Monthly Archives: March 2011

Mustang love

OK, most people know my feelings about invasive species. Basically if God/Mother Nature wanted them in Kansas they’d already been in Kansas long ago. Other than that they don’t belong here and need to leave.

But I have two exceptions – ringneck pheasants and wild horses. While I’ve  enjoyed a lot of pheasants last week was my first time experiencing wild horses. Below is one of a few hundred photos I got to take last Friday.

I got lucky and got to spend the morning amid some herds of wild horses being kept in the Flint Hills. Friend/reporter/photographer Beccy Tanner is planning a feature on wild horses in Kansas in Sunday’s coming Wichita Eagle.

Hope for next season

One of the lowest lows in bowhunting is not getting a buck you liked, despite an opportunity.

One of the highest highs is when you learn that buck made it through deer seasons and could be around next year…only bigger.

On Nov. 19 and 20 I headed to our farm planning to hunt a favored stand with the predicted south wind. The wind was wrong so I couldn't hunt it and a trail camera showed a very nice ten-pointer has passed that stand twice. This Jan. photo shows the buck survived the gun season.

Last fall a trail camera showed a pretty nice 10-pointer at our farm, passing a stand I’d planned on hunting but couldn’t because the wind was wrong that morning.

We’d never seen him before and wondered if he was just passing through or if he’d get shot during gun season.

Sunday I checked a trail camera placed in early January and the buck was on it several times every day until the batteries died.

On March 6 we found the shed antlers of a unique buck that passed under my stand on Nov. 19. The find bodes well for next season.

While on that trip on Nov. 19 I sat in another stand and had a unique buck pass within 12 yards. He had a typical 10-point frame with two extra tines on one side and one on the other.

He had my interest but luckily I didn’t get him shot.

We found both of his sheds on a food plot Sunday morning. The buck sheered one tine after I’d seen him but also appears to be pretty young. Both antlers showed bumps of more stickers and tines to come.

Several other shed antlers from young bucks were also on the plot. Several others were on the trail cam.

Six weeks ago I was so thankful deer seasons were over. I’ll spend the next six months thinking next season can’t arrive fast enough.

Bill could bill state for Missouri elk damage

A bill in the Missouri legislature could hold the state’s conservation department financially responsible for any property damage done by wild elk.

That could be disastrous.

The Missouri Department of Conservation is currently planning to re-introduce elk into the southern part of the state this spring. Several eastern states have successfully brought elk back after absences of more than 100 years.

CLICK HERE TO READ A STORY ABOUT THE BILL.

Such a law that holds the wildlife agency responsible for the actions of wildlife could be very problematic.

It obviously could take huge amounts of funding  to reimburse landowners for things like crop damage or fences.

It could also lead to law suits from those wanting compensation for damage done by other kinds of wildlife, like deer.

And what happens if someone dies in an elk/vehicle accident? The department could be sued for millions.

Several years ago some southeast Kansas brothers tried to get the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks to compensate them for what they claimed was tens of thousands of dollars in crop damage. Some legislatures backed their attempt until it failed.

The farmers had long  been issued depredation permits to protect their crops yet they were highly protective of who they’d let hunt their lands.

Wildlife and Parks has denied requests to establish elk populations outside the one within Fort Riley. They’re working with landowners to control or eliminate elk herds that have popped up in some parts of Kansas, including a herd of several dozen along the Arkansas River in far western Kansas.

White hawk photographed in Kansas

I’ve seen a lot of neat wildlife bumming around a lot of the world but I’m not sure I’ve seen many critters as stunning as this white hawk photographed in Osage County within the past few days.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE PHOTOS.

The bird’s not kind of white, it’s like polar bear white.

Neat pics, for sure.

A beauty that never gets old

Yesterday I was in a hurry to get home after a day of “working” at Council Grove Lake. There were photos be sorted and readied and fish to be cleaned.

But I took a scenic route through the Flint Hills because of the way scattered clouds were coming in from the west. As hoped all lined up for a pretty sunset.

Sure, I’ve seen hundreds of sunsets that are better but last night’s certainly warranted slowing down and watching the colors build and then fade.

I wonder how many other people even noticed the sunset at all? Several times I’ve sat in the newsroom and watched as a colorful sunset developed and nobody else seemed to notice. (OK, that most work areas face away from our west windows probably contribute  some to that.)

It’s been the same when a great sunset is building or showing and shoppers hustle across parking lots with not a look westward.

Interestingly enough, I seem to get more comments about Kansas sunsets from those who’ve moved here from other states. Most have said it’s one of the things they like best about living on the prairie.

I’m glad at least a few others are looking.