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Construction taking place at Jamestown Wildlife Area

Hunters planning to waterfowl hunt at Jamestown Wildlife Area this season will notice several changes taking place, some of which may affect hunting opportunities. Gamekeeper Marsh and Gun Club Marsh will both be temporarily drained and kept dry in preparation for upcoming enhancement projects. During this time, waterfowl hunting access will be extremely limited, but opportunities still exist.

While construction is taking place, hunters can find huntable habitat on the south end of the property throughout the waterfowl season. Staff have pumped select off-channel storage pools from Marsh Creek and Buffalo Creek Marshes for the season. A PDF map of these pools can be accessed by visiting ksoutdoors.com, then clicking “Hunting,” “Reports and Forecasts,” and scrolling down to “Jamestown Wildlife Area.”

“These areas have excellent moist soil food production and teal are now using them,” said Matt Farmer, Public Lands manager for Jamestown. “We just ask that the public be mindful of the tighter spaces this season, and we appreciate their patience while we make improvements to the wildlife area.”

Over the coming months, construction crews will build a division berm in Gamekeeper Marsh, and raise Gamekeeper Dam 18 inches to accommodate the increased sediment load the marsh has taken on the last several decades. The berm construction and dam increase will allow area managers to flood a larger area and better control water elevations, to manage for optimum moist soil production and increased hunting opportunities.

For more information on the construction taking place at Jamestown Wildlife Area, contact area staff at (785) 439-6243.

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism at Kansas State Fair

If you have questions about Kansas wildlife, hunting, fishing, camping, state parks, or in-state travel destinations, you’ll find answers at the Kansas State Fair, Sept. 8-17, in Hutchinson. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) staff will be on hand at various locations throughout the fair to talk or just hear your story.

The permanent KDWPT display – which includes aquariums full of Kansas fish and terrariums holding various live native snakes and lizards – is at the north end of the Eisenhower building. Information and Law Enforcement staff will be available to answer any question you may have about the Kansas outdoors. You can also pick up regulation pamphlets, hunting and fishing atlases, state park guides and other information materials. And if you’ve ever wondered just how big an American bison bull is, you can stand next to a full-body mount of one the Great Plains’ iconic residents.

If you really like fish, don’t miss the KDWPT mobile aquarium, which will be set up just south of the grandstands at the southeast fairgrounds entrance. Fisheries Division staff will be waiting to answer questions and provide angling tips to anyone interested in Kansas fish and fishing. The 40-foot-long, 3,200-gallon aquarium provides up-close views of many popular Kansas sport fish.

If you’ve ever thought about staying in a state park cabin, you can see the real deal at the fair. A cabin, like those available for rent in our state parks, is located on the north side of Lake Talbot. Drop by, tour the cabin, and visit with state park staff about what’s available at our 26 Kansas state parks.

And finally, step into the Pride of Kansas building and visit the KDWPT Travel and Tourism booth. Department staff will answer questions about popular Kansas destinations, day-trips, scenic byways, unique restaurants and more. You’ll find literature to help you discover places and things to do in Kansas you never imagined existed. It’s true, “there’s no place like Kansas,” or the Kansas State Fair. See you there.

Kansas Game Wardens deploy to aid hurricane victims

At 1:30 a.m., August 31, a 14-member team of Kansas game wardens from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) departed Wichita for Texas to assist with search and rescue efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The game wardens come from around the state. The team will use seven boats consisting of four flat-bottom jon boats, two enclosed rescue air boats and one open air boat, as well as their mobile command trailer. The wardens will report to College Station, Texas to receive their working assignments.

Kansas game wardens train for and are often called upon to help with water search, rescue or recovery operations on Kansas lakes and rivers. The air boats and jon boats can enter waters that are often too shallow for conventional watercraft.

The game wardens join a number of other state, county and city emergency responders from central and eastern Kansas being deployed to Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. As reported by the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, their objectives will be to search for and rescue individuals, provide basic life support (BLS) medical care, transport people and animals to the nearest location for secondary air or land transport, provide shore-based and boat-based water rescue, provide animal rescues, and support helicopter and urban search and rescue in water environments.

iSportsman data makes our wildlife areas better

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) manages more than 400,000 acres for public hunting. That’s a relatively small number when compared to what’s available in surrounding states, so KDWPT Public Lands staff are dedicated to making what we have the best it can be. One tool staff use to guide management practices and improve hunter satisfaction is data collection through Daily Hunt Permits. In the past, select wildlife areas required hunters to fill out a card when they arrived to an area and keep a portion of that card with them while hunting. At the end of the outing, hunters then completed a survey, marking what they were hunting, what they harvested, and their overall satisfaction with the experience before placing the remaining portion of the card in a lock box.

The data collected gave managers an accurate view of hunting pressure, preferred game species and harvest. On some areas, this data was much different than managers’ assumptions and allowed them to change management goals to better serve hunters. However, collecting paper cards was labor intensive, requiring as much as a day or more per week and many miles of travel. Then the data had to be entered into a database by hand before it could be analyzed, which often took months.

To make the data collection process more efficient and make data available more quickly, Public Lands staff implemented the electronic iSporstman Daily Hunt Permit system on several wildlife areas in 2014. Thirty wildlife areas now require iSportsman Daily Hunt Permits. Those areas are listed on Page 39 of the 2017 Kansas Hunting & Furharvesting Regulations Summary, available wherever licenses are sold.

To use the iSportsman system, first register for an account at kdwpt.isportsman.net or call (620) 672-5911. Once a permit and PIN number has been issued, you can “check in” and “check out” from a smartphone, computer or by calling 1-844-500-0825 each time you hunt on an iSportsman-designated wildlife areas. It’s easy and convenient because you can check in the night before a hunt and check out at any time the day of your hunt. No more standing in the cold at a wildlife area kiosk at dark, filling out a dank paper card with a dull pencil.

As easy and convenient as iSportsman is for hunters, it’s even more efficient for wildlife area managers. Staff no longer have to visit each kiosk lock box to get the paper cards every week, and the data is entered into the database automatically, providing managers with real-time information. If you hunt public lands and haven’t registered with iSportsman, do it today.

New fish cleaning station for anglers at Kirwin

A new, modern fish cleaning station is open east of the dam at Kirwin Reservoir. The new facility – located on U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) property, a half mile west of the town of Kirwin – features a “Barracuda” model fish carcass disposal system, and is equipped with ample parking for vehicles and trailers. In order to benefit as many anglers as possible, American Disabilities Act considerations were also incorporated into the facility’s final design.

The Kirwin fish cleaning facility will close mid-October, after which it will close for the winter to prevent damage from freezing.

Over the course of 15 months, several entities came together to make the new facility possible, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Stockton Correctional Facility, BOR, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT).

For more information about this project, contact USFWS staff at (785) 543-6673, or KDWPT staff at (785) 628-8614.

Fun-filled day planned for Outdoor Youth Fair Sept. 9

If you’ve got a kiddo who is champing at the bit to learn how to shoot a bow, go fishing, shoot a shotgun, or paddle a canoe, sign them up for the Annual Northcentral Kansas Outdoor Youth Fair on Sept. 9. Held each year in Osborne, this free and fun-filled event is packed with more outdoor activities than your youngster can imagine. The festivities will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and all youth ages 17 and younger are invited to attend. Participants 14 and younger must be accompanied by an adult, and all participants must pre-register by 11 a.m. the day of the event to receive lunch and be eligible for prizes.

Fair activities include archery, wingshooting, flyfishing, rifle and muzzleloader shooting, canoeing, trapping, whittling, biking and many others. All equipment and supplies will be provided.

The Annual Northcentral Kansas Outdoor Youth Fair is made possible by the Osborne County Pheasants Forever Chapter, Osborne Gun Club, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Nex-Tech, and the Keith Hahn Memorial.

To register for this event, contact Cleo Hahn at (785) 346-4541, John Cockerham at (785) 346-6527, or Chris Lecuyer at (785) 218-7818.

Tuttle Creek Lake youth/handicap assisted deer hunt Oct. 7th & 8th

Plans are underway for the 15th annual youth/handicap assisted deer hunt at Tuttle Creek Lake. The event is sponsored by the Riley County Fish & Game Association, Tuttle Creek Lake Association, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, the Lloyd Johnson Outdoor Youth fund, and the Corps of Engineers at Tuttle Creek Lake.

Participants wishing to qualify for this hunt as a disabled hunter are required to have a handicap identification card or similar proof of their permanent disability. Youth 11 through 16 years of age are also eligible to participate in this hunt.

The hunt itself will be held on October 7th & 8th, 2017 during the Pre-Rut Antlerless rifle season for 12 lucky applicants. This is a change from previous assisted hunts; during the Pre-Rut Antlerless rifle season hunters may only harvest a doe/antlerless deer.

Prior to the hunt we will hold a rifle sight-in at the Fancy Creek Range near Randolph on Saturday, September 16th at 4:00p.m. The sight-in is mandatory for all participants. We will be providing a meal that evening so bring your rifle, ammo (a rifle and ammo will be provided if you don’t have your own) and your appetite. During the sight-in, all participants will qualify for the hunt by demonstrating the ability to hit a “pie-sized” target (provided) 2 out of 3 shots at 50 yards. Don’t worry; you will have plenty of time to warm up before qualifying. On the afternoon of the sight-in we will also be addressing the hunting license and deer permit needs of each participant. Limited scholarships are available for those that need this assistance.

On October 7th & 8th, to begin the hunt, hunters and guides will meet at 5:00 a.m. at the Tuttle Creek Lake Visitor Center (located at 5020 Tuttle Creek Blvd. Manhattan) for breakfast. After breakfast, all hunters and their guides will disperse to their predestinated hunting blinds. All hunters will have a guide and a hunt location assigned to them well before the hunt. Guides will know the assigned hunting locations. Hunters who are unsuccessful during the morning hunt can make arrangements with their guides for afternoon/evening hunts on these days.

Hopefully eve1ybody will have the opportunity to harvest a deer. We have made arrangements to have the deer processed free of charge at area lockers for those participants that need these services. We also have made arrangements for the deer to be transported to these lockers.

If you would like to participate in this hunt, please contact Wyatt Cooper for an application and send it back to in no later than August 25th. Applications will be prioritized shortly thereafter and all applicants will be notified of their status.

If you have any questions about this event please contact Wyatt Cooper, Natural Resource Specialist, at 785-539-8511, ext. 3170, or at [email protected]

Kansas native tribes to receive wildlife grant

U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced $162,127 in funding will go to Kansas Native tribes and more than $720,000 to Kansas state wildlife agencies through the Tribal Wildlife Grant (TWG) program and the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) program. The funds, which are provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, give support for a diverse array of species and habitats across the country.

Through the TWG program, the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska will receive $162,127 for a fish community assessment in streams with a focus on rare species.

“The work of Kansas Native American tribes and state wildlife agencies is absolutely critical to wildlife conservation in the United States,” said Deputy Secretary Bernhardt. “We’re thrilled to be able to collaborate with them, their local communities, and other partners to ensure important fish, wildlife, habitat and cultural needs are met.”

The $724,487 in funding through the SWG program, which is part of $48 million being distributed nationwide, will support imperiled species and habitats listed in approved state wildlife action plans. All 50 state and U.S. territorial wildlife agencies have these plans, which proactively protect species in greatest conservation need. Projects funded through SWG involve research, monitoring, wildlife surveys, species and habitat management and other activities.

Through the TWG program, more than $4 million funds were given to tribes in 14 states to support fish and wildlife conservation and key partnerships. The awards will benefit 25 projects that encompass a wide range of wildlife and habitats, including species of Native American cultural or traditional importance and species that are not hunted or fished.

SWG funds are administered by the Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) program and are allocated to states and territories according to a congressionally-mandated formula based on population and geographic area. Grant funds must be used to address conservation needs, such as research, wildlife surveys, species and habitat management, and monitoring identified within state wildlife action plans. The funds may also be used to update, revise or modify a state’s plan.

TWG funds are provided exclusively to fund wildlife conservation by federally-recognized Native American tribal governments, and are made possible under the Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2002 through the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program. Proposals for the 2018 grant cycle are due Sept. 1, 2017.

For additional information about Native American conservation projects and the Tribal Wildlife Grants application process, visit http://www.fws.gov/nativeamerican/grants.html or http://www.grants.gov/.

Conservation easement benefits Lesser Prairie-chicken

 

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has finalized permanent conservation agreements with a private landowner to conserve 968 acres of high-quality lesser prairie-chicken habitat in southcentral Kansas. In addition, a 160-acre tract owned by another private landowner that is fenced and managed with the property will be protected under a 10-year conservation agreement that was finalized this week. These two tracts of land are immediately adjacent to a 1,781-acre tract, which was placed under a permanent conservation agreement earlier this year. The conserved acreage is all native rangeland currently being managed for livestock production, and this historical use will continue.

Thanks to conservation-minded landowners, we now have a complex of 2,909 acres being managed with the needs of the lesser prairie-chicken in mind,” said Roger Wolfe, WAFWA’s Lesser Prairie-chicken Program manager. “The ranch is in very good condition due to a long history of good management and there are two active leks on the property.”

The permanent conservation easement on the 968-acre tract was purchased by WAFWA and will be held and monitored by Pheasants Forever. The easement restricts future development and activities that would be detrimental to the habitat for the bird. All other property rights associated with historical use of the land will be retained by the private landowner.. WAFWA has also established an endowment that will provide the landowner with sufficient payments to implement a lesser prairie-chicken conservation plan in perpetuity. This transaction not only permanently protects key prairie habitat, but also ensures that this property will remain a working cattle ranch

“Pheasants Forever is proud to partner with WAFWA and the private landowners to complete this voluntary conservation easement,” said Jordan Martincich, director of development for Pheasants Forever. “The conservation values associated with this project will have a positive impact on wildlife habitat for future generations. We hope other landowners will partner with Pheasants Forever and WAFWA to perpetually protect their working lands for the benefit of wildlife and the benefit of the ranching community.”

The range-wide plan is a collaborative effort of WAFWA and the state wildlife agencies of Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. It was developed to ensure conservation of the lesser prairie-chicken by providing a mechanism for voluntary cooperation by landowners and industry, as well as improving coordination between state and federal conservation agencies. Funding for WAFWA’s conservation efforts comes from voluntary mitigation payments by industry partners enrolled in the plan. The plan allows agriculture producers and industry to continue operations while reducing impacts to the bird and its grassland habitat. Landowners interested in participating in one of the short-term, long-term or permanent conservation options available under the Lesser Prairie-chicken Range-wide Plan should contact Roger Wolfe at [email protected]

2017 Hunting Regulations and Atlas online now

 

Two Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) publications hunters anxiously await are available now: The 2017 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary and the 2017 Kansas Fall Hunting Atlas. Both publications are available online at www.ksoutdoors.com and both are being shipped to hundreds of license vendors and KDWPT offices around the state this week. Copies can be mailed by calling (620) 672-5911.

The hunting summary includes regulations such as methods of take, season dates, bag and possession limits, as well as a listing of public wildlife areas. One section features color photographs and range maps for popular game species. There is also a list of phone numbers for game wardens by the counties they patrol.

The 2017 Kansas Fall Hunting Atlas includes maps showing all Walk-in Hunting Access (WIHA) areas, as well as state and federal public wildlife areas. WIHA is private land leased by KDWPT and opened to public hunting. More than 1 million acres of WIHA lands are mapped in the atlas, more than tripling the amount of public access open to hunters.

The atlas is available online, and soon Garmin GPS and Google Earth files will be available to download. All WIHA tracts are marked with signs showing the lease dates, which start either Sept. 1 or Nov. 1 and end either Jan. 31 or March 31.

Pick up your copy of the regulations summary and hunting atlas wherever licenses are sold. No hunter should be without them.