Important News from Kansas Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever
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January 2015
Pheasants Forever Inc. and Quail Forever is dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs.
Click Here to Register for the 2015 Kansas PF/QF State Convention in Wichita, KS
2015 Kansas Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever
With the start of a new year it brings a whole plethora of events for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever.  Each year your staff and volunteers across the country strive to provide high quality, fun, and educational events to our members and the public.  This year is no different as we will see Chapter Banquets, Habitat Workshops, Youth Educational Events, and the KS PF/QF State Convention all happening in the next 6 months.  It is a busy time of year for our organization but in order to provide the services and education we do throughout the year these few months are crucial.  

So how can you help?  Attend a local banquet, below in the calendar of events you will find a list of banquet and events that are happening throughout the state of KS.  If you don't have a local Chapter in your area contact us and we would be more than happy to assist you in the formation of your own Chapter that can provide habitat assistance and education to landowner and/or engage youth in fun, educational events that will help them throughout the rest of their lives.  

Each year our KS staff strives to provide a state-wide fun, educational event that is open to the public and volunteers throughout the state. This year will be no different as we are gearing up for the annual KS PF/QF State Convention.  At this event you will be able to enjoy social events with other like minded conservationist, attend educational seminars, learn about habitat and youth events, and be informed of where Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are headed in the future.  Registration for the convention is open and by clicking the link above this article you will be directed to the KS PF/QF Website so you can get registered and get in on the Early Bird drawing for a $250 Cabela's Gift Card.

Biodiversity and How That Effects The Wildlife We Care About

Anna Walkowiak-Esch, KS Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist
Biodiversity and How That Effects The Wildlife We Care About

Biodiversity; we have all heard the word before and the importance cannot be overstressed. To start, the definition of biodiversity is the variety of life. When managing for wildlife, we might focus on only one species when managing an area, but to do that we must understand that everything in the ecosystem around it is connected and dependent on one another. For example, when thinking about upland bird habitat we like to see the bunch grasses. But if bunch grasses is all we plant, and is all that is available, then we wouldn’t produce many birds. Upland birds also need bare ground, canopy cover, forbs, insects, shrubby cover etc. Greater diversity will increase the presence of those resources they need to survive and thrive all year around. 

A close up taken on an outcropping of rocks in western Kansas. It shows a diversity of species on a micro level.
In the case of natural disaster or disease outbreak, higher biodiversity increases an ecosystems chance of survival.. For example if you compare two ecosystems, one that has 2 different forbs and another that has 50 different forbs, with an occurrence of a drought some species of forbs will diminish. The second ecosystem with 50 forbs has a higher chance of “surviving”, because it will be able to still provide to the needs of the other organisms in the ecosystem even if half of the forbs disease.

What are the conditions now? Because of habitat loss and fragmentation we are losing biodiversity and creating more of a monoculture, one of the leading causes to an increase of threatened and endangered species. Other threats are the spread of invasive species/diseases, over exploitation of species, and pollution. We are experiencing extinction at an extremely greater rate than ever experienced before, although it is natural for species to go extinct from natural changes in the environment in long periods of time. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, globally, one third of all known species are threatened right now with extinction.

So what can you do to help? When creating or improving your wildlife area try to get as much native diversity as possible. By using native plants they provide a higher benefit to the ecosystem. Also, planting a more diverse pollinator mix, include different species in your shrub shelter belt, or use a cover crop mix instead of only one plant. Making these changes to your area will help increase biodiversity causing a chain reaction of advantages including increasing variety of habitats, which will increase the available food for wildlife and in turn increase the wildlife population in your area!

Anna Walkowiak-Esch PF Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist
References from National Wildlife Federation and International Union for Conservation of Nature

Gearing up for Native Seed Planting

Allie Rath, KS Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist

As January rolls on, you may want to geared-up to get your native grass and forb/wildflower seed ordered.  Most people wait until spring to get around to ordering seed and then seed companies may run into more demand than supply.  If they run out of a species then your whole mix may have to be changed, which takes time to have your conservationist approve a new mix and then you’re battling planting timelines.  You will want to ask your seed company if they can separate the fluffy seed from the smooth seed and then put those seed types in the correct box on the drill.  This will give you a better flow through your seed drill.  Most native grass drills have their lowest planting rate at 4.5 pounds/ac.  A lot of seed mixes will have no problem meeting that rate, however when you need a forbs or wildflowers (pollinator habitat) mix you’ll want to consider adding some filler (i.e. cracked milo, low/no germination native grass, etc.).  Whether you have CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) plantings or are restoring other areas of your ground for wildlife or erosion control, getting your seed ordered now can help you comply with programs or get better results for what you want.  

Ordering early also plays into planting early.  Be thinking of where you’re going to reserve a no-till native grass drill, hopefully with a forb box and agitator if you’re planting any wildflower seeds.  December 1 was the first day that NRCS approves native seed drilling.  Although native seed planting is allowed through May 15, it’s best to get your grass and wildflower seed drilled anytime from December 1 through the end of February, sometimes into early March.  This will do a couple of things.  Winter is usually a less busy time for most landowners.  Don’t wait until spring when all sorts of activities quickly fill your priority list.  This will also make sure you are not out in field drilling when it’s muddy and soft. The best depth to plant your natives, especially any wildflowers, is a ¼ to a ⅛ of an inch deep.  If you’re planting in winter you can error on the side of shallow.  The freezing and thawing of winter and spring on top of the seed will put that seed where it needs to be.  It will also help seeds germinate, create great seed-to-soil contact, and start receiving moisture as soon as spring starts.  You will want to reduce wear and tear on equipment by slowing down when drilling, especially if the ground is frozen.  You will want to check the status of your seed in the drill boxes on occasion while planting to make sure seed is flowing through.  Do not stop planting until all the seeds have been drilled.  If more passes are needed, consider going back over 90 degrees to your first passes.

To find a native grass drill, seed companies, or help with making a seed mix contact your local Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist, Pheasants Forever or Quail Forever chapter, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT), county conservation district, or Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) service center.


Cedar Bluff Reservoir & Wildlife Area

Luke Winge - PF Habitat Specialist
As I step out of the door in the morning I feel the cold air hit my face and make its way into my lungs where I get the rest of the sleep knocked out of my mind, when I get to my truck my fingers tingle at the frost on the door handle as I open the door. Moments later there are ducks and geese flying overhead looking for fields to roam through for breakfast, I see deer meandering through the green shoots of a month old wheat field, and I hear the fall gobble and yelps of the turkeys just before I round the corner and they come into view hanging out under their cottonwood roost. Yes sir, its hunting season.  However, instead of sipping on hot coffee sitting on the shore waiting for waterfowl to lock up and come in, and instead of sitting in a tree stand waiting for the buck that I have been observing all season to walk by in search of a doe, or shooting at a cackling pheasant as it roars out of a food plot - I get to go to one of the greatest jobs an outdoor enthusiast could want. I am the newest Pheasants Forever Habitat Specialist in Kansas, located in Western Kansas at the Cedar Bluff Wildlife Area. Although many people have heard of the Cedar Bluff Wildlife Area only a few understand all of the hard work that goes into managing such a productive area.
            The construction of Cedar Bluff Reservoir and Wildlife Area was completed in 1951. The reservoir filled up within a year and has been a fluctuating body of water ever since, making it a challenge to manage both the terrestrial and aquatic wildlife on the property. Cedar Bluff is currently composed of approximately 13,800 acres - 10,300-acres are land that surrounds a 3,500-acre reservoir. Area manager, Kent Hensley, has been showing up before sunrise and going home after sunset for the past 25 years and has been shaping this wildlife area into one of the most productive deer hunting properties, a fantastic upland hunting area, and a great pit stop for waterfowl migrating through the area.
With hunting season under way hunters from all across the country are reaping the benefits of the hard work that goes into the area. The abundant rainfall early in the summer helped jump start the management efforts by allowing the seeds that had been sitting in the soil waiting for the right conditions to finally grow into exceptional habitat for all wildlife species, which helps the habitat managers out tremendously. Hunters are hunting the food plots that were planted in the spring and managed all summer; they are hunting in areas that have had eastern red cedars removed from the understory; and they are able to walk through upland areas that have been fashioned into some of the most productive areas around. The end result of a summers work is to be able to sit back and hear the success stories from people that may not otherwise have anywhere to hunt.
Even though the summer work is over the amount of work in the fall and winter is just as daunting. Staff will continue to implement strategies to improve habitat. Eastern red cedars that have moved into the uplands will be cut down and sculpted into beneficial brush piles for quail and other upland wildlife; timber stand improvements will be directed at reducing the thick vegetation under the cottonwood canopy; the waterfowl refuge management; maintaining the miles of roads for hunter access and completing the necessary equipment maintenance.
            Next on the agenda are wildlife and hunter/harvest surveys through the fall and winter months. The results of these surveys are analyzed to determine what is working, not working, and what has changed on the area. After completing the reviews and analysis there are management plans to be written for the next year. Management plans are written with the intentions of improving an already great wildlife area. They include the following: budget analyses, new equipment needs, maintenance needs of buildings and equipment, agricultural permits, food plot plans, buffer strip plans, new grass plantings, tree and shrub management, prescribed fire plans, and hunter/harvest management.
            As someone who works outside and belongs outside, as I sit here at my desk I find myself gazing out the window for longer and longer durations of time. I will take this as my inner self telling me that it is time to put the pen down and return to my “real office”, the 13,800 acre wildlife area that I am lucky enough to be an integrated part of each day.
For more information about the Cedar Bluff Wildlife Area the office can be contacted at (785)726-3212.
Luke Winge
Kansas Chapter Calendar
January - 2015
  • 17th High Plains Roosters PF Banquet, Goodland
  • 17th Heartland Pioneer QF Banquet, Lyons
  • 17th Pawnee Valley PF Banquet, Larned
  • 17th Tailfeather Tribe PF Banquet, Tribune
  • 31st Southwest KS Ringnecks PF Banquet, Johnson
  • 31st Kansas Pioneer PF Banquet, Colby
  • 31st Republican Valley Ringnecks PF Banquet, Wakefield
  • 31st Ringneck PF Renegades Banquet, Leoti
  • 31st Route 36 QF Banquet, Smith Center
  • 31st Lyon County QF Banquet, Emporia
February - 2015
  • 7th Ark River Banquet, Hutchinson
  • 7th Neosho Valley QF, New Strawn
  • 21st Scott Co. Banquet, Scott City
  • 21st Flint Hills Banquet, Manhattan
  • 28th Smoky Hill Banquet, Hays
  • 28th McPherson Area Banquet, McPherson
  • 28th Slate Creek Valley PF, Caldwell
  • 28th K-16 QF, Hoyt
March - 2015
  • 5th Keeper of the Plains Banquet, Wichita
  • 5th Johnson County PF, Olathe
  • 7th Northfolk Tailgunners Banquet, Ulysses
  • 7th Rooster Boosters Banquet, Great Bend
  • 13th &14th Kansas PF/QF Convention, Wichita
  • 14th Dickinson Co. Banquet, Abilene
  • 14th Marion Co. Banquet, Marion
  • 20th Cloud Co. Banquet, Concordia
  • 21st Stubble Ducks Banquet, Dighton
  • 21st Osborne Co. Banquet, Downs
  • 28th Black Gold Banquet, Russell
April - 2015
  • 4th Solomon Valley Banquet, Stockton
  • 11th Smoky Hill River Banquet, Ellsworth
May - 2015

June - 2015
Kansas Field Staff Directory
2014 Team Photo (back row from left) Allie Rath, Andrew Page, Alex Thornburg, Alex Heeger, Marc Glades, Chris Blackledge, Brock Wilson, Luke Winge, Tyson Seirer, (front row from left) Zac Eddy, Holly Shutt, Steve Riley. (Not pictured Brian Schaffer)
Marc Glades - Field Manger, South Team

Chris Blackledge - Regional Representative

Jordan Martincich - Development Officer

Brian Schaffer - Youth Education Coordinator

Zachary Eddy - Senior Farm Bill Biologist (South Central)

Allie Rath - Farm Bill Biologist (Central)

Anastasia Walkowiak-Esch - Farm Bill Biologist (West Central)

Holly Shutt - Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist (North East)

Tyson Seirer - Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist (North Central)

Alex Heeger - Farm Bill Biologist (North West)

Alex Thornburg - Habitat Specialist (Tuttle Creek)

Luke Winge - Habitat Specialist (Cedar Bluff)

Hunter Baillie - Habitat Specialist (Perry Wildlife Area)
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