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Posts Written By: KWF

Hunters Reminded to Practice Treestand Safety

Most hunters are aware of the need to safely handle their firearms, but too often hunters overlook basic treestand safety. According to the Treestand Manufacturer’s Association (TMA), one out of three treestand hunters will fall from a treestand during their lifetime and require medical treatment. Furthermore, 75 percent of treestand falls happen to hunters between the ages of 30 to 60 years old.
Hunting from an elevated position has many advantages, two of which are a birds-eye-view of the immediate area, and the confidence of knowing that a hunter’s scent is less detectable by game than hunting from the ground; however, these advantages come at a high risk if safety precautions are not followed. In everything we do, safety always has a priority. We put on our seatbelt before driving a car, we look both ways before crossing a street; hunting from treestands should demand the same common safety sense. Below are some safety tips that every treestand hunter should follow before, during, and after the hunt:
Never use a homemade stand. Only use TMA certified stands. The TMA performs rigorous testing on all manufacturers’ stands to ensure safety of hunters in the field. Many hunters have had a homemade stand collapse due to environmental conditions or engineering flaws.
Wear a TMA approved full-body harness. Every stand sold with the TMA certification label includes a full-body harness. Older, chest-type straps are dangerous and can cause more injury than a fall. Become familiar with the harness and practice putting it on and off several times before the hunt. Many companies now offer a jacket-style full-body harness which is much easier to wear than standard harnesses and are very affordable. If you are a treestand hunter, a harness should be as important as the clothing you wear.
Know your treestand. This seems elementary, but every treestand is different and models change every year. Attachment devices change and new developments are always being added. Just like every firearm is slightly different, so are treestands. Read the directions included with the stand and follow them exactly.
Use a pull up rope and attach it to the opposite side of your treestand climbing aide. Never try to climb or enter a treestand with your firearm, bow, or backpack on your person. Use a secure rope to haul your gear up to the treestand AFTER you are secure and fastened to the tree. Placing the rope on the opposite side of the treestand climbing aide ensures that you won’t become entangled on your ascent/decent.
Choose healthy, straight trees, and never rely on limbs for support. Choose a tree that is the correct diameter for your stand and that is not diseased. Never use a utility pole or power supply pole to place a treestand. Relying on a branch for support is very dangerous as they can break without warning.
Climb with care. Most accidents occur while getting into or getting out of stands. Place your climbing aid at least 2 feet above the level of the stand so that you can step down into the stand and have a secure handle when you exit. Take extra precaution if there is ice present on cold days.
Let someone know where you are hunting. In addition to common courtesy, this one rule could save your life if you fall and are unable to call for help. Let someone who knows the area well know where you will be, what time you are expected to be back, and stick to your plans. Providing them with GPS coordinates will be a big help to a search and rescue team if one is needed.
Most hunters eventually will have the confidence to hunt alone. By following good, sound treestand safety practices, these same hunters can ensure they can hunt for the rest of their lives.

Wildlife Checkpoint Planned in Southcentral Kansas

Joint effort will check for drivers’ licenses and possession of wildlife
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) and local law enforcement officials will conduct a joint checkpoint in southcentral Kansas in early December. The regular firearm deer season starts November 28, and upland game bird seasons are underway. The checkpoint is intended to help enforce state and federal wildlife laws, as well as the state’s driver’s licensing laws.
Local law enforcement officers will operate the first stage of the checkpoint to be sure drivers are properly licensed to be driving. If a driver does not have a valid license, appropriate enforcement actions will be taken. Travelers should not expect major delays from this portion of the checkpoint.
Occupants of vehicles in the first check lane will be asked if they are hunters or are transporting wildlife. If yes in either case, drivers will be directed to a nearby check lane where KDWPT natural resource officers will check for required licenses and permits, count the game and gather biological, harvest, and hunter success information. This portion of the checkpoint should also cause minimal delay.
Additional wildlife checkpoints will occur around the state during the fall and winter hunting seasons.

Firearm Deer Season Opens November 28

Twelve-day season provides opportunities for hunters to put venison in the freezer
Kansas deer hunters will hit the field on Nov. 28 with hopes of putting venison in the freezer or getting a chance at a trophy-size buck. The regular firearm season runs through Dec. 9. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Any unfilled permit is valid during the firearm season; however, either-species, nonresident and some antlerless permits are restricted to the deer management units listed on the permit. In addition to their deer permit, all hunters, unless exempt by law, must also have a Kansas hunting license.
Resident permits may be purchased wherever licenses are sold and online. Hunters must possess a permit that allows the harvest of a buck before they are eligible to purchase antlerless permits. Nonresident deer permits are limited and awarded through a lottery draw, which was held in May. Permits left over after the drawing were available on a first-come, first-served basis, and those were sold out.
All legal equipment types are allowed during the firearm season; however, hunters with archery permits must use archery equipment and hunters with muzzleloader permits must use muzzleloaders, crossbows are archery equipment. All hunters hunting deer during the firearm season must wear hunter orange clothing consisting of an orange hat and an orange vest that shows 100 square inches from the front and 100 square inches from the back. Camouflage orange clothing is legal if the number of square inches of orange is visible.
Hunters should remember that all deer must be tagged before moving the carcass from the kill site. Certain permits, such as an antlerless whitetail permit, require that the head remain attached to the carcass during transport for sex identification. However, KDWPT offers a voluntary option that allows hunters to register their deer through the Internet, using photos taken at the harvest site. Once registered, the hunter may then transport the carcass without the head attached. If Internet access is unavailable at the kill site, the hunter can retain the photographs while in transit and a registration number can be obtained later. To access the electronic deer check-in, go online to the KDWPT website, www.ksoutdoors.com, and click “Hunting/Big Game/Deer/Deer Check-in.”
To ensure everyone enjoys a safe deer hunt, hunters must remember basic firearm safety rules including knowing their target and what lies beyond it and always wearing the required hunter orange. Hunters must have permission to hunt on any private land, whether it is posted or not. The 2012 Kansas Hunting Atlas features maps showing all public and Walk-In Hunting Access areas is available wherever licenses are sold and online at www.ksoutdoors.com.

Reward for Information on Golden Eagle Shooting

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is investigating the shooting of a Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) near Tipton, Kan. The Golden eagle was found on Monday, October 29, 2012 in a pasture located on the east side of highway 181, approximately 5 miles south of Tipton, Kansas.
The eagle was found on top of the rocks on Williams Butte, close to where two other pastures adjoin the property, and captured by an officer with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. The eagle is being treated for its injuries, but it is unclear if it will be able to be released after it heals. The small Golden eagle may have been mistaken for a hawk.
Golden eagles are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The shooting of any eagle is considered a violation of those acts.
The Golden eagle may have been shot over the prior weekend and anyone with information regarding the shooting is asked to contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement in Washington, Kansas at (402) 419-4855. The Service may pay up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.  Anyone contributing that information to authorities can remain anonymous. Information can also be reported to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-877-426-3843.
Golden eagles can be found from the tundra, through grasslands, forested habitat and woodland-brushlands, south to arid deserts, including Death Valley, California. They are aerial predators and eat small to mid�sized reptiles, birds, and mammals up to the size of mule deer fawns and coyote pups. They also are known to scavenge and utilize carrion.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service.
For more information on their work, visit http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/
Connect with their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/USFWSMountainPrairie
Follow their tweets at http://twitter.com/USFWSMtnPrairie

15th Annual Pheasant Hunt for Youth & Women at Waconda Lake

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) and Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors, Inc. is sponsoring their annual pheasant hunting event for youth and women at  Waconda Lake. The event will begin on Saturday morning at 7:15 am with a hunter breakfast to be held in the Hopewell  Church basement in  Glen  Elder  State Park. Breakfast will be followed by a pre-hunt safety talk and participants will be divided into hunting groups. The hunters, guides, and mentors will then head out to various areas around Glen Elder Reservoir and hunt until noon.  A noon meal will also be provided by the Waconda Lake Association for hunt participants.

Women of any age and youth ages 11 – 16 are eligible and encouraged to apply for this hunt. This hunt is geared toward providing a comfortable and positive hunting environment for new or inexperienced hunters. Previous hunting experience is not required, and some shotguns and ammunition can be provided to applicants who do not have access to their own equipment. Applications should be made by contacting the Glen Elder Area Office at 785-545-3345 (8:00 – 4:30 weekdays) by Monday, December 3, 2012. Up to 40 applicants will be selected to participate in the Saturday hunt. If there are more applicants, an additional hunt may be scheduled for Sunday morning December 9th.

A free trap shoot will also be offered on Saturday afternoon from 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm. The trap shoot will be held just west of the KDWPT Glen Elder Area Office. The trap shoot will be open to the public and will also be geared towards new and beginning shooters.

Another unique aspect of this event is that each group of pheasant hunters will get to hunt alongside a few Hero/ Celebrities that have been invited to serve as hunting mentors for their group. This list is currently being put together, but these individuals may be former athletes, TV personalities, or military personnel that have recently returned from deployment.

There will also be hunter’s banquet held Saturday night at 6:00 pm. The banquet will be held at Memorial Hall in  Downs and will include a meal, prizes for the hunters, and more opportunities for the hunters to interact with the Hero/ Celebrities. All event participants are invited to attend and will be asked to RSVP for the banquet when they sign up for the hunt.

If individuals have questions, need more information, or would like to be involved with this event, please contact Chris Lecuyer at the KDWPT Glen Elder Area Office 785-545-3345.

Decorate for Thanksgiving with Nature

Make a beautiful Thanksgiving table with nature-inspired crafts.

Materials:

Can, short such as a tuna can

Card stock or cardboard

Elastic band

Fabric - a strip that fit around the can

Flowers

Glass or vase, same height as pumpkin

Glue, bottle or glue gun (optional)

Leaves

Paper bags from grocery stores printed with fall or harvest themes

Small picture frames

Pumpkin, tall and thin

Rubber stamps and ink (optional)

Scissors or Exacto knife

Wire photo holder (optional)

Step 1

Gather colorful leaves.
If you have a simple wire photo holder like this one, you can display the leaves instead of photos.

Step 2

Make a flower vase from a pumpkin.
Choose a tall, thin pumpkin with a steady base. Carve and empty it as usual. Find a glass or vase that fits inside it comfortably. Put water in the glass or vase.

Step 3

Display the flowers in your pumpkin vase.

Step 4

Gather small frames.
Cut cardstock or cardboard to fit inside the frames. Decorate with a few small leaves. Write or stamp the names of your guests on the cardstock.

Step 5

Put a placecard at each person’s seat at your Thanksgiving table.

Step 6

Make placemats from fall-themed brown paper shopping bags.
Many local grocery stores print fall or harvest messages on their bags at this time of year. Just cut out the sides to make a place mat. Decorate by gluing leaves in the corners or at one end.

Step 7

Make a cute container from a recycled can.

Clean out a short can, such as a tuna or pet food can. Make sure the edges are not sharp.

Find a piece of fabric in a strip that wraps around the can. Hold it in place with an elastic band.

Tuck a few leaves under the elastic band all the way around.

Step 8

Set your table.

All your combined decorations make a colorful and welcoming site!

Here’s a few more Thanksgiving craft ideas that are not necessarily made from nature objects, but can add to your decor. They are great for smaller children.

Turkey Napkin Rings

Turkey Place Mats

Turkey Leaf Creature

After your celebration, consider doing an outdoor activity. Search our Nature Find tool for local nature opportunities.

Voters Approve Conservation Spending Measures

Across the nation, voters of all political leanings gave overwhelming approval o taxing themselves and spending money for new parks in their communities, The Trust for Public  Land announced following the last election Tuesday. Of the 57 measures on local and statewide ballots, 46 passed—an approval rate of 81%.  The measures in 21 states will provide more than $2 billion overall, including $767 million in new money to support protection of water quality, new parks and natural areas, and working farms and ranches.  Complete results can be found on The Trust for  Public  Land‘s LandVote website,www.LandVote.org.

Sportsmen’s Act of 2012

The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (S. 3525) may be brought to the floor of the Senate when it returns to session after November 13, 2012. The bill is a compilation of 19 other bipartisan bills and is supported by 56 national conservation and wildlife groups in its present form. The bill could possibly be amended in the Senate. Although the bill is fairly complex, its appeal to conservation and wildlife groups is due to two factors:

1) habitat conservation, and 2) increased hunting access. The bill can be read in its current state at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/s3525/text.

Fours States Approve Constitutional Protection for Hunting, Fishing and Trapping

by Agnieszka Spieszny

Outdoor Hub Reporter

This past election day, citizens in Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska and Wyoming voted on separate proposals to add protection for hunting, fishing and trapping to their state constitutions. The measures were approved in all four states and now those activities are protected rights in each state’s constitution.

Voters in  Idaho overwhelmingly approved proposal HJR2, which received 452,950 favorable votes, or 73.4 percent of the vote.  Blaine  County contained the most people opposed to the measure, where 65.3 percent of voters rejected protecting hunting in the constitution.  Nebraska passed its own similar measure with a 76 percent approval rate.

These four states join 13 other states which had previously amended their constitution to protect these rights in their constitution, according to the Associated Press. Those states include: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota,Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia,Wisconsin and  Vermont, which is the only state to have written the measure into its constitution in 1777.

Kentucky.com writes, “voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment that the General Assembly passed in 2011 as a pre-emptive strike against anyone who would challenge Kentuckians’ right to “harvest wildlife.” At present, nobody is lobbying against hunting and fishing in  Kentucky or legally challenging it. But somebody in the future might have, such as an animal-rights group, said the amendment’s sponsor, Rep. Leslie Combs, D-Pikeville. Now they can’t, Combs said.”

According to supporters, these new amendments also enable lawmakers and state game and fish departments to continue managing hunting and fishing, setting bag limits, regulations and choose hunting and trapping as the preferred methods of wildlife management.

2012 Blue-Green Algae Sampling Season Closes

Five lakes will stay on Warning or Advisory List

On Nov. 8, 2012, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reported that it has ceased blue-green algae sampling efforts for the remainder of 2012. The sampling season typically runs from April 1 to October 31. Five  Kansas lakes will remain on its official Warning or Advisory lists until sampling resumes next year.

When harmful algal blooms are present in recreational waters, KDHE, in cooperation with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) and other lake managers where appropriate, responds by informing the public of these conditions. According to KDHE, during the 2012 season, 207 samples were taken from 40  Kansas lakes across 17 counties. KDHE issued public health advisories or warnings for 24 lakes over the course of the season. Two human illnesses related to blue-green algae were confirmed in 2012.

The following Warnings and Advisories will remain in place until next year’s blue-green algae season, or until further notice:

Current Public Health Warnings

A Public Health Warning indicates that water conditions are unsafe and direct water contact (wading, skiing and swimming) is prohibited. These  Kansas public waters are currently under “Warning” status:

•  Logan  City  Lake —  Phillips  County

When a Warning is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:

• Don’t let people, pets, and livestock drink untreated lake water.
• Don’t swim, wade or engage in other activities with full body contact of lake water, including skiing or jet-skiing.
• Clean fish and rinse with clean water, consume only the fillet portion, and discard all other parts.
• Do not allow pets or livestock to eat dried algae.
• If lake water contacts skin or pet fur, wash with clean potable water as soon as possible.
• Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.

Current Public Health Advisories

A Public Health Advisory indicates that a hazardous condition exists. Water activities like boating and fishing may be safe; however, direct contact with water (wading, swimming) is strongly discouraged for people, pets, and livestock. These  Kansaspublic waters are currently under “Advisory” status:

•  Harvey  County  East  Lake —  Harvey  County•  Hiawatha  Lake —  Brown  County•  McPherson  County  State  Fishing  Lake —  McPherson  County• Memorial/Veterans Lake — Great Bend,  Barton  County

When an Advisory is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:

• Don’t let people, pets and livestock drink untreated lake water.
• Clean fish and rinse with clean water, consume only the fillet portion, and discard all other parts.
• Do not eat or allow pets to eat dried algae.
• If lake water comes in contact with skin or pet fur, wash with clean potable water as soon as possible.
• Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.

“Though the conditions for harmful algal blooms—hot weather and minimal water releases from reservoirs, among other conditions—have fallen off, the latest sampling results from this season demonstrate that people who may have water contact (anglers or hunters) should remain aware and take the proper precautions at these impoundments,” said Tom Langer, Director for KDHE’s Bureau of Environmental Health.

Health effects from exposure to blue-green algae can vary. The most common complaints after recreational exposure include vomiting, diarrhea, skin rashes, eye irritation and respiratory symptoms. Blue-green algae toxins can also cause deaths in pets. More information on algae and algae blooms, including up-to-date Advisories and Warnings, can be found at online at kdheks.gov/algae-illness.