Monthly Archives: September 2009

Thermocell, thermosold

It used to be the splashing of tossed decoys was the first sounds you heard on a teal hunt. Now it’s three or four soft clicks.

That’s about how many attempts it usually takes to get a Thermocell lit and relief from clouds of mosquitoes on the way. I’ve had mine for about three seasons and credit it for allowing me many warm mornings at skeeter-infested wetlands.

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Water, water everywhere…and nowhere.

Last weekend’s opening of teal season proved to be one of extremes for most hunters.

Some complained they found too much water.

Others only 30 miles away that there wasn’t enough.

Welcome to Kansas, folks.

Mallards and teal flush from a flooded farm field west of Hutchinson Wednesday morning. Hundreds of acres of such water is making teal hunting tough for many sportsmen.

Mallards and teal flush from a flooded farm field west of Hutchinson Wednesday morning. Hundreds of acres of such water is making teal hunting tough for many sportsmen.

In and around the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge hundreds of waterholes are standing in pastures and crop fields ‘sfrom up to five inches of recent rains. It’s also been one of the wettest years on record in that area. Most of the shallow pools are holding lots of teal. With plenty of food floating about they’re in no hurry to head towards public and private hunting areas.

Many hunters have reported poor to fair success while seeing lots of birds as they drive to and from Hutchinson.

This morning two friends and I hunted a favored private wetland near Sylvia and were fortunate to shoot our limit of four teal apiece. Mine have a date Saturday evening with a skillet of assorted peppers, garlic, onions and seasonings. I’ll saute them all with a little red wine. It’s one of our favored meals. It’s seriously gourmet-good.

Meanwhile buddies hunting in and around the McPherson Valley Wetlands complain of a lack of water and shortage of birds. Hunters at Cheyenne Bottoms are suffering from the worst of both the wet and the dry worlds. They could use some rain to better habitat conditions and the birds they had opening day flew just far enough south to find the kajillion potholes around Quivira and haven’t returned.

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For the love of vultures

Call me strange, but turkey vultures are some of my favorite birds.

As a kid I enjoyed watching them sail over our family farm, often a dozen or more at a time, easily riding air currents so weak hawks had to flap their wings to stay aloft.

I’m not sure why we had so many of what we inaccurately called buzzards, but they still seem more common there than in most places during the spring and summer.

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Appreciate what Kansas has

By Michael Pearce

They mean it as a compliment to an area, but it ends up being an insult to our state.

Last week, I again heard somebody describe a favorite place as “so pretty you won’t believe you’re in Kansas.”

As Leavenworth County shows, steep hills and tall trees aren't rare in Kansas.

As Leavenworth County shows, steep hills and tall trees aren't rare in Kansas.

They then showed me some steep topography blanketed with dense hardwoods and studded with cool rock formations.

It was absolutely gorgeous but far from a surprise.

Few inland states have more topographical changes than Kansas. Think about it — world-class marshes, several kinds of prairies, plains so open you can see a grain elevator 20 miles away and, yes, plenty of steep hills and towering timber.

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Welcome to the outdoors blog

By Michael Pearce

Look at me, I’m blogging!

And to think, it wasn’t that long ago I thought “on line” meant it was time to set the hook and reel in dinner.

Now it’s helping me share the outdoors with viewers faster and more in-depth than ever.

If I’m coming back from a good duck hunt I can share some anecdotes and maybe a photo before I’m even home. Should I spot a great bald eagle in downtown Wichita, I’ll be able to give coordinates quickly enough for readers to take a look over their lunch break.

I’ll also be able to share things that usually haven’t found their way on to the outdoors page. Hopefully we’ll have a few personality profiles of interesting outdoorsmen I meet along the way.

I’m hoping I can feature more photography in the future. Plans are for write-ups on unique eateries I find coming and going from popular outdoors destinations.

Some blogs may be on my day-to-day life. Others may be about a national outdoors issue, complete with links to other articles on the subject.

Keep in mind I plan to keep the blog a work in progress that continually changes for the better. One  thing that will help improve the blog is your involvement. Please don’t be shy to send your comments and ideas.

I hope you enjoy the ride. No doubt I will.