Outdoors

Sign up for women-only workshop to Become an Outdoor Pro

If you’ve ever wanted to pick up a bow and hit a bullseye, pitch a tent without any help, clean a fish you caught, or start a fire in no time flat, sign up for the 2016 Spring Becoming An Outdoors-Woman (BOW) workshop May 13-15. Participants of BOW will spend a weekend away at Camp Wood YMCA in Elmdale learning anything and everything they want to about the outdoors. And the best part is, there’s no pressure.

Offered through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, BOW is designed to teach women outdoor skills in a fun, friendly, and laid-back atmosphere. With 27 different classes to choose from, participants can have fun mixing and matching the topics they learn about.

Cost for the three-day workshop is $235, which includes lodging, meals and class supplies. Three $100 scholarships are available to first-time participants based on financial need.

Early registration will be open to first-time participants through March 27. If spots still remain, past participants may register beginning March 28. Applicants are encouraged to apply early as the spring workshop is limited to 40 participants. To register, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Education,” then “Becoming an Outdoors Woman.”

For questions, call or email Jami McCabe at (785) 845-5052 or [email protected]

To learn more, and view pictures of past workshops, visit the BOW Facebook page found under “Becoming an Outdoors Woman KANSAS.”

Get an eye on eagles Jan. 16

If you’ve never watched a bald eagle soar across a powder-blue Kansas sky, or witnessed a flock of the nation’s treasured symbol perched on a tree like nature’s very own Christmas ornaments, the staff at Milford Lake have an opportunity for you.

Eagle Day at Milford Lake, an annual event that provides visitors a chance to view eagles and eagles’ nests in a natural setting, will be held Jan. 16, beginning at 9 a.m. and everyone is welcome to join.

Participants will meet at the Milford Nature Center, 3415 Hatchery Drive, Junction City, where a variety of bus tours and programs will be conducted. Programs featuring live raptors, owls, nesting eagles, and birds of prey will begin at 9:15 a.m. and will be repeated throughout the day.

Bus tours will depart from the nature center parking lot every half-hour beginning at 9 a.m. with the last tour departing at 2 p.m. Popcorn and hot chocolate will be served courtesy of the Milford Friends Group, and a kids’ tent with activities and crafts will be available. There is no cost. For more information, call (785) 238-5323.

2016 Fishing Regulations Summary available online

A new year means new seasons ahead, and it’s never too early to start planning. Anglers with an itch to get the low-down on all things fishing related in Kansas this year should check out the online version of the 2016 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary. Simply visit ksoutdoors.com and click “Fishing / Fishing Regulations” to download your copy of the free, easy-to-use, full-color pamphlet. Printed copies will be available wherever licenses are sold by mid-January.

Apart from a helpful section highlighting new regulations for the 2016 season, the summary also includes information on important fishing regulations such as special seasons, creel and length limits, license fees and legal fishing methods. Because creel and length limits vary from lake to lake, the2016 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary is a must-read for all anglers.

The summary also lists all public waters, along with their location and any special regulations in effect. At the turn of a page, anglers can see which community lakes don’t charge extra fees for fishing, as well as community lakes designated as Family Friendly Facilities (FFF) that will include flush toilet facilities, security patrols, security lighting, easy access to the water and do not allow alcohol.

Anglers can also read up on aquatic nuisance species (ANS), as well as regulations governing the use of live baitfish. Select pages are devoted to fish identification, featuring color illustrations by renowned fish illustrator Joe Tomelleri. Current state record fish are listed, and there is also a Master Angler Award Application for anglers who catch fish that qualify for this certificate award program.

For more information on Kansas fishing, visit www.ksoutdoors.com/Fishing .

2016 Fish Consumption Advisories issued

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) are issuing revised fish consumption advisories for 2016. The advisories identify types of fish or other aquatic animals that should be eaten in limited quantities or, in some cases, avoided altogether because of contamination. General advice is also provided to aid the public in making informed decisions regarding the benefits as well as the risks associated with eating locally caught fish from Kansas waters.

Statewide Advisories

The following consumption restrictions are recommended because of mercury in fish:

Women who are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are nursing and children age 17 or younger should restrict consumption of all types of locally caught fish, from waters or species of fish not specifically covered by an advisory, to one meal per week because of mercury.

Women who are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are nursing and children age 17 or younger should restrict consumption of largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass (black basses) to one meal per month because of mercury.

The general public (men and women 18 or older)should restrict consumption of these species to one meal per week because of mercury.

Recommendations include not eating specified fish or aquatic life from the following locations:

  1. The Kansas River from Lawrence (below Bowersock Dam) downstream to Eudora at the confluence of the Wakarusa River (Douglas and Leavenworth counties); bottom-feeding fish such as buffalo, carp, carpsuckers, catfishes (except flathead catfish), sturgeons, and suckers because of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
  2. The Spring River from the confluence of Center Creek to the Kansas/Oklahoma border (Cherokee County); shellfish because of lead and cadmium.
  3. Shoal Creek from the Missouri/Kansas border to Empire Lake (Cherokee County); shellfish because of lead and cadmium.
  4. Cow Creek in Hutchinson and downstream to the confluence with the Arkansas River (Reno County); bottom-feeding fish such as buffalo, carp, carpsuckers, catfishes (except flathead catfish), sturgeons, and suckers because of PCBs.
  5. The Arkansas River from the Lincoln Street Dam in Wichita downstream to the confluence with Cowskin Creek near Belle Plaine (Sedgwick and Sumner counties); bottom-feeding fish such as buffalo, carp, carpsuckers, catfishes (except flathead catfish), sturgeons, and suckers because of PCBs.
  6. Antioch Park Lake South in Antioch Park, Overland Park (Johnson County); all fish because of the pesticides dieldrin, heptachlor epoxide, chlordane, and dichlorophenyltrichloroethanes (DDTs).

Consumption of bottom-feeding fish such as buffalo, carp, carpsuckers, catfishes (except flathead catfish), sturgeons, and suckers should be restricted to one meal per month from the following location because of PCBs:

  1. The Little Arkansas River from the Main Street Bridge immediately west of Valley Center to the confluence with the Arkansas River in Wichita (Sedgwick County).

Women who are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are nursing and children age 17 or younger should consider restricting their total mercury intake for both supermarket fish and locally caught species. Concerned parents and other persons may wish to consult with a physician about eating fish and mercury exposure. Mercury exposure can be reduced by limiting the consumption of large predatory fish.  Larger/older fish of all types are more likely to have higher concentrations of mercury. Avoid the consumption of fish parts other than fillets, especially when eating bottom-feeding fish. Fatty internal organs tend to accumulate higher levels of fat-soluble contaminants such as chlordane and PCBs than fillets. Consumers can reduce their ingestion of fat-soluble contaminants such as chlordane and PCBs by trimming fat from fillets, and cooking in a manner in which fat drips away from the fillet. In waterbodies where watches or warnings related to harmful algae blooms have been applied, fish should be consumed in moderation and care taken to only consume skinless fillets. Avoid cutting into internal organs and rinse fillets with clean water prior to cooking or freezing.

To view the advisories online and for information about KDHE’s Fish Tissue Contaminant Monitoring Program, visit www.kdheks.gov/befs/fish_tissue_monitoring.htm

Application period for Unit 4 spring turkey permits Jan. 12-Feb. 12

It may not be spring yet, but it’s time to prep like it is. The application period for those looking to hunt turkeys in Unit 4 this spring begins Jan. 12. Spring turkey permits are sold over-the-counter or online for all but the southwest portion of Kansas, Unit 4. A limited number of permits are issued to residents only through a lottery drawing. Hunters can apply online only, or over the phone, from Jan. 12-Feb. 12 by visiting ksoutdoors.com. Hunters may apply for a Unit 4 Spring Turkey Permit or a Unit 4 Spring Turkey Permit/Game Tag Combo; however the game tag will only be valid in Units 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6.

Five hundred Unit 4 permits will be made available for the 2016 spring season, with half of those permits designated as landowner/tenant permits. Kansas youth (15 and under) may purchase a spring turkey permit valid statewide over the counter or online and will not need to enter the Unit 4 draw. Unit 4 spring turkey permits are also valid in adjacent Units 1, 2, and 5.

Unit 4 Spring Turkey Application Fees:

General Application: $32.50

Landowner/Tenant Application: $20.00

General Combo Permit/Game Tag Application: $42.50

Landowner/Tenant Combo Permit/Game Tag Application: $25.00

Nonresident Tenant Application: $ 37.50

Nonresident Tenant Combo Permit/Game Tag Application:  $50.00

Preference Point only: $6.50

There is a $6.50 nonrefundable application fee. Unsuccessful applicants will receive a refund check and be issued a preference point. If you do not want to apply for a permit and want to purchase a preference point only, you may do so online by selecting Spring Turkey Preference Point Application. Only one point may be obtained per year.

Any individual who has purchased a Spring Turkey Permit is eligible for one Second Turkey Game Tag. Game tags are valid in Units 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 ONLY.

The spring turkey season will open April 1-12 for youth and hunters with disabilities, and April 4-12 for archery hunters. The regular spring season is April 13-May 31.

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

Game wardens seek public assistance in poaching cases

If you’ve ever seen a photo of a poached deer, chances are you wish you hadn’t. The sad reality is countless numbers of big game animals are illegally killed in Kansas each year. While Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism game wardens make every effort to solve these cases, lack of evidence often leaves criminals unpunished. The good news is you don’t have to be a game warden to play a significant role in helping solve a poaching case.

WITNESSES-OF-WILDLIFE-RELATED-CRIMES-CAN-REPORT-ANONYMOUSLY_frontimagecrop

Operation Game Thief (OGT), 1-877-426-3843, is a toll-free line available 24/7, 365 days a year, where citizens can anonymously report wildlife-related crimes. Once a call has been placed, the message is relayed to the game warden nearest the violation.

If you suspect you are witnessing a wildlife crime do not confront the suspects. Pay attention to detail so you can provide as much specific information as possible when you call OGT. Information such as vehicle model and color, license tag numbers, descriptions of people involved, location, and the time the incident occurred will help game wardens find the poachers.

OGT calls have resulted in numerous arrests and convictions on violations ranging from deer poaching to public lands vandalism. In many cases, poachers have been arrested within minutes of the call. If you think picking up the phone can’t make a difference, think again. Those who commit wildlife crimes aren’t just stealing from the land; they are stealing from us all. Help bring them to justice by calling OGT at 1-877-426-3843.

Pheasant and quail seasons continue tradition

Kansas pheasant and quail seasons open November 14, honoring an opening-day tradition that draws hunters to Kansas from all parts of the country and from all walks of life. The second Saturday in November is marked on bird hunters’ calendars and holds the same excitement for them that Christmas Day holds for youngsters.

The seasons are Nov. 14, 2015-Jan. 31, 2016. The daily bag limit for pheasants is four roosters per day, and the possession limit 16 on and after the fourth day. The daily bag limit on quail is eight, and the possession limit is 32 on and after the fourth day. Pheasants must retain proof of sex while in transit. Unless exempt by law, resident hunters age 16-74 must have a resident hunting license and all nonresident hunters must have a nonresident hunting license. Hunter education certification is required except for youth under 16 hunting under the direct supervision of an adult. Hunters must carry the hunter education certificate while hunting until they reach 28 years of age. Hunters 16 and older without hunter education certification may purchase an apprentice license and hunt with adult supervision.

Pheasant populations have rebounded nicely in many parts of the state as drought conditions, which persisted from 2011 through 2013, have abated. Hunting prospects are much better this year than they have been in more than three years although the overall pheasant harvest may be below average. Bobwhite quail numbers have rebounded even better and in many areas will provide excellent hunting opportunities. With a return to more normal rainfall amounts, habitat conditions are good in most regions.

The Walk-in Hunting Access (WIHA) program has more than 1 million acres enrolled this year, much of it in prime pheasant country. Printed versions of the2015 Kansas Hunting Atlas, which includes maps of all WIHA tracts, as well as all state and federal public hunting areas, can be picked up at Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) offices and wherever licenses are sold.

For more information about regulations, license fees, and other season dates, consult the 2015 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary, available at KDWPT offices and wherever licenses are sold. The regulations pamphlet and hunting atlas are also available online at www.ksoutdoors.com.

Atchison County to host landowner stewardship workshop

 

Private landowners interested in improving their natural resources are encouraged to attend a Landowner Stewardship Workshop on Wednesday, November 18, 2015. Registration for the workshop will start at 5:30 p.m., with presentations starting at 6:00 p.m. Hosted by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), in cooperation with the Atchison County Conservation District, the workshop will take place at the Benedictine Bottoms Wildlife Area Office, 3.5 miles northeast of Atchison on River Road.

 

Natural resource professionals will discuss technical and financial assistance available to landowners through state cost-share programs and the federal Farm Bill. Attendees will also hear about current management activities on the wildlife area.   

 

Admission is free. For more information contact Tim Urban, KDWPT wildlife biologist technician at 913-422-1314 x 105 or by e-mail at [email protected].

Little Apple Glow Paddle on the Kansas River

 

If you’re looking for a unique outdoor experience, the Little Apple Glow Paddle should fit the bill. On Saturday, November 7, 2015, paddlers are invited for an evening canoe and kayak float on the Kansas River.

 

Sponsored by the Manhattan Parks and Rec Department, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau, the evening float will begin at 5 p.m. when paddlers will meet at the Linear Trail Head for a bus ride to Fairmont Park. At 5:30, canoers and kayakers will begin paddling back to the Linear Trail Head.

 

Paddlers can bring their own canoe or kayak or rent one at the event. All boaters must wear life jackets. There is a $10 registration fee for those who bring their own vessel, $15 for registration and rental of a single person kayak, $25 for registration and rental of a two-person kayak or two-person canoe. The float will conclude with s’mores around the campfire.

 

Spaces are limited, so register today by calling or emailing Marcia Rozell, (785) 776-8829, [email protected].

Beginner venison processing class Oct. 24 in Pratt

You’ve bought your deer tags, put in time scouting, spent countless hours in the field, and have finally shot a deer. Now what? From field dressing to processing your deer at home, the

“Venison 101: From Field to Table” class on Oct. 24 will answer your “now what?” questions and more. Hosted by the Pratt County Extension Office and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), Venison 101: will take place at the Pratt Area 4-H Center, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Hunters of all skill levels and ages are welcome. The cost to attend is $5 per person, or $10 per family, and will include a chili lunch.

Topics covered in the one-day class include safe field dressing and home processing methods for preparing your own venison, in addition to a live butchering demonstration.

KDWPT game warden Jason Harrold will also share updates to hunting laws and answer any questions participants may have.

Drawings for door prizes will be available for those in attendance.

For more information, and to register, contact the Pratt County Extension Office at (620) 672-6121.