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BLIZZARD USHERS IN NEW SEASON AT KANSAS STATE PARKS

Posted: 01 Apr 2009 02:58 PM PDT

Springtime entices park visitors to enjoy the outdoors as snow melts

While the most severe blizzard to hit parts of Kansas in decades may have come the last week of March, warm weather will soon make this event a fleeting memory, enticing Kansans across the state to visit their favorite state parks. To enhance these visits, park staff conduct a variety of special events. Some events are scheduled in conjunction with Free Park Entrance Days, some celebrate a special historical event or geological attribute of an individual park, and others are just for entertainment. Each park sets its own dates for these events.

Events may include anything from a marathon race to boating courses and equestrian events. Many are educational and all make visiting Kansas state parks more fun. For more information on state park events, phone individual parks or visit the Event Calendar on the department's website.

Park goers are urged to phone the park they intend to visit before traveling. Telephone numbers of all state parks offices may be found on the KDWP website.

The following is a list of events for April:

  • April 3-4 -- youth turkey hunt at Glen Elder State Park;
  • April 4 -- VFW Post 10815 fishing tournament Perry State Park;
  • April 4 -- Kansas UltraRunners 11th Annual Rockin' K Trail 50-mile trail run and trail marathon at Kanopolis State Park;
  • April 5 -- Crappie Busters fishing tournament at Perry State Park;
  • April 5 -- Kansas State University Cycling Club bike race at Tuttle Creek State Park;
  • April 8 -- Dick's Bass Tournament at Hillsdale State Park;
  • April 18-19 -- "Angling Nebraska" bass tournament at Cedar Bluff State Park;
  • April 18 -- OK Kids Day outdoor education program at Lovewell State Park;
  • April 19 -- Dick's Bass Tournament at Hillsdale State Park;
  • April 19 -- mountain bike, running, and paddling race at Wilson State Park;
  • April 22 -- Free Park Entrance Day, Earth Day, OK Kids Day at Cross Timbers State Park;
  • April 25-26 -- Free Park Entrance Days at Cheney State Park;
  • April 25-26 -- Free Park Entrance Days at Kanopolis State Park; and
  • April 25 -- Blue Knights Kansas VIII Chapter Motorcycle Ride Fundraiser at Hillsdale State Park.

KANSAS WALLEYE EGG HARVEST IN FULL SWING

Posted: 01 Apr 2009 02:35 PM PDT

Three reservoirs harvested this year; goal of 90 million eggs about half complete

The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks' (KDWP) annual spring walleye egg harvest has been under way since March 19, and the agency's goal of 90 million walleye eggs for the state's hatcheries is about half way complete. Fisheries biologists are harvesting walleye eggs at Cedar Bluff, Hillsdale, and Milford reservoirs, where nets have been placed to catch spawning females that provide eggs for the department's walleye and saugeye programs.

All sperm and egg collection will take place on each lake and the fish returned to that lake immediately to prevent spread of aquatic nuisance species (ANS). Although ANS have not been found at these lakes, the measure is precautionary. Eggs will be fertilized onsite, and no fish will be moved.

At Perry, Banner Creek, and Clinton reservoirs, male sauger are being caught and milked to fertilize walleye eggs for the saugeye hatching program. Fertilized sauger eggs will also be taken to the Milford Hatchery, where sauger will be hatched out. Fry will be returned to the lakes from which they came. About 3.5 million sauger eggs have been harvested to date. In addition to KDWP's 2009 statewide harvest goal of 90 million walleye eggs, the agency hopes to collect 6 million sauger eggs.

Biologists will work for the next few weeks collecting and fertilizing walleye eggs, transporting them to KDWP's hatcheries at Farlington, Milford, and Pratt, and eventually stocking fish throughout the state. Some fry will be stocked in hatchery ponds to be raised to fingerling size and stocked later in the spring. Others will be stocked directly into lakes as fry. Because the Meade Hatchery is actively involved in a new bass propagation program this spring, that facility will receive no walleye or sauger this year.

Fewer than 5 percent of eggs hatch in the wild, so artificial spawning and hatching is used to increase hatching rates as much as 40-50 percent. When hatchery-bound eggs reach their destination, biologists monitor incubation closely. Water flows are checked to ensure constant but controlled movement. Water temperatures and oxygen content are also routinely checked. Dead eggs rise to the top of the jars and are siphoned off each day. At 60 degrees, hatching generally occurs on the eighth or ninth day of incubation. As the fry break out of their egg cases, they are carried upward by the water into large circular holding tanks where they are held for two to four days. Then they are ready for stocking.

All this activity means more fish in the frying pan for Kansas anglers. In fact, the hatching process makes Kansas walleye, sauger, and saugeye fishing possible. As snow melts across the Kansas landscape, waters warm and days grow longer. It won't be long before walleye anglers will be drifting lake flats across Kansas, searching for one of the tastiest fish that swim, an opportunity made possible by KDWP fisheries and hatchery biologists.

SIMPLE RULES HELP ENSURE SAFE SPRING TURKEY HUNTING

Posted: 01 Apr 2009 02:19 PM PDT

Be safe in the woods; bring back a fantail, not an unhappy tale

While Kansas has an excellent turkey hunting safety record, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) reminds hunters that this record should not be taken for granted. There are a few simple steps hunters can take to make the story of 2009 spring turkey hunting a safe and happy one.

Keeping one simple fact in mind should help prevent accidents: be sure of your target before you shoot. Only bearded turkeys may be taken in the spring, so positive identification is the key. In addition, take only clear shots, never walk through the woods calling, and never gobble. Another good tip is to wear hunter orange while moving.

Other safety measures that can help ensure a safe turkey hunt include the following:

  • if you wear camouflage, cover your entire body, including face and hands, and never wear the colors red, white or blue, which appear on a turkey's head;
  • always set up to call in a fairly open area with good visibility in every direction, with your back against a tree or other object that is wider than your shoulders;
  • when hunting with companions, be sure of everyone's location;
  • attempting to sneak up on a turkey can lead to accidents;
  • assume that every sound you hear is made by another hunter;
  • you must see the whole bird to determine whether it is safe and legal to shoot; and
  • if you see another hunter approaching, remain still and yell or whistle. Never wave, use a turkey call, or stand up.

Youth/disabled and archery spring turkey hunting season runs April 1-7, and the regular season runs April 8-May 31 (all permits valid and shotguns or bows allowed).

Although turkey permits are available at Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) offices and license vendors throughout the state, perhaps the easiest way to purchase them is online. Turkey permits for units 1, 2, and 3 may be purchased online from the KDWP website, or over the counter at any license vendor. A 2009 spring turkey regulations brochure may be downloaded from the KDWP website and printed, or may be obtained at KDWP offices and license vendors. This brochure also includes a resident-only, limited-draw permit application for Unit 4, but the application deadline for these permits was Feb. 20. The brochure provides general regulations regarding the 2009 Kansas spring turkey hunting season.

Kansas has a long turkey season with the opportunity to take two birds in much of the state. Make this season a safe one, and you'll have a tale you'll want to tell and a tail you'll want to show.

 

LINCOLN RESIDENT NAMED PF/QF WESTERN KANSAS REPRESENTATIVE

Posted: 01 Apr 2009 02:04 PM PDT

Educator's talents will help encourage youth outdoor involvement

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever (PF/QF) has announced that Devon Walter, of Lincoln, has been named the organization's new regional representative for western Kansas. Walter's primary duties with PF/QF will include starting and servicing chapters and members in the region to enhance the organization's wildlife habitat mission.

Walter will help chapters raise and spend funds on wildlife habitat and conservation education. He will also work with local, state, and federal natural resource agencies on behalf of PF/QF chapters in western Kansas.

"You don't have to be around Devon for very long to realize that his passion for wildlife and the mission of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever runs very deep," said Rick Young, PF/QF vice-president of field operations. "That passion will help engage more people in an area where there is a great deal of potential for habitat projects, particularly those that benefit quail."

Walter joins PF/QF after serving as the academic dean at St. John's Military School in Salina. In addition to his career in education and his leadership experience in coaching and fundraising, Walter's diverse background includes involvement in his family's farm near Lincoln. He also recently worked for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks assisting with fish and wildlife habitat work.

"I have been in education for 19 years, but I left because I wanted to spend more time outdoors," Walter explained. "I have been a volunteer and member of our local Post Rock Ringnecks Chapter of Pheasants Forever. I cannot say enough about Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever's youth involvement in our own community, and that has spurred my enthusiasm to play a bigger part in this organization. Coming from an education field, I see a need for more youth interaction with the outdoors and what it has to offer."

Walter is a Fort Hays State University graduate and earned a master of arts degree from Wichita State University. Walter can be reached at 785-524-4033 or by email at dwalter@pheasantsforever.org.

In 2008, Kansas' 49 PF/QF chapters and 6,200 PF/QF members spent more than $293,000 for 270 wildlife habitat projects enhancing 4,600 acres. Historically, Kansas PF/QF chapters have spent more than $2.8 million to complete more than 5,300 projects, benefiting nearly 100,000 acres for pheasants, quail and other wildlife. For additional information, visit the Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever websites.

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