Monthly Archives: October 2011

Outlook “pretty bleak” some places for opening of duck season

Saturday’s opening of the low plains early duck zone could hold disappointment for many who go afield. Two popular public places have little water and another has had too much.

Gorgeous sunrises will still be plentiful in the low plains early duck zone this year. Water, however, is very limited at most popular public areas.

CHEYENNE BOTTOMS WILDLIFE AREA

Karl Grover, area manager, said The Bottoms has 20-25,000 ducks though many are in the refuge areas of 1A, 1B and 1C.  For hunting pools, he said about eight-inches of water are in 3B and 14-inches of water in pool 4B.

Most of the ducks are pintails, shovelers and blue-winged teal.

As with during teal season Grover expects hunter numbers to be down but very concentrated because of a lack of habitat. He did add, though, that teal hunters shot about 820 birds in September. That’s a good number considering the severity of the drought.

JAMESTOWN WILDLIFE AREA

Assistant manager Matt Farmer, a fine Wichita area product, described things as “pretty bleak right now.” Jamestown had several major rain events during the summer so the place is long on water and short on waterfowl food. He thinks late-season hunting could be better as species like mallards and geese will find ample food in surrounding grain fields. “I’m remaining optimistic,” he said.

Farmer said some cool fronts are needed to bring birds down. People he’s talked to in Nebraska and South Dakota are having stellar hunting.

MCPHERSON VALLEY WETLANDS

Area manager Brent Theede also referred to conditions as “pretty  bleak.” Theede said there are few ducks around and very little water, though there are about 30-35 acres at the Inman marshes.

Kanopolis Reservoir latest lake with zebra mussels

Add Kanopolis Reservoir to the growing list of Kansas lakes with a population of zebra mussels.

Via a press release the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism said a lone adult zebra mussel was found in the stilling basin below the lake’s dam on Sept. 26. Testing in the main lake has found zebra mussel larvae, known as veligers.

Zebra mussels are now found in 14 Kansas reservoirs. They do an estimated $1 billion in damages nationwide.

Zebra mussels are native to Europe and came to the U.S. in the 1980s in the bilge water of barges. They’ve spread from the Great Lakes area. Since one mussel can produce up to 1 million eggs per year they rapidly over-take most waters they enter.

By clogging intake pipes and other objects they cause an estimated $1 billion in damage at utility plants and water-based business. They can also compete with native species for food and habitat. Their sharp shells also cut the hands and feet of swimmers and anglers.

In the press release Jason Goeckler, Wildlife and Parks aquatic nuisance species coordinator, said Kanopolis is the 14th reservoir in Kansas to hold zebra mussels.  Near Wichita, Cheney, El Dorado and Marion Reservoirs all have zebra mussels. El Dorado’s was the first population detected in Kansas in 2003.

Though populations can be transplanted downstream in water current most Kansas populations probably resulted from people carrying zebra mussels or veligers within the water in baitbuckets, livewells, bilge areas or attached to boats or trailers.

For many years Wildlife and Parks has been urging anglers to “Clean, Drain Dry” boats and other equipment used in the water to keep from spreading the invasive species.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE PRESS RELEASE AND MORE DETAILS ON ZEBRA MUSSELS IN KANSAS.

Popular Marion Reservoir baitshop closing

You’ll have to bring your bait from home if you fish Marion Reservoir after Oct. 22.

That will be the day Canada Bait and Tackle closes after about 18 years in business. It’s about the only baitshop near the popular lake.

Warren Kreutziger hopes to continue guiding fishermen at Marion Reservoir. He and his wife, Donna, will close their baitshop Oct. 22.

“I want to retire and we’ve had it long enough,” said Warren Kreutziger, who owns the shop with his wife, Donna. “We had it for sale for a couple of years and nobody came up with any money. We’re just worn-out.”

The shop is a mile or so south of the lake’s dam where the tiny town of Canada once stood. As well as a variety of live baits the Kreutziger stocked a lot of lures that seemed to work especially well on Marion.

The shop’s inventory and furnishings will be sold at auction Nov. 5.

The Kreutziger’s will continue to operate their storage unit business on the same property. He’ll also continue to do some guiding in the spring and summer.

“Mostly it’ll be catfish in the summer but I guide whatever, walleye in the spring or wipers,” Kreutziger said. “If something is biting I’ll guide (people). If it’s not any good I won’t take them out.”

For more information call 620-382-2931.

Giant Killer Snails – Escar-go back to Africa!

OK, we all know Kansas has plenty of issues with invasive species – zebra mussels, Asian carp, a half-dozen or so problematic plants and probably more potential disasters on the way.

But let’s all hope we don’t end up with the giant African snails that are spreading across Florida. Take a look at these things and the “mess” they leave on the side of houses and fences.

And, oh, they also can spread a worm that can get into the human brain and easily cause death. On the count of three – one..two..three – EEEEWWWWWW!

HERE’S THE LINK TO READ ABOUT THE UGLY SUCKERS.

Hunting’s triple crown…in two weeks?

Most sportsmen go their entire lives without shooting something like a monstrous Alaska moose, a majestic Dall sheep ram or a sur’-’nuff Boone & Crockett whitetail. Goddard’s Mark Dugan has…and he did it in about two weeks in September.

Read on, but try not to hate Mark. He’s really a very nice guy, just a bit lucky but good enough to get things done when luck shines his way.

Mark Dugan, of Goddard, shot this moose after the guide used the sounds of splitting wood to lure the bull near camp. The moose had antlers 66-inches wide.

Mark headed to Alaska in early September with the main goal of getting a big moose. If things worked well he hoped to get a grizzly bear and maybe a Dall sheep.

The moosing was slow the first week of his hunt because the rut hadn’t started. Hunter and guide hiked and climbed for day after day and hardly saw any moose. Then one night Dugan heard the grunts of a bull moose near camp.

Remembering a story about a guide once calling a bull into camp with the sounds of splitting wood Mark had his guide try that from camp the next morning. Voila, he shot a bull very near camp coming to the calls the next morning. He made the shot of about 280 yards with his .30-378. The bull’s antlers were 66-inches wide and will feed the guide’s family very well for about a year.

Mark Dugan and his Dall ram with 37-inch horns. He got the ram after only two days of sheep hunting.

Things worked and after a few days of getting stuck in camp because of bad weather and the outfitter asked Mark if he’d like to try for a Dall sheep. No arm-twisting needed. His wife, Shirley, agreed when contacted by satellite phone. Second day of sheep hunting he made a shot also of about 280 yards on a gorgeous Dall ram with horns about 37 inches long.  As well as a great trophy, Mark ranked the ram’s meat some of the best he’s ever tasted, wild or domestic.

OK, two stunning trophies, a business that needed tending and a patient wife who probably wanted some of his time…so what did Mark do when he got back to Kansas? He went hunting with his three sons, of course.

After a few hunts with no triggers pulled Mark got a crack at a gnarly-antlered buck they’d named “Freak Nasty” on their unit 16 ranch last week.  Time at the shooting range paid off when he made a perfect 200-yard shot with his muzzleloader.

A few days after returning from Alaska's great hunt Mark Dugan shot this probable Boone & Crockett buck on his ranch in unit 16 with a muzzleloader.

Ol’ Freaky unofficially grossed about 211 non-typical-inches of antler and nets a tad better than 200-inches of horn. That should have him above Boone & Crockett’s 195-inch minimum when the antlers are officially measured 60 days after the kill.

So, three great hunts, three outstanding trophies and the hunting seasons are just starting, huh, Mark? I’d suggest you maybe spend a bit more time at the office…your taxidermy bill must be hideous!