Invasive Species Caught in Kansas as Outdoor Season Heats Up

Outdoors activity rises as spring nears.

  • A 55-pound Asian Carp caught in Augusta City Lake Jan. 25 brought attention to invasive species in Kansas. A report from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism states the fish, caught during a fish salvage order, is considered an invasive species harmful to the local ecosystem.
  • The Topeka Capital Journal released an Outdoor Calendar for Feb. and March.  Events include the Kansas Bird Dog Championship Feb. 10-11 and the Topeka Boat and RV show Feb. 10-12 .
  • The Wichita Eagle’s Michael Pearce reports the coming of Pheasant fest to Kansas City, Mo.  The show will feature everything upland game hunting.  The event begins Feb. 16 at the Kansas City Convention center.
  • A recent Bassmaster article highlights tour pro Aaron Marten’s five favorite hooks for bass fishing.
  • John B. Snow and Dave E. Petzal released a list of the best rifles coming in 2012.  The list includes brand names, such as, Remington, Ruger and Winchester.

Fishing in February

By Trevor Graff

Early February isn’t usually considered a great time for fishing in Kansas.  Unless, of course, you have access to an ice auger and don’t mind sitting in the cold all day  à la “Grumpy Old Men.” This year is a different story. The oddly warm weather of the past week led to “Spring Fever” for many anglers including myself.

The view from my chosen locale.

“Spring Fever” often leads to the dreaded “skunk.” Unless you hit the water with a game plan.  If you are craving the lake, but don’t have time to get the boat out of storage, here’s some solid strategy for a quick, early season bank fishing outing.

First, fish a smaller local lake. For example, Douglas State Fishing Lake just outside of Baldwin City, Kan. Smaller lakes are often much easier to manage when fishing off of the bank and can offer a secluded get away for a few hours.

Once you find a lake, target shoreline flats with nice cover such as a downed tree or rock bed. When temperatures rise into the 50s, as they did the Thursday of my excursion, water temperatures rise triggering movement to the shallower flats. If possible try to fish the mouth of the creek channel entering the lake. Fish stay in these deeper channels in times of colder water temperatures.

A key of the early season is not getting too greedy.  For my trip I used Cabela’s one to one-and-a-half inch crappie tubes and other pan-fish lures.  The theory is simple, the water is cold so keep lure movements somewhat slow. Slower movement allows weary fish time to strike. Cast and jig in a standard fashion. Chances are at least one large-mouth is out there enjoying the warm weather.

Short Trips of this nature are often a great cure for “Spring Fever” and a great way to get away from work for a while. In my case, it was out to the lake at eight o’clock Thursday morning and back to history class by two that afternoon.

Students, Law Enforcement Critical of Conceal and Carry Bill

By Trevor Graff

Several students at the University of Kansas are critical of a recent bill allowing the concealed carrying of firearms on campus.

The bill, to be heard by the Kansas House of Representatives, allows concealed carrying in public buildings, including Kansas college campuses, that lack metal detectors and proper security personnel.  Many opponents of the bill cite expenses and immaturity as reason for keeping guns off of Kansas campuses.

“While I support the policy in general, I think the current safety precautions  combined with the pressures of being a college student render conceal and carry on college campuses both unnecessary and potentially dangerous.” University of Kansas sophomore Sondra Moore said.

Many students say current security forces make concealed firearms unnecessary.

“Measures are consistently being taken to ensure that college campuses stay as safe as possible,” Moore said.

Conceal and carry does garner some support on campus.

“I am in favor of upholding the second amendment and therefore I would be in favor of concealed carry in all Kansas public buildings; even buildings on campus.” University of Kansas senior David Elliott said. “It does get sticky and I can definitely see both sides of the argument, but statistics show that campuses that allow concealed carry report less crime.”

Those in favor of the bill say the stringent licensing process of the current concealed carry law ensures only qualified gun owners can legally conceal a firearm.

“If a gun owner is mature enough to go through the permit process, enter the service, and actually make the investment to buy a gun, he is mature enough to carry the gun wherever he pleases in public,” Elliott said.

College campuses aren’t the only public entities affected by the bill.  Government Buildings would also be required to increase security.

“People have an expectation of safety when in these buildings, and certified law enforcement should be the only people carrying weapons,” says Greg Mills, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism officer. “While there is a possibility lives could be saved by someone licensed to carry, it may only compound the problem.”

When conceal and carry licensees are present, Officers entering public buildings face deciding whether a shooter is a criminal or licensed to carry a weapon. Often this situation ends in tragedy, Mills said.

Although the bill has stirred debate, many are skeptical of the costs and possible dangers involved.

“I honestly don’t think the bill will pass,” Elliott said.

Concealed Carry, Shooting Safety Highlight Outdoor News

  • A bill allowing the concealed carrying of firearms in government and university buildings will advance to the Kansas House of Representatives.  Under this bill, a person with a concealed carry permit would be able to carry a weapon in government and university buildings lacking metal detectors and security personnel.
  • Kirk Deeter of Field & Stream blind tested the casting ability of a group of anglers using both expensive and budget fishing rods.  Deeter affirmed his hunch as budget rods performed well.
  • Finding the right pair of shooting glasses can greatly improve target acquisition while protecting your eyes. Randolph Engineering offers a strong line of shooting glasses including a new HD lens designed specially for trap shooters.
  • A recent article from Michael Pearce of the Wichita Eagle showcases safety in hunting.  Pearce’s analysis of a recent study, conducted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, compares hunting with many popular hobbies.
  • The 10th annual outdoors youth essay contest is giving young hunters in Kansas the opportunity to win a guided spring turkey hunt and a shotgun. The mailing deadline for essays is Mar. 8; winners will be chosen by Mar. 11.

News from the Outdoors

January is shaping up as a hot news period in the outdoor industries.

  • For the first time in decades, Kansas senior citizens could be required to pay for hunting and fishing licenses.  Michael Pearce of the Wichita Eagle provides a solid breakdown of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s prospective policy change.
  • A bill seeking to permanently give waterfowl hunters the ability to buy federal migratory bird hunting permits, commonly known as duck stamps, is one step closer to law.  The e-Duck Stamp Bill is the result of a successful eight-state pilot program that sold temporary stamps online.
  • The Monster Buck Classic will be held in Topeka, Kan. at the Kansas Expocentre Jan. 27-29.  The event aims to promote deer hunting and outdoor recreation in Kansas.
  • PCP Ammunition showcased a new polymer shell casing at the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nev.  The new casings offer an alternative to brass casings of old.
  • In a recent Kansas City Star article, Brent Frazee reported a resurgence in recreational boat sales.  For the first time in four years, boat dealers in the Kansas City area are seeing a steady rise in sales.