Angler instructor course at Dodge City August 19

If you’re passionate about fishing and you believe that every child should have the opportunity to experience it, consider becoming one of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) volunteer angler education instructors.

A one-day Angler Education Instructor Certification Course, hosted by KDWPT and Fishing’s Future, will outfit anglers with the tools necessary to work with children and host classes and clinics. The course will be held Wednesday, August 19 at Dodge City High School, 2201 Ross Blvd, at 6:30 p.m. There is no cost to attend.

Attendees will learn about current fishing regulations, species identification, fishing ethics, equipment, knot-tying, casting, fish habitat, aquatic nuisance species, and conservation practices. Apart from being certified, anglers will also receive sample curriculums for running classes.

One way in which certified angler education instructors can utilize their skills is by leading a local high school fishing club. Many Kansas high schools have already implemented similar programs, but there is a need for interested and qualified instructors to help with schools that don’t have fishing clubs. Certified instructors may even be eligible to receive fishing supplies, including poles and bait, from KDWPT at no cost. Fishing license fees for students 16 and older may also be waived for agency-approved events with prior agency approval.

For more information, contact Phil Taunton at (620) 794-5373 or Fishing’s Future coordinator Kevin Reich at [email protected] or (785) 577-6921.

Outlook promising for duck hunters this season

According the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) 2015 Trends in Duck Breeding Populations survey, overall duck numbers remain strong as we enter the 2015-2016 hunting seasons. The USFWS stated that total populations were estimated at 49.5 million breeding ducks in the traditional survey area, which is 43 percent above the 1955-2014 long-term average and the highest count on record. Last year’s estimate was 49.2 million birds.

According to the report, current species estimates are as follows:

Blue-winged teal: 8.5 million, 73 percent above the long-term average.

Green-winged teal: 4.1 million, 98 percent above the long-term average.

Northern shoveler: 4.4 million, 75 percent above the long-term average.

Northern pintail: 3.0 million, 24 percent below the long-term average.

Mallard: 11.6 million, 51 percent above the long-term average.

Gadwall: 3.8 million, 100 percent above the long-term average.

American wigeon: 3.0 million, 17 percent above the long-term average.

Redhead: 1.2 million, 71 percent above the long-term average.

Canvasback: 0.76 million, 30 percent above the long-term average.

Scaup: 4.4 million, 13 percent below the long-term average.

Waterfowl hunting seasons in Kansas will begin with the teal season in the Low Plains Zones Sept. 12-27, followed by the High Plains Zone Sept. 19-27, 2015. Regular duck and goose seasons will be approved by the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission at the public hearing portion of its August 20 meeting, which will be held at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, 592 NE K-156 Highway, Great Bend. The public hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Waterfowl hunters are required to possess a Kansas HIP permit, state waterfowl permit, federal waterfowl stamp, and Kansas hunting license, unless exempt.

For more information on Kansas waterfowl seasons, visit www.ksoutdoors.com.

To view a complete version of the data, and get a species-by-species breakdown, visit www.fws.gov/birds/news/150702trend.php, or www.ducks.org/DuckNumbers.

Kansas Native Plant Society to host 2015 annual Wildflower Weekend

Wildflower enthusiasts from across Kansas are encouraged to meet in Manhattan on September 25-27 for the Kansas Native Plant Society’s 37th Annual Wildflower Weekend (AWW). Those attending the three-day event will enjoy opportunities to explore and learn about the native plants in the northern Flint Hills.


Six unique sites will be visited, including the Konza Prairie and Tuttle Creek Lake, and attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from guest speakers Kelly Roccaforte and Shelly Wiggam, doctoral candidates at Kansas State University, as they discuss their prairie pollinator research projects.

The annual meeting, speaker presentations, awards ceremony, and silent auction will take place Saturday evening.

For more details on this event, and to register, visit www.kansasnativeplantsociety.org/annual_event.php

Frogging season underway



A summertime tradition in Kansas is underway as lakes and ponds around the state are teeming with an outdoor delicacy unlike any other. The 2015 Kansas bullfrog hunting season, also referred to as “frogging,” began July 1 and runs through Oct. 31. During this time, anglers can attempt to catch these four-legged amphibians with several different techniques.

Bullfrogs may be taken by hook and line, dip net, gig, bow and arrow, or crossbow, and a line must attach bow to arrow, and the arrow must have a barbed head. If you’re really up for a challenge, bullfrogs can also be taken by hand. The best method is to walk quietly through the water at night and shine a bright light along the bank until a pair of glowing eyes appear. Temporarily blinded by the light, frogs can be approached and grabbed or netted.

The daily creel limit is eight, with a possession limit of 24. Unless exempt by law, froggers must have a valid fishing license to take, catch, or kill bullfrogs.

Considered a delicacy, frog legs have a taste and texture that resembles a cross between shrimp and fish. A popular way to cook them is to dip the legs in egg and then into a mixture of flour and corn meal, seasoning salt, and pepper. The legs are then fried to a golden brown and served up hot.

For more information on bullfrog season, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Fishing / Fishing Regulations / Bullfrogs” or consult the 2015 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary.

Have at it and have a hoppin’ good time!

Public fishing etiquette

The weather is good, the fish are cooperating, and you’re reeling in fish as fast as you can. Before you know it, a hook gets snagged and you have to break the line. There’s no trashcan nearby and you’re on a roll. You leave the line on the ground with the intention of throwing it away later ­– we’ve all been there. But the reality is, that line will mostly likely end up staying right where you left it.

Too often, line, plastic lures, and other trash are left behind by well-intentioned anglers. A small piece of a plastic worm here and a little bit of line there, hardly seem like cause for concern, but when every angler leaves a little bit of trash behind, a big mess can be the end result.

Today’s monofilament fishing line can last many years after an angler has left it behind. Not only is it an eyesore, but fishing line can have deadly consequences for fish, turtles, birds and other wildlife.

Here are some tricks and tips for leaving a public fishing spot better than you found it:

– Always carry a folded-up trash bag in your tackle box. It can serve as a poncho and gear protector during the rainy season, and as a trash container for empty cups and other food items when it’s time to clean up.

– Allot space in your tackle box for broken lures or lures in need of repair. At the end of every trip, empty it out at the nearest trash can, or take them home to repair on a Sunday afternoon.

– Keep a coffee can in your vehicle to collect old line. By cutting open a small slit in the plastic cover, you can stuff in old line. Also, always clean up the line of others you come across. (The good karma may pay off during your next fishing trip!)

– Consolidate hooks and lures where you can. When looking through your gear prior to a trip, consider placing similar lures together, especially if you only have one or two left. This will cut down on the number of bags or containers that need to be thrown away when out fishing.

Kansas has some great public fishing opportunities, and we owe it to the land and our fellow anglers to keep it that way. When fishing public waters, leave it better than you found it.

2015-2016 Federal Duck Stamps on sale now



The 82nd Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, commonly known as the Federal Duck Stamp, is now on sale. Waterfowl hunters, birders, outdoor enthusiasts, artists, and stamp collectors can obtain the $25 stamp online, at select post offices, and wherever hunting licenses are sold. For all buying options, visit www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp/buy-duck-stamp.php.

Previous purchasers of the stamp will notice a price increase of $10 from last year. This is the first price increase the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has implemented in 24 years, and also the longest single period without an increase in the program’s history. The increased price of the duck stamp will allow the Service to devote more funds to conserving wetland habitat that benefits birds and many other species.

Ninety-eight percent of the proceeds from duck stamp sales go to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which supports wetland acquisition and conservation easements for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Since the program’s inception, sales of the stamp have raised more than $800 million to protect more than 6 million acres of habitat for birds and other wildlife.

The 2015-2016 Federal Duck Stamp features a pair of ruddy ducks painted by wildlife artist Jennifer Miller of Olean, N.Y. She is the third female artist in the program’s history to have her work featured on the stamp.

To learn more, visit www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp.php.

Duck numbers remain high


Drier conditions on the prairies demonstrate importance of Boreal Forest habitats

The 2015 Trends in Duck Breeding Populations report released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) indicates another strong year for waterfowl populations. The report is based on surveys conducted in May and early June by the USFWS and Canadian Wildlife Service in partnership with state and provincial agencies and private conservation organizations. Overall duck numbers were statistically similar to last year and remain high. Total populations were estimated at 49.5 million breeding ducks in the traditional survey area. This estimate represents a 1-percent increase from last year’s estimate of 49.2 million birds, and is 43 percent higher than the 1955-2014 average.

“We are fortunate to see continued high overall duck populations in North America’s breeding areas this year,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “Though conditions were dry in some important habitats, we had large numbers of birds returning this spring and good conditions in the Boreal Forest and other areas of Canada. It looks like some typical prairie nesters skipped over the U.S. prairies and took advantage of good conditions farther north. This is an important reminder about the vital need for maintaining abundant and high-quality habitat across the continent. The Boreal Forest, especially, can provide important habitat when the prairies are dry. But the Boreal is under increasing threats from resource extraction.”

Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission approves teal seasons

At the evening Public Hearing portion of its June 18 meeting in Hays, the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission approved the early teal season and Fort Riley deer season dates for 2015.

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism staff recommended early teal season dates, using frameworks provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Most blue-winged teal migrate through Kansas in August and September before regular waterfowl seasons are open, so the USFWS allows states to establish a September season. The trigger for allowing the season and its length is the May Breeding Population Index (BPI), which is the number of blue-winged teal surveyed on the Prairie Pothole Region in May. If the BPI is 3.3 million bluewings, the USFWS allows a 9-day season. If the BPI exceeds 4.7 million, a 16-day season is allowed. Based on last year’s BPI of 8.5 million blue-winged teal and spring habitat conditions on the Prairie Pothole Region, staff expect the frameworks to allow a 16-day season.

Blue-winged Teal flock

The Commission approved the staff recommendation of an Early Teal Season in the Low Plains Zones taking place Sept. 12-27, 2015. Because the Migratory Bird Treaty Act limits the number of days for hunting of any one species to 107, the teal season in the High Plains Zone cannot be 16 days long. USFWS frameworks allow 97 days for the regular duck season, and two days for a youth season. That leaves only 8 days for an early teal season. To remain within the frameworks, staff recommended a 9-day Early Teal Season for the High Plains Zone taking place Sept. 19-27, 2015. (The regular High Plains Zone duck season will include 96 days to stay within the 107 maximum number of days.)

In other Public Hearing business, the Commission heard and approved recommendations for the deer seasons on the Fort Riley Military Reservation. To accommodate the changing training mission, Fort Riley personnel have requested additional archery hunting days and additional days for youth and persons with disabilities. The 12-day firearm deer season on the fort will be split into three segments.

The Commission approved the following dates for deer hunting on Fort Riley. In addition to the regular archery season, persons with required authorization can hunt with archery equipment Sep. 1-13, 2015 and Jan. 11-31, 2016. In addition to the regular season for youth and hunters with disabilities, those designated persons may hunt Oct. 9-12, 2015 on Fort Riley. There will be no Pre-rut Whitetail Antlerless-only Season on the Fort. The deer firearm season on Fort Riley will be Nov. 27-29, Dec. 19-23, and Dec. 26-29, 2015.

The next Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission public meeting will be conducted Thursday, August 20, at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, 592 NE K-156 Highway, Great Bend. The afternoon session will begin at 1 p.m. and recess at 5p.m. The evening Public Hearing session will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Elk and Either-Species/Either-Sex deer permit applications due July 10

The application deadline for the limited number of 2015 Unit 2A (Ft. Riley) resident-only elk and resident-only either-species/either-sex firearm deer permits are quickly approaching. Hunters have until 11:59 p.m. on July 10, 2015 to apply for these draws, or purchase a preference point. A hunter who does not wish to hunt this year may purchase a preference point that will count toward a firearm either-species/either-sex deer permit in a future drawing or a bonus point for either-sex elk. Unsuccessful applicants automatically receive preference or bonus points.

Draw applications for either of these species can be made by visiting www.ksoutdoors.com and clicking “Hunting,” then “Applications and Fees,” or by calling (620) 672-5911.

Mule Deer by http://jenniferajarrett.blogspot.com/2012/03/deer.html

Mule Deer by http://jenniferajarrett.blogspot.com/2012/03/deer.html


Firearm Either-species/Either-sex Deer permit (white-tailed or mule deer buck, doe or fawn)

General Resident: $37.50

Landowner/Tenant: $22.50

Resident Youth (15 and younger): $17.50

Preference Point: $6.50



Elk – Firearms (Any Elk)

General Resident: $252.50

Landowner/Tenant: $127.50

Resident Youth (15 and younger): $127.50

Elk (antlerless)

General resident: $102.50

Landowner/Tenant: $52.50

Resident Youth (15 and younger): $52.50

The fee to apply for an elk permit or purchase a bonus point is $7.69.

Heightened enforcement of BUI laws to take place June 26-28

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) will be participating in the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators “Operation Dry Water” (ODW) event, June 26-28. ODW is a nationally-coordinated effort to reduce the number of accidents and deaths related to boating under the influence (BUI). During this three-day period, KDWPT officers will be conducting increased patrols, breathalyzer tests, and checkpoints, as well as providing boater education and outreach.


“Studies have found that people become impaired faster when boating as opposed to driving due to additional factors such as heat, dehydration, wind and wave action,” said KDWPT assistant director of law enforcement, Major Dan Hesket. “Our goal is to promote awareness of the hazards relating to boat operations while intoxicated and to prevent any accidents, injuries, or deaths due to operating while impaired.”

Hesket encourages anyone who suspects a boater to be intoxicated to dial 911 and provide the operator with the location, the suspect boat’s registration numbers, and a complete description of the operator and passengers.

Boaters whose blood alcohol content (BAC) level exceeds the state limit of .08 percent can expect to be arrested for BUI and face other serious penalties including fines, jail time and loss of boating or even driving privileges.

According to Hesket, the KDWPT Law Enforcement Division averages approximately 11 special enforcement efforts over the ODW weekend, resulting in four to eight BUI arrests each year.

For more information, visit www.operationdrywater.org.