Utah’s state legislature is at it again


The Wilderness Society


A crisis is brewing in Utah, one that could have national repercussions if we don’t act immediately.


Utah‘s state legislature passed a bill in 2013 directing the federal government to turn over public lands to the state. This bill, the first of its kind, would allow the state to seize public lands we all share, cutting off our access to make room for more drilling and development.


Utah‘s bill is unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable, but they don’t care. So now they are spending millions of dollars in taxpayer money to explore their legal options. Utah’s actions set a dangerous precedent that if unchecked, could lead to other states taking similar actions. We can’t let that happen — our shared natural legacy is at stake.


Earlier this year, The Wilderness Society released a report showing that Idaho has sold 41% of the land it owns for development. That’s 1.7 million acres of state land lost forever. Newspapers wrote about it, state legislators were held accountable, and the public was shocked.


We can do it again in Utah. But we need your help. The total cost to research, write and produce such a report is just $7,350. Can you help us reach this goal to fund our work protecting wild public lands in Utah and across the country?


By taking a stand in Utah, we send a powerful message to all state legislatures and private interest groups around the country that we are watching, we won’t back down, and we will hold them accountable.


Help the Wilderness Society save Utah’s and all of America’s public lands.

Hunting, fishing and trapping amendment on November ballot


In addition to voting for their chosen candidates and other important matters in the Nov. 8, 2016 general election, voters will decide whether to amend the Kansas Constitution’s Bill of Rights to add a constitutional right to hunt, fish and trap wildlife.

The proposed amendment would specify the people have a right to hunt, fish and trap by traditional methods, subject to reasonable laws and regulations that promote wildlife conservation and management and that preserve the future of hunting, fishing and trapping. The amendment would also specify that hunting and fishing are the preferred means for managing and controlling wildlife, and that the amendment shall not be construed to modify any provision of law relating to trespass, eminent domain or other private property rights. 

The amendment would be created if approved by a majority of Kansas voters. A “Yes” vote will be a vote in favor of adding the amendment to the constitution, and a “No” vote will be a vote against adding the amendment. If the amendment passes, current laws and regulations governing hunting, fishing and trapping of wildlife would still apply, as the proposed right is subject to reasonable laws and regulations. If the amendment fails, there would be no changes to current laws and regulations.     

The proposed amendment was introduced into the 2015 Legislative Session as House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 5008 by Representative Couture-Lovelady and Representative Lusker, but no action was taken. It was carried over to the 2016 session where it passed both chambers by large margins. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) testified in support of the resolution.

According to the website, 19 states currently have similar constitutional provisions for the right to hunt and fish. Two others have constitutional provisions guaranteeing the right to fish, and two have statutes providing for the right to hunt and fish. Vermont established its right to hunt and fish in 1777, but most of the other states have created their rights since 2000.

Hunters and anglers provide all of the support for Kansas’ wildlife and fisheries management programs. These programs are entirely funded by license/permit fees and a federal match from the excise tax paid by hunters and anglers on equipment they buy (these revenues can only be used to fund wildlife and fisheries programs; they cannot be used for state park maintenance). The state’s share of the federal excise tax can only be returned to Kansas if someone buys a license or permit. KDWPT does not receive any state general funds for any of its programs.

For more information about KDWPT, visit or

Council Grove youth shotgun and archery clinic October 29


Youth age 11-16 are invited to a free shotgun and archery shooting and safety clinic on Saturday, October 29 at Council Grove Reservoir. This special event will provide participants with opportunities to enhance their firearm and archery shooting skills in a fun and safe environment under controlled instruction. The clinic will be led by certified firearm, archery, and hunter education instructors and all gear and supplies – including shotguns, shells, bows, arrows, targets, and eye and ear protection ­– will be provided. Participants must preregister for this event before Oct. 21 by calling Brent Konen, Council Grove Wildlife Area manager, at (620) 767-5900. Participants are not required to be hunter education certified, but certification is preferred.


The clinic will begin at noon at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) area between Marina Cove and Neosho Park, approximately 0.25 miles west of the COE office at the west end of the dam. Check-in and a free lunch provided by the Flint Hills Chapter of Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation (QUWF), will begin at 12 p.m. Instruction will then begin at 12:30 p.m. and end at approximately 4 p.m.


Door prizes will be awarded, including a youth model 20-gauge pump-action shotgun and a .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle.


This event is part of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) “Pass It On” Program. Event sponsors include KDWPT, the Kansas Hunter Education program, Archery in The Schools, COE, the Flint Hills QUWF, the Chisholm Trail Chapter of Safari Club International, the Bill Young Foundation, and the Morris County Hunter Education instructors.

Trout stocking discontinued at Cedar Bluff stilling basin


For more than 40 years, trout have provided winter fishing fun in select Kansas waters, and the Cedar Bluff stilling basin has been a part of that program from the beginning. However, the stilling basin below Cedar Bluff Dam won’t be stocked with trout in 2016. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Fisheries Division staff considered several factors before making the decision to discontinue stocking trout at the Cedar Bluff location.


Poor water quality has been a hindrance to trout welfare in the stilling basin for many years.  Recently, the problem has become more acute due to lack of flow. Late seasonal turnover, brought about by prolonged warm weather in the fall, delays water quality improvement and limits the basin’s ability to provide a suitable environment for trout.


Economics also played a role in this decision. In the last two years, the cost of trout increased from $1.50/lb. to $4.00/lb. Revenues from trout permit sales did not keep pace with this increase, necessitating a statewide reduction in the number of trout stocked. 


To maintain acceptable angler catch rates in the face of this reduction, it will be necessary to reallocate trout regionally. Some trout, originally destined for Cedar Bluff, will go to Webster stilling basin, which receives nearly twice as much trout angling pressure as Cedar Bluff.


For more information, contact district fisheries biologist, Dave Spalsbury, at (785) 726-3212, or visit to learn where trout will be stocked this fall. The trout season opens Nov. 1, and more than 30 locations across the state will receive regular stockings until the season ends April 15, 2017.

Anglers 16 and older are required to have a $14.50 Trout Permit, in addition to a Kansas fishing license. The daily creel limit, unless posted otherwise, is five per day. Anglers 15 and younger do not need a trout permit, but they may only keep two trout per day.

Trapping and predator calling workshop at Tuttle Creek State Park


Anyone who wants to learn about trapping furbearers and calling predators should plan on attending a free workshop at Tuttle Creek State Park on Oct. 29. The class will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the state park office, 5800 A River Pond Rd, in Manhattan. Preregistration is not required to attend.


The class is designed for anyone who wants to learn about trapping and furbearer hunting, regardless of experience or skill level. Instructors will introduce the sport to those new to trapping and calling, as well as provide some brush-up pointers for those with experience.


Kansas is home to 14 furbearer species that may be hunted and trapped during the furbearer season (Nov. 16, 2016-Feb. 15, 2017), including badger, bobcat, gray fox, weasel, mink, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, red fox, striped skunk, and swift fox. Beaver and otter may be trapped (Nov. 16-March 31, 2017). Although coyotes are not classified as furbearers, they may be hunted and trapped year-round.


This class will not qualify participants for a furharvester education certificate, but information provided will be beneficial for those interested in completing a furharvester education class. The Kansas Furharvester Education course can be completed online at


For more information on this class, contact park manager Todd Lovin at (785) 539-7941.

Youth invited to hunt deer at Jeffrey Energy Center


Youth 12 and older with little or no deer hunting experience are invited to apply for a special deer hunting opportunity at Jeffrey Energy Center, courtesy of the Westar Energy Green Team. The center is located 7 miles north of St. Marys, and hunts will be held during the firearm deer season, Nov. 30 through Dec. 11, 2016. Applications will be accepted until Friday, Nov. 4 and successful hunters will be notified by November 11. To apply, contact Barb Cornelius at (785) 575-8125.


Successful applicants must be accompanied by an adult mentor. Hunts will be in the early morning or late afternoon. A limited number of slots will be available on a first-come, first-served basis with priority going to those with little or no deer hunting experience. Hunting will be done from blinds, and participants will be led by volunteers, who are experienced hunters. Hunters are encouraged to bring their own rifle, but one can be provided if needed.


Every hunter must have a deer permit valid in Deer Management Unit 9, and hunters 16 and older must also have a hunting license and hunter education certificate.


An orientation session will be conducted on Saturday, Nov. 19, when organizers will instruct youth hunters on general firearm safety, deer biology and assist youth with sighting in rifles.


The Green Team’s annual youth deer hunts are designed to encourage youth interested in learning about hunting to give it a try. The hunts provide safe and fun hunting experiences in an area where the odds of success are high due to the abundance of deer.

Wade your way into waterfowl season


When one door closes, another opens, and with the close of teal season, waterfowlers can now enjoy the opening of the 2016 Kansas duck seasons. Listed below are the Kansas duck zones and their associated season dates where hunters can begin pursuing early migrants like gadwall, wigeon, pintails, redhead, and shovelers in some areas as early as Oct. 8.



High Plains Zone: Oct. 8, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017 and Jan. 20-29, 2017

Low Plains Early Zone: Oct. 8-Dec. 4, 2016 and Dec. 17, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017

Low Plains Late Zone: Oct. 29, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017 and Jan. 21-29, 2017

Low Plains Southeast Zone: Nov. 12, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017 and Jan. 7-29, 2017



Low Plains Late Zone: Oct. 22-23, 2016

Low Plains Southeast Zone: Nov. 5-6, 2016


Hunters, including youth during youth seasons, may take six ducks daily, which in any combination, may include no more than 5 mallards (only two of which may be hens); 3 wood ducks; 3 scaup; 2 pintails; 2 redheads; and 2 canvasbacks. Possession limit is three times the daily bag limit.


Licensed hunters must have a State Waterfowl Permit, $10, and a Kansas Harvest Information Program (HIP) Permit, $2.50, to hunt ducks, geese, or mergansers in Kansas. All waterfowl hunters age 16 and older must also have a Federal Waterfowl Stamp, $26.50.


For more information on duck hunting in Kansas, consult the 2016 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary available wherever licenses are sold, and online at

Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission to consider turkey seasons


The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission will conduct a public meeting on Thursday, Oct. 20 in Liberal at the Seward County Event Center, 810 Stadium Road. The afternoon session will begin at 1 p.m. and recess at 5 p.m. The evening session will convene at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend both sessions and time will be set aside for public comment at the beginning of each for discussion of non-agenda items.


The afternoon session will begin with a report on the agency and state fiscal status and a preview of the 2017 Kansas Legislative Session. The General Discussion portion of the meeting will include a report on the Powderhook mobile app and its digital mentor feature, antelope and elk regulations, public lands regulations, and an update on the Blue Ribbon Panel for wildlife conservation funding and signing of a resolution.


The evening portion of the meeting will convene at 6:30 p.m. for the Public Hearing. Commissioners will hear and vote on recommendations for fall and spring turkey seasons and bag limits; motor vehicle permit fees in state parks; camping and utility fees; authorized motorized vehicles in state parks; and regulations concerning commercial sale of bait fish, tournament black bass pass, and fishing methods of take, and creel, size and possession limits.


If necessary, the commission will reconvene at the same location at 9 a.m., Oct. 21, to complete any unfinished business. Information about the Commission, as well as the Oct. 20 meeting agenda and briefing book, can be downloaded at


Live video and audio streaming of the Oct. 20 meeting will be available at If notified in advance, the department will have an interpreter available for the hearing impaired. To request an interpreter, call the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at 1-800-432-0698. Any individual with a disability may request other accommodations by contacting the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission secretary at (620) 672-5911.


The next Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commission meeting is scheduled for Jan. 5, 2017, in Emporia.

There’s still time to take Hunter Education


Fall hunting seasons may have started, but there’s still time to get into a Kansas Hunter Education class near you. October is chock-full of opportunities, and with Internet-assisted courses, finding one to fit your schedule has never been more convenient. The easiest way to find a class near you is to visit and click “Hunting,” then “Hunter Education.” Students must be 11 or older to be certified. However, hunters 15 or younger may hunt without hunter education certification provided they are under the direct supervision of an adult 18 or older. Otherwise, anyone born on or after July 1, 1957 must be certified by an approved course before they can hunt in Kansas.


Class schedules are organized by format: traditional or Internet-assisted. Traditional hunter education courses are 10 hours long and are usually held over two to three days. Internet-assisted courses are designed to meet the needs of individuals with busy schedules by providing online classwork that can be done at home. After the Internet work is completed, students must attend a field day, which often includes live-fire, trail-walk and safe gun handing exercises before final testing and certification. Students must register for an Internet-assisted course (field day) before completing the online portion.


Classes fill up quickly, so early registration is encouraged. Sign up today and we’ll see you in the field!

iSportsman daily hunt permits


Kansas hunters should be aware that iSportsman Electronic Daily Hunt Permits are required on 24 wildlife areas (check the2016 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary or for a list). The electronic permit system has been in place for two years, and is normally fast and efficient. However, the software company that manages the host servers experienced technical difficulties this week that slowed the check-in procedure. Hunters utilizing iSportsman may experience slow processing or may find the system entirely down for the next few days.


iSportsman replaces the old paper permits and allows hunters to conveniently check in and out using a telephone, smartphone or home computer. As with the old paper system, information gathered helps area managers tailor management practices specific to an area and hunter preference. The paper system was inconvenient for hunters and labor intensive for managers. However, hunters who experience difficulties this weekend with iSportsman are encouraged to check wildlife area offices and kiosks and use paper forms where available.


Repairs should have the iSportsman system fully functional soon, and KDWPT staff want all hunters to enjoy hunting this weekend. If technical problems persist, KDWPT encourages hunters to go hunting but keep trying to check in with iSportsman or check with area offices and kiosks for paper cards.