State Issues

Hunters boost Kansas’ economy

On Nov. 11, sleepy little towns in western Kansas will transform into centers with crowded motel parking lots, busy streets and packed cafes. If you’re up before dawn on Nov. 12, you’ll see men and women dressed in khaki and orange looking happy, despite the hour, while feeding and watering hunting dogs or grabbing breakfast at the local “Hunters’ Pancake Feed.” Everyone is upbeat because opening day is finally here.

This year’s positive bird forecast has hunters raring to go. But there are others who anticipate this day almost as much: the business owners in these small rural communities. Hunters are good for the Kansas economy.

On the second Saturday in November, 40,000 to 50,000 hunters will be in the field pursuing pheasants and quail in Kansas. Many hunters will have traveled hundreds or thousands of miles to get here and those hunters will spend a minimum of $150 per day on lodging, food and fuel. Most will stay three or four days, and when bird populations are good, the second weekend can be just as busy. When all the revenue generated by hunters in Kansas during the year is added up, it will top $400,000,000.

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, hunting is responsible for nearly 8,000 jobs in Kansas, generating $2.9 million in salaries and wages and $60 million in state and local taxes. Through the purchase of annual hunting licenses and permits, hunters generate more than $20 million and qualify Kansas to receive nearly $10 million in federal aid that is derived from excise taxes on hunting and shooting equipment. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s wildlife programs receive no general tax funding, so hunters pay for all wildlife conservation and law enforcement efforts.

For bird hunters, a good opening weekend means heavy game bags and the camaraderie of friends and family. For Kansas business owners, a good opening weekend means extra sales and a better bottom line.

Hunting, fishing and trapping amendment on November ballot

 

In addition to voting for their chosen candidates and other important matters in the Nov. 8, 2016 general election, voters will decide whether to amend the Kansas Constitution’s Bill of Rights to add a constitutional right to hunt, fish and trap wildlife.

The proposed amendment would specify the people have a right to hunt, fish and trap by traditional methods, subject to reasonable laws and regulations that promote wildlife conservation and management and that preserve the future of hunting, fishing and trapping. The amendment would also specify that hunting and fishing are the preferred means for managing and controlling wildlife, and that the amendment shall not be construed to modify any provision of law relating to trespass, eminent domain or other private property rights. 

The amendment would be created if approved by a majority of Kansas voters. A “Yes” vote will be a vote in favor of adding the amendment to the constitution, and a “No” vote will be a vote against adding the amendment. If the amendment passes, current laws and regulations governing hunting, fishing and trapping of wildlife would still apply, as the proposed right is subject to reasonable laws and regulations. If the amendment fails, there would be no changes to current laws and regulations.     

The proposed amendment was introduced into the 2015 Legislative Session as House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 5008 by Representative Couture-Lovelady and Representative Lusker, but no action was taken. It was carried over to the 2016 session where it passed both chambers by large margins. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) testified in support of the resolution.

According to the website Ballotpedia.org, 19 states currently have similar constitutional provisions for the right to hunt and fish. Two others have constitutional provisions guaranteeing the right to fish, and two have statutes providing for the right to hunt and fish. Vermont established its right to hunt and fish in 1777, but most of the other states have created their rights since 2000.

Hunters and anglers provide all of the support for Kansas’ wildlife and fisheries management programs. These programs are entirely funded by license/permit fees and a federal match from the excise tax paid by hunters and anglers on equipment they buy (these revenues can only be used to fund wildlife and fisheries programs; they cannot be used for state park maintenance). The state’s share of the federal excise tax can only be returned to Kansas if someone buys a license or permit. KDWPT does not receive any state general funds for any of its programs.

For more information about KDWPT, visit KSOutdoors.com or TravelKS.com.

Wade your way into waterfowl season

 

When one door closes, another opens, and with the close of teal season, waterfowlers can now enjoy the opening of the 2016 Kansas duck seasons. Listed below are the Kansas duck zones and their associated season dates where hunters can begin pursuing early migrants like gadwall, wigeon, pintails, redhead, and shovelers in some areas as early as Oct. 8.

 

KANSAS WATERFOWL SEASONS

High Plains Zone: Oct. 8, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017 and Jan. 20-29, 2017

Low Plains Early Zone: Oct. 8-Dec. 4, 2016 and Dec. 17, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017

Low Plains Late Zone: Oct. 29, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017 and Jan. 21-29, 2017

Low Plains Southeast Zone: Nov. 12, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017 and Jan. 7-29, 2017

 

YOUTH-ONLY WATERFOWL SEASONS

Low Plains Late Zone: Oct. 22-23, 2016

Low Plains Southeast Zone: Nov. 5-6, 2016

 

Hunters, including youth during youth seasons, may take six ducks daily, which in any combination, may include no more than 5 mallards (only two of which may be hens); 3 wood ducks; 3 scaup; 2 pintails; 2 redheads; and 2 canvasbacks. Possession limit is three times the daily bag limit.

 

Licensed hunters must have a State Waterfowl Permit, $10, and a Kansas Harvest Information Program (HIP) Permit, $2.50, to hunt ducks, geese, or mergansers in Kansas. All waterfowl hunters age 16 and older must also have a Federal Waterfowl Stamp, $26.50.

 

For more information on duck hunting in Kansas, consult the 2016 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary available wherever licenses are sold, and online at www.ksoutdoors.com.

Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission to consider turkey seasons

 

The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission will conduct a public meeting on Thursday, Oct. 20 in Liberal at the Seward County Event Center, 810 Stadium Road. The afternoon session will begin at 1 p.m. and recess at 5 p.m. The evening session will convene at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend both sessions and time will be set aside for public comment at the beginning of each for discussion of non-agenda items.

 

The afternoon session will begin with a report on the agency and state fiscal status and a preview of the 2017 Kansas Legislative Session. The General Discussion portion of the meeting will include a report on the Powderhook mobile app and its digital mentor feature, antelope and elk regulations, public lands regulations, and an update on the Blue Ribbon Panel for wildlife conservation funding and signing of a resolution.

 

The evening portion of the meeting will convene at 6:30 p.m. for the Public Hearing. Commissioners will hear and vote on recommendations for fall and spring turkey seasons and bag limits; motor vehicle permit fees in state parks; camping and utility fees; authorized motorized vehicles in state parks; and regulations concerning commercial sale of bait fish, tournament black bass pass, and fishing methods of take, and creel, size and possession limits.

 

If necessary, the commission will reconvene at the same location at 9 a.m., Oct. 21, to complete any unfinished business. Information about the Commission, as well as the Oct. 20 meeting agenda and briefing book, can be downloaded at ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Commission/Upcoming-Commission-Meetings.

 

Live video and audio streaming of the Oct. 20 meeting will be available at www.ksoutdoors.com. If notified in advance, the department will have an interpreter available for the hearing impaired. To request an interpreter, call the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at 1-800-432-0698. Any individual with a disability may request other accommodations by contacting the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission secretary at (620) 672-5911.

 

The next Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commission meeting is scheduled for Jan. 5, 2017, in Emporia.

iSportsman daily hunt permits

 

Kansas hunters should be aware that iSportsman Electronic Daily Hunt Permits are required on 24 wildlife areas (check the2016 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary or kdwpt.isportsman.net for a list). The electronic permit system has been in place for two years, and is normally fast and efficient. However, the software company that manages the host servers experienced technical difficulties this week that slowed the check-in procedure. Hunters utilizing iSportsman may experience slow processing or may find the system entirely down for the next few days.

 

iSportsman replaces the old paper permits and allows hunters to conveniently check in and out using a telephone, smartphone or home computer. As with the old paper system, information gathered helps area managers tailor management practices specific to an area and hunter preference. The paper system was inconvenient for hunters and labor intensive for managers. However, hunters who experience difficulties this weekend with iSportsman are encouraged to check wildlife area offices and kiosks and use paper forms where available.

 

Repairs should have the iSportsman system fully functional soon, and KDWPT staff want all hunters to enjoy hunting this weekend. If technical problems persist, KDWPT encourages hunters to go hunting but keep trying to check in with iSportsman or check with area offices and kiosks for paper cards.

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.  

St. Francis’ Ward Cassidy appointed to Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission

Governor Sam Brownback has appointed Ward Cassidy, St. Francis, to the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s Commission. Cassidy replaces Roger Marshall, Great Bend, whose term ended in June. Cassidy will serve a 4-year term.

Cassidy has resided in St. Francis since 1969, teaching for 11 years before serving as principal and counselor for 20 years. He coached high school basketball for seven years. Cassidy’s wife Gloria taught first grade for 38 years. The Cassidys have two daughters, both married and living in St. Francis. They have six grandchildren.

In 2010, Cassidy was elected to the Kansas House and represented District 120 for two terms. He did not seek re-election in 2014.

“I have been an avid hunter all my life, and one of my greatest pleasures is spending time with my grandchildren in the outdoors,” Cassidy said. “I am honored to represent northwest Kansas on the Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission.”

Mr. Cassidy told Michael Pearce, Wichita Eagle outdoors page writer. “I have four grandchildren who like to hunt and fish, and that’s who I’m always looking out for and always want to spend time with,” said Cassidy. “I really don’t have an agenda (for the Commission). I just know the outdoors is a wonderful place for kids. I’ll encourage all we can do for youth hunting and youth fishing.”

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) is advised by a non-partisan, seven-member commission. Commissioners are appointed by the governor and serve staggered 4-year terms. The Commission advises the KDWPT Secretary on planning and policy issues and approves regulations which are adopted and administered by the Secretary. Cassidy will join Commissioners Chairman Gerald Lauber, Topeka; Vice-Chairman Tom Dill, Salina; Aaron Rider, Columbus; Gary Hayzlett, Lakin; and Harrison Williams, Wichita.

Commissioner Cassidy can be reached at [email protected]

Tuttle Creek blue catfish tagged for research

If you catch a blue catfish from Tuttle Creek Reservoir this summer, be sure to check for a little yellow tag just below its dorsal spine. A blue catfish tagging project is underway to help biologists learn more about blue cats in Tuttle Creek. Biologists are collecting blue cats with an electrofishing boat, weighing and measuring all of them. Any blue catfish longer than 14 inches will receive a yellow tag with a unique number so it can be identified.

The blue catfish population at Tuttle Creek Reservoir is still fairly young. Most of the fish being tagged measure between 16 and 22 inches. The largest fish tagged so far was 27 inches long and weighed 8.3 pounds.

The yellow tags have information printed on both sides. On one side of the tag will be the tag number and a phone number. The other side of the tag will have an email address. Anglers who catch tagged blue catfish are asked to report them using either the phone number or email address, or in person at the Tuttle Creek State Park Office. Biologists want to know the tag number, the general location where the fish was caught, the length of the fish, and if it was harvested or released.

As tagged fish are recaptured over time, biologists will be able to determine how well the fish are growing. The tagging study will also provide a better understanding of how far fish are swimming upstream of the lake and how many fish are migrating downstream out of the lake.

Fisheries staff want to thank anglers in advance for taking the time to share tag information. With help from anglers, biologists will continue to enhance fishing opportunities at Tuttle Creek Reservoir.

For more information, contact the Tuttle Creek State Park Office at (785) 539-7941 or [email protected]

Fishing’s Future/KDWPT Fish Kansas instructor certification class

Lakewood Discovery Center

205 Lakewood Drive

Salina, KS

Saturday, August 20th

Most of us have had a mentor at some point in our lives that inspired us, taught us, and delighted in our successes. It’s a wonderful thing, but not everyone is so lucky, especially when it comes to having an outdoor mentor. By becoming a volunteer certified angler instructor through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s Angler Education program, you’ll not only have an avenue for sharing your passion for angling with others, but you too, could be someone’s mentor. To get you started, a certification course will be held from 9:00am to 12:00pm at the Lakewood Discovery Center, 205 Lakewood Drive, Salina Kansas 67401, on Saturday, August 2oth.

Topics Covered:

▪ Fishing Regulations

▪ Species Identification

▪ Fishing Ethics

▪ Equipment

▪ Knot-tying

▪ Casting

▪ Fish Habitat

▪ Aquatic Nuisance Species

▪ Conservation Practices

In addition to becoming certified, anglers will also receive a sample curriculum and tips for preparing a class.

 

Participants must be 18 years old and pass a background check prior to certification.

 

Youth between the ages of 12 and 17 with a signed parental form can also take the workshop and gain Junior Assistant Angling Volunteer status. This age group must work with a certified instructor when hosting an aquatic education activity, clinic, derby or outreach.

 

To sign up please go to www.fishingsfuture.org find the events page and scroll through till you find the Salina course. If you cannot sign up on line or have any questions please contact Stuart Scott by email at [email protected], or phone at (316) 648-9847.