Monthly Archives: October 2009

Two big bucks – his lucky day

Many people have a lucky number. Josh Landis, 15, has a lucky day.

The last two years he’s filled his deer permit with nice bucks on Sept. 20. His dad, David, said his son has needed all of that luck.

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Trail cameras capture local nature in action

We sleep through the night and mindlessly spend our days at work.

But nature goes on.

A few days of a trail camera on a tiny patch of Harvey County is easy proof. Animals came and went to feed. Often on each other. This shot of the Cooper’s hawk and the crow is proof.

While I was at working in Wichita this Cooper's hawk was working in Harvey County. He grabbed this crow in-flight.

While I was at working in Wichita this Cooper's hawk was working in Harvey County. He grabbed this crow in-flight.

I’d walked part of this property a few miles east of Newton and hadn’t seen much wildlife Sunday morning.

I didn’t see many signs of wildlife, either, like droppings, tracks or where whitetail bucks were rubbing trees with their antlers.

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When the eyes don’t have it

It was obvious what it was as it crossed the gravel road a week or so ago. It was about three feet long, probably 20 to 30 pounds, dark chocolate-colored and had a long, thick tail.

I’d finally seen a wild river otter in Kansas.

Or so I thought.

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Bobcat family visits Hutchinson backyard

Every day millions turn on their televisions to enjoy watching seldom-seen wildlife.

Sunday afternoon a Hutchinson couple only had to look out their backdoor to enjoy the up-close antics of four bobcats.

This young bobcat was one of four  that entertained Perry and Shari McCabe in their backyard. Though plentiful in Kansas, bobcats are rarely seen.

This young bobcat was one of four that entertained Perry and Shari McCabe in their backyard. Though plentiful in Kansas, bobcats are rarely seen.

“We had two (kittens) playing around on the patio like a couple of (domestic) kittens,” said Perry McCabe. “They were snooping around, jumping around and batting at each other. One almost had its nose on the door looking in. ”

He said an adult cat, probably a female, and another kitten were watching the patio antics from about 25 yards away.

They watched the bobcats for about four minutes. McCabe was able to take several photos through a glass door. Click to view a gallery of his photos.

The McCabe’s live east of Hutchinson, near Prairie Dunes golf course. A region of mixed housing developments and brushy sandhill pastures, it is an area where humans and wildlife often meet.

The region holds some of the highest wild turkey densities in the nation. It also has some of Kansas’ highest deer/vehicle collision rates.

McCabe said they frequently see deer and turkeys in their yard and once saw a bobcat while on a walk. Sunday was the first time they’d seen them in their yard.

It’s not because there’s a shortage of bobcats in the area.

“We have a lot of bobcats around,” said Charlie Cope, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks biologist. “Unlike some other species of mammals, like raccoons, it’s taking them longer to get acclimated to the presence of people. They’re still pretty shy.”

Cope said good numbers of bobcats can exist near civilization. Chisholm Creek and several other large area parks have healthy populations.They’re also at home along area rivers and creeks, plus sizable patches of grass and woodlots.

Bobcats are found in all Kansas counties and have a range that stretches from coast to coast and from much of Canada into central Mexico.

Because Kansas has vast amounts of prairie and woodlands it has one of America’s top bobcat populations. Such habitats produce plenty of the rabbits and rodents on which bobcats feed. They’ll routinely kill turkeys and have been known to kill and eat small deer.

At an average weight of 15-30 pounds, and with a deep fear of people, they’re not considered a threat to humans unless cornered or handled.

Cope said contact between humans and bobcats could increase as people encroach into bobcat habitat and the animals become better adapted to being around humans.

Some of the contact might not be popular with people.

“They’ll probably learn to make good use of some easy meals like dog food and cat food,” Cope said. “No doubt they could kill and eat (pet) cats and real small dogs.”

Photo of mountain lion dragging a deer not in Kansas

A  photo currently circulating online of a mountain lion supposedly dragging a whitetail buck in front of a wildlife feeder in Kansas was taken by a trail camera in another state.

Mark Dowling, of the Cougar Network and Matt Peek, of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, verified the shot is part of what’s become a wide-ranging hoax.

Recently many local people recieved this photo online saying the photo was taken in Kansas. The same photograph has also been attributed to at least ten other states. Experts say it was taken in Texas.

Recently many local people received this photo online saying the photo was taken in Kansas. The same photograph has also been attributed to at least ten other states. Experts say it was taken in Texas.

Several people recently forwarded the photo to The Eagle and Wildlife and Parks, claiming it was recently taken near Wellington or Pittsburg.

Some online searching shows the  photo has been attributed to at least ten other states.

Dowling said it’s been circulating for quite a while and originally came from Texas.

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Jaws – Harvey County style

Carolyn Schwab spends a lot of time watching assorted shorebirds and waterfowl on the small lake she and her husband, Terry, own east of Newton.

Standing at her living room window, looking through a spotting scope, she sees a lot of “Discovery Channel” moments.

One was last month when she watched a great egret get slowly towed away from where it was feeding with four others. The large white bird eventually disappeared feet-first beneath the lake’s calm surface and never returned.

A large snapping turtle – the “Jaws” of Kansas waters – probably held the bird under water until it drowned then ate very well.

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Flying signs of fall

Fall’s officially here in my book. I came to that conclusion after a drive to check a place I bowhunt in Butler County.

After being gone a week it was nice to see how much the leaves had turned and watch some drift in the breeze. Several ponds had flocks of ducks.

But the obvious increase in red-tailed hawks was most-appreciated.

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Jet-lag or weather-lag?

I don’t know which is worse, the jet-lag or the weather-lag.

It was in the mid-80s on Kauai and we find this when we got off the plane in Wichita? Somebody wake me up, I’m ready for this nightmare to end.

Kind of interesting to look back on the past few weeks, though.

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Great language, but what with dinner?

As a man with a very simple mind I greatly appreciate people who can simplify things as much as possible.

Native Hawaiians certainly knew what they were doing when developing their delightfully easy  language.

But some of their words don’t seem to correspond well with English – like pu-pu with dinner.

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The Wow Tour

KAUAI, Hawaii

They begin their rise where island meets sea, blunt cliffs that climb hundreds of yards to narrow plateaus even wild goats may never reach because of the steepness.

Nearby are rows of tall and thin mountains reaching peaks as sharp as shark teeth.

And in between these often cloud-shrowded ridges, long and deep valleys snake their way inland to places so rugged that man’s hand can’t change them.

Seeing the Na Pali Coast by boat, about all I could come up with was a few hundred wows.

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