Monthly Archives: August 2012

David Kent sentenced for poaching potential state-record whitetail.

Thursday morning a Topeka man was sentenced for illegally killing an exceptionally large whitetail buck in Osage County in November, 2011.

David Kent has been sentenced for poaching this 14 point buck in Osage County last fall. If legally taken, the deer could have been a new state record.

Brandon Jones, Osage County attorney, said David Kent agreed to plead guilty to four of eight original charges, including criminal hunting, hunting outside of legal hours, illegal hunting during a closed season and using an illegal caliber while hunting big game.

Jones said Osage County magistrate judge Taylor Wine sentenced Kent to 30 days in jail, which can be served as 15 consecutive weekends and $1,500 in fines. Kent was also ordered to forfeit the deer’s antlers and the gun used in the crime to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

In an unusual move, Wine ordered Kent to pay $8,000 in restitution to the landowner, Tim Nedeau, where the buck was poached.

Kent also had his hunting privilidges revoked for five years and faces a six month jail term if he doesn’t comply with all of his sentencing requirements.

The case has received a lot of attention because the deer Kent poached was probably large enough to top a state-record set for gun-killed whitetail bucks with typical antlers that was set back in 1974. Kent’s poached 14-pointer was scored at 198 7/8 typical inches on the Boone and Crockett measuring system at a Topeka’s Monster Buck Classic in January. Kent claimed to have shot the deer in Nemaha county around Dec. 1, while legally hunting during the state’s firearms deer season.

At the show, a bowhunter produced an earlier trail camera that had the buck in Osage County, about 100 miles south of where Kent said he killed it. Law enforcement officials say Kent admitted to illegally killing the deer when interviewed at the hunting show.

The case also drew attention because Kent was at the scene of one of Kansas’ most notorious poaching-related crimes in 2007.

That’s when Thomas Kent, David Kent’s brother, fired a high-powered rifle bullet from a vehicle and into what he thought was a flock of geese in a Lyon County field. Instead, they were decoys and the shot killed 18-year-old Beau Arndt, who was hiding in the decoys while hunting with friends.

Thomas Kent served more than two years in prison for the killing. David Kent was with his brother when Arndt was killed, but was not charged in that case.

Casts & Blasts from the Aug. 23 KWPT Commission meeting – volume II

A few more points of interest from the last Kansas Wildlife Parks and Tourism Commission meeting near Great Bend.

– Lloyd Fox, Wildlife and Parks Big Game Program coordinator, said the agency is exploring ways to implement the legislative mandate to offer a permit that allows a hunter to shoot a whitetail buck and doe on the same basic permit. (The legislature hopes the concept will get hunters to shoot more does.) Fox said the agency is looking for an alternative that is “revenue neutral” so it doesn’t cost the department too much in lost permit sales. They are considering implementing the system just for non-resident hunters, who many feel are failing to take their share of does.

– The agency is continuing to look at a regulation change that would allow anglers to transport bluegill and green sunfish from waters that do not contain invasive species. Such a regulation change would allow catfishermen to again catch and use their favored bait on set-lines for flatheads. They also would like to make it mandatory that anglers carry receipts for livebait purchased from a dealer while the angler is traveling with, or fishing with, the bait. The topics will possibly go to vote at an October commission meeting near Fall River.

– There is also a push for a daily creel limit of 20 crappie for Glen Elder Reservoir.

– Jim Pitman, agency turkey biologist, said the 2012 spring season saw about 60,000 permits sold and more than 31,000 bird shot. The success rate of about 60 -percent is one of the highest in the nation. Pitman wants to liberalize permit options and limits in some parts of western Kansas.

– Kevin Jones, law enforcement chief, gave an update on legislative-mandated fees to be charged for restitution when trophy-class animals are poached. For instance, poaching a 150-inch buck would require $5,000 in restitution. Poaching a 350-inch elk would require more than $40,000 in restitution. The new regulations begin in 2013.

– Robin Jennison, department secretary, told commissioners and the public that the agency now owned all of the state park cabins, thanks to state funding provided by Gov. Sam Brownback. That will allow the parks to show a higher profit margin on the cabins that used to be funded by Kansas Wildlscape.

He also said the state is looking into sponsoring a resort to be built at a Kansas lake. Clinton Reservoir currently seems to be the most likely choice.

 

 

Casts and Blasts from the Aug. 23 KDWPT commission meetng

Assorted notes and observations from Thursday’s meeting near Great Bend.

WATERFOWL

Tom Bidrowski, Wildlife and Parks, waterfowl biologist, said the later opening of duck season in the southeast zone will probably lead to a reduced harvest.  In past years, about half of the mallard harvest had come in the first-half of the season.  (In 2010, the season opened the last Saturday of October. This year it will open Nov. 15.)

He also showed that neighboring areas in Missouri and Oklahoma open their waterfowl seasons sooner than Kansas will this fall.

Commissioner Don Budd said the department could manipulate survey results to make them say anything they wanted.

Chuck Carper, of Great Bend, said he’d like to see the duck season at Cheyenne Bottoms open several weeks later so can shoot more mallards and fewer teal, wigeon and shovelers. “It’s like getting to eat goulash compared to a ribeye steak” he said of comparing the ducks. When Bidrowski  stated success rates and hunter attendance are annually highest early in the season, ” Carper complained it wasn’t fair that a few sportsmen are being penalized because of the wishes of the majority. Bidrowski pointed out that Cheyenne Bottoms is often frozen by the time Carper wanted most of his season.

Commenting on the great debate on season dates, Larry Fry, of Great Bend, said that current water conditions across the state didn’t bode well for this fall’s duck seasons. “I don’t think you can really make a mistake,” Fry said, meaning hunting might not be good at any time this fall and winter if things don’t change.

Tom Loats, of Overland Park, loudly said the commission should listen to Bidrowski and wildlife area managers on when the southeast duck season should be set. He contended that the late start would have a negative impact on all but those who hunt around the Neosho Wildlife Area. (In a phone call to The Eagle on Friday, Loats was still very frustrated with the “selfishness” of some commissioners.)

Commissioner Budd reminded other commissioners and the public that he hunted waterfowl more than 60 days last season, thereby giving credit to his experience, and why he wanted a late opener for the southeast duck season. He also said that if the seasons did not work well this fall and winter, he would consider changing them for the 2013 seasons.

MORE TO COME…

 

Southeast duck season to open…on a Thursday?

From now on the popular saying should be “Politics, sausage and duck seasons…you don’t want to know what goes into them.”

After more arguments Thursday night, and more confusion around firsts (motions) and seconds than an Abbott and Costello skit, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission voted to run the southeast zone duck season Nov. 15 (a Thursday) through Jan. 27.

Wildlife and Parks had recommended the season open Nov. 3, based on the desires of their biologists and hunter surveys that showed 77-percent of southeast Kansas duck hunters wanted the season to open Nov. 10 or earlier. All other duck seasons were set with  virtually no discussion amid commissioners.

The rest of the state’s waterfowl season’s are below.

The vote was 4-3 at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center near Great Bend.

 

DUCKS

High Plains  - Oct. 6-Dec. 30, and Jan. 19-27

Low Plains Early  - Oct. 6-Dec. 2, Dec. 15-Dec. 30

Low Plains Late – Oct. 27-Dec. 30, and Jan. 19-27

Low Plains Southeast – Nov. 15-Jan. 27

GEESE

White-fronted – Oct. 27-Dec. 30, Feb. 2-10

Canadas – Oct. 27-Nov. 4 and Nov. 7-Feb. 10

White – Oct. 27-Nov. 4 and Nov. 7-Feb. 10

More details will follow on Sunday’s Outdoors page and at www.kansas.com/outdoors.

Sumner County deer cleared of deadly disease

Wildlife officials are saying a Cowley County deer originally diagnosed with chronic wasting disease was found to be a “false positive.” That means the deer did not really have the disease that’s always fatal in deer, elk and moose. It would have been the first time the disease that’s spreading rapidly across the U.S. was found in south-central Kansas.

Mike Miller, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism information chief, said the deer’s tissue was re-sampled at a federal facility in Iowa, after testing as a probable positive at a lab in Colorado. Miller said several deer were tested in Colorado this year after K-State ran out of testing materials.

A total of nine deer originally tested positive from about 2,400 deer tested after the 2011 hunting seasons. Six were in northwest Kansas, where CWD has been found since 2001. Positives found in Ford and Stafford counties are the first time the disease has been found outside that region in Kansas. The Stafford County deer, a 3 1/2-year-old whitetail buck, was also re-tested and found to have died from CWD.

That makes a total of 48 deer that have been found to have died from the disease since 2001. CWD has never been found to spread to humans or livestock.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT CWD IN KANSAS.

Cool temps + great place = that fall feeling

Passing through the gate the leads to most of the 180-acre family farm.

The temperature was an even 50 degrees, and if I tried really hard I was able to see my breath last Saturday morning. Steam was raising from our lake north of Lawrence when I drove the UTV by, and a light jacket actually felt good.

It was a morning for work. Friday morning had been for hunting on a farm north of ours for squirrels. Five shots meant five gray squirrels – maybe only the second or third time in my long life I’ve taken a limit of just grays. Normally there a couple of fox squirrels mixed in.

Zipping around, with Boots the farm mutt sitting up on the seat beside me, I drove our farm’s trails, seeing what stands would need a bit more work and checking on the condition of food plots.

I placed a trail camera on a wide trail I’ve always wondered if the deer travel very much. Two strips of turnips got planted in dusty strips

Checking a trail camera showed some cool video of a very nice 11-pointer and four or five other bucks on one of our clover patches. (Sorry, I don’t know how to load video clips to the blog…the file is much too large.)

It danged sure didn’t feel like mid-August.

Amazing how perfect weather, on a day spent in a favored place, can really improve your mood and whole outlook on life.

Even egrets have to watch where they step

Marc Murrell photographed this egret with a huge mussel clamped to its foot at Chisholm Creek Park on Monday. This bird was rescued. Most would have perished and become part of the food chain.

The next time you’re walking along, and step in a pile of puppy poo, remember, it could have been much, much worse.

On Monday my friend Marc Murrell sent me this photo of an egret that must have accidentally put a foot atop an open freshwater mollusk in one of the small ponds at Chisholm Creek Park in Wichita.

Marc, Great Plains Nature Center manager, said a woman came hustling in, distraught, at what she’d seen while walking one of the park’s many trails. (I’ll bet she wasn’t nearly as distraught as the egret, though.)

In the wilds, the egret would have probably been doomed to death from exposure, or stress, or coyotes, or snapping turtles, or redtail hawks, or crows, or foxes….well, you get the idea.

Marc and Charlie Cope, the local Wildlife and Parks biologist, went to investigate. Marc said the mussel was one of the largest he’d ever seen, possibly weighing about half as much as the bird, and was showing no signs of releasing its grip on the egret’s foot.

(Mussels aren’t known to eat egret or any other kind of meat. It’s that lack of teeth thing for chewing, and their entire digestive system is designed to filter tiny nutrients out of the water.)

Marc figured the egret didn’t have the strength to get aireborne with the added baggage, and that it was floundering around in soupy mud didn’t help the situation.  By the time they’d arrived the bird was exhausted enough to not show much fear. Marc was able to pry the mullosk apart with a pocket knife enough to get the bird’s foot free.

Hopefully the bird will survive the stress of the event. Animals so traumatized often later die. No clue if the act of freeing the bird injured the mussel, either.

One thing is for sure, in 99.9-percent of such occurrences things don’t turn out as pleasant for the bird.

Mother Nature isn’t always nice. She has to provide for things like coyotes, and snapping turtles, and redtail hawks, and crows, and foxes,…well, you get the idea.

Bad Luck Bailey is all smiles

His name is Bailey Blosser, but I’ll always think of him as Bad Luck Bailey…and I’ll danged sure be smiling wide when I think about him.

Bailey Blosser, right, and his grandmother, Mary Blosser, out amid Monday morning's high winds and cold temperatures at Marion Reservoir.

I met Bailey at about 6 a.m. this morning. Last December his grandmother, Mary Blosser, had won a free fishing trip at The Eagle’s holiday open house. She’d said she’d like to bring her now 13-year-old grandson, Bailey. All sounded good.

The original offer was for a guided bass fishing trip this spring. But by the time springtime rolled around my favorite watershed had developed a hole in the bottom of the dam, and the best largemouth spot I’d ever fished was quickly going dry. (I really did enjoy it better than places I’d fished in Mexico and Florida.) By late May the drought had reduced my favorite spotted bass stream in the Flint Hills to little more than puddles.

So, plan C was a trip to Marion Reservoir this morning to fish with my friend Warren Kreutziger. He  had volunteered to take us to his productive chum piles at the lake for channel catfish. He’d been smoking fish on the spots for weeks, usually catching limits of ten per person.

YOU CAN CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT A TRIP I HAD WITH WARREN EARLIER THIS SUMMER.

I thought we might be in trouble when Bailey showed up in light shorts and a very light shirt. The temperature was in the mid-60s and a north wind was blowing. He added some thin pajama bottoms he had in his grandmother’s truck but he was still very under-dressed.

Warren was kind enough to loan him the heavy shirt that provided quite a bit more protection.

By the time we got Warren’s boat launched the wind was howling and pushing lines of white caps across the lake.

Long, soggy story short, we fished for four hours and I caught the only fish of the trip literally in the last minute. It was only a 12-inch catfish. We got wet going, we got wet coming back to the ramp and waves crashed over the front of the boat while we were fishing.

Along the way Bailey had literally shivered, got drenched by crashing waves, got his shoes soaked in the water in the bottom of the boat and didn’t get so much as a nibble from what would have been his first-ever fish.

And he responded with smiles, and laughter, and jokes. Even when I answered his “How late do you guys usually fish?” with a serious-sounding “Oh, 10:30 or so at night,” Bailey just smiled and made himself comfortable.

OK, so maybe he smiled even wider when I told him we usually quit at mid-morning.

He put up with  good-natured teasing that he was the jinx., even taking the blame for the bass lake draining and the stream going dry soon after he’d been invited to go bass fishing.

When we four drowned rats got back to the dock, Bad Luck Bailey quickly volunteered that he’d had fun and would go fishing again sometime.

Rather than push his grandmother to hurry home for dry clothes, or to get something to eat, Bailey took some time to work on his rock-skipping skills, and ended up doing pretty well.

Personally, I’ve had a lot less fun, catching a lot more fish, with kids and adults that didn’t have Bailey’s positive attitude. We’ll get you your first fish next year, Bailey. I promise.

From the sound of things his next big adventure will be his first-ever hunt for deer with his grandmother next fall. Mary Blosser is no stranger to successful deer hunting so I’m guessing they’ll do just fine.

Good luck Bailey, and I’m sure you’ll have fun…but you may want to show up on the hunt wearing more than your pajamas.  :-)

 

Kingman Lake to be drained

Kingman State Fishing Lake is to be drained soon, according to Jeff Koch,Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism fisheries biologist for the lake

Koch said the draining is being made to deal with high populations of unwanted fish, like common carp, gizzard shad and invasive white perch.

Because of the presence of the invasive white perch, the public will not be allowed to salvage fish.

Kingman is known for its unique beds of aquatic weeds and lillies. It holds Kansas’ only self-sustaining northern pike population and has produced some nice largemouth bass.

Draining the lake will begin soon, and will be helped by current low water levels caused by the drought. Koch said since the lake is low it will drain faster. It also decreases the chances remnant populations of unwanted species could survive in marshes and small streams around the lake.

Once water levels are very low the fish will be poisoned with rotenone. Pike, largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish will be restocked. Several improvements to the lake’s structure will also be made.

Koch said this will be the sixth time Kingman State Fishing Lake has been drained since it was built in the 1930s.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT THE PLANNED DRAINING. 

 

Great Bend sportsman appointed to wildlife commission

A Great Bend sportsman credits wanting to make a difference for accepting a position on the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission.

Roger Marshall, 51, was recently appointed to the seven-member commission by Gov. Sam Brownback.

“I want to make my 50s the decade where I get to give back,” Marshall said. “I’m looking forward to it because I should be able to learn a lot and make a positive impact in some way. I think the commission can make a difference.”

A physician  of obstetrics and gynecology, Marshall describes himself as an all-around sportsman, though he’s particularly partial to waterfowl, pheasants and bowhunting for deer. He seldom hunts any of them alone.

“Taking people out, and helping them catch their first big fish, shoot their first deer or get their first turkey are really my favorites,” Marshall said. “I’ve shot enough pheasants and deer. I’d rather take someone out and call in their first turkey, and let them watch how that bird performs than shoot one myself.”

He credits his own childhood in El Dorado for his desire to help others.

“I was fortunate that I had a dad, an older brother, three uncles and two grandfathers,” he said. “Someone was always ready to take me fishing, hunting or boating every weekend.”

Marshall and his wife, Laina, have lived in Great Bend for 21 years. Their four children are aged 27-13. He is a landowner and enjoys improving the habitat on his Stafford County property.

Marshall, a Republican, replaces Frank Meyer, of Herington, on the bi-partisan commission. Meyer served two four-year terms.