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Monthly Archives: December 2017

Prevent wildfires

 

As Kansas endures another dry winter, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) cautions anyone spending time outdoors to be aware of fire danger. One only has to look at the past two springs to be reminded of the threat posed by wild fires.

 

In March of 2016, an enormous wildfire burned more than 400,000 acres in Oklahoma and Kansas. Dubbed the Anderson Creek Fire, it burned nearly 300,000 acres of Barber County alone, killing more than 600 cattle and destroying 16 homes and structures. Rough terrain and thick grass, combined with dry conditions and high winds, created a frightening fire that was almost impossible to control. It was billed as the largest wildfire in Kansas’ history.

 

However, just a year later, it would lose top billing. The Starbuck Fire burned through northern Oklahoma and into Clark County on March 5, 2017 – a monster, even compared to the Anderson Creek Fire. Pushed by 50-60 mph winds and fed by 6 percent humidity and heavy fuel, the fire was a living nightmare for Kansans living in the ranching and farming communities of Clark and Comanche counties. The Starbuck Fire burned 500,000 acres in Clark County and 200,000 acres of Comanche County. The speed and ferocity of the fire made it deadly. One person was killed and more than 6,000 cattle burned to death. Dozens of homes and buildings were reduced to ashes. It also killed wildlife, including pronghorns, deer and coyotes.

 

While the Starbuck Fire roared, dozens of others burned around the state, including those in Reno, Ellis, Rice and Rooks counties, stretching rural firefighting resources thin. It will take years to recover and rebuild.

 

While many followed the news last spring and are familiar with these stories, they are worth repeating to keep fire danger fresh in Kansans minds. KDWPT staff remind anyone spending time outdoors this winter to be especially careful. Never throw burning cigarettes from moving cars. Never drive through tall grass; hot mufflers or catalytic converters can ignite dry grasses. And avoid campfires and burning trash until measurable precipitation falls.

Learn to ID birds at a Christmas bird count

 

Have you ever watched a bird flitter from tree to tree wondering what kind it was? Curious which species have stopped by your feeder for a quick bite to eat? The fastest way to learn to identify birds is to get in the field with a guide in-hand and maybe a birding expert or two, and a Christmas Bird Count provides the perfect opportunity.

 

Christmas Bird Counts bring birders of all skill levels together as they spend time canvassing established circular census areas, recording species and numbers of birds observed. Information recorded at Christmas Bird Counts is then entered into regional and national databases, in part, to help illustrate population and migration trends.

 

The Kansas Ornithological Society (KOS) has taken the guesswork out of finding a count near you by compiling a comprehensive list of Kansas Christmas Bird Counts on their website, www.ksbirds.org. The list includes all the location and contact information you need, so all that’s left is clothing appropriate for traipsing outdoors, a pair of binoculars, and a good field guide.

 

This holiday season, hone a new skill and find yourself among like-minded individuals at a Christmas Bird Count near you. You’ll be glad you tried something new.

Kansas Antlerless Whitetail season provides one last opportunity

 

From Outdoor News Daily

 

Starting January 1, all unfilled 2017 deer permits convert to firearm whitetail antlerless-only permits, providing deer hunters one last opportunity to hunt white-tailed deer before the close of the season. Unit restrictions still apply.

 

Hunters who possess permits valid in Units 6, 8, 9, 10, 16, and 17 may hunt antlerless white-tailed deer on Jan. 1, 2018; permits valid in Units 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 11, 12, 13, and 14 may be used Jan. 1-7, 2018; permits valid in Units 10A, 15 and 19 may be used Jan. 1-14, 2018; and, permits valid in Unit 19 may be used Jan. 15-31, 2018.

 

If a hunter is not already in possession of a whitetail antlerless-only deer permit, they may purchase up to five permits, available over-the-counter Dec. 30, 2017 – Jan. 31, 2018.

A hunter’s first whitetail antlerless-only deer permit is valid statewide (except DMU 18), including all public lands and WIHA. All additional such permits are valid only in units 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10A, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 19; on private land with landowner permission; on Walk-In Hunting Areas; and on Glen Elder, Kanopolis, Kirwin, Lovewell, Norton, Webster and Wilson wildlife areas.

 

For more information on hunting the antlerless-only whitetail season, consult the 2017 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary or visit ksoutdoors.com/Hunting/Big-Game-Information/Deer.