Michael Pearce

Taxidermy group to meet in Wichita

The Kansas Association of Taxidermists is holding their annual convention at the Drury Hotel, in downtown Wichita, March 18-20.

Cory Foth, association past president, said most of the event is limited to members, but the public can view the gathering of competition-quality mounts and displays between 9am.-noon on Sunday, the 20th. He estimated there will be upwards of 100 mounts and displays. Admission is free that morning, though donations are appreciated.

The first two days of the event will largely be workshops for members. Some of the workshops include expert demonstrations on various processes of mounting deer, fish and game birds.

To attend the workshops will require the $35 annual membership to the association, plus the $105 fee for attending the convention.

More updates

A lot of memories appear to have been made last Saturday. One reason was because it was a rare warm and calm day in March. It also seemed like fish were biting about everywhere there were anglers, with a few exceptions.

Some anglers I know did well trolling for saugeye and walleye near the dam at Kanopolis, catching 13 above the lake’s 15-inch minimum length limit. Other boats did well vertically fishing things like flukes, off rocky points. Other anglers did well with wipers and white bass on rocky points.

The major disappointment seems to be with crappie anglers, as the fish seem to have scattered from their winter pattern of hanging in big schools, near deep structure. That’s about par for the course as the water temperatures warm.

People looking for shed deer antlers are doing pretty well, as it seems like at least half of the bucks have dropped their headgear. I am, though, hearing more and more complaints about “shed poachers,” which are trespassers looking for fallen antlers where they don’t have permission. A friend has a good trail camera photo of such a person walking down a deer trail, carrying a pretty big antler. A trail camera and feeder at a different part of the same property was stolen about that same time.

Upcoming coverage

Sunday’s Outdoors page will have a feature on a bass fishing trip to Coffey County Lake, which is the lake at the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant. That we went last Saturday, when about everybody was catching fish in Kansas, should tell you how we did. The fishing was so good even I caught quite a few largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Depending on space, I’ll probably have a legislative update as per outdoors-related bills in Topeka.

Further down the road I’m planning on a feature on a Reno County man’s desire to create the best fishing pond in Kansas. From the sound of things, he may have done it. As well as your standard bass and panfish, the waters hold big wipers, walleye and yellow perch, and all have remarkable growth rates. He obviously is really pouring the food into the water. One of his sources is pretty unique, but I can’t blame the fish for eating it because I think it’s delicious, too.

We have lots of articles in the planning for down the road, both for the Outdoors page and other parts of the newspaper. There are so many good ideas out there right now, that finding time to get them done is the real challenge. I’m really hoping to find a few more non-consumptive articles, like hiking, kayaking and birding.

We also have plans for a feature on a unique place in the Flint Hills that offers an impressive zip-lining course.

Michael’s world

The fishing trip to Wolf Creek was fun, but it reminded me that my right shoulder can’t take as much casting as it did even five years ago. I’ll talk to Lindsey, our family physical therapist, to see if there are any exercises I should be doing. I’m also going to have to change my casting technique so I’m not lifting my arm as high above my head, too.

I don’t understand, it’s not like my right shoulder has had much use, like from shotgun recoil and casting spinning, fly and casting rods. OK, maybe it has. Oh well, if I’ve worn it out, at least it was worn out making a lot of smiles.

Rather than home, I headed up to Jerrod and Carilyn’s after fishing. Kathy came up Sunday and we celebrated by birthday a few weeks late. It was well worth the wait because Jerrod smokes about the best ribs I’ve ever eaten. Seriously.

We’re down to about six weeks before we send Cade, our 11-month-old Lab, to a trainer. The main things he’ll be doing is the force-fetch technique, which teaches the dog to not put something its retrieving down until it has taken by the handler.

He’ll also be introducing Cade to an electronic collar. No, I’m not planning on zapping the dog every time he makes a mistake. Mainly, I want it in case there’s a situation where I have to stop him on a dime and he can’t hear, or is ignoring, the whistle command. I’ve had friends lose five dogs to highways or thin ice because they couldn’t be stopped. As is, Cade really slams on the brakes when I hit one long, and loud whistle blast. If it’s damp, you can see where his paws lock up and slide on the ground. Still, I want to be sure I can always control him.

He’s actually continuing to mellow, though he has plenty of energy when we’re working. Thanks to Facebook, I can keep up with the progress of his three litter mates. It’s interesting that all four dogs have most of the same habits, like the love of running with something in their mouth and a full-speed attitude about life.

The most interesting is that at least three of the pups take great joy in playing “hockey.” In it the pups have up to three toys in their mouths, while they kick and nose around something like a crunched gallon plastic jug across the floor full speed. Sometimes they’ll swat the thing back and forth, like a cat. It’s loud and fun to watch, but not so fun if you’re trying to do an important interview over the phone.

Try to get out and spend some time outdoors as often as you can.


Michael Pearce