Tip of the month: NWR Week

National Wildlife Refuge Week is celebrated each year during the second full week of October. This month, the event occurs from 9-15 October, and it is an ideal time to visit a National Wildlife Refuge to bird, photograph, hike, fish, paddle, or simply enjoy time in nature. Discover how refuges conserve your natural heritage and how these refuges highlight the “Big Six” wildlife-dependent activities on refuges – wildlife watching, wildlife photography, fishing, hunting, wildlife-associated education, and interpretation. There are a number of special events and local festivals, many appropriate for the entire family, hosted on NWRs in October.

You access more information on National Wildlife Refuge Week, including special events, here:

Little Apple glow paddle October 29


Anyone can sign up for a glow run, but to say you’ve spent an evening on a glow paddle is sure to have your social media friends neon with envy. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind experience, sign up for the Little Apple Glow Paddle on Oct. 29 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Paddlers can light up the river on a canoe or kayak, and even finish out the paddle with s’mores by a campfire. Need we say more?


Rental vessels are available for $15-$30 per person by contacting Ryan at (785) 587-2768. Paddlers wishing to use their own vessel may participate for $10. Lifejackets are required.


Paddlers will park at the Linear Trail Head where a bus will transport everyone to Fairmont Park at 5 p.m. From there, paddlers will depart at 5:30 p.m. and float their way the 2 miles back to Linear Trail Head.


For more information and to register, contact Marcia Rozell at (785) 776-8829 or [email protected].

Youth waterfowl seasons perfect introduction

There is something magical when a flock of ducks with wings set, sail into a hunter’s decoy spread. That sight will set even a veteran hunter’s heart to stuttering. Imagine what it can do to a young hunter. The Kansas youth waterfowl seasons provide the perfect venues to introduce young hunters to duck hunting, opening prior to the regular seasons in all zones: Oct. 1-2 in the High Plains and Low Plains Early zones, Oct. 22-23 in the Low Plains Late Zone, and Nov. 5-6 in the Low Plains Southeast Zone.


Youth 15 and younger may hunt under the supervision of an adult 18 or older, who may not hunt. Youth hunters may take ducks and geese, and daily bag limits are the same as those during the regulation duck and goose seasons.


The youth seasons provide mentoring opportunities under uncrowded and noncompetitive conditions, even on public lands because hunting pressure is light. And hunting waterfowl over decoys from a boat or blind is a very safe, controlled hunting method for a young hunter who may be just learning to handle a shotgun.


Take advantage of the youth seasons to get a young hunter hooked on hunting. They say there are no casual duck hunters; either you live for it or you don’t care for it. When a young hunter discovers how much fun duck hunting is, he or she may develop an outdoor passion that will last the rest of their life.


Find out more about the waterfowl seasons and regulations in the 2016 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary, available wherever licenses are sold and online at

Duck hunters invited to free breakfast at Wetlands Education Center

It’s sure easy to work up an appetite during duck season, and no one may know this more than the staff at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center (KWEC) located at the southeast corner of Cheyenne Bottoms along K-156 Highway. To show their appreciation for the contributions duck hunters make to waterfowl conservation, KWEC staff invite all duck hunters to enjoy a free breakfast on opening day in the Low Plains Early Duck Zone, Oct. 8, 2016. A free breakfast of biscuits and gravy, coffee and juice will be served from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

“Hunters are an important constituent for the past, present, and future of Cheyenne Bottoms,” stated Curtis Wolf, KWEC site manager. “It is great to be able to celebrate this tradition.”

The free breakfast is sponsored by Great Bend Regional Hospital, with the help of the KWEC, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, and Ducks Unlimited.

After filling up on good eats, hunters can learn about Cheyenne Bottoms’ history, peruse through items in the Cheyenne Bottoms Ducks Unlimited Chapter raffle and silent auction, visit waterfowl identification and hunting information booths, and enjoy some friendly shooting competitions with the Laser Shot hunting simulation system.

Hunters can also get their waterfowl boats safety inspected for free, courtesy of KDWPT Boater Education staff.


Contact the KWEC at (877) 243-9268 for more information.

Instructor certification opportunity for angler ed

Thousands of Kansas youth have yet to experience the joys of fishing and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and Fishing’s Future aim to change that. If you have a love of fishing and are happy to share that passion, consider attending the next Angler Education Instructor Certification course on Oct. 8, beginning at 9 a.m., at Fort Hays State University. The class will be held at 509 South Campus Drive, in Albertson Hall, Room 305.

Much like hunter education, the angler education program seeks to find qualified volunteers to teach the ins and outs of fishing to new and inexperienced anglers. During this course, potential instructors will learn about working with children, as well as receive sample curriculums and tips for preparing a class or clinic. Other subjects covered in the four-hour class include current fishing regulations, species identification, fishing ethics, equipment, knot-tying, casting, fish habitat, aquatic nuisance species, and conservation practices.


For more information, and to sign up for this class, contact Stuart Scott at (316) 648-9847 or [email protected], or David Breth at [email protected] or (620) 672-5911.

Flint Hills stream the subject of holistic watershed management plan


Funding from Kingsbury Family Foundation supports conservation research


A project to develop and implement a holistic watershed management plan for a heritage stream in the Flint Hills recently received additional funding support from the Kingsbury Foundation in Kansas.  The Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams (KAWS) has been working through partnerships for a decade to build technology that can find and show the largest issues affecting our streams, rivers, wetlands and water bodies.


The project has been ongoing, but the new funding will assist with further research and validation of the existing tools, which include GIS, online mapping and flood analysis. This phase of the project will be completed by the end of 2018.  Scientists at KAWS will be looking at stream bank erosion, barriers to fish migration, watershed health and floodplain connectivity in the Cottonwood River Basin, but the resulting tools can eventually be used across the entire state.


“During rain events and flooding, the water runs off the land and into our water supply – taking with it small pieces of the way we use our lands,” said Jeff Neel, Director of Applied Research and Restoration at KAWS. “By addressing the cause of the problems – land management that causes more runoff as opposed to increased infiltration and retention – rather than the result, we can more effectively address potential issues before they start, increase baseflow during droughts and minimize ongoing problems before they get worse.” 


KAWS will be using these tools to present easy-to-understand results and planning options to communities and landowners to help preserve habitat and support biodiversity across the state. Assessments of streams, wetlands and adjacent (riparian) areas will also be used as a part of this project.


The Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to achieve a healthy balance of economics, conservation and community to support sustainability of the natural ecosystems and working lands of Kansas.


The Kingsbury Family Foundation funds conservation research and related efforts in Kansas. By limiting the scope of philanthropic giving, the Kingsbury Family Foundation has made a significant impact on conservation in the state. Since its inception in 2001, the Foundation has funded research and conservation efforts related to water quality, habitat quality, biodiversity, and species preservation throughout the state.  

Trail run at Wilson’s Switchgrass Trail Oct. 2


Slide on some shorts, lace up your shoes, and throw on a hat because you’re invited to the “Wild Within You” trail run Oct. 2 at Wilson State Park. Held on Wilson’s famous Switchgrass Trail, runners of all skill levels can participate in either a 5k, 30k, or 50k race (with a team relay option). Day-of registration will open at 8 a.m., followed by a brief racer meeting at 8:45 a.m. The race starts at 9 a.m.

Runners will be met by aid stations along the trail offering water and assorted energy-packed snacks. Restrooms are available at the trailhead.

After the event, preregistered runners can enjoy some free race goodies, as well as enter in several drawings for prizes.

Register online at (enter Hell Creek on Heels in the Search box), in person at the Hays Recreation Commission, 1105 Canterbury Dr, Hays, or by mailing an entry form to Wild Within You, 101 W. 3rd, Liebenthal, KS 67553. Cash or check payments are accepted and race fees are non-refundable.

Entry forms and additional information, including 50k team relay rules, is available at

Have an adventure on us October 1


The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, are partnering to pick up your Kansas State Park entrance tab in celebration of Healthy Trails Adventure Day. On October 1, enjoy free admission to any of Kansas’ 26 state parks where you can unwind from the work week and make some new family memories.

Parkgoers can freely explore Kansas state parks by foot, bike, horse, or even canoe or kayak. Visit prior to your trip to see what each state park can offer you.

When you’re ready to put up your feet, consider doing it fireside at a Kansas state park campsite or cabin, and skewer a marshmallow or two while you’re at it. For information on camping availability, amenities, and pricing, or to reserve a campsite or cabin, visit

For more information about Healthy Trails Adventure Day, including how to find a state park near you and how to share your experiences, visit

Find yourself on a fall turkey hunt

Spring turkey season in Kansas is hugely popular given the seasonably comfortable temperatures and flurry of breeding activity taking place, but the little known secret that fall turkey hunters already know is that the action doesn’t stop come the end of the year.

The 2016 fall turkey hunting season, open Oct. 1 – Nov. 29 and Dec. 12 – Jan. 31, 2017, is the perfect opportunity to put a memorable holiday bird on the table at a fraction of the hunting pressure sometimes experienced earlier in the year.

Kansas is divided into six turkey hunting units, and all but one (Unit 4) are open to fall turkey hunting. Hunters who purchase a fall turkey permit, valid in units 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6, may also purchase up to three additional turkey game tags valid in Unit 2. Fall turkey permits and game tags are valid for both male and female turkeys.

All hunters must have a turkey permit and a valid hunting license to hunt turkeys in Kansas. Residents 15 and younger or 75 and older, and hunters hunting on land they own, are exempt from hunting license requirements.

Resident permits are $27.50 for hunters 16 and older and $7.50 for hunters 15 and younger. Resident turkey game tags are $17.50. Nonresident turkey permits are $52.50 and nonresident turkey game tags are $32.50.

For information on turkey hunting regulations, legal equipment, unit maps and public hunting areas, pick up a copy of the 2016 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary and 2016 Kansas Hunting Atlas, or visit

Fall turkey permits and game tags are available wherever licenses are sold and at

National Wild Turkey Federation Youth Camp Oct. 1-2


The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) will hold the 2016 NWTF Kansas State JAKES Camp, October 1-2 at White Memorial Camp, 6 miles north of Council Grove, off highway K177. The camp is open to youth 17 and younger and features fishing, arts and crafts, BB gun shooting, trap and target shooting, 3D archery, canoeing, flint knapping, and turkey calling with turkey hunting legend Ray Eye. Youth participants can attend up to six programs on Saturday, and on Saturday evening JAKES members can participate in the annual NWTF Kansas Turkey Calling contest. Prizes will be awarded to the top three places in two divisions: JAKES, age 12 and under and Xtreme JAKES, age 13 to 17.  Later in the evening, wildlife impersonator Ralph Duren will entertain everyone with his “Calls of the Wild” program.


On Sunday, Pastor Gary Cargill will start the day with a sunrise service. Activities on Sunday morning include a presentation by Mick Bowman on predator calling and a program by Ray Eye on youth turkey hunting.


The cost is $20 for JAKES members, $30 for non-JAKES members (which includes a JAKES membership), and $20 for adults. Attendees may tent camp (bring your own tent) Saturday night or commute both days. Attendees also have the option to stay in a cabin with bunk beds and a shared bath for an additional fee. Boys and girls will have separate cabins. There are also a few RV hookups. The cost includes lunch and supper on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday, prepared by the White Memorial Camp kitchen staff. All youth participants will receive a commemorative t-shirt and win a drawing prize at the end of the event on Sunday. Some lucky youth will win a shotgun.


For more info and to register, contact Gib Rhodes at (620) 437-2012.


The NWTF Kansas State JAKES Camp was awarded the “Best State JAKES Event” in 2012, the “Best Special JAKES Event” in 2013 at the NWTF National Convention in Nashville, Tenn., and “Honorable Mention” in 2013, 2014, and 2015.