Michael Pearce

'A Taste of Wild Kansas' coming to wetlands education center

On Sunday, March 13, I’ll be hosting “A Taste of Wild Kansas” at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, near Cheyenne Bottoms, east of Great Bend. Plans call for the usual visual and verbal presentation of our cookbook, “Taste of the Kansas Outdoors,” but I’ll also be doing quite a bit of actual cooking, Yes, that means samples of things like Venison Hawaiian Sliders, Peace Creek Duck and a great smoked goose recipe. (I promise the duck and goose will not taste “strong and gamey.”

We’ll be selling copies of the book at $10, all inclusive. That’s less than half the normal retail price.

More updates

Fishing has been hit and miss, as the water has started to warm faster than usual. I’ve seen some photos of people with blue catfish they’ve caught at places like Milford or Melvern reservoirs. The biggest I’ve seen weighed 40-some pounds. Bigger fish are surely yet to come in the next few weeks.

Some may remember last summer I did an article on two brothers who’d been fishing for bass in the Flint Hills since before Bonny met Clyde. One was 92 and his “little brother” was 88.

I got a photo in the mail this week from the eldest, Jim Barr ,with a six-pound bass he’d caught recently. He was using a Ned Rig, at what looked like a pond in the Flint Hills.

Right on time, winter flocks of wild turkeys are starting to scatter some and spread across the countryside. Yearling jakes are usually the first to start their testosterone-fueled wanderings. Within about three weeks they’ll have set up their spring territories. Right now’s a great time to hear a lot of gobbling in the morning if you can find a gobbler roost. They’re feeling their oats, and don’t mind telling the world about it.

Upcoming coverage

Sunday’s printed Outdoors page will have a feature on a group of anglers who gather weekly to tie flies and swap fishing stories. There sessions are open to the public, and a great chance for beginners to get some good fly-tying tips. The page will also have an update on chronic wasting disease in Kansas. The news is not good, at all.

Sometime within the next several days I should have a feature on a llama packing trial I attended Sunday near Medicine Lodge. It’s kind of like a hunt test for dogs in that it’s not a one-on-one competition, but rather animals competing against a set standard.

I’ll also be posting updates of what’s happening in the Kansas legislature, like the current bill that could cripple a landowner’s right to put his or her property into a conservation easement.

Down the road I’m hoping a trip to Wolf Creek on Saturday will yield enough fish for a nice story for the March 13th Outdoors page.

Next week I also plan on starting research on a story about the many small volunteer fire departments scattered across rural Kansas. Most are manned by just local men and women with little training. Still, they’re responsible for fire protection for about 95 percent of the state of Kansas.

It’s about time to start a monthly series of features to help the general public get out and have some fun, doing things like hiking, fishing, floating and camping.

Michael’s world

My time with the llamas was enjoyable. It was the first time I’d really spent time around llamas that had some training, and all were very sociable and approachable. I learned they don’t spit as much as most people think, but they don’t want you to touch their face, either. Everybody there was very friendly, and patient with what may have seemed like very basic questions.

I still haven’t fished this year. It’s one of those “maybe in a few days…” kind of things, though I’m sure I’ll wet a line on Saturday at Wolf Creek. My first responsibility, of course, is to get enough material for a nice article and ample photos and video to help complete the package.

In some ways I miss hunting seasons, but in most ways I don’t. Cade and I have been working about a half-hour or so per day, though mostly just to give him some exercise. I’m still not sure I’ve ever seen an animal get such joy from the simple things in life.

Speaking of photos and video, I’m really wanting to get out some morning and to photograph and video a big flock of turkeys in Butler County. It should be pretty loud, and I’m betting the testosterone levels are high enough that the toms will be ready to rumble with one another. If we do it over his spring break, I imagine my buddy Jake would be glad to tag along.

This weekend will be a busy one. I have the Saturday assignment working at Wolf Creek, then I scout a new piece of property for deer hunting early Sunday morning. After that, we all meet at Jerrod and Carilyn’s house in Overland Park for a belated celebration of my birthday. He said he’s cooking pork bellies a couple of different ways which will be interesting, and no doubt extremely good. I wish I could cook like that at my age.

Kathy and I are headed to California this spring for about a four day weekend visiting Lindsey, and her boyfriend, Lance. That will be fun. Normally Kathy and I head out separately so it’ll be good to share it all with her. It will not be dull.

Bests,

Michael Pearce

mpearce@wichitaeagle.com

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