Michael Pearce

Slow time for outdoors bills in the legislature

So far, so quiet as per wildlife or outdoors recreation bills in the Kansas legislature this year.

That’s great news for Chris Tymeson, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism attorney, the main person the agency uses to monitor, support or fight against such legislative action.

“We’ve had no bills come out of the Senate Natural Resources Committee,” Tymeson said Wednesday afternoon. “I think generally people want a shorter, less contentious session than last year.”

That was when the legislature took many extra weeks, costing tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars, to get things settled. Some sessions the department, and assorted conservation groups, have been deep into 10 or more bills working through the legislative system.

Tymeson did say that two bills introduced last year would probably get attention again this session.

One is a bill that would force Wildlife and Parks to give any illegally-taken game animals to the landowner where the animal was poached. Such a law has been pushed for by Tim Nedeau, who wants possession of a high-scoring whitetail buck that was found poached near his mother’s land in Osage County about five years ago. The buck rivaled the current state record for Boone and Crockett score.

Wildlife and Parks has opposed such legal action saying it privatizes wildlife, which in Kansas belongs to the state. They also say some landowners may give such surrendered animals back to the poacher who killed it.

A bill that would add the right to hunt, fish and trap to the state’s constitution may also see more attention in Topeka. Tymeson said such action would require a public vote via ballot.

More updates

Not a lot new to report on the Outdoors scene. When the weather is right people are doing well on pheasants and, especially, quail in many parts of Kansas.

This year’s Wichita Sports Show is scheduled for Feb. 18-21 this year. Last year was the first for the show that replaces the Kansas Sports, Boat and Travel Show. Look for more details in coming weeks on the Outdoors page and within other sections of the Wichita Eagle and Kansas.com.

Upcoming coverage

An article with details on three celebrations in honor of bald eagles in Kansas is expected to be in Friday’s newspaper. The first is at the Milford Nature Center on Saturday. Similar events are held the following weekends near Lawrence and at the Chaplin Nature Center, near Arkansas City.

Sunday’s Outdoors page should hold a column about how I really just can’t get too into pheasant hunting in huge groups, like a dozen or more people and walking huge fields of cover. I enjoy hunting with a few buddies I know well, but I also get a lot of satisfaction hitting the fields with a dog as my only hunting companion. Through the years I’ve had some admirable success with such hunts, and figured out how to swing the odds a bit more in my favor.

The page will also have details on the legislative outlook and how funding is setting up for state parks for this year.

Down the road I’m hoping to have a story on a new outdoors-related business that’s in a new location, with a lot more to offer customers. Also, on Jan. 24 we’ll be announcing the details for our 2016 Great Outdoors Photo Contest and what we have planned for our booth at the show.

I’m also trying to fit in a few more hunts for the Outdoors page on Jan. 31, the last day of duck and upland bird seasons in Kansas. Hopefully I’ll have photos from one end of the state to the other.

It will be several weeks, but our medicala reporter, Gabriella Dunn, is working on a huge feature on tick-borne illnesses. I’ll be helping, somewhat, with the article. I have no doubt it will open a lot of eyes as per what the dangers are out there from the tiny insects.

Michael’s world

The older I get, the faster hunting seasons seem to pass...but the less opposition I have to them ending. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I opened the Sept. 1 dove opener at a friend’s pond in Marion County. I get a sense of how long ago that was, though, when I look at photos and see Cade was maybe half as large as he is now.

I’m trying to squeeze in a good hunt at a pond near Newton before things freeze up again, and I need to grab by bow and see if I can fill my fall turkey tag before that season ends the last of the month, too.

Man, some snow would sure be great for at least one classic winter pheasant hunt this season. I’d much rather walk through three inches of snow than wade through three inches of mud like I did Wednesday evening after pheasants.

I spent a lot of last weekend with my young friend, Jake, and our buddy Landen Snyder. We stayed at a friend’s hunting house in Sylvia Friday and Saturday nights. The main goal was to get the boys their fall turkeys, but the birds stood us up. Some of the windchill conditions were pretty brutal so we didn’t hit anything too hard. Both boys got their first-ever quail, and missed several more.

Saturday evening we helped a friend, Ed Markel, with a little wild game dinner for about 125 people. The two appetizers were grilled venison loin, marinated and sliced thin and pheasant fingers. Both were my recipes. Amid the main courses was a tray of smoked Canada goose Justin Bremer and I prepared on our little digital smokers. It’s been a great recipe, one I need to get in a blog sometime soon.


Michael Pearce