Michael Pearce

More than 100 sets of confiscated antlers to be auctioned

On Sept. 19, more than 100 sets of antlers or shoulder mounts of deer seized by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism are scheduled to be sold by auction in Salina.

Kevin Jones, Wildlife and Parks law enforcement chief, said it’s the largest event of its kind ever held in Kansas. The department regularly holds similar auctions to sell antlers, hides and any equipment that was seized in poaching cases, including firearms. Jones said it’s also how the agency sells any of their own equipment, like boats and vehicles, that are being replaced or aren’t woth what repairs might cost.

Many of the antlers and mounts come from some of the most notorious poaching cases in Kansas. Jones said many are from Operation Cimarron, a combined state and federal case that prosecuted about 30 poachers from Texas and Louisiana, and led to the confiscation of more than 100 sets of antlers or mounts.

Lonnie Wilson, owner of Wilson Auction Service in Salina, said many are trophy-class.

“They’re all good heads. People don’t mount crappy heads,” he said. “We have one that’s real close to the state record (typical whitetail). I think it scored 197 7/8 on Boone and Crockett.”

Wilson said the Wildlife and Parks goods will be sold as part of a consignment auction that could feature goods from more than 100 sellers. He said more information will continue to be made available at the Wilson Auction Service website.

Jones said money raised at the auction will be used to help further outdoors education programs, and hunts for veterans and children.

Sunday’s upcoming Outdoors page should have more details about the auction.

More updates

Most reports from dove hunters who have been out since Tuesday’s opening day have been pretty good. The recent week or two of dry weather has dried up a lot of puddles and has forced doves to regular ponds where they’re more easily hunted.

The corn harvest is also underway, which is also bringing in some birds. Not a lot of great reports of doves being hunted well around wheat fields. Many of those fields have already been worked under in preparation for planting within a few weeks. Others were planted to soybeans or milo shortly after the summer harvest.

Peabody farmer Derek Klingenberg is once again a youtube video sensatition for a video he’s posted about catching a small bluegill with a fishing line attached to a drone. As of Thursday afternoon the video had been viewed more than 800,000 times.

Klingenberg has become somewhat of a youtube star for other comedy videos he’s produced and posted about farm dogs, calling the family cow herd with a trombone and what life is like for a Kansas farmer. Many of his productions are paradies of popular songs. He’s been featured on many major news networks and news programs.

I’m hoping to have a blog and Outdoors page article on Klingenberg sometime next week.

As reported in Thursday’s Eagle, a federal judge in Texas has removed the lesser prairie chicken from the federal threatened species list, stating the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had not properly considered all factors when making the decision to list the birds last year. More law suits asking the birds be re-listed are expected to come.

Fall migrations are coming right along. Some think they’re seeing a few more birds than usual for around Sept. 1, like blue-winged teal.

Upcoming coverage

Sunday’s Outdoors page will have coverage of a Saturday dove hunt in Greenwood County. The hunt has been going on for years, and has about as much tradition and popularity as the opening of pheasant season. Usually 20 or more hunters come from various parts of Kansas and even from out of state to participate in the hunt that’s hosted by the same sportsman. The event includes some big, festive meals and clay target shooting between hunts.

As already mentioned, the page is also expected to have more details on the May 19 Wildlife and Parks auction. Next week I should also have more on Derek Klingenberg and his youtube videos.

Down the road I’m hoping to go take a look at central Kansas’ top three wetlands, and see how they’re looking for upcoming waterfowl seasons and the migrations of sandhill and whooping cranes, and other species wildlife watchers like to see coming through Kansas.

I’m also looking into a new type of invasive grasses that has ranchers and wildlife experts worried that it’s replacing native grasses and forbs that offer more to livestock and wildlife. A story on the 30th anniversary of the Conservation Reserve Program is also in the works.

Michael’s world

I had a great three day weekend in southern California visiting Lindsey, out daughter. My favorite part was just hanging around and talking with Lindsey and her boyfriend, Lance. All three mornings I got up earlier than they did and took Lady Bird, her super-cool Australian shepherd, for an hour-long walk and about another hour of people watching from benches overlooking the Pacific in Santa Monica.

I don’t know about the region’s quail or pheasant hatch, but they certainly have had some great people hatches because they’re everywhere. Sitting on a bench Saturday morning, we must have had at least 10 groups of 20 to 50 joggers come by in tightly packed groups.

The most interesting sight I saw was a jogger with a neck to navel tattoo of Cecil, the lion, on his chest. We went to see Meru, a movie about a group’s repeated attempts, and eventual success, to climb the notorious Shark’s Fin side of Mount Meru in the Himalayas. Up until their eventual success, it had never been climbed.

The movie was particularly interesting to me because Lindsey and Lance are serious rock climbers, so they were able to explain a lot. A supervisor of an Oscar-winning team that does visual effects for movies, Lance was also able to explain what parts of the movie were actually videoed and the few scenes that needed some in-studio assistance. The scenery was stunning, as were the harshness of the conditions the climbers endured.

After several months of waiting, I’ve taken Cade, our four-month-old Lab, dove hunting twice this week. I published a blog on Tuesday’s hunt, and Cade’s antics between retrieves.

We went again for an hour Wednesday evening, to a small pond where we train near Newton. Unlike Tuesday I shot well and Cade was a bit wild. He retrieved all 11 of my doves, but had to be calmed a few times. We’ll see how he does Thursday evening at a pond in a big pasture near El Dorado.

As he has done for most of the past 18 years, Jerrod will be coming home for some dove hunting over the Labor Day weekend. He’ll meet me for a Saturday afternoon hunt in Greenwood County, after I file that morning’s story.

Sunday afternoon and Monday morning we’re hoping to hunt with a friend out west of Dodge City. That’s further than most people are willing to drive for doves, but I so enjoy the last hour of daylight around a waterhole in that part of the state.

I frequently have called it “Wingshooting’s finest hour.”

I’ll let you know how it goes.


Michael Pearce