most popular sport fish to shallow water to spawn, making them available to anglers of all ages and skill levels. And crappie are popular because they may be the tastiest fish in our waters.



Spring is the only time of year when anglers fishing from shore or wading might have an advantage over boat anglers. When the spawn gets going, crappie can be caught in water as shallow as 2 feet, depending on the clarity. And since the fish will be concentrated in shallow areas with specific habitat, anglers often catch good numbers of fish on a single outing.

What’s good crappie habitat? Crappie like cover such as brush, cattails, flooded weeds or rocky areas. Rip-rap dams and jetties are perfect places to start fishing.

Crappie anglers prefer light tackle – spinning or spincast outfits rigged with 6- or 8-pound test line. A long, light-action rod is perfect for detecting soft strikes and working hooked crappie out of cover. Often called “paper mouths,” crappie have thin skin along their top jaw and can’t be “horsed” out of the cover without the hook pulling out.

Small white or chartreuse jigs or minnows are effective baits. The trick is getting your lure or bait in or close to the cover without spooking the fish or snagging up. One tried and true method is referred to as “doodlesocking,” which is simply dipping your bait vertically into the cover. The jig or minnow is worked slowly or held suspended 6 inches or a foot off the bottom before it is lifted straight up and repositioned. An 8-foot fly rod rigged with a spinning reel allows added reach and can be perfect for doodlesocking. Strikes are usually a “tap,” felt as the jig is held suspended. The angler must set the hook quickly and lift the fish straight up out of the cover.

Another popular method is to rig a small float 2 feet above the jig or minnow. The float can be cast along the brush or rocks and allowed to bob and drift with the breeze. Strikes can be subtle, often just moving the float or pulling it just below the surface.

The crappie spawn usually starts in the upper ends of reservoirs, with fish congregating in small coves and inlet creeks. The spawn will continue down the lake as water warms in the lower reaches. This can extend the spawn through the end of May.

According to the 2015 Fishing Forecast, the top three reservoirs for crappie fishing this spring are John Redmond, Perry and Hillsdale. But don’t avoid your favorite fishing spot if it’s not high on the forecast’s list. Remember that the spawn season concentrates crappie in specific areas, so good fishing can still be found in lakes with only fair crappie populations.

You’ll find great fishing information on the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) website,, including a full-length how-to video “Kansas Crappie Bonanza.” You can also keep track of lake temperatures and conditions, as well as angler success through the Weekly Fishing Reports.

The statewide creel limit for crappie is 50 fish per day. However, local creel and length regulations may vary, so be sure to consult of the2015 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary where you’ll find a complete listing of Kansas lakes with special regulations. The regulation pamphlet is available at all KDWPT offices, license vendors and online.

Kansas duck zone boundaries to be discussed during information nights


Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) staff will be hosting a series of informational meetings to hear public input on duck hunting zone boundaries in the Kansas Low Plains Early, Late and Southeast Zones. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend one of the informational nights listed below.

Potential changes to the current Kansas duck zone boundaries would go into effect beginning with the 2016-17 season and remain in place through the 2021-22 season.

For more information, contact Tom Bidrowski at or by phone at (620) 566-1456.

Dates and times for the public meetings are as follows:


May 13, 6:30 p.m.

Dodge City Family YMCA

240 San Jose

Dodge City, KS 67801


May 14, 6:30 p.m.

KS Wetland Education Center

592 NE K-156 Hwy

Great Bend, KS 67530


May 18, 6:30 p.m.

Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge

530 West Maple Avenue

Hartford, KS 66854


May 19, 6:30 p.m.

The McPherson Public Library

214 W Marlin St

McPherson, KS 67460


May 20, 6:30 p.m.

Museum at Prairiefire

5801 W. 135th Street

Overland Park, KS 66223


May 21, 6:30 p.m.

Great Plains Nature Center

6232 E.29th St. N

Wichita, KS 67220


May 22, 6:30 p.m.

Tony’s Function Junction

10300 Highway 59

Erie, KS 66733


Senate budget carries harmful amendments


From the FLYER

National Wildlife Refuge Association


In late March, the House and Senate each passed budget resolutions outlining their spending plans for the next fiscal year and into the future. These set the tone for the appropriations bills that will become law and future stand alone legislation.


Unfortunately, a few very concerning amendments were considered or added to the Senate budget resolution.


One of the amendments that was adopted would give support and funding for state efforts to take over federal lands. It excluded the sale of National Parks, National Monuments, and National Preserves but left the door open to sell our national wildlife refuges, national forests, and other public lands. Three Republican Senators (Senator Corey Gardner of Colorado, Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee) crossed party lines to oppose this amendment but they were ultimately defeated. The amendment passed by a vote of 51-49.


Another concerning amendment would gradually have removed nearly $400 million from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) budget and given it to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a sister agency in the Department of Interior. Luckily the amendment did not succeed – but the intent was clear that some lawmakers support severe cuts to the budget of the Service.


Although it’s true that the budget and these amendments are not law, they set a dangerous precedent and certainly set the mood of this Congress about our national wildlife refuges and other public lands – apparently selling our lands to the highest bidder is something this Congress is very willing to consider.


We all need to remind our elected officials that our refuges and other public lands are what sets us aside from other nations – we believe in our public lands and we do not believe they should be sold.

Have you noticed a duck nesting in a tree?


You’ve probably just seen a Wood Duck


By eNature


The idea of a duck in a tree may raise some eyebrows. The idea of a duck in the backyard may raise a few more.



Yet there are mallards in backyards across the continent incubating eggs right now. There are also Wood Ducks in backyards, particularly in the East, sitting on eggs—but they’re 20 to 30 feet above the ground in tree cavities or duck houses.


A Nest in the Sky
Though Wood Ducks spend most of their lives on water like other ducks, when it comes to nesting, they take to the trees. And the hens are most at home nesting near where they themselves were hatched.



In the spring, a hen Wood Duck leads her beautiful, multi-colored mate back to the place where she was hatched. Together, they explore tree cavities and large birdhouses for a suitable nesting site. The hen then lays an egg a day, for 10 to 12 days, before beginning her incubation of the eggs for another 28 days. Meanwhile, the drake remains attentive, accompanying her on feeding forays twice a day.



That First Step Is A Doozy!
On the day when all the eggs hatch, the hen coaxes the fuzzy ducklings to jump out of the nest, sometimes from a great height—it’s a noisy, dramatic sight! Then she leads her family to water, where they spend the balance of the summer growing up.


Watching a pair of Wood Ducks attend a nest for a month is wonderful, but to witness the ducklings jumping from the nest, two and three at a time, is something else. So keep your eyes up as you watch for ducklings this spring!


Have you seen Wood Ducks in your neck of the woods? Or any other nesting bird pairs?


We always enjoy your stories!

Shooting skills for women event May 30


If you’re a female age 18 or older and are interested in learning the ins-and-outs of shooting firearms in a fun, low-pressure atmosphere, consider joining other like-minded women at the Shooting Skills for Women event May 30 at Lil’ Toledo Lodge, 10600 170th Rd, Chanute.

Hosted by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Lil’ Toledo Lodge, Kansas Bow Hunters Association, and the Kansas Wildlife Officers Association, this annual shooting event will provide women with the opportunity to handle and fire a variety of firearms. Participants will gain confidence and experience with shooting shotguns, revolvers, semiautomatic hand guns, small caliber rifles, big bore rifles, and black powder rifles. A variety of archery equipment will also be available for use, including long bows, recurve bows, and compound bows. No experience is required, and all guns and equipment will be provided.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided courtesy of the Kansas Bowhunters Association and prizes will be drawn for.

The cost to attend is $50.00 and pre-registration is required. The event will be open to the first 40 women who register and pay.

For more information, or to sign up for this event, contact Stacy Hageman at (620) 672-5911.


Trophy turkey program recognizes big gobblers

Big game and turkey hunters love to compare the animals they take. Most trophy-class animals are older and more difficult to hunt, presenting a unique challenge many hunters enjoy. Deer hunters, for example, use well-known scoring formulas to compare antlers based on size and symmetry. Turkey hunters are no different, and those who take an extraordinary specimen may qualify for a Trophy Turkey Award from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT).

The scoring system published by the National Wild Turkey Federation in the early 1980s is used for the KDWPT awards program. A score sheet and certificate application can be downloaded at Hunters score their own birds using the following formula, taking measurements to the nearest eighth of an inch: First, weigh your bird on accurate scales with witnesses. Next, measure the beard (or beards) from the point it protrudes from the skin to the longest bristle. Then, measure each spur from the point where it protrudes from the scaled leg skin. Now you have the necessary measurements and are ready to calculate the score.

Multiply the length of the beard (or sum of the beard lengths if there is more than one) times two. Then add the length of the spurs together and multiply the sum by 10. Add the weight to these two figures for a total score. For example, a bird that weighed 21 pounds, with a 10-inch beard and spurs that measured 1 1/4 inches each would score 66. (21 + 20 [10 x 2] + 25 [1 ¼ + 1 ¼ x 10] = 66)

The minimum score for a Trophy Turkey Award is 65. KDWPT keeps Top 20 lists in two categories: typical and nontypical. Birds with multiple beards would fall under the nontypical category. The largest typical bird on record scored 88 4/8 and was taken in 2007 in Franklin County by Bobby Robinson of Eupora, Miss. That bird weighed 26 4/8 pounds, had a beard that measured 17 ¼ inches and spurs that measured 1 3/8 inches each. The largest nontypical ever awarded was taken in 2008 by Rick Pritchard of Little Rock, Ark. Pritchard’s bird, also taken in Franklin County, weighed 27 pounds, and had spurs that measured 1 1/8 inches each. However, the bird sported eight beards that measured 54 5/8 inches in total. The official score was 158 6/8.

The spring turkey seasons runs through the end of May, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy an exciting spring hunt. If you’re lucky enough too take a big ole gobbler, weigh it and take some measurements. You might qualify for a Trophy Turkey Award.

Webster State Park to host OK Kids Day


If you know a child who would enjoy participating in a jam-packed day of outdoor exploration and instruction, consider taking them to the OK Kids Day event at Webster State Park on May 2. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., youth ages 4 to 12 are invited to participate in a variety of activities including: a fishing clinic, Laser Shot shooting simulator, skins and skulls presentation, K-9 demonstration, nature craft project, first aid kit making, bird migration game, and more. There is no cost to attend and all supplies and equipment, including lunch, will be provided.



To make the day even more memorable, youth who participate in eight or more of the OK Kids Day events will have their names entered into a drawing for a chance to win a lifetime hunting, fishing, or furharvesting license of their choice, as well as other prizes.

For more information on this event, contact Jana Slansky at (785) 425-6775.

Women on Target instructional shooting clinic


A Women On Target® Instructional Shooting Clinic will be held at the Fancy Creek Shooting Range in Tuttle Creek State Park Saturday, May 9. Instructors will provide participants with a safe, comfortable environment to learn about rifles, pistols, muzzleloaders, shotguns, archery and much more.

The cost to attend is $50.00 and includes lunch, eye and ear protection, loaner equipment, ammunition and personal instruction by certified instructors, Range Safety Officers and outstanding volunteers.

Space is limited to 36 participants, so interested parties are encouraged to register early.

The event will be held rain or shine and the schedule is as follows:

Check in starting - 7:15 a.m.

Safety Briefing - 7:45 a.m.

1st Event - 8:15 a.m.

2nd Event - 9:40 a.m.

3rd Event - 11:05 a.m.

Lunch - 12:20 p.m.

4th Event - 1:20 p.m.

5th Event - 2:45 p.m.

Conclusion - 4:10 p.m.

To sign up for this event, contact Larry Conrad at (785) 456-2593.