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Monthly Archives: August 2017

Kansas Game Wardens deploy to aid hurricane victims

 

At 1:30 a.m., August 31, a 14-member team of Kansas game wardens from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) departed Wichita for Texas to assist with search and rescue efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The game wardens come from around the state. The team will use seven boats consisting of four flat-bottom jon boats, two enclosed rescue air boats and one open air boat, as well as their mobile command trailer. The wardens will report to College Station, Texas to receive their working assignments.

 

Kansas game wardens train for and are often called upon to help with water search, rescue or recovery operations on Kansas lakes and rivers. The air boats and jon boats can enter waters that are often too shallow for conventional watercraft.

 

The game wardens join a number of other state, county and city emergency responders from central and eastern Kansas being deployed to Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. As reported by the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, their objectives will be to search for and rescue individuals, provide basic life support (BLS) medical care, transport people and animals to the nearest location for secondary air or land transport, provide shore-based and boat-based water rescue, provide animal rescues, and support helicopter and urban search and rescue in water environments.

iSportsman data makes our wildlife areas better

 

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) manages more than 400,000 acres for public hunting. That’s a relatively small number when compared to what’s available in surrounding states, so KDWPT Public Lands staff are dedicated to making what we have the best it can be. One tool staff use to guide management practices and improve hunter satisfaction is data collection through Daily Hunt Permits. In the past, select wildlife areas required hunters to fill out a card when they arrived to an area and keep a portion of that card with them while hunting. At the end of the outing, hunters then completed a survey, marking what they were hunting, what they harvested, and their overall satisfaction with the experience before placing the remaining portion of the card in a lock box.

 

The data collected gave managers an accurate view of hunting pressure, preferred game species and harvest. On some areas, this data was much different than managers’ assumptions and allowed them to change management goals to better serve hunters. However, collecting paper cards was labor intensive, requiring as much as a day or more per week and many miles of travel. Then the data had to be entered into a database by hand before it could be analyzed, which often took months.

 

To make the data collection process more efficient and make data available more quickly, Public Lands staff implemented the electronic iSporstman Daily Hunt Permit system on several wildlife areas in 2014. Thirty wildlife areas now require iSportsman Daily Hunt Permits. Those areas are listed on Page 39 of the 2017 Kansas Hunting & Furharvesting Regulations Summary, available wherever licenses are sold.

 

To use the iSportsman system, first register for an account at kdwpt.isportsman.net or call (620) 672-5911. Once a permit and PIN number has been issued, you can “check in” and “check out” from a smartphone, computer or by calling 1-844-500-0825 each time you hunt on an iSportsman-designated wildlife areas. It’s easy and convenient because you can check in the night before a hunt and check out at any time the day of your hunt. No more standing in the cold at a wildlife area kiosk at dark, filling out a dank paper card with a dull pencil.

 

As easy and convenient as iSportsman is for hunters, it’s even more efficient for wildlife area managers. Staff no longer have to visit each kiosk lock box to get the paper cards every week, and the data is entered into the database automatically, providing managers with real-time information. If you hunt public lands and haven’t registered with iSportsman, do it today.

New fish cleaning station for anglers at Kirwin

 

A new, modern fish cleaning station is open east of the dam at Kirwin Reservoir. The new facility - located on U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) property, a half mile west of the town of Kirwin - features a “Barracuda” model fish carcass disposal system, and is equipped with ample parking for vehicles and trailers. In order to benefit as many anglers as possible, American Disabilities Act considerations were also incorporated into the facility’s final design.

 

The Kirwin fish cleaning facility will close mid-October, after which it will close for the winter to prevent damage from freezing.

 

Over the course of 15 months, several entities came together to make the new facility possible, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Stockton Correctional Facility, BOR, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT).

 

For more information about this project, contact USFWS staff at (785) 543-6673, or KDWPT staff at (785) 628-8614.

Fun-filled day planned for Outdoor Youth Fair Sept. 9

 

If you’ve got a kiddo who is champing at the bit to learn how to shoot a bow, go fishing, shoot a shotgun, or paddle a canoe, sign them up for the Annual Northcentral Kansas Outdoor Youth Fair on Sept. 9. Held each year in Osborne, this free and fun-filled event is packed with more outdoor activities than your youngster can imagine. The festivities will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and all youth ages 17 and younger are invited to attend. Participants 14 and younger must be accompanied by an adult, and all participants must pre-register by 11 a.m. the day of the event to receive lunch and be eligible for prizes.

 

Fair activities include archery, wingshooting, flyfishing, rifle and muzzleloader shooting, canoeing, trapping, whittling, biking and many others. All equipment and supplies will be provided.

 

The Annual Northcentral Kansas Outdoor Youth Fair is made possible by the Osborne County Pheasants Forever Chapter, Osborne Gun Club, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Nex-Tech, and the Keith Hahn Memorial.

 

To register for this event, contact Cleo Hahn at (785) 346-4541, John Cockerham at (785) 346-6527, or Chris Lecuyer at (785) 218-7818.

Tuttle Creek Lake youth/handicap assisted deer hunt Oct. 7th & 8th

 

Plans are underway for the 15th annual youth/handicap assisted deer hunt at Tuttle Creek Lake. The event is sponsored by the Riley County Fish & Game Association, Tuttle Creek Lake Association, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, the Lloyd Johnson Outdoor Youth fund, and the Corps of Engineers at Tuttle Creek Lake.

 

Participants wishing to qualify for this hunt as a disabled hunter are required to have a handicap identification card or similar proof of their permanent disability. Youth 11 through 16 years of age are also eligible to participate in this hunt.

 

The hunt itself will be held on October 7th & 8th, 2017 during the Pre-Rut Antlerless rifle season for 12 lucky applicants. This is a change from previous assisted hunts; during the Pre-Rut Antlerless rifle season hunters may only harvest a doe/antlerless deer.

 

Prior to the hunt we will hold a rifle sight-in at the Fancy Creek Range near Randolph on Saturday, September 16th at 4:00p.m. The sight-in is mandatory for all participants. We will be providing a meal that evening so bring your rifle, ammo (a rifle and ammo will be provided if you don’t have your own) and your appetite. During the sight-in, all participants will qualify for the hunt by demonstrating the ability to hit a “pie-sized” target (provided) 2 out of 3 shots at 50 yards. Don’t worry; you will have plenty of time to warm up before qualifying. On the afternoon of the sight-in we will also be addressing the hunting license and deer permit needs of each participant. Limited scholarships are available for those that need this assistance.

 

On October 7th & 8th, to begin the hunt, hunters and guides will meet at 5:00 a.m. at the Tuttle Creek Lake Visitor Center (located at 5020 Tuttle Creek Blvd. Manhattan) for breakfast. After breakfast, all hunters and their guides will disperse to their predestinated hunting blinds. All hunters will have a guide and a hunt location assigned to them well before the hunt. Guides will know the assigned hunting locations. Hunters who are unsuccessful during the morning hunt can make arrangements with their guides for afternoon/evening hunts on these days.

 

Hopefully eve1ybody will have the opportunity to harvest a deer. We have made arrangements to have the deer processed free of charge at area lockers for those participants that need these services. We also have made arrangements for the deer to be transported to these lockers.

 

If you would like to participate in this hunt, please contact Wyatt Cooper for an application and send it back to in no later than August 25th. Applications will be prioritized shortly thereafter and all applicants will be notified of their status.

 

If you have any questions about this event please contact Wyatt Cooper, Natural Resource Specialist, at 785-539-8511, ext. 3170, or at wyatt.m.cooper@usace.army.mil.

Kansas native tribes to receive wildlife grant

 

U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced $162,127 in funding will go to Kansas Native tribes and more than $720,000 to Kansas state wildlife agencies through the Tribal Wildlife Grant (TWG) program and the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) program. The funds, which are provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, give support for a diverse array of species and habitats across the country.

 

Through the TWG program, the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska will receive $162,127 for a fish community assessment in streams with a focus on rare species.

 

“The work of Kansas Native American tribes and state wildlife agencies is absolutely critical to wildlife conservation in the United States,” said Deputy Secretary Bernhardt. “We’re thrilled to be able to collaborate with them, their local communities, and other partners to ensure important fish, wildlife, habitat and cultural needs are met.”

 

The $724,487 in funding through the SWG program, which is part of $48 million being distributed nationwide, will support imperiled species and habitats listed in approved state wildlife action plans. All 50 state and U.S. territorial wildlife agencies have these plans, which proactively protect species in greatest conservation need. Projects funded through SWG involve research, monitoring, wildlife surveys, species and habitat management and other activities.

 

Through the TWG program, more than $4 million funds were given to tribes in 14 states to support fish and wildlife conservation and key partnerships. The awards will benefit 25 projects that encompass a wide range of wildlife and habitats, including species of Native American cultural or traditional importance and species that are not hunted or fished.

 

SWG funds are administered by the Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) program and are allocated to states and territories according to a congressionally-mandated formula based on population and geographic area. Grant funds must be used to address conservation needs, such as research, wildlife surveys, species and habitat management, and monitoring identified within state wildlife action plans. The funds may also be used to update, revise or modify a state’s plan.

 

TWG funds are provided exclusively to fund wildlife conservation by federally-recognized Native American tribal governments, and are made possible under the Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2002 through the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program. Proposals for the 2018 grant cycle are due Sept. 1, 2017.

 

For additional information about Native American conservation projects and the Tribal Wildlife Grants application process, visit http://www.fws.gov/nativeamerican/grants.html or http://www.grants.gov/.

Conservation easement benefits Lesser Prairie-chicken

 

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has finalized permanent conservation agreements with a private landowner to conserve 968 acres of high-quality lesser prairie-chicken habitat in southcentral Kansas. In addition, a 160-acre tract owned by another private landowner that is fenced and managed with the property will be protected under a 10-year conservation agreement that was finalized this week. These two tracts of land are immediately adjacent to a 1,781-acre tract, which was placed under a permanent conservation agreement earlier this year. The conserved acreage is all native rangeland currently being managed for livestock production, and this historical use will continue.

Thanks to conservation-minded landowners, we now have a complex of 2,909 acres being managed with the needs of the lesser prairie-chicken in mind,” said Roger Wolfe, WAFWA’s Lesser Prairie-chicken Program manager. “The ranch is in very good condition due to a long history of good management and there are two active leks on the property.”

The permanent conservation easement on the 968-acre tract was purchased by WAFWA and will be held and monitored by Pheasants Forever. The easement restricts future development and activities that would be detrimental to the habitat for the bird. All other property rights associated with historical use of the land will be retained by the private landowner.. WAFWA has also established an endowment that will provide the landowner with sufficient payments to implement a lesser prairie-chicken conservation plan in perpetuity. This transaction not only permanently protects key prairie habitat, but also ensures that this property will remain a working cattle ranch

“Pheasants Forever is proud to partner with WAFWA and the private landowners to complete this voluntary conservation easement,” said Jordan Martincich, director of development for Pheasants Forever. “The conservation values associated with this project will have a positive impact on wildlife habitat for future generations. We hope other landowners will partner with Pheasants Forever and WAFWA to perpetually protect their working lands for the benefit of wildlife and the benefit of the ranching community.”

The range-wide plan is a collaborative effort of WAFWA and the state wildlife agencies of Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. It was developed to ensure conservation of the lesser prairie-chicken by providing a mechanism for voluntary cooperation by landowners and industry, as well as improving coordination between state and federal conservation agencies. Funding for WAFWA’s conservation efforts comes from voluntary mitigation payments by industry partners enrolled in the plan. The plan allows agriculture producers and industry to continue operations while reducing impacts to the bird and its grassland habitat. Landowners interested in participating in one of the short-term, long-term or permanent conservation options available under the Lesser Prairie-chicken Range-wide Plan should contact Roger Wolfe at roger.wolfe@wafwa.org

2017 Hunting Regulations and Atlas online now

 

Two Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) publications hunters anxiously await are available now: The 2017 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary and the 2017 Kansas Fall Hunting Atlas. Both publications are available online at www.ksoutdoors.com and both are being shipped to hundreds of license vendors and KDWPT offices around the state this week. Copies can be mailed by calling (620) 672-5911.

The hunting summary includes regulations such as methods of take, season dates, bag and possession limits, as well as a listing of public wildlife areas. One section features color photographs and range maps for popular game species. There is also a list of phone numbers for game wardens by the counties they patrol.

The 2017 Kansas Fall Hunting Atlas includes maps showing all Walk-in Hunting Access (WIHA) areas, as well as state and federal public wildlife areas. WIHA is private land leased by KDWPT and opened to public hunting. More than 1 million acres of WIHA lands are mapped in the atlas, more than tripling the amount of public access open to hunters.

The atlas is available online, and soon Garmin GPS and Google Earth files will be available to download. All WIHA tracts are marked with signs showing the lease dates, which start either Sept. 1 or Nov. 1 and end either Jan. 31 or March 31.

Pick up your copy of the regulations summary and hunting atlas wherever licenses are sold. No hunter should be without them.

Managed fields can be dove hunting hotspots

 

Each summer, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Public Lands Division staff begin working fields that will attract doves come September. When the dove season opens on Sept. 1, these specially managed fields can be dove magnets, providing outstanding hunting opportunities. There are dove fields in all regions of the state, but they vary each year due to weather and managers’ time commitments. All 2017 dove fields are listed at www.ksoutdoors.com; simply click on “Hunting” then “Where To Hunt” then “KDWPT Dove Hunting Fields.”

Wildlife areas with specially-managed fields for dove hunting are categorized by region. Be sure to read through the description of each area. Some fields may be reserved for youth or youth/mentors on the first few days of the season, many require non-toxic shot, and some may limit the number of hunters through special permits. Be sure to note if iSportsman Electronic Daily Hunt Permits are required. With an iSportsman account, hunters can check in and out by phone, smartphone or computer. It’s quick and easy. Visit https://kdwpt.isportsman.net/ to learn more.

Dove fields are often planted with sunflowers or wheat and managed to attract large numbers of doves. Fields may be small and require hunters to be respectful of other hunters, allowing safe distances between parties and taking only safe shots.

Opening day will be here before you know it. It’s time to stock up on shotgun shells and visit the local gun club for some practice. It’s also a good idea to spend a couple of evenings scouting the fields to learn which the doves are using.

Zebra mussels found in Tuttle Creek Reservoir

 

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has confirmed the presence of invasive zebra mussels in Tuttle Creek Reservoir in Pottawatomie and Riley Counties. An alert fisherman found a rock with one adult zebra mussel attached and reported it to KDWPT staff in the Tuttle Creek State Park office. A subsequent search by KDWPT fisheries staff verified the presence of additional zebra mussels.

 

The 12,500 acre lake is located six miles north of Manhattan, KS on Hwy K-13. It is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE); KDWPT manages the fishery. The lake and surrounding areas are popular destinations for fishing, camping, swimming, hiking, and a variety of boating and other water-related activities.

 

While the zebra mussel population is currently small, there is no known method to completely rid a lake of this invasive species. The zebra mussels were likely introduced by “hitchhiking” with un-suspecting lake-goers. Adults are able to attach to boats or other equipment and the microscopic zebra mussels larvae (called veligers) may be present in any water originating from an infested lake or stream. Densities as high as 1,000 veligers per gallon have been recorded in KS waters. “Remembering to clean, drain, and dry boats and equipment before moving between waterbodies is the key to preventing the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species,” said Chris Steffen, aquatic nuisance species coordinator for KDWPT.

 

Tuttle Creek Reservoir, the connected downstream Tuttle Creek River Pond, and the Big Blue River downstream from the lake to the confluence with the Kansas River (including Rocky Ford) will be added to the list of ANS-designated waters in Kansas, and notices will be posted at various locations around the waterbodies. Live fish may not be transported from ANS-designated waters. The sharp-shelled zebra mussels attach to solid objects, so lake-goers should be careful when handling mussel-encrusted objects and when grabbing an underwater object when they can’t see what their hands may be grasping. Visitors should protect their feet when walking on underwater or shoreline rocks.

 

Zebra mussels are just one of the non-native aquatic species that threaten our waters and native wildlife. After using any body of water, people must remember to follow regulations and precautions that will prevent their spread:

  • Clean, drain and dry boats and equipment between uses
  • Use wild-caught bait only in the lake or pool where it was caught
  • Do not move live fish from waters infested with zebra mussels or other aquatic nuisance species
  • Drain livewells and bilges and remove drain plugs from all vessels prior to transport from any Kansas water on a public highway.

For more information about aquatic nuisance species in Kansas, report a possible ANS, or see a list of ANS-designated waters, visit ProtectKSWaters.org.

ABOUT ZEBRA MUSSELS

Zebra mussels are dime-sized mollusks with striped, sharp-edged, two-part shells. They can produce huge populations in a short time and do not require a host fish to reproduce. A large female zebra mussel can produce 1 million eggs, and then fertilized eggs develop into microscopic veligers that are invisible to the naked eye. Veligers drift in the water for at least two weeks before they settle out as young mussels which quickly grow to adult size and reproduce within a few months.

After settling, zebra mussels develop byssal threads that attach their shells to submerged hard surfaces such as rocks, piers, and flooded timber. They also attach to pipes, water intake structures, boat hulls, propellers, and submerged parts of outboard motors. As populations increase, they can clog intake pipes and prevent water treatment and electrical generating plants from drawing water. In 2012, two Kansas communities, Council Grove and Osage City, experienced temporary water shortages from zebra mussel infestations before water intake structures could be cleaned up. Removing large numbers of zebra mussels to ensure adequate water flow can be labor-intensive and costly.

Zebra mussels are native to the Black and Caspian seas of western Asia and eastern Europe and   were spread around the world in the ballast water of cargo ships. They were discovered in Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River in 1988 and quickly spread throughout the Great Lakes and other rivers including the Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, Arkansas and Hudson. They were first discovered in Kansas in 2003 at El Dorado Reservoir. Despite public education efforts to alert boaters about the dangers of zebra mussels and how to prevent spreading them, the species continues to show up in new lakes every year. Moving water in boats and bait buckets has been identified as a likely vector.

For information about Tuttle Creek Reservoir, visit KSOutdoors.com, click on Fishing, then Where to Fish and select the Northeast region.

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