Friends of the Great Plains Nature Center Receives National Award


The Great Plains Nature Center’s (GPNC) support organization, Friends of the Great Plains Nature Center, recently received the award for “Excellence in Interpretive Support” at the annual conference of the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) in Corpus Christi, Tex. in November. NAI is the national professional organization for people who work in resource interpretation, delivering public educational programming at nature centers, museums and historical sites.


The GPNC – a free, public educational facility located in Chisholm Creek Park in northeast Wichita – was created through a three-way partnership between City of Wichita Park and Recreation, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The friends group is a 501(c)(3) organization that has supported the mission and operation of the GPNC for the last 18 years providing services that include:

·             Handling grants, donations and other forms of financial assistance

·             Hiring staff, including three full-time naturalists who are directly involved in interpretation

·             Facilitating print publications, including 12 pocket guides, 10 posters and four books

·             Coordinating volunteers, whose efforts are critical to the center’s operation


The friends group received prior recognition as Conservation Organization of the Year by the Kansas Wildlife Federation in 2009.


For more information on GPNC, visit or call the center at (316) 683-5499.

Electronically register deer before leaving the field

You’ve been lucky enough to have a deer come within range. You take the shot, and it’s a good one. You take a moment, delight in your efficient and ethical shot placement, and breathe a sigh of relief. You did it. But your work isn’t over. Before rolling up your sleeves and unfurling your trusty field-dressing knife, use your clean hands to electronically register your deer. It’s voluntary, will just take a moment, and it will keep you legal during transport if you don’t have an either-sex permit and want to bone your deer out in the field.

Kansas regulations require a hunter to tag a deer before it’s moved from the kill site. Unless a hunter possesses an either-sex permit, the head must remain attached to the carcass while in transit to a residence, or to a place of commercial processing or preservation. For hunters who want to bone out their deer onsite prior to transport, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) offers a voluntary electronic deer check-in system that hunters can access using their smartphone. You’ll just need some basic information and photos taken at the harvest site. To access the electronic deer check-in system, go to and click “Deer Check-in.”

The electronic registration process requires hunters to submit two photographs — one close-up clearly showing the completed tag attached to the deer and a second showing the entire body of the deer with the head still attached. Once in the system, and registration is complete, a confirmation number will be issued by e-mail. This confirmation number must be retained during transport.

Hunters need the following information when electronically registering their deer: KDWPT permit number, time and date of kill, and county where deer was taken.

If Internet access is unavailable at the kill site, hunters can retain the photographs while in transit and a registration number can be obtained later.

This system can be especially convenient for nonresident hunters who will take deer meat across state lines. Because chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been detected in Kansas deer, some states may have special regulations limiting the parts of the deer that may be brought in. Boning a deer out in the field is the best way to prevent spreading diseases such as CWD.

For more information on Kansas’ big game regulations, consult the 2016 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary, or visit and click “Hunting,” then “Hunting Regulations.”

Hunters: Ask permission

Hunting on private land in Kansas requires permission from the landowner, whether the land is posted or not. While Kansas ranks near the top among states for the deer, pheasant and quail hunting opportunities found here, it ranks near the bottom when comparing the amount of public hunting land available. It’s a fact that Kansas land is 97 percent privately owned, and although there are 1 million acres enrolled in the state’s Walk-in Hunting Access (WIHA) program, most hunting occurs on private land.

Getting permission before taking a single step on private land is one of the most important things you can do as a hunter, not only to keep you and your group from being charged with trespass, but also to ensure the future of our hunting heritage. Landowners fed up with trespassers may eventually close their land to all hunters. It’s simple: if you want to hunt, ask; if you’re not sure of a boundary, ask; if you don’t see Public Hunting or WIHA signs, ask.

Landowners may post their land with signs requiring written permission for hunting access, or they may simply paint posts or signs with purple paint, which also signifies that written permission is required. On this land, hunters must have a written permission slip from the landowner. This can be more convenient for landowners because they don’t have to press trespass charges. If a game warden encounters hunters who don’t have the required written permission, a citation can be issued onsite.

Hunters who treat Kansas landowners and their land with respect will enjoy some of the best hunting in the U.S., and they’ll likely create friendships that may last a lifetime. Hunters and landowners who witness any illegal activity, including trespassing, should call the toll-free Operation Game Thief number, 1-877-426-3843 or the local game warden, whose phone number can be found on Page 49 of the 2016 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary.

What’s the real risk of Monsanto’s controversial weed killer?

The latest government report on glyphosate contradicts the findings of the World Health Organization’s cancer group.

By Willy Blackmore


Over the past 30 years, the Environmental Protection Agency has considered the health risks posed by the herbicide glyphosate—best known by the Monsanto brand name Roundup—on five occasions. When it first looked at the issue in 1985, the agency determined that glyphosate was a “possible human carcinogen.” A year later, a third-party panel called into question the study that first assessment was based on, and the EPA declared glyphosate “not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity”—the jury’s still out, essentially—while promising to continue to examine the issue as new research came out. Then, in 1991, the EPA took another look and backed off further from its initial assessment, saying there was “evidence of non-carcinogenicity for humans.” In 2015, that assessment was updated to the safer-sounding “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” On Friday, a new review of research published by the EPA again found that the herbicide, which is now the most widely used in agricultural history, does not cause cancer.

But there’s a bit of a problem with the agency’s three-decade drift toward declaring the herbicide as safe in stronger and stronger terms: Last year, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The announcement was major news: The declaration has put glyphosate into regulatory limbo in the European Union, where its safety approval may not be renewed, and has led to calls to ban the chemical outright in the United States. In the wake of the IARC announcement, tests of food products paid for by consumer groups have found trace levels of glyphosate in everything from beer to eggs to oatmeal.

The new EPA report—part of its ongoing risk assessment of glyphosate that is now years behind schedule and may not be completed until next spring—follows another that was published briefly on the agency’s website before being taken down. (The EPA said it was published prematurely, but the pages were marked “final.”) It too determined that glyphosate is not a carcinogen.

It has all led to growing consumer concern over glyphosate—and distrust of both Monsanto, its major producer, and the processes by which its safety is determined.

So does glyphosate cause cancer? Consumers tend to see things like carcinogenicity in black-and-white terms: something either gives people cancer or it does not. Just look at the calls for the herbicide to be banned: Armed with the “probably carcinogenic to humans” claim, petitions like one from Care2, which garnered more than 128,000 signatures, argue, “Glyphosate should not be in our consumer products in any amount. It is not safe as previously claimed.”

Reviews of scientific literature like those conducted by the IARC and the EPA are anything but black and white. The process involves sifting through piles of research data, determining what qualifies as a sound result, and making a case—carcinogenic or not carcinogenic—based on the evidence that the bulk of the data, especially the sound data, supports.

Should a weed killer that might cause cancer be banned?

In the IARC report from last year, the authors wrote, “There was limited evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of glyphosate.” The case-control studies the IARC scientists looked at “reported increased risks for non-Hodgkin lymphoma that persisted after adjustment for other pesticides.”

But those studies predominantly looked at white men in the United States, Canada, and Sweden. Sure, in recent history in those places, white men have done a lot of farming, and what with farmers encountering glyphosate in far higher amounts than anyone ingests by eating oatmeal or honey, that seems like a reasonable place to start investigating whether exposure to an agricultural chemical might give someone cancer. But it’s not a representative sample of humanity—no women, a single ethnicity, and in a limited geographical area. The IARC authors looked at some studies on lab animals and at research done on increased blood levels of a compound associated with glyphosate, but the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma studies provided the bulk of the evidence.

In compiling the EPA review, a much broader swath of research was reviewed, and the authors also considered the studies included in the IARC report that looked at farmers exposed to glyphosate. The EPA found fault with all the studies, determining that they showed a statistically insignificant increase in risk or did not properly control for other pesticide exposures. In discussing the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma studies, the authors wrote, “There is clearly a strong potential for confounding by co-exposures to other pesticides since many are highly correlated and have been reported to be risk factors for NHL.” This means that these men may have developed cancer because they worked with pesticides, but glyphosate might not have been the culprit.

With regard to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the EPA authors concluded, “Due to study limitations and contradictory results across studies of at least equal quality, a conclusion regarding the association between glyphosate exposure and risk of NHL cannot be determined based on the available data.”

So does glyphosate cause cancer? The IARC said it’s probable and largely based that assertion on a series of studies that found “limited evidence” that it is carcinogenic to humans. That’s the group’s mandate: to determine if a chemical might, even in rare circumstances, cause cancer. The IARC review by no means says that eating foods that contain trace amounts of glyphosate is a cancer risk. While the EPA arrived at a different conclusion with regard to the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma studies, it did determine that a link between glyphosate and that type of cancer couldn’t be determined based on the existing data. Though it noted that many of the studies were conducted before 1996, when Roundup Ready crops were first introduced and glyphosate use began to skyrocket.

While it’s likely that more tests finding trace amounts of glyphosate in food products will grab headlines and that there will be continued calls for new regulations, the focus on risk to consumers may be a case of missing the forest for the trees. As Paul Towers of the Pesticide Action Network told TakePart in May, there may be health concerns, “but I think the bigger problem—and potential solution—lies with the USDA supporting a better agricultural system that doesn’t rely on these chemicals. I think our biggest concern remains the kind of system that agriculture gets stuck in—the pesticide treadmill of overuse, misuse, developing or encouraging invasive pests or invasive weeds that we then need to bring in the next chemical in order to deal with.”

Solving that problem involves asking a question more complicated than whether or not glyphosate causes cancer.

The great late pheasant season


While the opening weekend of pheasant season is a highly-anticipated tradition, it may not provide the best hunting of the year. Hunting can actually be better later when winter weather arrives and fewer hunters are in the field.


The big groups of hunters are usually gone after the second weekend of the season, leaving only dedicated bird hunters, who have Walk-in Hunting Access tracts and other public lands to themselves. And it’s often easier to get permission on private land after opening weekend, especially after the firearm deer season, which ends on Dec. 11 this year.


Colder weather and a little snow on the ground can dramatically improve hunter success because pheasants often congregate in heavy cover in these conditions. The cool air temperature and moisture will also help bird dogs find more birds.


And while it’s easier to predict where you’ll find late-season pheasants, you can’t pull up to a likely-looking weed patch and start slamming doors and hollering at dogs. Late-season birds didn’t survive a month of hunting season by being stupid, and success requires some strategy and stealth. In fact, a single hunter quietly following a close-working dog in heavy cover may have the best chance of surprising birds for close flushes. A small group of hunters will increase their odds of success if they park some distance away from the heaviest cover and approach quietly. Strategically-placed blockers will also add birds to the bag on late season hunts.


Hunting birds on a crisp morning in fresh snow is every pheasant hunter’s dream. New snow provides great tracking conditions, providing sign of not only where birds are located, but also of where other hunters have already been.


Watch the weather and make plans to hunt after the first winter storm passes through. Revisit the heavy weed patches that made you sweat on opening day and you’ll likely find your best hunting of the year.

Free entrance at Kansas State Parks on Black Friday


The best deals in stores can usually be seen on Black Friday, but the best price of all will be seen at Kansas State Parks: free. Spend Black Friday outdoors, hiking, biking, or just relaxing at a Kansas state park and you’ll not only find yourself a little happier and healthier, you’ll also be able to give your wallet a rest. That’s a win-win. Kansas state park daily vehicle permits are not required on Nov. 25, Black Friday, as Kansas joins REI in celebrating “OptOutside.” REI, a Seattle-based outdoor recreation and sporting goods giant, is going to close on Black Friday and encourages everyone to spend the time outdoors. Be a part of this movement by posting a picture of you or your family at one of the 26 Kansas state parks on Black Friday to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtags #myksstatepark and #optoutside and be entered into a drawing for a free cabin stay. Think you can find a better deal than that?


Learn more about Kansas state parks at, including information on facility updates, directions and how to make reservations. Kansas state parks are open year-around, though water is available only at camping areas with frost-free hydrants during winter.


On Black Friday, park offices will be closed, as well as over the weekend, but weekend visitors can pay user fees at any self-pay station. Hunting and fishing licenses can be purchased online at and wherever licenses are sold.

Waconda Lake to host annual youth and women’s pheasant hunt


The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) and sponsoring partners will conduct the 2016 Youth and Women’s Celebrity Pheasant Hunt at Waconda Lake (Glen Elder Reservoir) on Saturday, Dec. 10. The event will begin at 7:15 a.m. with breakfast in the Hopewell Church basement at Glen Elder State Park, followed by a pre-hunt safety program. Hunters, guides, and mentors will then spend the remainder of the morning and early afternoon hunting various limited-access refuge areas around Glen Elder Reservoir. Lunch will be provided by the Waconda Lake Association.


Youth ages 11-16 and women are eligible to apply for this hunt, which is designed to provide comfortable and positive hunting experiences for new or beginning hunters. Previous hunting experience is not required, and some shotguns and ammunition can be provided for those without equipment. Hunters must apply no later than Dec. 1 by calling the Glen Elder Area Office at (785) 545-3345 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Forty spots will be available.


A unique aspect of this event is that participants will interact with and hunt alongside a few Hero-Celebrities invited to serve as hunting mentors. Past mentors include former professional athletes, television personalities, and military personnel who have recently returned from deployment.

Participants can also visit trap shooting stations that will be set up west of the KDWPT Glen Elder Area Office. From 1:30 – 4 p.m., the public is welcome to enjoy shooting at the stations.


All participants will receive a commemorative item from the event, as well as additional prizes provided by sponsors. The hunters’ banquet and dinner will be held Saturday night. All event participants are invited to attend and will be asked to RSVP for the banquet when they sign up for the hunt.


For more information on this event, or to serve as a volunteer mentor, contact Chris Lecuyer at (785) 545-3345.

Hunters boost Kansas’ economy

On Nov. 11, sleepy little towns in western Kansas will transform into centers with crowded motel parking lots, busy streets and packed cafes. If you’re up before dawn on Nov. 12, you’ll see men and women dressed in khaki and orange looking happy, despite the hour, while feeding and watering hunting dogs or grabbing breakfast at the local “Hunters’ Pancake Feed.” Everyone is upbeat because opening day is finally here.

This year’s positive bird forecast has hunters raring to go. But there are others who anticipate this day almost as much: the business owners in these small rural communities. Hunters are good for the Kansas economy.

On the second Saturday in November, 40,000 to 50,000 hunters will be in the field pursuing pheasants and quail in Kansas. Many hunters will have traveled hundreds or thousands of miles to get here and those hunters will spend a minimum of $150 per day on lodging, food and fuel. Most will stay three or four days, and when bird populations are good, the second weekend can be just as busy. When all the revenue generated by hunters in Kansas during the year is added up, it will top $400,000,000.

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, hunting is responsible for nearly 8,000 jobs in Kansas, generating $2.9 million in salaries and wages and $60 million in state and local taxes. Through the purchase of annual hunting licenses and permits, hunters generate more than $20 million and qualify Kansas to receive nearly $10 million in federal aid that is derived from excise taxes on hunting and shooting equipment. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s wildlife programs receive no general tax funding, so hunters pay for all wildlife conservation and law enforcement efforts.

For bird hunters, a good opening weekend means heavy game bags and the camaraderie of friends and family. For Kansas business owners, a good opening weekend means extra sales and a better bottom line.

Driver’s license, wildlife checkpoints planned

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT) game wardens, Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) troopers and county sheriff’s officers will conduct joint highway checkpoints at various locations on Sunday, November 13, 2016. Upland bird, deer and migratory bird seasons will be underway, and these checkpoints are intended to help enforce state and federal wildlife laws, as well as the state’s driver’s licensing laws.

Depending on the location, KHP troopers or county sheriff’s officers will operate the first stage of the checkpoints 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 checkpoints.

Occupants of vehicles in the first check lane will be asked if they are hunters or are transporting wildlife. Travelers answering yes in either case will be directed to a nearby KDWPT check lane where game wardens will check for required licenses and permits, count the game and gather biological, harvest, and hunter success information. This portion of the checkpoints should also cause minimal delay.

The following locations may be used if weather conditions and manpower allow:

Central Kansas – game wardens and KHP troopers

US-81 near milepost 161, Ottawa County

US-56 & K-46 intersection, McPherson County

K-156 near milepost 165, Ellsworth County

US-36 & K-14 intersection, Jewell County

K-156 & US-56 intersection, Pawnee County

US-281 & K-4 intersection, BartonCounty

Southeast Kansas – game wardens, KHP troopers, Woodson and Greenwood County sheriff’s officers

US-54 rest area near the Greenwood/Woodson county line, Greenwood County

US-400 rest area near the Greenwood/Butler county line, Greenwood County

US-75 rest area north of Yates Center, Woodson County

Western Kansas – game wardens and Ford County sheriff’s officers

US-50 near milepost 127.5, Ford County

US-400 near milepost 127.5, Ford County

US-400 near milepost 139, Ford County

US-54 near milepost 88, Ford County

US-283 near milepost 37, Ford County

Additional wildlife checkpoints will occur around the state during the fall and winter hunting seasons.


Prevent the loss of a National Wildlife Refuge in the Everglades


Don’t let the state of Florida eliminate the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge


The State of Florida is attempting to take back one of America’s National Wildlife Refuges. The Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge provides critical habitat to 250 species of birds, including the largest wading bird colony in the Everglades with more than 7,000 active nests.

But now, in an effort that has long been encouraged by the sugar industry, Florida has begun the process of evicting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This move will eliminate federal wildlife protections on the 144,000 acre Refuge, one of the last remnants of the historic Everglades.

Please send a letter to Florida’s Governor Rick Scott and urge him not to close down the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.

The State of Florida is using the management of an invasive plant as a pretext to cut ties with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and take away the Refuge. Under U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stewardship, the Refuge has flourished into some of the healthiest Everglades habitat.

Florida’s attempt to take back the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is the latest effort in a nationwide movement to eliminate federal protections from our most treasured public lands. For years, the sugar industry dumped dirty water into the Refuge until the U.S. Department of Justice enforced water quality laws and ordered them to clean up their act to protect the Refuge’s vital wildlife habitat. Eliminating the Refuge will weaken legal protections for habitat for threatened Wood Storks and endangered Everglades Snail Kites.

Evicting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will not solve the challenge of controlling and combating invasive species in the refuge–it’s a misguided ploy to get rid of one of our National Wildlife Refuges and would set a dangerous precedent for other protected places around the country.

Email Governor Scott today and tell him not to eliminate the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.