Soil Health Workshop set for August 22 in Bucklin

A soil health workshop will take place August 22nd to help growers understand and implement modern practices in caring for the land.

No-till on the Plains, a farmer-led soil health leadership organization, will host a field day on Fiekert Farms and at the American Legion Hall, 101 S. Nebraska Ave., Bucklin, Kan. Registration begins at 8 a.m. A full day of activities is planned in the Bucklin area designed to inform new producers and enhance current methods used to protect and produce agriculture products.

There is no charge for the event and lunch will be provided. Pre-registration is encouraged to ensure enough meals are available.  Visit or call Steve Swaffar at (785) 210-4549 for more information.

Registration for the Bucklin field day is available on the No-till on the Plains website,

This educational event is funded through a grant to Oklahoma State University Extension from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and support from Green Cover Seed.

Blue-green algae information

Blue-green algae look much like other, more common algae but they’re really a type of bacteria called “cyanobacteria.” The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) samples recreational bodies of water for blue-green algae when they are alerted to a potential algae bloom. Contact with high concentrations of the cyanobacteria can cause illness. KDHE issues a Public Health Watch or Public Health Warning based on either the presence of certain toxins, the number of cyanobacteria cells in the water or a combination of the two.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT); the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USCE); and the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) cooperate with KDHE when a Watch or Warning is issued to alert the public about potentially harmful algae blooms.

To see the current KDHE blue-green algae watches and warning, go to their website at:

Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever announces job vacancies

These positions will be located within USDA Service Centers, and will provide conservation technical assistance and conservation program delivery to private landowners within their assigned districts and other priority areas as appropriate.  The incumbent will work in a joint capacity with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and other State and Federal partners to promote, accelerate enrollment, coordinate and implement the conservation provisions of the Federal Farm Bill and other wildlife related conservation programs. Position locations are Oberlin, Burlington and St. John, Kansas. Apprilation deadline is August 11, 2017.

To apply visit the PF/QF website at:

ONLY ON LINE APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED. Please include your cover letter, resume and 3 references as a single Microsoft Word document or PDF file on the Recruitment website.

Contact:  Chris McLeland, South Region Director, [email protected] or (573) 355-6530

Cedar Bluff fisheries biologist to host public meeting July 27 on walleye length limits

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Fisheries Division staff invite anglers to attend a public meeting on Thursday, July 27 to discuss walleye length limits at Cedar Bluff Reservoir. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the community room of the Western Electric Cooperative Association, 635 S 13th Street, WaKeeney (north of the I-70 and exit 128 interchange).

Staff will provide information regarding a proposal to change the minimum length limit for walleye at Cedar Bluff Reservoir from 18 inches to 21 inches. If approved by the KDWPT Commission, the 21-inch minimum length limit would go into effect in 2018.

For questions regarding this meeting, contact David Spalsbury at (785) 726-3212 or Lynn Davignon at (785) 628-8614.

Over-The-Counter Kansas Deer Permits Available August 1


From Outdoor Daily News

Resident hunters and hunters purchasing deer permits available over the counter can obtain their 2017 permits beginning August 1. Deer permits available over the counter for the 2017 season include:

Resident Any-Season White-tailed Deer permits – valid for one white-tailed deer buck, doe or fawn – may be used statewide in any season, using equipment legal for that season.

$42.50 General Residents

$22.50 Resident Landowner/Resident Tenant

$87.50 Nonresident Tenant

$12.50 Resident Youth (15 and Younger)

Resident Archery Either-species/Either-sex Deer permits – valid for one white-tailed or mule deer buck, doe or fawn – may be used statewide with archery equipment only during archery season.

$42.50 General Residents

$22.50 Resident Landowner/Resident Tenant

$87.50 Nonresident Tenant

$12.50 Resident Youth (15 and Younger)

Resident Muzzleloader Either-species/Either-sex Deer permits – valid for one white-tailed or mule deer buck, doe or fawn – may be used either in the East Zone (3, 4, 5, 7, 16) OR the West Zone (1, 2, 17, 18) during the early muzzleloader season and the regular firearm season. Hunters may use muzzleloading equipment only with this permit.

$42.50 General Residents

$22.50 Resident Landowner/Resident Tenant

$87.50 Nonresident Tenant

$12.50 Resident Youth (15 and Younger)

Hunt-Own-Land Deer Permits – valid any white-tailed or mule deer only on land owned or operated by the landowner or tenant during muzzleloader, archery, and firearm seasons using equipment legal for that season – are $22.50. These permits may only be obtained by individuals who qualify as resident landowners or tenants, including family members living with the landowner or tenant.

Resident Antlerless White-tailed Deer permits – valid for any white-tailed deer without a visible antler protruding from the skull – are available to any hunter who has first purchased a resident deer permit that allows the taking of an antlered deer, unless the antlerless permit is purchased on or after Dec. 30.

$22.50 General Residents

$10.00 Resident Youth (15 and younger)

Hunters may obtain up to five Antlerless White-tailed Deer permits; the first is valid in Deer Management Units 1 thru 17 and 19, including lands managed by the Department. Additional Antlerless White-tailed Deer permits are valid in units 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10A, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 19, on private land with landowner permission, Walk-In-Hunting Areas, and Glen Elder, Kanopolis, Lovewell, Norton, Webster and Wilson Wildlife Areas and Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge.

No Antlerless White-tailed Deer permits are valid in Unit 18, and Either-Species Antlerless-Only permits are not available for 2017.

For more information, visit or call (620) 672-5911.

State monarch plan

To help bolster monarch habitat, and subsequently monarch numbers, agencies and organizations across the state came together June 7-8 for a two-day summit in Topeka to formulate the Kansas Monarch Conservation Plan. This statewide plan with a targeted fall completion date along with other Midwest state plans will be presented to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. One Kansas approach under consideration is the possibility of incorporating milkweed – a plant necessary for monarch production – into the seed mixes used by the Kansas Department of Transportation along roadways. For information on how to get involved, visit,, or

KDWPT: 30 Kansas deer reported for foot rot disease in 2016

Shawnee County had deer reported for disease

The Topeka Capital-Journal

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism recently released information regarding the testing of area deer for a rare type of potentially fatal foot rot disease.

Shawnee County had one report of a sick or dead deer thought to be afflicted with hoof disease in 2016-17, according to a map provided by the KDWPT. The hardest hit counties were in the southeast portion of Kansas — namely Bourbon, Butler and Anderson. Bourbon had between five and eight reports, while Butler and Anderson had between three and four apiece.

Lyon County, which is south of Wabaunsee County, had two reports of hoof disease. Reports also were made farther out west in Decatur, Phillips and Russell counties. In all, 25 cases were reported to the KDWPT by the public, making 30 total cases of suspected hoof disease in Kansas.

Beginning in January, the KDWPT began shipping fresh hooves from deer thought to be afflicted with the disease to be studied at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, which is operated through the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“Diagnostics showed the hoof disease story is more about trauma to the hooves with the onset of secondary bacterial infections,” Shane Hesting, wildlife disease coordinator for the KDWPT, said in an email. “The cause of the trauma is unknown. I hypothesize that several things are possibly causing the trauma, such as cut soybean stems at ground level, jagged frozen soil, barbed wire, locust thorns, stress fractures during fighting and chasing does, weakened bones due to poor physical condition (rut), etc.”

Hesting emphasized that the surge in reports of hoof disease in white-tailed deer can mostly be credited to increased awareness via social media posts and email blasts. He said the uptick in reporting may also be connected with the greater-than-normal amounts of rainfall the state saw during 2016. Parts of Shawnee County saw between 4 and 12 inches of precipitation more than average in 2016, according to the Midwestern Regional Climate Center. The averages are calculated based on annual precipitation measured between 1981 and 2010.

“Deer live with a plethora of bacterial species on a daily basis, and some of these bacterial species cause problems when injury and/or immunosuppression occurs, like we see when bucks are worn down from rutting,” Hesting said.

He said that some hooves had been damaged by hemorrhagic disease viruses during the summer months, which then progress to hoof infections in the fall and winter. He said bacterial species accumulate in the soil at deer feeders and other areas where deer congregate, and the thawing and freezing of soil at these spots often creates a jagged soil surface that can injure hooves.

Hesting added that this is another reason to limit the baiting and feeding of deer.

“In 2016, stressed and immunosuppressed post-rut animals in the population merged with an environment of wetter soil during a wetter-than-normal year, varying bacterial loads and other conditions leading to hoof infections,” Hesting said. “Even though hoof infections occur every year in Kansas, it is currently thought that these cases have not and will not affectthe overall deer population in the state.

“The current statewide average — based on 2016 distance sampling — of the Kansas deer herd is estimated to be approximately 636,000.”

Aerial surveys confirm Lesser Prairie-chicken population is holding steady

The latest lesser prairie-chicken survey shows population trends remain stable after six years of aerial survey data collection, according to the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA). The survey indicates an estimated breeding population of 33,269 birds this year, up from 25,261 birds counted last year. Though scientists are encouraged by the numbers, they know year-to-year fluctuations are the norm with upland birds like the lesser prairie-chicken.

“The survey results indicate a 32 percent increase in the number of birds over last year, but we don’t read too much into short-term population fluctuations,” explained Roger Wolfe, WAFWA’s Lesser Prairie-chicken Program manager.

by J.N. Stuart

by J.N. Stuart

“The monitoring technique used for this survey is designed to track trends, which more accurately reflect the amount of available habitat and population stability,” Wolfe said. “The bottom line is that the population trend over the last six years indicates a stable population, which is good news for all involved in lesser prairie-chicken conservation efforts.”

Lesser prairie-chickens can be found in four ecoregions in five states: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Wildlife biologists note prairie-chicken numbers fluctuate annually due to changes in habitat conditions, which are mainly influenced by weather patterns. The surveys this year indicated apparent population increases in three of the four ecoregions and rangewide, with a decrease estimated in the fourth ecoregion.

The shortgrass prairie ecoregion of northwest Kansas saw the biggest increase in birds, followed by the mixed-grass prairie ecoregion of the northeast Texas Panhandle, northwest Oklahoma and southcentral Kansas. The sand sagebrush ecoregion of southeast Colorado and southwest Kansas also registered an increase in the number of breeding birds. An apparent population decline was noted in the shinnery oak ecoregion of eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle.

“We’d also like to point out that the aerial surveys this year were taken before a late spring snowstorm blasted through a portion of the bird’s range, just prior to the peak of nest incubation,” said Wolfe. “Like all wildlife, the health of these birds depends on the weather. Rainfall at the right time means healthy habitat for the birds, and heavy wet snow like we saw in late April can have a negative impact on survival and productivity. We’ll know more about the impact of that weather event after aerial surveys are completed next year.”

The Lesser Prairie-chicken Rangewide Plan is a collaborative effort of WAFWA and the state wildlife agencies of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. It was developed to ensure long-term viability of the lesser prairie-chicken through voluntary cooperation by landowners and industry. The plan allows industry to continue operations while reducing and mitigating impacts to the bird and its grassland habitat. Industry contributions support conservation actions implemented by participating private landowners. To date, industry partners have committed more than $63 million in enrollment and mitigation fees to pay for conservation actions, and landowners across the range have agreed to conserve more than 145,000 acres of habitat through 10-year and permanent conservation agreements.

Night fishing: Lights, whites, action!

It’s summer in Kansas, and that means daytime temperatures in the 90s and lake temperatures in the 80s. During the day, fishing can be tough. However, when the sun goes down, it’s a different story, and for anglers who love to catch hard-fighting and abundant white bass, there’s a secret weapon: the night light.

Young of the year gizzard shad are big enough to attract hungry white bass by early or mid-July. On calm days, you may see white bass chasing shad on the surface, and if you can get within casting distance, fishing can be good but usually short-lived before the school of whites goes back to deeper water. And you’ll have to deal with hot weather and heavy boat and personal watercraft traffic.

It’s a different story at night. The temperature cools, the wind dies, and recreational boaters crowd the ramps quitting for the day. Night anglers go against the grain and have the lakes to themselves. The first order is to locate fish, using sonar to search river channel breaks, mid-lake humps or other structure in 15-25 feet of water. When schools of gizzard shad are seen suspended over structure, it’s time to set the anchor.

Once the anchor takes hold, it’s time for the light. Most anglers use a submersible halogen light, which is set just below the boat hull and emits a bright halo. It’s almost mesmerizing to watch the light as shad begin showing up and circling. If all goes right, the disoriented shad will attract white bass, which hang just below and pick off stragglers.

That’s when anglers pick off the white bass, fishing jigs vertically. Watch the sonar to determine how deep the white bass are holding and try to adjust your jig to just above them. Some nights, the fishing can be as hot as the daytime temperatures.

A quick look at the 2017 Fishing Forecast,, shows Melvern, Clinton, Cedar Bluff, Cheney and Glen Elder to the be the Top Five reservoirs for white bass, both for numbers and quality sized fish. Night fishing for whites under the lights is a great way to enjoy the coolest part of the summer and catch lots of fish.

Pollinator summit

Eighty representatives from Kansas organizations are gathering June 7-8 in Topeka to share effort updates and better collaborate on future projects. Kansas Wildlife Federation and the National Wildlife Federation will be represented and are contributing funding.

Monarch feeding on thistle.

Monarch feeding on thistle.