Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism earns national conservation award


The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism received a national award from the National Wild Turkey Federation for managing public lands to provide quality habitat and quality hunting experiences.

A representative of the KDWPT accepted the Land Stewardship award during the 42nd annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show in Nashville, TN.

The NWTF determined this year’s award winners based on how their work strengthens the organization’s new Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative.

KDWPT has a long history of collaborating with the NWTF and other nongovernmental organizations to accomplish habitat restoration and conservation projects on the 126 wildlife areas across the state.

“From their staff to their habitat and wildlife conservation projects, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is leading the way in collaborative endeavors,” said Becky Humphries, NWTF CEO. “We are proud to partner with such a dedicated agency to put boots on the ground to Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.”

Deer harvest surveys e-mailed to select hunters

Hunters who purchased a deer permit for the 2017-2018 deer seasons are asked to take a close look at their e-mail inbox and spam folder as they may have been randomly selected to complete a Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Deer Harvest Survey.

The e-mail will come from the address [email protected] with the subject line  “2017-18 Deer Harvest Survey,” and it only takes about three minutes to complete. Even if a hunter didn’t hunt after purchasing a permit, or was unsuccessful, they are still encouraged to complete the survey as all information is important to staff.

Data gathered from the survey helps staff estimate the number of deer killed, hunter success rates and activity, hunter opinions and more, all of which help biologists develop deer management policies and hunting regulations.

The Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation announces their 2018 Friends of the Flint Hills

The Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation is pleased to announce that Scott and Carol Ritchie, Wichita, Kan., will be recognized as the 2018 Friends of the Flint Hills. The Friends of the Flint Hills recognition honors those who have contributed significant time, effort and resources to the cause of conserving the Flint Hills of Kansas and northern Oklahoma. Scott and Carol have spent most of their lives enjoying the great national treasure that is the Kansas Flint Hills. They promote sustainable range management practices and protect the Flint Hills region from invasive development; and they have supported a range of nonprofits who utilize and advocate for the Flint Hills.  We are proud to acknowledge and recognize their love of the Flint Hills.

The Friends of the Flint Hills honor has been presented by the Foundation annually since the Discovery Center opened in 2012. Those previously recognized and honored:  Jane Koger, 2012; Brian Obermeyer, 2013; Kansas State University, 2014; Jim & Cathy Hoy, 2015; Nancy Kassebaum, 2016; and Symphony in the Flint Hills, 2017.

The Ritchies will be honored on Saturday, April 14, 2018, at the Flint Hills Discovery Center, Manhattan. The social hour begins at 6 pm, followed by the program at 7 pm.

Other important Foundation events you will want to attend this spring: the three public screening of Dave Kendall’s latest film project, PRAIRIE WOMEN: Engaging Women of the Flint Hills.

The first screening will be on Sunday, March 11, 2018, 2 pm at the Granada Theatre in Emporia.  The second screening will be on Sunday, March 25, 2018, 2 pm at the Wareham Theatre in Manhattan, with a reception immediately following at the Flint Hills Discovery Center. During the reception, you will have the opportunity to meet Dave, and his wife Laura, and personally thank them for their dedication to capturing the various aspects of the Flint Hills region. The third screening is on Sunday, April 15, 2018, 2 pm at the Great Plains Theatre in Abilene.   Admission is free to Dave’s public screenings, however, your contributions at the door help support Dave’s outstanding work. Please go to Dave’s website – Prairie Hollow Productions at and register to attend one of the screenings in your area.  The Foundation functions as the fiscal agent for Dave’s film work, and processes its charitable gifts.

Spring Turkey Permits Available over-the-counter and online March 1

Everyone likes a good sale, and hunters are no exception. That’s why the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is giving turkey hunters the equivalent of an “early bird special” (pun intended) by offering discounted spring turkey permit/game tag combos through March 31.

Hunters who purchase spring turkey combos between March 1 and March 31 can save $7.50 when compared to purchasing the spring turkey permit and turkey game tag separately after March 31.






Any resident or nonresident hunter may purchase a turkey permit (good for one bearded turkey) valid in units 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6. Hunters with a spring turkey permit are eligible to purchase one spring turkey game tag (good for one additional bearded turkey) valid only in units 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6.

In addition to a turkey permit and game tag, spring turkey hunters must also possess a valid Kansas hunting license, unless exempt by law.

For more on the Kansas spring turkey season, visit

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, 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

End-of-the-season garden checklist

By Scott Vogt

Dyck Arboretum of the Plains

It seems that fall has finally arrived.  Cooler north winds are blowing and the leaves are beginning to change on the trees. Things are winding down in the garden too, except the asters.  “Raydon’s Favorite” aster, New England asters and “October Skies” aster are fantastic this year. Pollinators are covering these nectar rich flowers during the warm afternoons. It is fun to watch so many happy pollinators in the garden. There is so much to love about the fall season.

Soon these flowers will fade and the growing season will officially come to an end. It will be time for the prairie to sleep. But before you put the tools away for the winter, there are a few things to take care of now to prepare your garden for next spring. Here is your Fall Garden Checklist.


As a general rule, I leave perennials such as wildflowers and grasses stand through the winter. The forms and textures of plants such as little bluestem and switchgrass provide movement in the garden and should be left standing. Coneflowers, blackeyed susans and coreopsis are important seed sources for birds. The dark seed heads and stems look great with a back drop of little bluestem. I take note of plants that need to be divided and/or moved next February or March. Diseased plants with powdery mildew or rust should be removed. Those infected leaves will harm next year’s plants.


Even the best container plants start to fade this time of year. The annuals, vegetables or herbs that have been growing in them can be discarded into the compost pile. Ceramic pots need to be emptied of the soil and put away in the garage for the winter. Removing the soil now will prevent cracking the pot with frozen soil. The soil in plastic pots can be left in them, but I like to move them to a place out of the sun so they don’t fade. If the soil is tired, plan on refreshing it by mixing with some new potting soil with it or adding some compost or perlite. A little preparation this fall will have your pots ready when spring arrives.


This is an important time for lawn care. Obviously, the leaves that fall must be removed or composted into the lawn. More frequent mowing/composting can take care of a majority of the leaves, but if you have large trees the leaves must be removed. A large covering of leaves will smother your lawn. It is also an ideal time to fertilize cool season grasses. The nutrients will be taken up and stored in the roots for vigorous growth next year. If you have a warm season lawn such as buffalograss, now is the perfect time to control winter annuals such as henbit, dandelions and bindweed. Spraying with a broadleaf weed killer such as 2,4-D will clean up your lawn for next season. Be sure you’re using a spray that is labeled for buffalograss.



I purposely don’t remove some leaves in perennial beds to insulate the plants. In a shade garden, they are perfect as mulch. Just don’t let them get so thick that they smother out your woodland plants. Leaves make great compost that can be used in your garden or flower beds.


I learned something new on our field trip to Lenora Larson’s garden. She has chosen annual varieties that self-seed, but that pollinators love. She lets the plants stand through the winter and then composts them into the soil where they grew last year. These composted plants are fantastic mulch and add nutrients back to the soil. The next season, she lightly thins the plants that germinate and the cycle is repeated the next year. Her plants are thriving and she has very few problems with disease or insects. Her approach to landscaping with pollinator-friendly wildflowers, annuals, grasses and shrubs was stunning. I have never seen so many pollinators in such a small area. Her home was an oasis for pollinators.


This is the worst time of the year to prune trees. Trees are going dormant and pruning now will encourage new growth that will not get hardened off before cold weather. It is better to take notes of trees that need pruning and remove suckers or limbs when the trees are completely dormant in November through January. Pruning now will only weaken the tree and reduce its winter hardiness.


If you like the spring bulbs, now is the time to plant. I prefer bulbs that naturalize and come back year after year. Narcissus and species tulips are great spring bloomers. They require little or no care and reward us each year with bright blooms. These bulbs are the harbingers of spring. Now is also the time to put away tender bulbs such as cannas, dahlias, and gladioli. Allow them to dry for a few days before storing them in a cool, dry area away from sunlight.


Remove weeds when they are young. Getting after them now and keeping your gardens and display beds free of winter annual weeds such a henbit will mean less weeding next spring. A little effort now will allow more time to enjoy your garden next spring.

Spring seems like it is so far away, but it will be here before we know it. By doing a few simple tasks in your garden this fall, you will save yourself time and effort next season. Why not put your garden properly do bed this fall so you can enjoy it more next year? It will be worth your time.

Kansas Water Conference In November

Registration is open and agenda continues to build

The Governor’s Water Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas registration is open and speakers continue to be confirmed. This two-day event is Wednesday, November 8 and Thursday, November 9, 2017, at the Hilton Garden Inn & Conference Center in Manhattan, Kansas.

The conference topics include:

· Water and Emergency Response

· Partnerships – Water Quality

· Federal Policy

· Water Management Solutions

· Kansas Water Vision Implementation

· Water Funding Around the Nation

To view the brochure for a current list of speakers and panelists visit:

Some of day one speakers include: Kenneth Wagner, Senior Advisor to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt; Kansas Adjutant General Lee Taffaneli; Dave White, American Water Works Association; Mike Naig, Deputy Secretary-Iowa Dept. of Agriculture.

Day two will build on the water policy, funding and vision implementation discussions from the previous day with technical presentation posters and talks. Graduate and undergraduate students will also present their research. Information regarding abstracts proposals for these presentations can be found at Student proposals are due October 16.

“We encourage anyone to attend who has an interest in our state’s water resources. Legislators, water managers, state, federal, city and county officials as well as scientists, organizations and agricultural producers are all welcome,” said Tracy Streeter Kansas Water Office Director. “Kansas must continue to prioritize our commitment to creating a future that provides safe and reliable sources of water to households, cities, industries, producers, and the list goes on. Dedication to our water resources is critical and necessary for each and every one of us.”

Registration is available online at The deadline is November 1! Conference details, brochure, speakers, sponsors and hotel information can be found online as well.

The Governor’s Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas is hosted by the Kansas Water Office, Kansas State University /Kansas Water Resource Institute and Kansas Geological Survey/KU. Sponsors for the event come from multiple diverse water interests. Major sponsors for the event include Black & Veatch, Burns & McDonnell and Great Lakes Dredge & Dock.

Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and National Wildlife Federation join forces for conservation

During the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s (CSF) Annual Banquet & Auction on September 13, CSF and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in order to enhance the organizations’ shared goals of advancing wildlife conservation across the country.

This partnership will combine CSF’s ties to conservation-minded federal and state legislators with NWF’s six million members and supporters to ensure healthy fish and wildlife habitats through science-based policies and management.

“The National Wildlife Federation has been committed to safeguarding and improving habitats for fish and wildlife for over 80 years,” said CSF President Jeff Crane. “CSF looks forward to strengthening our partnership and working closely with the Federation and its state affiliates to advance opportunities for conservation funding for fish and wildlife as well as ensuring public access to public and private lands.”

“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s bold leadership in Congress, with Governors, and in state legislatures has proven that there is no issue with greater bipartisan support than conservation,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation President. “The National Wildlife Federation and our affiliates are proud to join forces with CSF on the Hill and in states across the country to expand hunting and fishing opportunities, increase America’s wildlife populations, and promote proactive, collaborative conservation.”

About CSF

Since 1989, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has maintained a singleness of purpose that has guided the organization to become the most respected and trusted sportsmen’s organization in the political arena. CSF’s mission is to work with Congress, governors, and state legislatures to protect and advance hunting, angling, recreational shooting and trapping. The unique and collective force of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC), the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus (GSC) and the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC), working closely with CSF, and with the support of major hunting, angling, recreational shooting and trapping organizations, serves as an unprecedented network of pro-sportsmen elected officials that advance the interests of America’s hunters and anglers.

About NWF

The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization, with over six million members and supporters and 51 state and territorial affiliates, working to unite all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world. NWF and its affiliates are dedicated to increasing wildlife populations by protecting, restoring, and restoring land and water habitats, transforming wildlife conservation, and connecting all Americans with wildlife, especially children, through outdoor experiences, Ranger Rick magazines, and environmental education.