Jerusalem Badlands s t a t e
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
p a r k
EXPLORE Land once scarred by decades of coal mining is now home to Kansasâ€™ best hunting and fishing. The Mined Land Wildlife Area features hundreds of bodies of water and thousands of acres of public hunting. Enjoy this unique outdoor experience in Crawford County, Kansas!
welcome KSOUTDOORS.COM / TRAVELKS.COM
Laura Kelly Governor
KDWPT Interim Secretary
KDWPT Assistant Secretary
e here at Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism have worked diligently to let people know what Kansas has to offer, and we encourage them to explore the amazing outdoor activities available in our great state. It’s no secret that Kansas has great deer, turkey, upland bird and waterfowl hunting, and crappie, catfish, and wiper anglers know that many of our lakes and reservoirs provide fantastic fishing. However, there is more than meets the eye to the Kansas outdoors, and this 2019 Kansas Outdoor Guide will unveil some, perhaps lesser-known, Kansas outdoor treasures. Some may not know that Kansas has thousands of miles of trails open to hikers, bikers and horseback riders. Most of the 28 state parks have trails, ranging from short, easy hiking trails with interpretive signs, to renowned mountain bike trails. We are especially proud of two of our longest trails, the 52-mile Prairie Spirit Trail and the 117-mile Flint Hills Trail. Both trails connect historical communities and offer wild scenery and a wide variety of distance options. Kansas has world-class birdwatching. The same migration corridor, the Central Flyway, that brings bountiful ducks and geese to Kansas hunters, also guides many other migratory
PHOTOGRAPH Jason Dailey
birds, including shorebirds. Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife area, near Great Bend, and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in Stafford County are truly birdwatching meccas. And the wide range of habitats our state features, from the timbered east to tallgrass prairie to Great Plains in the west, offer birders a tremendous variety of bird species throughout the year. And there’s more, including off-road vehicle trails and a unique and historical Fort Leavenworth event that includes hounds and mounted hunters. You’ll want to visit our newest state park, Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park, in Logan County, which features unbelievable scenery and geological formations. We’re so excited to be working with The Nature Conservancy of Kansas to ensure that this treasure will not only be preserved but available to all who want to experience it. There really is more to the Kansas outdoors than you might expect at first glance. We invite you to take a deeper look and know you’ll be glad you did.
Linda Craghead KDWPT Interim Secretary
KANSAS! Outdoors is published by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism 1020 S. Kansas Ave., Suite 200, Topeka, KS, 66612, (785) 296-3479
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EDITORIAL PRODUCTION AND DESIGN BY SUNFLOWER PUBLISHING
MCAPRINT.COM / WICHITA, KANSAS
Jerusalem Badlands s t a t e
p a r k
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
ON THE COVER Rays of sun fall on the landscape at Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park. The region was named “Little Jerusalem” by 19th-century travelers who believed that the towering formations of Niobrara chalk emerging in sunlight resembled Biblical descriptions of the city of Jerusalem. Photograph by Bruce Hogle, courtesy The Nature Conservancy.
D E PA R T M E N T S
A two-wheel state with plenty of paths
LITTLE JERUSALEM A new state park provides visitors access to a unique, unforgettable landscape
FLINT HILLS TRAIL This new state park links several key Kansas attractions through a corridor of diverse nature and landscape
Beautiful, serene waterways await exploration
A land-locked state, but with lakes of potential
Enjoy seasonal migration events and year-round opportunities
18 Hunting PHOTOGRAPHS (CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT) Rachel Locke for Kansas Outdoor Corps, Jason Dailey, KDWPT, Michael C. Snell, Adam A. Ahlers, Bill Stephens
F E AT U R E S
THE FORT LEAVENWORTH HUNT TRADITION One of the state’s oldest hunting traditions continues, with pomp and ceremony, across fields of northeast Kansas
6 EPIC OUTDOOR ADVENTURES Here are our picks for six unforgettable experiences in six different Kansas regions
An overview of game, locations and seasons
Stroll through the woodlands, climbs and expanses
22 Parks & Trails
Options for natural getaways across the state
24 Target Shooting
Numerous clubs and opportunities foster this sport across the state
26 Horse Riding
MY BEST WORST BOWHUNT On the Kansas plains, even an unsuccessful expedition yields an appreciation of nature and the land it has shaped over time
The original, and some say still the best, way to see the state
28 Star Gazing
Discover the awe-inspiring scope of Kansas’ night skies
Enjoy the slow life surrounded by nature and a campfire
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PHOTOGRAPHS (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP) David Mayes, Josiah Engstrom for Kansas Outdoor Corps, Bill Stephens, KDWPT, Shutterstock, KDWPT (2), Shutterstock, KDWPT, Nick Krug, Brian Goodman
In Kansas, we know that experiencing the outdoors is essential to healthful communities, families and people. This section highlights the core aspects of the mission of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to create, preserve and promote opportunities to experience and enjoy the outdoors. Whether you are a hunter, a birder, a kayaker or a star-gazer, we are all people of the landâ€”come be refreshed in ours.
outdoors in kansas
YES, KANSAS! Cycling in Kansas allows riders to enjoy scenic vistas, woodlands, lakeshores and wide, open skies. All state parks and many wildlife areas and fishing lakes have trails available for cyclists. Trailriding, mountainbiking, touring trips—we have it all.
TO LEARN MORE To learn about all of the state’s official bike trails, go online at ksoutdoors.com and look for the “Hiking-Biking-Horseback Riding Trails” option in the drop-down menu. Learn more about the networks of Kansas cycling trails, from rails-to-trails paths to challenging mountain bike excursions, online at kansascyclist.com/ trails or kansastrailscouncil.org.
GIVE THIS A TRY! CASUAL History and wonderful scenery welcome riders on the 7-mile trail encircling the lake in Historic Lake Scott State Park, taking riders through an unexpected woodland oasis on the prairie and through a natural canyon where a group of Pueblo settled. For history buffs, the trail can be combined with a visit to the El Cuartelejo Pueblo remains, just off the mountain bike loop.
I N T E R M E D I AT E
PHOTOGRAPHS (CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT) Carter Gaskins, KDWPT (2), Courtesy Friends of the Prairie Spirit Trail, KDWPT
Bike a portion or the entire 52 miles of the Prairie Spirit Trail. Managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, this path is built over the tracks of an old railway, which means it connects through several towns along streams of eastern Kansas. Additional upkeep is provided by Friends of the Prairie Spirit Trail, who also maintain an online site with updates on trail conditions and events at bikeprairiespirit.com.
CHALLENGING The Epic Switchgrass Bike Trail at Wilson State Park is the queen of Kansas mountain bike trails. Over 20 miles in length, the path takes riders through fast single-track runs, across rocky terrain and alongside the lake. It’s a destination path, and that road trip experience is made easier since the path passes near campsites where riders can rest up at the campfire or explore the park’s waterfowl refuge at the end of the day. The path is open year-round.
BIG EVENT Dirty Kanza This 200-mile gravel race attracts over 2,000 riders from across the world for an extremely challenging course over gravel roads, across creeks and through rolling hills. Held the first weekend of June, it starts before the sun rises and finishes as the sun sets over the host town of Emporia. Much of the city shows up to cheer on the racers and greet them at the end of the course with a street party, Kansas craft beer and live music into the night.
D I D YO U K N OW ?
Kansas is serious about integrating mixed-use and biking trails into its network of state parks. The trails range from the short 0.6 mile Waterfall Trail at Milford State Park to the 26-mile stretch of trail at Kanopolis State Park (Kansas’ first state park). Mountain bikers will want to test their prowess at some of the skills loops, such as the trail at Cross Timbers State Park. Bike trails can be found across the state, from urban creek rides in metro Kansas City areas, to the Cimarron National Grasslands Trails in the southwest corner of the state that include the 19-mile Santa Fe Companion Trail and the 10.5-mile Turkey trail.
paddlin YES, KANSAS!
Landlocked? Not at all. With two National Water Trails, more than 250 lakes and 10,000 stream miles, Kansas has some great options for water recreation. Many of the state’s parks are located at federal and state reservoirs— creating perfect and safe paddling opportunities for all skill levels.
TO LEARN MORE
The state parks and water trails allow for extensive kayaking and canoeing, with many facilities offering rentals. Go online at ksoutdoors.com and look for the “Rivers” section of the “Activities” tab to read more about the state parks that include kayak/canoe access. The Kansas Canoe and Kayak Association hosts several outings throughout the year. See their website at kansascanoe.org for a schedule of upcoming expeditions and information on obtaining their guide to the state’s best paddling routes.
GIVE THIS A TRY!
CASUAL For a safe and fun introduction to paddling for the entire family, rent kayaks at Tuttle Creek State Park. The park, along with the City of Manhattan and other sponsors, also hosts the annual 10-mile Little Apple Paddle event in July and the night-time Little Apple Glow Paddle in October.
I N T E R M E D I AT E Are you a boarder? Numerous Kansas State Parks have beach areas and boat ramp locations that are perfect for setting off on a paddle board excursion around the shores. Cheney State Park, for example, has several great coves to explore on both the east-side and west-side of the reservoir.
PHOTOGRAPHS (CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT) Brian Goodman, Dave Leiker (2), Shutterstock, KDWPT
CHALLENGING Experienced and competitive kayakers or canoers might want to test their paddling prowess in one of the regionâ€™s annual competitions. The Kawlloween race is a Halloween-season race along the Kaw River between Eudora and DeSoto where the competition and the costumes are equally intense. The Gritty is a 33-mile race along the Kaw River from Lawrence to Edwardsville, a section with plenty of sandbars and changing waterscapes. Information for both races can be found at midwestpaddleracing.com.
D I D YO U K N OW ? Kansas is home to two sections of the National Water Trails System. This is a federally designated program to recognize exemplary water trails across the United States. The first Kansas section is the Kansas River Water Trail, a 173-mile stretch of the Kansas (or Kaw) River from Junction City to Kansas City. The second section is the Arkansas River Water Trail, a 192-mile stretch of the Arkansas River flowing from Great Bend to the Kansas-Oklahoma border.
fishing YES, KANSAS! Fishing is good in Kansas, a state with 24 major reservoirs, 40 regularly stocked state fishing lakes, and more than 200 community and county lakes, as well as rivers and streams. Here, anglers can enjoy casting a line for everything from bluegill, channel catfish and northern pike to black bass, striped bass, walleye and rainbow trout.
TO LEARN MORE
Type in “Fishing” on the travelks.com website or look for the “Fishing” tab on ksoutdoors. com to find detailed information on state fishing regulations, fishing forecasts, fishing reports and even a Top Ten list of urban fishing locations throughout the state.
GIVE THIS A TRY!
CASUAL You don’t have to choose between the town and country life when it comes to fishing. Kansas is committed to making urban fishing fun and enjoyable by stocking 85 metropolitan area lakes with catchable-sized channel catfish, hybrid sunfish, and wipers as often as every two weeks from April through September. Demon Lake, a oneacre, catch-and-release pond in Dodge City, is attached to the high school and used for educational purposes but is also open to the public. This is often the most accessible type of fishing with little investment necessary for an enjoyable outing.
I N T E R M E D I AT E
PHOTOGRAPHS (CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT) Kip Kraisinger for Kansas Outdoor Corps, KDWPT (2), Nick Krug (2)
Glen Elder Reservoir, also known as Waconda Lake, has rewarded anglers with some giant white crappie, channel and flathead catfish, walleye and more. Located near Beloit, the site was once the Waconda Spring, where a resort was built in 1904 and later converted to a health spa. With more space than 12,000 acres, the lake is open to sport fishing year-round.
CHALLENGING Trout populations are stocked in dozens of lakes across the state, and some areas (such as Lake Shawnee in Topeka) run their stocking programs in partnership with the state. In October 2018, Lake Shawnee stocked 7,000 pounds of rainbow trout before the season opening. The Kansas trout fishing season runs from November 1–April 15, and trout are stocked periodically through the season, making this a great wintertime activity.
D I D YO U K N OW ?
BIG EVENT Free Fishing Kansas celebrates National Fishing and Boating Week by offering a free weekend of fishing (meaning that you do not have to have a license during those days), usually during the first week in June. Go online at ksoutdoors.com for exact dates and a map of all public (and a few private) waters that are part of the celebration.
The state sponsors fishing clinics across Kansas for those wanting to learn more about the sport. The clinics are geared toward novices of any age and are held throughout the spring and summer and occasionally in the fall. Depending on the instructor, the classes cover fish identification, management, casting techniques, equipment, water safety and even fish cooking. Adults are welcome to attend with young students. Call the department’s Pratt Operations Office at (620) 672-5911 for more information.
Share Our Sky of Wonder!
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I N T E R M E D I AT E
The Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area provides an ideal location to witness large migratory flocks of shorebirds and egrets in the spring and duck species, great blue herons and whooping cranes in the fall. Hundreds of bird species also remain throughout the year on the nearly 20,000 acres of public wetlands. Wildlife Area officials provide informational brochures and advice on what bird species to see any time of year.
Several private businesses and public agencies provide the opportunity to observe the intricate mating dance of the greater prairie chicken without interfering in the birds’ natural habitat. Two of the most popular and most authoritative public excursions to see this special event are hosted by the Flint Hills Discovery Center (785) 587-2726 and the Kansas Wetlands Education Center (877) 243-9268.
Go for a big year! The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism hosts a Birding Big Year challenge for enthusiasts to identify as many unique species as possible in one calendar year within state boundaries. There are three categories: youth (17 and under), adult (18–64) and senior (65 and up). The 2017 winners counted 272, 334 and 255 species (respectively by category).
Join other bird enthusiasts and naturalists at Milford Nature Center for the annual Eagle Days. Experienced birders lead guided tours of eagle nesting sites along Milford Reservoir while park rangers, bird ambassadors and other educators provide indoor talks and activities. Held in January, exact date, times and schedule of activities will be provided by the Milford Nature Center, (785) 238-5323.
D I D YO U K N OW ?
The Kansas state bird is the western meadowlark, a beautiful golden songbird still commonly seen across the state.
GIVE THIS A TRY!
YES, KANSAS! The state’s wide expanse of prairie, woodlands and waterways makes it an ideal home for a range of bird species, from the lesser prairie chicken to red-shouldered hawks. Because Kansas lies on key migration routes, it is also an ideal spot for seasonal views of large flocks of species such as sandhill cranes. There are an estimated 450 distinct species of birds within Kansas. TO LEARN MORE
The state provides suggestions for getting started and a map of Kansas’ 10 top birding spots (go to travelks.com and type in “Kansas Birding for Beginners” in the search bar). You can also join group excursions and message boards to share the latest confirmed species spotting through groups such as the Kansas Ornithological Society (ksbirds.org) and local chapters of the National Audubon Society (audubon.org).
hunting YES, KANSAS!
Hunting is a way of life in Kansas, a skill passed from generation to generation with a commitment to stewardship of the land and conservation of wildlife and their habitat. Kansas has 300,000 acres of public lands and more than 1 million acres of private land seasonally open to public hunting. Additionally, the state has approximately onehalf million acres of professionally managed hunting facilities. From whitetailed deer, turkey, quail, pheasant, geese and more, the hunting is good in Kansas.
PHOTOGRAPHS (CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT) Josiah Engstrom for Kansas Outdoor Corps, Shutterstock, Kip Kraisinger for Kansas Outdoor Corps, Shutterstock, Kip Kraisinger for Kansas Outdoor Corps
CASUAL If you are new to shooting sports, the best way to start is through a state-approved rifle and hunter education course (see listings at ksoutdoors.com/Services/Education/Hunter). Safety should absolutely come first. If you do not have an experienced hunter guiding you on your first hunt, then consider hiring the services of a hunting guide, either individually or as part of a hunting package through a lodge.
Special hunts are provided by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism on state lands and other locations. The number of participants is limited. You can find out more by sending an email to specialhunts@ksoutdoors. com. Glen Elder State Park in Mitchell County hosts a December pheasant hunt for youth and women of all ages.
GIVE THIS A TRY!
I N T E R M E D I AT E One favorite spot to begin your Kansas hunting is Webster Reservoir. Set in the picturesque Chalk Hills eight miles west of Stockton, the lake is a stopping place for many species of waterfowl and the wildlife area hosts many game species. Another great place is Cedar Bluff Wildlife Area along Smoky Valley Scenic Byway near Ellis. Here, more than 14,000 acres of water and wildlife area provide an excellent destination for hunters and anglers.
CHALLENGING The Kansas landscape is perfect for bowhunting, with a depth of retailers and resources to support this outdoor activity and way of life. Western Kansas provides ideal bowhunting opportunities because deer frequently travel along the linear habitat of rivers and creeks, allowing close encounters. The Cottonwood Flats Wildlife area along the Arkansas River in Finney County is a good example, but there are many other wildlife areas and Walk-in Hunting Access areas for bowhunters to explore. Nonresidents must apply for a limited number of deer permits during the April application period, but residents can purchase deer permits over the counter. In addition to a deer permit, a hunter must also have a hunting license. For more information on license, permits and where to hunt, go to ksoutdoors.com or call the Pratt Operations Office at (620) 672-5911.
D I D YO U K N OW ?
All hunters born on or after July 1, 1957 must complete an approved hunter education course to purchase a Kansas hunting license. Youth 15 and younger may hunt without hunter education while under the supervision of an adult. Those 16 and older who have not completed hunter education can purchase up to two apprentice hunting licenses, which allow them to hunt under the supervision of a licensed adult. For more information on the Kansas Hunter Education program and to see a list of scheduled courses, visit ksoutoors.com.
“Pass it On” sponsor hunts where seasoned hunters mentor youth hunters to pass on the traditions of safety, respect for the land and love of hunting. Go online at ksoutdoors.com/Hunting/ Hunting-Programs and click on the link “Hunter Recruitment and Retention Effort.”
TO LEARN MORE
The state provides a comprehensive hunting atlas, as well as information on licenses and regulations for each hunting season. Click on the “Hunting” tab on ksoutdoors.com for links to the hunting atlas and regulations, and see page 53 of this guide for seasonal hunting information or go online at ksoutdoors.com/hunting.
hiking YES, KANSAS!
Kansas hikes tend to be accessible and enjoyable, with family-paced strolls through woodlands and prairies. All state parks and many wildlife areas and fishing lakes have hiking trails available with a wide variety of terrain, distances and physical challenges. Choose routes from among thousands of miles of trails to match your interest and ability.
I N T E R M E D I AT E
The two-mile paved path of Lawrence’s Burroughs Creek Trail runs through the city’s historic eastside neighborhoods, past playgrounds and to Haskell Indian Nations University. A private and public partnership, which includes the local history museum and library, has developed a mobile-device app tour to highlight historic interest points along the trail. It is perfect for young children and those with limited mobility.
Elk City State Park has great options for hikers and yearround explorers. Tablemound Trail takes hikers along vertical rock walls then drops through a ravine before crossing through woods and small creeks. The total distance is just under three miles.
Start a new family tradition with First Day Hikes. First Day Hikes are part of a nationwide initiative held on January 1 each year. Federal and state parks are opened and access fees waived so that visitors can participate in guided hikes along the trails. Nearly all Kansas State Parks hold an event on this day to encourage a healthful New Year’s Day adventure.
TO LEARN MORE
The nonprofit Kansas Trail Council holds talks throughout the year at various locations in the state on trails in each region of Kansas. This is a chance for locals to discover all the perfect day-trip hiking-escapes near their homes and to get personalized recommendations for their outings. Go online at the Events section of kansastrailscouncil.org to find out when the next Trail Talk will be available. Also, residents and visitors can call the nearby state park office for trail recommendations and latest updates on trail conditions. Go online at ksoutdoors. com/State-Parks to find the closest state park and contact information.
For a full listing of trails as well as first-hand recommendations and reviews of several hiking trails across the state, go to travelks. com and type in “hiking” in the search bar. The Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy also maintains a list of trails throughout the state, including a guide to trails for those with mobility concerns at traillink.com/stateactivity/ks-wheelchairaccessible-trails.aspx.
GIVE THIS A TRY!
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Come explore 380 acres of challenging off-road trails for slow-speed 4-wheel drive vehicles*, UTV’s, bicycles, and hikers.
*Sorry, no ATV’s or motorcycles allowed. Bring the whole family and enjoy: • Over 35 miles of trails with 3 levels of difficulty • Picnic shelters with grills • Playground • Restroom facilities • Large parking lot • Located at 2051 130th Road, Mapleton, Ks For more information please visit our website at www.ksrockspark.com
parks&t YES, KANSAS! Kansas state parks and trails provide adventure that lives up to their names: Sand Hills, Mushroom Rock and Prairie Dog, for example. The extensive Kansas state park system, along with national, county and municipal areas, offers ideal outdoor exploration in an accessible and well-maintained environment. Enjoy camping, boating, fishing, hiking, biking, horseback riding or just relaxing around a campfire.
TO LEARN MORE
For a full listing of and detailed information about Kansas state parks, go online at ksoutdoors.com/State-Parks, or grab a copy of the stateâ€™s official 2019 State Parks magazine.
trails GIVE THIS A TRY!
Camping does not have to mean “roughing it.” If you are looking to combine nature with comfort, then reserve your cabin today at ksoutdoors.com/state-parks. These structures provide full access to the park facilities and spectacular views of nature combined with the comfort of air conditioning and a kitchen. It is an ideal camping option for families with younger or senior campers, or simply for anyone looking to enjoy their own little house on the Kansas prairie. For another fun lodging experience, try the yurts at Eisenhower State Park and at HorseThief Reservoir.
I N T E R M E D I AT E Witness unique geological formations at Rock City Park near Minneapolis and Mushroom Rock State Park, named for one of the eight wonders of Kansas geography, unique rock formations that resemble mushrooms. These rocks served as landmarks for Native Americans and early pioneers such as Kit Carson. About six miles to the west, in Kanopolis, are four remaining buildings of Fort Harker, a U.S. Army outpost from 1866 to 1872. When you drive to the park, you can approach it along the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway, a 56-mile route that intersects the route of Spanish conquistadors and Swedish immigrants who passed through the land.
CHALLENGING For water-born adventure, paddle the Arkansas River Water Trail. This stretch of 192 miles runs from Great Bend to the Kansas-Oklahoma border and is part of the National Water Trails System (a federal program to recognize significant tracts of navigable, recreational waterways). The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is planning to add more access points to easily allow shorter journeys and stops along the way. For more information, go online at nps.gov/ WaterTrails/Trail and click on the Arkansas River section on the map. This is one of two National Water Trails in Kansas; information for the other—the Kansas River Trail—can also be found on the same site.
D I D YO U K N OW ?
Kansas motor vehicle owners can buy an annual park vehicle permit as part of their annual vehicle registration at a discounted rate of $15.50. Also, residents 65 or older or persons with disabilities can buy a park vehicle permit directly from KDWPT. This annual vehicle park permit is $13.75, and $3.25 for regular daily permits.
BIG EVENT The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism traditionally waives access fees to all state parks on three days each year. If you haven’t been to a state park in a long time, this is the perfect cost-free opportunity to pack up the family and enjoy everything that state parks offer. Look for upcoming date announcements at ksoutdoors.com and travelks.com.
target shooting YES, KANSAS!
With a rich hunting and outdoor tradition, Kansas provides a range of venues for target shooting, ranging from clay shooting to 3D archery courses. These are perfect outings for hunters looking to sharpen their skills year round or for those who enjoy the thrill of recreational shooting.
I N T E R M E D I AT E
One of the best and most relaxing ways to begin clay shooting is to reserve a weekend at a Kansas lodge that offers comfortable surroundings and introductory instructions at its range. One of these is Ravenwood Lodge just outside of Topeka. The lodge provides an 1863 country inn guest house in a woodland area for all guests to enjoy regardless of how much sharpshooting they choose to do. Other venues can be located by going online at travelks.com and searching for lodges that provide clay shooting.
Beginning and intermediate youth clay shooters can join a competitive league focusing on building skills and discipline through Shady Creek Sporting Clays at Belle Plaine. Shady Creek conducts regular practices for its teams and sponsors qualifiers to national competitions.
Go up against some of the state’s best competitive trapshooters during the summer when the Kansas Trapshooting Association holds its State Shoot and Hall of Fame competition at its home range near Sedgwick. Dates and entry information can be found at shootkta.com.
D I D YO U K N OW ?
TO LEARN MORE
For many years, the Kansas Secretary of State’s office has hosted a youth archery tournament named “Ad Astra” as a tribute to the state’s motto and to the statue on top of the Kansas Capitol that honors an archer from the Kanza (or Kaw) nation, the Native peoples after whom the state is named.
A listing of state and private facilities for target shooting can be found online at ksoutdoors. com by entering “target shooting” or “archery target shooting” in the search bar. Kansas Sporting Clays Association provides a list of resources at kssca.org. Trapshooting information is provided by the Kansas Trapshooting Association at shootkta.com, while the Kansas State Archery Association provides information on local clubs and venues through its site at kansasstatearcheryassociation.org.
Each July, the state’s best archers gather at a Topeka archery range and compete in the Sunflower Games’ target and 3D archery trail contest. T.H.E. Archery Club sponsors the competition; for more information, go online at sunflowergames.com.
PHOTOGRAPH Courtesy Kansas Sporting Clays Association
GIVE THIS A TRY!
BLUFF CREEK hunting preserve
Offer guided field hunts by host, Mike Gammill. Enjoy a relaxing day of guided game bird hunting for Quail, Pheasant and Chuckars.
ger 17 and youn hunter. HUNT for ult 1 time FREE panied by paying ad m when acco 50 per gun 1/2 day $1 50 per gun s Full day $2 12 Quail, 9 Chuckar , 6 Pheasant ed if needed id Dogs Prov gun t $100 per or Boy Hun 1/2 day Po uded cl No dogs in or 8 Quail 4 pheasant
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horse riding YES, KANSAS!
In Kansas, riding a horse is not part of history—it’s still very much a way of life for thousands of ranch families and equestrians. Riding clubs and rodeos are spread across the state, and horse trails are built throughout public lands. Take a mount and discover why this is a perfect way to see the state. GIVE THIS A TRY!
I N T E R M E D I AT E
If you want to give riding a try but don’t have your own horse, then guest houses such as the Flying W Ranch at Cedar Point can add guided horse rides into your stay as part of a broader Western experience that might include fishing, hiking, wagon-riding and simply enjoying the country air.
South of Louisburg, the countyadministered LaCygne Lake offers some 30 miles of equestrian trails through a range of scenery including woodlands and creek crossings with a small fee of $3 for admission and $9 for admission with camping. For more information, call Linn County’s park office at (913) 757-6633.
For youth looking to take their riding to the next level, the Topeka Roundup Club offers intensive summer riding camps in both English and Western riding styles. The club, with its 260 acres of trails, also offers lessons throughout the year. For more information, call the club at (785) 478-4431.
The Santa Fe Trail crossed a wide portion of Kansas, and one of the best spots to witness evidence of the thousands of horses and wagons that crossed over this route is the Santa Fe Trail Tracks Marker on US 400, west of Dodge City. Interpretative signs and walkways allow visitors to see the ruts that continue to mark the grounds of this historic trail.
TO LEARN MORE
Go to ksoutdoors.com and type in “equestrian trails” for a full listing of state-sponsored trails open to the public. Experienced riders will want to see kansashorsecouncil.com, a comprehensive service directory of equine clubs, trails and services in Kansas.
BIG EVENT Enjoy cool summer nights and Western traditions at the annual Pretty Prairie Rodeo. The nighttime summer rodeo is held each year for four days in July and draws thousands of spectators who enjoy a range of equestrian and rodeo events and a community dance at the end of each night. For more information, go online at pprodeo.com.
D I D YO U K N OW ?
CLAY COUNTY PARK Stay the weekend or spend a season! On the shores of Milford Lake in Wakefield, KS OPEN MARCH 1 - NOVEMBER 30 785.447.1547
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YES, KANSAS! With wide tracts of rural areas and public lands free from the glow of urban lights, Kansas provides numerous locations for unspoiled stargazing—the chance to view planets and constellations much as our ancestors would have seen them. GIVE THIS A TRY! CASUAL Attending an observatory open house is a perfect introduction to viewing the Kansas skies. Volunteers at locations such as the Powell Observatory just north of Louisburg assist visitors in using various telescopes, including the 30-inch diameter Ruisinger telescope, one of the largest telescopes available to the public in the Midwest. Go online at askc.org for schedules and more information.
I N T E R M E D I AT E Several private facilities, particularly in rural regions of the state, provide viewing areas unspoiled by the glow of city lights. The Volland Store near Alma, for example, hosts stargazing parties throughout the year. Call (785) 499-3616 to find out about upcoming events.
CHALLENGING If you have your own equipment and are versed in identifying stars, then consider a stargazing getaway time for a celestial event such as a meteor shower. Primitive camping sites at state parks, such as the 130 locations at Prairie Dog State Park, are a safe and inexpensive option for overnight viewing. Another great option is the Cimarron National Grassland, the largest tract of public land in the state, with beautiful scenery and skies free of urban light pollution.
BIG EVENT The Kansas Astronomical Observers club hosts an annual Star Party with educational presentations, tips on operating telescopes and adjusting them to local conditions and viewings on high-powered telescopes. The 2019 party, open to the public, is August 3 at Fall River State Park. For more information, call (620) 637-2213.
D I D YO U K N OW ?
The wide, open skies of Kansas have inspired people for generations. Clyde William Tombaugh, the astronomer who discovered Pluto, began his life’s calling by building telescopes and gazing into the stars above his family’s farm in Burdett, Kansas.
PHOTOGRAPHS (FROM LEFT) Bill Stephens, Rachel Harder
GIVE THIS A TRY!
I N T E R M E D I AT E
Renting a state park cabin allows visitors to explore the outdoors and enjoy state park facilities with comfortable, safe lodgings that accommodate family groups at reasonable prices. The Indian Paint Cabin at El Dorado State Park, for example, is an ADA-compliant lodging with air conditioning, heating, full kitchen, bedroom, living room and outdoor grilling area.
Most Kansas state parks have a section of primitive camping. These inexpensive options are often in more remote areas of the park and allow for a relatively isolated outdoor camping experience for those with their own tents or portable shelter. The 50 primitive sites at Cheney State Park’s Wichita Point Campground provide stunning waterside views and easy access to the public beach.
Share the camping experience with your horse! The Rockin’ K Horse Campground at Kanopolis State Park provides pens, washbays and other facilities for horse-owners who wish to explore the equestrian trails and spend the night in a lakeside wilderness. Other options for horse-owners include a guided camping mounted tour through the Gypsum Hills of southwest Kansas by Gypsum Hills Trail Guides. Look for their information, and other private camping options, at travelks.com.
BIG EVENTS Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshops Each spring and fall, the state and sponsoring organizations host a series of hands-on, women-only weekend workshops focusing on promoting and sharing outdoor skills (camping, canoeing, orienteering and more) and interests. For registration and more information, go online at ksoutdoors.com/bow.
With a wide network of state parks, public lands and private facilities, Kansas provides a range of camping opportunities, from rugged wilderness areas to relaxedcomfort luxury sites. Enjoy the outdoors your way across Kansas. TO LEARN MORE
The state’s official tourism website, travelks.com, has you covered for a range of camping options, RV grounds, glamping venues and more. For a full listing of all state park camping sites, their camping facilities and amenities, go to ksoutdoors. com/State-Parks or grab a copy of the official Kansas 2019 State Parks magazine.
BED & BREAKFAST
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AN UNFORGETTABLE GIFT!
MT. SUNFLOWER BED AND BREAKFAST
HEDRICK’S BED & BREAKFAST INN AND EXOTIC ANIMAL FARM
Sharon Springs, Kansas mtsunflowerbandb.com
Nickerson, Kansas hedricks.com
MILL CREEK LODGE AT VOLLAND POINT
THE PRAIRIE GARDENS INN
Mulvane, Kansas theprairiegardensinn.com
PHOTOGRAPHS (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP) Bill Stephens, Adam A. Ahlers, Michael C. Snell, KDWPT, Jason Dailey
We all have different reasons for venturing to the outdoors, and here are some in-depth accounts of unique Kansas opportunities, including the nationâ€™s last military-base equestrian hunt, the opening of a new state park with an aweinspiring landscape, a bad bowhunt that became a great encounter with the land, a challenge to take on six epic adventures and more ... and all in Kansas.
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Little Jerusalem Badlands A new state park provides visitors access to a unique, unforgettable landscape Story by Mary R. Gage
Photography by Jason Dailey
The highly anticipated opening of Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park has arrived! Imagine this, the kiosks are in place, the trails are finished and the main attraction, the unique Niobrara chalk formations, awaits visitors. In 2019, when the gates swing open, the public can see and appreciate this unique, sweeping landscape of the Kansas Badlands adjacent to Smoky Valley Ranch in Logan County. The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a non-profit, purchased the 330 acres of shortgrass prairie and the 80-million-year-old Niobrara chalk formations that make up this state park in 2016 from landowner Jim McGuire, who had a strong interest in preserving the land and sharing it with the public. The acreage adjoins TNC’s more than 17,000-acre Smoky Valley Ranch, the largest land acquisition in Kansas made for conservation purposes. This ranch supports a 150-head bison herd and operates as a working cattle ranch in harmony with a mission of preserving native animals, like the ferruginous hawk, lesser prairie chicken, golden eagle, mule deer and black-footed ferret, as well as plants, including the unique Great Plains wild buckwheat found only in the chalk prairies of western Kansas. The opening of Little Jerusalem Badlands to the public has been a lengthy but careful and well-researched
process. TNC of Kansas’ project manager for Smoky Valley Ranch and Little Jerusalem, Matt Bain, worked with faculty and students from Kansas State University as well as officials from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) to assess the present state of the fossil-filled limestone chalk formations and the impact thousands of visitors might have on the rare landscape. Together, they determined how best to make the area accessible to the public while preserving its integrity for —Greg Mills, future generations. The park’s towering park manager at Historic Lake Scott State Park chalk formations and Little Jerusalem were formed from the Badlands State Park sediment of a shallow inland sea that once covered much of the central plains of North America. Remarkable fossils of giant clams, sharks and reptiles from the Cretaceous Era have been discovered in the area, although the fossilized remnants of seashells,
“This is one of those Zen-like places.”
readily seen by the casual observer, account for the vast majority of the fossils. Wind, rain and erosion over millions of years carved spires and created canyons, caves and gullies. In the more recent past, the difficultto-traverse badlands terrain of steep slopes, canyons and minimal vegetation witnessed roaming buffalo herds, migrating Native Americans, explorers who saw the towers of rock and dubbed the place Little Jerusalem, as well as the likes of Wild Bill Hickock, George Armstrong Custer, Buffalo Bill Cody and travelers on the Butterfield Overland Stage Line. Incorporating the rich natural and human history into the visitor experience will be the job of officials at Historic Lake Scott State Park, about ten miles to the south, who will be overseeing operations at Little Jerusalem Badlands. Park manager Greg Mills, who has been at the Lake Scott office for almost twenty years, is excited about sharing the park with fellow Kansans. In addition to the self-guided trails at Little Jerusalem Badlands, Mills and his staff will conduct regular guided tours into the park. He describes the Little Jerusalem Badlands experience as a contemplative encounter with nature, seemingly set on an endless horizon surrounded by profound quiet under an enormous blue sky. “This is one of those Zen-like places,” says Mills. Other organizations have assisted Mills, TNC and KDWPT; the Kansas Trails Council and Westar Energy Green Team have been instrumental in developing and building the trails and infrastructure for the park. The pathways include an accessible trail winding to a vantage point above panoramic views of the unique formations, making for a thrilling experience. “It’s not every day you get to see the beginning of the first trail in a new state park,” Mills says, with obvious pleasure as he gazes out at the expansive vista. “We’d love for everybody to come out and see this place. We consider it to be a jewel of Kansas.”
Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park is slated to open to the public in 2019. A grand opening weekend will be announced, check ksoutdoors.com/state-parks or contact the Historic Lake Scott State Park office, (620) 872-2031, for the latest information.
GETTING THERE (ONCE PARK OFFICIALLY OPENS) From I-70: Access US-83 S from Interstate 70. Drive 28 miles south, turn right on Gold Road. Drive approximately 3 miles west to 400 Road, turn right (north). In 1Âź miles arrive at the entrance and the parking lot. An informational kiosk is located here.
Fees The Kansas State Parks Passport is available for $15 when you purchase your Kansas vehicle tags and is valid for 12 months. A Kansas State Parks annual vehicle permit can be purchased yearround for $25 at state park offices and is good for the calendar year. State park day passes can be purchased at the state park office. There will also be a back country fee for the ranger-guided tours in the heart of the badlands.
When to Visit Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park will be open 365 days a year during daylight hours. Park staff recommend checking the weather forecast before arriving. Visiting is not advised during high winds or pending inclement weather.
Flint Hills Trail This new state park links several key Kansas attractions through a corridor of diverse nature and landscapes Story by Mary R. Gage
One of the state’s new state parks, the Flint Hills Trail, takes visitors on a journey through diverse landscapes, from sweeping tallgrass prairies to mature forests. It links five Kansas counties and provides ample opportunities to experience the state’s wide range of exceptional outdoor activities. This 117-mile rail-trail stretching from Osawatomie near the eastern border of the state to Herington, 20 miles west of historic Council Grove, was officially designated a Kansas state park in July 2018. Following the line of the former Missouri Pacific Railroad, the trail was initially acquired by the National Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in 1995 and ultimately transferred to the Kanza RailsTrails Conservancy, whose volunteers were solely responsible for the trail before beginning a partnership with the state in 2013. “We cleared brush and sprayed all of the trail from Osawatomie to Council Grove,” says Doug Walker, Kanza Rails-Trails Conservancy Board president. An advocate of the trail for more than twenty years, Walker saw the volunteer grassroots efforts begin to pay off when the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism began supporting the trail in 2013. With the help of state and federal grant money to fix and replace bridges, overlay the surface with limestone screenings and add gates and safety features, 96 miles of the 117-mile trail is now open and passable for strollers, cyclists, bikers, and horseback riders. “We saw the Flint Hills Trail as a diamond in the rough,” says Trent McCown, trail manager at the Prairie Spirit State Park since 1995 and who now also oversees the Flint Hills Trail State Park. “It’s apparent that
there’s a need and demand for trails in Kansas, and that it was important for Kansans to preserve and develop the Flint Hills Trail. We also saw it as an opportunity for connections. It connects with the Prairie Spirit Trail and connects people in rural communities and small towns with a safe and healthy recreational space.” In addition to hiking, biking and horseback riding, the trail connects enthusiasts to a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities along its corridor. Near the Kansas-Missouri state line, Hillsdale State Park offers camping, boating and water sports and is less than 10 miles north of Osawatomie, the trail’s eastern terminus. Doug Walker, who is admittedly partial since Osawatomie is his home base, calls the tree-canopied, river-bluff-lined portion between there and Ottawa “one of the prettiest sections of the trail.” Additionally, history buffs can dip into the John Brown Museum in Osawatomie, one of several historic sites rich in narrative near the trail. In Ottawa, visitors along the trail may encounter a street dance or food and music festivals at the new Legacy Square development where the Flint Hills Trail and the Prairie Spirit Trail intersect in the heart of downtown. The new outdoor event space is expected to revitalize the area and attract services to the trail junction. One business already serving bike enthusiasts is Ottawa Bike and Trail, which in addition to selling and renting bikes, organizes events and rides along both Flint Hills Trail and Prairie Spirit Trail. About 10 miles west of Ottawa, Pomona State Park is just a stone’s throw off the trail and offers great camping, fishing and boating. Melvern Lake and Eisenhower State Park to the south are a favorite with horseback riders, where miles of trails and multiple equestrian campsites welcome them. Fishing for bass, crappie and blue catfish, as well as deer and wild turkey hunting are popular in and around Melvern. As the landscape opens up to the rolling Flint Hills on the western end of the trail, visitors can appreciate being in the heart of remnants of one of the world’s unique ecosystems, the tallgrass prairie, both on and off the trail. Twenty miles south of Council Grove, the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve protects nearly 11,000 acres of prairie. A visitor center, historic buildings, bus tours and hikes, with a possible sighting of the bison herd, are some of the highlights. The hikes at the beautiful Konza Prairie Biological Station, a half-hour drive to the north of Council Grove, are some of the best prairie hikes in the state. At Council Grove, present meets the past, and bumping into the echoes of Great Plains history is only a short meander away. Veer off the Flint Hills Trail onto a spur called the Kanza Heritage Trail just east of Council Grove. The two-mile trail loops through the Allegawaho Heritage Memorial Park, a tribute to the last-known Kaw Indian Village in Kansas. Visit the site of the Council Oak where the right of passage for the Santa Fe Trail was established with the Osage Nation in 1825. Rest and revive at the Hays House, a restaurant that’s been in business since 1857, and finish the day watching the sunset over the water at the Council Grove Lake Marina. For now, the western terminus of the trail is at Council Grove, but the last 20 miles to Herington are on the slate to be improved. “The trail is still dynamic and still in development,” says trail manager McCown. “Several sections, Ottawa to Vassar, Osage City to Allen, and Allen to Council Grove, are in different levels of improvement.” Meanwhile, visitors can join in the Rush to Rails Ride or Run each October, or check out the Flint Hills Trail State Park Facebook page to find one of the smaller events happening throughout the year along the trail. You also can simply enjoy the 96 recreation-ready miles on the longest trail in Kansas, the seventh-longest rail-trail in America, 365 days a year at Kansas’ new Flint Hills Trail State Park.
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Fort Leavenworth Hunt Tradition One of the stateâ€™s oldest hunting traditions continues, with pomp and ceremony, across fields of northeast Kansas
Story by David M. Zumbaugh
Photography by Bill Stephens and David M. Zumbaugh
ort Leavenworth has a proud heritage. Established in 1827 as a cavalry outpost to protect pioneers traversing the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails, it now operates as a military training center for the nation’s officers. One tradition—the Leavenworth Hunt—continues, bringing together both military members and civilians with a love for the outdoors and an equestrian tradition. A variation of a traditional English fox hunt, the Leavenworth Hunt was established in 1926 by the Fort’s cavalry brigade. The demands on the military forces during World War II interrupted the tradition and caused it to be lost for two decades, but the hunt was then re-established in 1965. It is a mounted hunting tradition once common to many U.S. army bases, but is now believed to continue only at Fort Leavenworth, where it has survived and thrived by remaining true to core traditions while adapting to modern conditions and building community partnerships.
The joint civilian-military club operates throughout the year, with training in the spring and summer and several hunts throughout the fall. Their hunting territory is a vast area around Leavenworth where gracious private landowners allow access to agricultural acres and forests. Twice a year, the hunt is also held at the Flint Hills, around Mulvane Ranch. During these hunts, some 60 riders and approximately 20 hounds gather and seek out their target. Because coyotes are much more common than foxes on the rural Kansas landscape, they are the focus of the hunts. Horses, ranging from gentle Appaloosa mares to thoroughbred steeds, are privately owned by the civilian and military members, and strict equine safety rules are enforced to ensure riders are qualified, prepared and have the appropriate knowledge of the unique protocols. The hounds are a group of registered English, American, and crossbred hounds that live and are trained at the kennels of Fort Leavenworth.
During hunts, a “huntsman” leads the process and communicates to hounds and riders by blowing a distinctive, resonating horn. He or she will guide the hounds with an assisting group of “whippers-in” (riders who attempt to keep the hounds going in one direction and contained in the “hunt country”). A “field master” manages four additional groups of riders or “fields.” The third “field” is called the “hilltoppers,” as they usually view the action from afar. When fresh scent, or “line,” is discovered by the hounds, one dog usually “gives tongue” (howls). If scent is subsequently detected by the entire pack, a “full cry” occurs, escalating the excitement. You might just hear a “tallyho” denoting someone in a “field” has actually seen the quarry attempting to avoid detection. Hounds “check” (fan out across the grounds and return to the pack) when they lose the “line” (the scent of the prey). Occasionally, young hounds might veer off and separate too far from the pack, but they are equipped with GPS tracking safety collars and are recovered by support personal on ATVs.
Experienced riders often take the lead in the hunt, urging their mounts across the field and over fences and creeks. When an unlucky rider spills over the head of his mount and into the grass, they are called a “cropper,” a person who is force-fed grass. On some active hunting days, teams of horses and riders can push the “chase” nearly forty miles. Hunts are family-friendly affairs, with a diverse assortment of men, women and youth member-riders. Retired Lt. Colonel Jim Fain, who also works as the director of the International Military Student Division at US Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, says that these hunts allow participants to experience the adrenaline of the chase while bearing “the responsibility to carry on this long-standing tradition.” New members are always welcome and are expected to provide their own mounts and the required traditional riding gear; they must also undergo training for the hunt. More information can be obtained by calling the hunt club at (913) 271-1602.
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Located one mile south of Syracuse on Highway 27, the Syracuse Sand Dunes Park features 1,300 acres of premium sand sporting for ATV and buggy enthusiasts alike! Motorcycles, SUVs and 4x4 vehicles are also allowed. Whip flags required. With plenty of rolling hills, climbs, dunes, bowls and flat areas for dragging, youâ€™re in for some intense family fun. Visitors describe the park as clean and welcoming, with on-site primitive camping as well as RV accommodations, restroom facilities and showers. Samâ€™s Pond is a 40-acre stocked fishing pond perfect for the kids. Open year-round, the park also features hiking trails and views of the Arkansas River. 3-Word Epic Summary: Dragging, Climbing, Cruising
PHOTOGRAPH Michael C. Snell
Cruise the Syracuse Sand Dunes
Zipline in Bonner Springs
ZIP KC in Bonner Springs, near Kansas City, boasts nine different ziplines stretching over 5,800 feet and reaching speeds up to 50 mph! Guides lead you through a variety of tours that take from 1.5 hours to 3 hours. Zip through scenic forests while enjoying views of bluffs along Kansas River and panoramic landscapes that stretch all the way from Lawrence to Downtown KC. You’ll want to wear comfortable clothing and shoes appropriate for hiking—and be sure to bring water for these high-flying adventures. ZIP also offers team bonding and team-building experiences for groups and organizations. 3-Word Epic Summary: Action, Adventure, Excitement
Discover an Oasis of Nature and History at Lake Scott On the Western Kansas prairie, along the Western Vistas Historic Byway about 11 miles north of Scott City, you’ll find the spring-fed jewel of Lake Scott, surrounded by Historic Lake Scott State Park. The park is home to a multitude of trails perfect for horseback riders, hikers and naturalists. History and archeological buffs will want to visit the Steele Homestead, named for the couple who built it. Originally a simple dugout home, the Steeles built a four-room sandstone house that’s now a museum site displaying period-accurate furnishings and tools. Adventurers can also hike or ride horseback out to the El Cuartelejo ruins, the only known Pueblo ruins in Kansas. 3-Word Epic Summary: Historic, Scenic, Equestrian
PHOTOGRAPHS (CLOCKWISE FROM UPPER LEFT) Shutterstock, KDWPT (4)
The Prairie Spirit Trail in eastern Kansas is a 52-mile-long bike path from Ottawa to Iola, through small towns, shaded woodland and panoramic prairies. This railtrail is built on the railbed of the old Leavenworth, Lawrence and Galveston Railroad rights-of-way and connects to the Flint Hills Trail in the north and the Southwind Rail Trail in the south. The trail is paved within Ottawa, Garnett and Iola, but rural sections feature the hard-packed limestone railbed. The Prairie Spirit Trail State Park has been added to the Rails-to-Trails prestigious RailTrail Hall of Fame for preserving the natural and cultural history of the region. Visit bikeprairiespirit.com to connect with other riders. 3-Word Epic Summary: Wildlife, Streams, Farmland
Kansas birders are fortunate to have two world-famous marshes in the central part of the state that draw hundreds of thousands of migrating birds each spring and fall. The Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area is a 19,000-acre wetland that attracts untold numbers of ducks, geese, as well as other water and wading birds. Almost half of the entire northward migrating populations of North American shorebirds may feed and rest at Cheyenne Bottoms, making Cheyenne Bottoms one of the most important migration stopovers for shorebirds in the Western Hemisphere. Thirty miles to the south, the 22,000-acre salt marsh known as Quivira National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is equally important to migratory birds. In addition to waterfowl, shorebirds and sandhill cranes, Quivira NWR regularly hosts federally endangered whooping cranes during migration. A trip to both of these areas should be on any birdwatcherâ€™s bucket list. For more information and maps of Cheyenne Bottoms go to ksoutdoors.com. For more information on the Quivira NWR, go to www. fws.gov/refuge/Quivira. 3-Word Epic Summary: Raptors, Waterfowl, Cranes
Explore Elk City State Park Located a mile north of US-160 and a few miles northwest of Independence, scenic Elk City State Park spans 867 acres and features stunning views of Elk City Reservoir, with dense woods and rolling prairies. Hikers and bikers can enjoy trails ranging from a one-mile loop to the 15-mile Elk River Hiking Trail, which winds through limestone bluffs and has been rated the best in the state. Elk City State Park offers boat ramps, fishing, a swim beach, playgrounds and primitive or electrical-hookup camping, making it a perfect getaway. Catch a glimpse of whitetailed deer, wild turkey or even a bobcat at the Elk City Wildlife Area. 3-Word Epic Summary: Hike, Camp, Explore
Bike the Prairie Spirit Trail
Go Birding at Quivira and Cheyenne Bottoms
On the Kansas plains, even an unsuccessful expedition yields an appreciation of nature and the land it has shaped over time
t was a mid-September morning, just at the beginning of Kansas’ archery season, and a friend and I had ventured to the state’s western region to see if we could fool a pronghorn into wandering within an arrow’s range. Often referred to as “antelope,” pronghorn are interesting animals. They are the only remaining species of their family (Antilocapridae) and are more closely related to giraffes than to deer or to “real” antelope. Once numerous and roaming in large groups across most of the state, pronghorn were nearly hunted out of the state by the late 1800s. Between the 1960s and 1990s, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism reintroduced pronghorn to their native Kansas grasslands, and beginning in 1974, the pronghorn population was determined stable enough to allow limited hunting. Firearm and muzzleloader permits are still limited, allocated to residents only through a lottery drawing, and restricted to three management units in western Kansas. Archery permits are available over the counter to residents and nonresidents. Whether one uses a bow, muzzleloader or rifle, hunting pronghorn is still a challenge. These animals can run at speeds up
Story and photography by Adam A. Ahlers
ducked into a shallow ravine in hopes of sneaking up on them, and I suddenly noticed that we were walking on shells. I was literally walking on a bed of oyster shells in the middle of Kansas. Now a true hunter wouldn’t have let the pronghorn out of sight, but I immediately sifted through these approximately 100– 60 million year-old remnants of marine life, proof that this region of dust and sandy soil had been the eastern coast of an ocean. The Western Interior Seaway, as geologists describe this place, once separated our current-day United States into two halves—Laramidia to the west and Appalachia to the east. Between them, an ancient sea, some 2,500 feet deep and stretching from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, covered the western half of Kansas. And at this very moment, I was sitting on an ancient beach that was once covered by vibrant sea life.
It was hard to do, but I left the shells and continued trying to sneak up on small groups of pronghorn for the rest of the weekend. When we drove our tired bodies back to our host’s house in Quinter, we had stories of our failed attempts to harvest a pronghorn, plans for future hunts, and handfuls of prehistoric shark teeth collected from the farm’s soil. Our hosts told me about the extraordinary history and stories connected to their corner of Kansas. Some things I knew, but most of this information I was learning for the first time. As we drove along Interstate 70 east back toward Manhattan, I watched the passing cars, with drivers fixated on the highway and passengers staring at their smartphones, and wondered if others were aware of the extraordinary landscapes and history they were quickly passing. In a small piece of western Kansas landscape, I had pulled fossils out of an ancient ocean bed, crouched in the sandy soil like an American cheetah stalking a swift pronghorn, and watched North America’s youngest large mammal bound across rolling hills. Meandering through the short-grass prairie in one short weekend I experienced 100 million years of natural history just a short distance south of the interstate. It wasn’t a successful hunt, but it was the best failed hunt I had ever been on.
to 60 mph. This ability is an artifact of their evolutionary history; until about 12,000 years ago, pronghorn had to escape from their main predator, the American cheetah. The fossil evidence of this likely relationship is present in many parts of North America and, based on general skeletal features, scientists theorize that the American cheetah was as fast as a pronghorn. However, like many of the megafauna of the late Pleistocene (e.g., short-faced bear, Jefferson’s ground sloth, mammoth), the American cheetah disappeared from the landscape. Even without a comparably matched predator, adult pronghorn retained their incredible speed. The effectiveness of this predatoravoidance ability would soon become apparent as we attempted to mimic the role of an American cheetah at the hunting fields we had chosen outside of Quinter. For the two days we chased pronghorn, I not only looked for pronghorn but also repeatedly discovered connections to Kansas’ pre-historic prairie and the life upon it. A bowhunter and professional wildlife ecologist, I naively considered myself wellversed in the ecological history of this region. I soon realized, however, that the full natural wealth of this area had been lost to me until I moved at a hunting pace across the dry, sandy soil of Gove County. As we drove the dusty roads south from Quinter at sunrise, the first animals we encountered were mule deer, four bucks skylining themselves on a small hill in a milo field. Although not what we were after, the mule deer are an iconic western deer species and fairly common in this part of Kansas. As we paused to watch them bound away, I reminded myself that I was watching one of the youngest deer species in the world. Mule deer have only been “mule deer” for about 7,000 years. The southward advancing Pleistocene glaciers separated North America’s white-tailed deer population into two separate groups hundreds of thousands of years ago, one to the west coast the other to the eastern part of the continent. Thousands of years of isolation between these two groups resulted in a new deer species in the northwest, the black-tailed deer. When the glaciers retreated north, black-tailed deer moved east and the white-tailed deer moved west to fill the new void. The groups met somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Recent genetic analyses have revealed that the very first hybrid offspring born to these two species was from a blacktailed buck and a white-tailed doe about 7,000 years ago. This chance hybrid resulted in our current-day mule deer, which allowed me—thousands of years later—to marvel at these majestic animals as they bounded through a milo field. After hours of walking and glassing far-away hills, we finally spotted our first group of pronghorn. We
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r e s o u r c e STATEWIDE RESOURCES Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Office of the Secretary 1020 S. Kansas, Room 200, Topeka (785) 296-2281 Pratt Operations Office 512 SE 25th Ave., Pratt (620) 672-5911 Emporia Research and Survey Office 1830 Merchant, P.O. Box 1525, Emporia (620) 342-0658 Kansas City District Office 8304 Hedge Lane Terrace, Shawnee (913) 422-1314 Regional Offices Region 1 1426 U.S. 183 Bypass P.O. Box 338, Hays (785) 628-8614 The northwest quarter of Kansas that includes 26 counties. Region 2 300 SW Wanamaker Road, Topeka (785) 273-6740 The northeast quarter of Kansas that includes 20 counties. Region 3 1001 McArtor Drive, Dodge City (620) 227-8609 The southwest quarter of Kansas that includes 28 counties. Region 4 6232 E. 29th St. North, Wichita (316) 683-8069 The south central region of Kansas that includes 13 counties. Region 5 1500 W. Seventh St., Chanute (620) 431-0380 The southeastern quarter of Kansas that includes 18 counties. State-Owned Travel Information Centers Belle Plaine Travel Information Center 770 N. I-35, Belle Plaine (620) 326-5123Â Located on I-35 Kansas Turnpike at Milepost 26. Accessible from both northbound and southbound lanes. Goodland Travel Information Center I-70 East Milepost 7, Goodland (785) 899-6695 Located on I-70 at Milepost 7, accessible from eastbound lanes only. Community Travel Information Centers Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau 201 N.W. Second, Abilene (785) 263-2231 Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce 200 S. 10th, P.O. Box 126, Atchison (913) 367-2427 Belleville Travel Information Center 702 12th St. Belleville (785) 527-2883
Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum 31639 US Hwy 77, Arkansas City (620) 442-6750
Dune Trail Sand Hills State Park (316) 542-3664
Colby Visitors Center 350 S. Range #10, Colby (785) 460-7643
Eagle Ridge Trail Milford State Park (785) 238-3014
Concordia Travel Information Center 130 E Sixth St., Concordia (785) 243-4303
Equestrian Trails Perry State Park (785) 246-3449
Dodge City Convention & Visitors Bureau 400 W. Wyatt Earp Blvd., Dodge City (620) 225-8186 Franklin County Visitors Center 2011 E. Logan, Ottawa (785) 242-1411 Garden City Travel Plaza 1265 Solar Ave., Garden City (620) 276-3264 Great Bend Convention & Visitors Bureau 3111 10th St., Great Bend (620) 792-2750
Horse Trail Eisenhower State Park (785) 528-4102 Kanopolis Multi-use Trails Kanopolis State Park (785) 546-2565 Pipeline Trail Milford State Park (785) 238-3014 Pond Trail Sand Hills State Park (316) 542-3664 Prairie Trail Sand Hills State Park (316) 542-3664
Kansas Originals Market 233 Hwy 232, Wilson (785) 658-2602
Randolph Equestrian Trail Tuttle Creek State Park (785) 539-7941
Hays Convention & Visitors Bureau 2700 Vine St., Hays (785) 628-8202
Rock Creek Horse Trail Clinton Wildlife Area Rockhaven Park (785) 887-6882
Lawrence Visitor Information Center 402 N. Second, Lawrence (785) 856-3040
Saddle Ridge Trails Hillsdale State Park Vehicle permits are required for entry. (913) 783-4507
Liberal Travel Information Center 1 Yellow Brick Road, Liberal (620) 626-0170 Lindsborg Travel Information Center 114 N Main (Covered Kiosk), Lindsborg (785) 227-8687 Olathe Mahaffie Stage Coach stop & Farm Historic Site 1200 Kansas City Road, Olathe (913) 971-5111 Wyldewood Cellars Winery 32633 Grapevine Road, Paxico (785) 636-8466
VISITOR SERVICES Hiking Trails Kansas Trails Council www.kansastrailscouncil.org Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy www.kanzatrails.org
Complete list of state hiking trails getoutdoorskansas.org/trails Equestrian Trails Bluestem Trail Sand Hills State Park (316) 542-3664 Boulder Bluff Horse Trail El Dorado State Park (316) 321-7180 Cottonwood Trail Sand Hills State Park (316) 542-3664 Crystal Trail Milford State Park (785) 238-3014
Tallgrass Sand Hills State Park (316) 542-3664 Woodland Trail Sand Hills State Park (316) 542-3664
Elk City State Park 4825 Squaw Creek Road, Independence (620) 331-6295 Includes cabins and campsites Fall River State Park 144 Hwy 105, Toronto (620) 637-2213 Includes campsites Glen Elder State Park 2131 180 Road, Glen Elder (785) 545-3345 Includes campsites Hillsdale State Park 26001 W. 255th St., Paola (913) 783-4507 Includes RV camping and campsites Kanopolis State Park 200 Horsethief Road, Marquette (785) 546-2565 Includes cabins and campsites Kaw River State Park 300 Southwest Wanamaker Road, Topeka (785) 273-6740 No camping Lovewell State Park 2446 250 Road, Webber (785) 753-4971 Includes cabins and campsites Meade State Park 13051 V Road, Meade (620) 873-2572 Includes camping Milford State Park 3612 State Park Road, Milford (785) 238-3014 Includes cabins and campsites Mined Land Wildlife Area 7545 NW Belleview Rd., Columbus (620) 827-6301 Includes cabins and campsites
Webster State Park 1140 10 Rd., Stockton (785) 425-6775 Includes cabins and campsites Wilson State Park No. 3 State Park Road, Sylvan Grove (785) 658-2465 Includes cabins and campsites State Fishing Lakes Atchison State Fishing Lake 11692 Pawnee Rd., Atchison (913) 367-7811 Barber State Fishing Lake Medicine Lodge (620) 895-6446 Black Kettle State Fishing Lake Moundridge (620) 628-4592 Bourbon State Fishing Lake 10 miles south of Moran on Hwy 59 to Elsmore, then east 4 miles (620)-449-2539 Brown State Fishing Lake Robinson (913) 367-7811 Butler State Fishing Lake Latham (620) 876-5730 Chase State Fishing Lake 1130 Lake Road, Cottonwood Falls (620) 767-5900 Clark State Fishing Lake Kingsdown (620) 227-8609 Concannon State Fishing Lake Garden City (620) 276-8886 Cowley State Fishing Lake 20467 U.S. Hwy 166, Dexter (620) 876-5730
Mushroom Rock State Park 200 Horsethief Road, Marquette (785) 546-2565 No camping
Crawford State Fishing Lake 9 miles north, 1 mile east of Girard (620) 362-3671
Cedar Bluff State Park 32001 147 Hwy, Ellis (785) 726-3212 Includes cabins and campsites
Perry State Park 5441 Westlake Road, Ozawkie (785) 246-3449 Includes cabins and campsites
Douglas State Fishing Lake Baldwin City (913) 845-2665
Cheney State Park 16000 NE 50th, Cheney (316) 542-3664 Includes cabins and campsites
Pomona State Park 22900 S. Hwy 368, Vassar (785) 828-4933 Includes cabins and campsites
Clinton State Park 798 N. 1415 Road, Lawrence (785) 842-8562 Includes cabins and campsites
Prairie Dog State Park 13037 State Hwy 261, Norton (785) 877-2953 Includes cabins and campsites
Crawford State Park 1 Lake Road, Farlington (620) 362-3671 Includes cabins and campsites
Prairie Spirit Trail State Park 419 South Oak, Garnett (785) 448-6767 No camping
Cross Timbers State Park 144 Hwy 105, Toronto (620) 637-2213 Includes cabins and campsites
Sand Hills State Park 4207 East 56th, Hutchinson (316) 542-3664 Includes campsites
Eisenhower State Park 29810 S. Fairlawn Road, Osage City (785) 528-4102 Includes cabins and campsites
Scott State Park 101 West Scott Lake Drive, Scott City (620) 872-2061 Includes cabins and campsites
STATE PARKS/FISHING LAKES
El Dorado State Park 618 NE Bluestem Road, El Dorado (316) 321-7180 Includes cabins and campsites
Tuttle Creek State Park 5800 A River Pond Road, Manhattan (785) 539-7941 Includes cabins and campsites
Finney State Fishing Lake Garden City (620) 276-8886 Ford State Fishing Lake Dodge City (620) 895-6446 Geary State Fishing Lake Junction City (785) 461-5402 Goodman State Fishing Lake Ness City (620) 276-8886 Hain State Fishing Lake Spearville (620) 895-6446 Hamilton State Fishing Lake Syracuse (620) 227-8609 Hodgeman State Fishing Lake Jetmore (620) 276-8886 Jewell State Fishing Lake 2131 180 Road, Glen Elder (785) 545-3345 Kingman State Fishing Lake 8685 W. Hwy 54, Cunningham (620) 532-3242
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Wilson State Fishing Lake Buffalo (620) 637-2748
Leavenworth State Fishing Lake 24421 Parallel Road, Tonganoxie (913) 845-2665
Woodson State Fishing Lake Toronto (620) 637-2748
Kansas Bowhunters Association thekbasite.com
Logan State Fishing Lake 1.5 mile north and 3 miles west of Russell Springs (785) 726-3212
State Fishing Reservoirs
Kansas Sport Clay Association kssca.org
Cedar Bluff Reservoir 13 miles south of I-70 Ogallah Interchange (exit 135) on K-147 32001 147 Hwy, Ellis (785) 726-3212
Kansas Outfitters Association kansasoutfittersassociation.com
Cheney Reservoir Wichita
Mid America Hunting Association www.magba.com
Clinton Reservoir 5 miles west of Lawrence
Prairie Wind Hunting Club www.prairiewindhunting.com
McPherson State Fishing Lake 2450 Pueblo Road, Canton (620) 628-4592
Council Grove Reservoir 1 mile north of Council Grove (620) 767-5195
Meade State Fishing Lake Meade (620) 873-2572
El Dorado Reservoir El Dorado
Bell Wildlife Specialties 155 Oak St, Harveyville (785) 589-2321 www.huntingkansaswhitetails. com
Louisburg Middle Creek State Fishing Lake Louisburg (913) 783-4507 Lyon State Fishing Lake 2272 Road 250, Reading (620) 699-3372
Miami State Fishing Lake 387th St., Fontana (913) 783-4507 Montgomery State Fishing Lake Independence (620) 331-6820 Nebo State Fishing Lake Holton (913) 793-3066 Neosho State Fishing Lake Saint Paul (620) 449-2539 Osage State Fishing Lake Carbondale (620) 699-3372 Ottawa State Fishing Lake Located about 25 miles north of Salina on US-81, and 8 miles east on KS-106. 1079 N. 190th Rd., Minneapolis (785) 658-2465 Ext. 3 Pottawatomie Lake No. 1 and No. 2 State Fishing Lakes Manhattan (785) 539-9999 Rocky Ford State Fishing Lake Manhattan (785) 539-9999 Rooks State Fishing Lake 1140 10 Road, Stockton (785) 425-6775 Saline State Fishing Lake North from I-70 exit 249 to Watkins Road, then east 1 mile to Gerard Road, then north ½ mile to entrance. (785) 628-8614 Scott State Fishing Lake 520 W. Scott Lake Drive, Scott City (620) 872-2061 Shawnee State Fishing Lake Silver Lake (913) 845-2665 Sheridan State Fishing Lake Located 12 miles east and ¾ mile north of Hoxie. (913) 877-2953 Sherman Wildlife Area Located 7 miles south, 2 miles west of Goodland. (785) 726-3212 Washington State Fishing Lake Washington (785) 461-5402
Elk City Reservoir Independence (620) 331-6820 Fall River Reservoir Fall River Glen Elder Reservoir 2131 180 Road, Glen Elder Hillsdale Reservoir Paola John Redmond Reservoir ½ mile south and 1 mile west of New Strawn (620) 364-8613 Kanopolis Reservoir 33 miles SW of Salina on K-149 and K141 US, Kanopolis (785) 546-2294 Keith Sebelius Reservoir Located at 4 miles west and 1 mile south from Norton La Cygne Reservoir Southeast of La Cygne (913) 795-2218 Lovewell Reservoir Webber (785) 753-4971 Marion Reservoir Just north of U.S. 56, between Marion and Hillsboro Hillsboro (620) 382-2101 Melvern Reservoir 35 miles south of Topeka on US-75 (785) 549-3318 Milford Reservoir 5 miles northwest of Junction City on US-77
KS Sport Hunting Association www.huntkansas.org
180 Outdoors LLC.
The Beyer Ranch 652 8th Road SW, Gridley (620) 836-5080 Buster’s Outfitters PO Box 143, Sun City (620) 546-5777 Carters Big Island Hunt Club 108 Sr. Joseph St. St. Paul (620) 232-4829 Cecil’s Trails End Hunting Lodge 12803 108 Road, Minneola (620) 430-0663 hunttrailsend.com Clay’s Guide Service 27303 B St., Haviland (620) 546-4149 www.claysguideservice.com Crooked Creek Hunting Ranch 25048 15 Road, Meade (620) 873-7189 Flint Hills Hunts PO Box 838, Winfield (620) 221-3767 www.kansashunts.com Flying W Outfitters 6199 4 Road, Plains (620) 629-0946 Golden Prairie Hunting Service 607 W. Gwinn Court, Sublette (620) 675-8490 Kansas Governor’s One Shot Turkey Hunt 200 S. Main St., Ste. 2, El Dorado (316) 321-3835 www.ksoneshot.com
Perry Reservoir Perry
Guide Lines Guide Service 3608 Hackberry Drive, Topeka (785) 267-0065
Toronto Reservoir 15 miles southwest of Yates Center, Fall River (620) 583-6783
Hanke’s Hunts 1510 3rd Road, Waterville (785) 562-7157 hankeshunts.com
Tuttle Creek Reservoir 5 miles north of Manhattan Manhattan
Hays City Sportsmen’s Club 5810 230th Ave., Hays (785) 623-9477
Webster Reservoir 1210 9 Road, Stockton
Hickory Creek Lodge 1230 W 570th Ave., McCune (620) 423-5491 www.hickorycreekoutfitter.com
Wilson Reservoir Sylvan Grove (785) 658-2551
Jeff’s Guide Service 100 Lakeview Lane Ellis (785) 650-8263 www.jeffsguide.com
Rocking K Ranch Hunting 313 NE 150th Ave., Stafford (620) 546-4668 www.rockingkranchhunting.com/
JL Bar Ranch 1720 Seneca, Winona (785) 751-4426
Saline River Hunting Lodge & Guide Service 20015 260 Ave., WaKeeney (785) 743-5878
K & K Outfitters 317 N 250th, Mulberry (620) 249-3003 www.duckandbuck.com Kansas Hunting Adventures 112 E. Hazelwood, Waterville (785) 363-2327 www.kansashuntingadventures. com Kansas Trophy Hunts 134 E. Main, Sedan (620) 725-4011 Kansas Trophy Whitetails 1539 Indian Rd., Morrowville (785) 265-3360 www.kansas-trophy-whitetails.com LaSada 3721 183rd St., Russell (785) 483-3758 www.lasada.com Lazy J Hunting Service 400 Orth St., Sublette (620) 675-2338 www.lazyjhunting.com Lone Pine Game Birds 444 90th Road, Toronto (620) 637-2967 www.huntlonepine.com Long Branch Creek Outfitters 107 N Marks, Oberlin (785) 475-3439 McNeil Game Farm and Outfitting 1816 18th Road, Clay Center (785) 632-5040 Mill Creek Outfitters 35040 Old K-10 Road, Alma (785) 499-2980 Monster Bucks of Kansas 664 3 Road, Bremen (785) 337-2396 www.kansashunter.com Muddy Creek Game Birds Muddy Creek Whitetails 8721 NE Brown Road, Meriden 785-484-2325 www.muddycreekwhitetails.com Oasis Hunting R1, Box 110, Deerfield (620) 426-6291 www.oasishunting.com Odyssey Hunts 109 Albert St., Lakin (620) 355-6301 Prairie Stars Enterprises 408 S First St Sterling (620) 278-3255 Rebel Ridge Outfitters P.O Box 752, Syracuse (620) 384-7700 www.rebelridgeoutfitters.com River Bluff Hunting Company 425 70 Rd., Scandia (316) 258-7969 www.riverbluffhunting.com Riverview Ringnecks R2, PO Box, Webber (402) 984-3028 Rock and Rose Ranch 16400 Axelton Hill Road, Randolph (785) 410-7747
Kiowa State Fishing Lake Greensburg (620) 895-6446
Sand Wells Outdoors 902 Road S, Hugoton (866) 365-6112 www.sandwellsoutdoors.com Scattered Acres Outfitting 1490 5th Rd, Palmer 785-770-7440 www.scatteredacresoutfitting. com/ Shawnee Creek Preserve 2733 NE Center Star Road, Columbus (620) 674-8563 Show Me Birds Hunting Resort 6186 SE 20th St., Baxter Springs (620) 674-8863 www.showmebirds.com Solomon Valley Outfitters LLC 1319 Kansas St., Downs (785) 545-5327 Timber Hills Lake Hunting & Fishing Adventures 1369 Valley Road, Mapleton (620) 743-4114 www.timberhillslake.com
FISHING Fishing Outfitters CatDaddy’s Catfishin Adventures 1308 NW Logan, Topeka (785) 357-0934 www.catdaddyguideservices.com Timber Hills Lake Hunting & Fishing Adventures 1369 Valley Road, Mapleton (620) 743-4114 www.timberhillslake.com Wolf River Outfitters, LLC 1315 290th, Hiawatha (785) 741-5218 www.wolfriveroutfitters.com Wyrick Farms 22429 49th Ave., Haviland (620) 338-6701 www.huntwyrickfarms.com
PUBLIC LANDS Byron Walker Wildlife Area 8685 W. Hwy 54, Cunningham (620) 532-3242 www.ksoutdoors.com McPherson Valley Wetlands 967 Mohawk Road, McPherson (620) 241-7669 www.kdwp.state.ks.us Mined Land Wildlife Area 507 E 560th, Pittsburg (620) 231-3173 Steve Lloyd Wetlands Area Rt 837, Wakefield (785) 632-6701 www.cckansas.org
HUNTING/FISHING LODGING USI RV Park 2920 E 33rd St., Wichita (316) 838-8699 www.usirvpark.com
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r e s o u r c e Upland Inn 407 S Walnut, Greensburg (316) 250-3038 www.uplandinnhunts.com
Cowboy Way Ranch & Vacations 10075 Shanuk Lane, Westmoreland (785) 456-8626
Lil’ Toledo Lodge 10600 170th Road, Chanute (620) 244-5668 www.liltoledo.com
Smoky River Rendezvous 115 Belleview., Winona (785) 846-7785 http://smokyriverrend.com
Wild Horse Canyon Bed and Breakfast & The Shady Porch 255 N Longhorn Road, Dighton (620) 397-5914
Cressler Creek Log Cabin 1302 North Road 80 East, Hoxie (785) 675-1295 www.cresslercreeklogcabin.com
The Lodge 250 S. Main St., Hoisington (620) 653-4771 www.purpleprairie.net
Solomon Valley Outfitters 1319 Kansas St., Downs (785) 545-5327
Acorn Resort 3710 Farnum Creek Road, Milford (785) 463-4000 www.acornsresortkansas.com
Dairy Barn Lodge RR 1 Box 20, Atwood (785) 626-3743
Midwest Outfitters, Inc. 1275 Heritage Road, Washington (785) 325-2577 www.midwestoutfittersinc.com
Arrow B Hunting Lodge 1115 Hwy 24, Stockton (785) 425-5030
Don’s Guide Service, LLC 308 N Hobart, Glen Elder (785) 545-5651 donshuntingandfishingkansas. com
Ash Creek Upland Game Hunting 269 Pawnee Road, Windom (620) 489-9411 www.ashcreekhunting.com
Double Arrow C Ranch 1209 P Road, Eureka (620) 583-7271 www.doublearrowc.com
Mom’s House Country Hunting Lodge 610 Road 25, Bird City (785) 734-2549
The Barn Bed and Breakfast Inn 14910 Blue Mound Road, Valley Falls (785) 945-3225 www.thebarnbb.com
Double E Pheasant Ranch 2038 15th Ave., McPherson (620) 242-5430
Morris Gun Dogs & Guided Hunts 2104 Browning Ave., Manhattan (785) 477-2521 www.morrisgundogs.com
Barrel Springs Hunt Club 416 Railroad Ave., Tribune (620) 376-2701 www.barrelspringshuntclub.com Big Hill Lodge 415 S Liberty, Cherryvale (877) 244-4455 www.bighilllodge.com Blue River Whitetails, LLC 416 N Denver Ave., Hanover (785) 337-2530 www.blueriverwhitetails.com Bluestem Hunting Preserve, Inc. 2301 N. Hwy 11, Kingman (620) 532-6361 www.bluestemhunting.com Bruiser Whitetail, LLC 620 Warpole Rd., Olsburg (785) 468-3640 www.bruiserwhitetail.com Buckshot Inn 117 W. Hwy 36, Smith Center (785) 282-6644 www.buckshotinn.com C&W Ranch 4000 S Halstead Road, Smolan (785) 668-2352 www.cwranch.com Camelot Inn 933 N. First, Osborne (785) 346-5413 www.camelotinnosborne.com Cecil’s Trails End Hunting 12803 108 Road, Minneola (620) 430-0663 http://hunttrailsend.com Claythorne Lodge 1329 NW 100th St., Columbus (620) 597-2568 www.claythorne.com The Country Cabins 2534 Kestrel Road, Hiawatha (785) 742-4320
Doyle Creek Ranch Bunkhouse 2702 110th, Florence (620) 382-4228 http://doylecreekangus.com Eckman Hunting Preserve 988 E. 1800 Road, Baldwin City (785) 830-0034 www.eckmanhuntingpreserve. Com Evergreen Lodge 805 E. Broadway, Jewell (785) 428-3569 Farmyard Lodge 1281 Vale Road, Concordia (785) 243-7336 Flint Hills Adventures, Inc. 1439 Road 29, Elk City (620) 673-4066 www.flinthillsadventures.com Flint Oak 2639 Quail Road, Fall River (620) 658-4401 www.flintoak.com Flying W Ranch LLC R1, Box 11, Clements (620) 340-2802 www.flying-w-ranch.net Refer to directions on site. Gasper Farms Hunting 1326 W. 160th Drive, Osborne (785) 346-2697 Iron Gate Lodge 12740 NW Belleview Rd., Oswego (620) 870-9766 www.irongatelodge.net Kansas Creek Gamebirds 435 80 Rd., Jamestown (785) 335-2381 www.kansascreekgamebirds.com Kansas Creek Inn 1330 Union Road., Concordia (785) 243-9988 www.kansascreekinn.com
Country Lodgings 4062 O Road, Smith Center (785) 389-6281
Kansas Trophy Whitetails 1539 Indian Rd., Morrowville (785) 265-3360 www.kansastrophywhitetails.com
Covert Creek Lodge LLC 1982 Co 671 Ave., Waldo (888) 942-3245 www.covertcreeklodge.com
Kuhrt Ranch Resort 2735 Road 75, Edson (785) 899-5306 www.kuhrtranch.com
Lazy D Outfitters, Inc. 3330 DD Road, Madison (620) 437-2027 www.lazydoutfitters.com
Mikey’s Outfitting 1178 U.S. Hwy 24, Stockton (785) 425-7082 www.mikeysoutfitting.com
Murphy’s at Stark 22030 Hwy 39, Stark (620) 754-3300 www.murphysatstark.com Pheasant Hunters Paradise 15068 Road 17, Kismet (620) 629-1342 swkansaspheasanthunting.com Pheasant Runn Hunting and Guide Service 25047 160 Ave., Collyer (785) 635-2030 www.pheasantrunn.com Pilgrim Ranch Retreat 1895 AA 180th Rd., Cottonwood Falls (620) 344-5991 www.pilgrimranch.com Posusta Lodging 20436 Beatty Road, Lucas (785) 526-7767 Prairie Wings Gamebirds RR1 Box 43, Webber (785) 753-4871 Rancho Milagro Ranch 2366 Ave. K, Brookville (785) 472-4850 www.ranchomilagroks.com Ravenwood Lodge 10147 SW 61st St. Topeka (785) 256-6444 www.ravenwoodlodge.com Ringneck County 2030 Rd. A, Goodland (785) 332-0408 www.ringneckcountry.com Ringneck Ranch 655 Solomon Lane, Tipton (785) 373-4835 www.ringneckranch.net Saline River Hunting Lodge & Guide Service 20015 260 Ave., WaKeeney (785) 743-5878 www.salinelodge.com Sappa Creek Lodge R2, Oberlin (785) 475-3720 www.sappacreeklodge.com Shaps Beaver Creek Ranch 6404 Rd 23, Goodland (785) 899-5942 www.shapsranch.com Slate Creek Lodge 403 South West Rd., Wellington (620) 717-1655
Spearpoint Ranch 1890 N 215th Road, Barnard (785) 524-5330 www.spearpointranch.com Special T Hunting 639 210 Rd., Beloit (785) 529-4081 www.specialthunting.com Spillman Creek Lodge 1125 E Pike Drive, Sylvan Grove (785) 277-3424 www.spillmanceek.com Sportsmens Lodge 2523 Ave. E., Wilson (785) 658-2424 Sunflower Inn 102 Clifton St., Clifton (785) 455-3770 T&C Wildlife Hunt Club 2461 Arrowhead Road, Arcadia (620) 638-4300 www.time2hunt.com The Farm House 22035 160 Ave, WaKeeney (785) 769-5351 The Fin and Feather Lodge 200 E. Kansas, Glen Elder (308) 390-9370 www.thefinandfeatherlodge.com Timber Creek Lodge 1960 W 7th Road, Mankato (785) 428-3601 West Lake Inn 259 West Hwy 24, Downs (785) 454-3345 www.downsks.net Wheatland Hunting Lodge 2589 Hwy K-148, Agenda (785) 732-6498 Wolf Creek Outfitters 20050 Mellard Road, Lucas (785) 525-6200 www.wolfcreekhunting.net Murphy’s Landing 22030 Hwy 39, Stark (620) 754-3300 www.murphysatstark.com
DEER (proposed season dates) • Youth and disabled hunters: Sept. 7-15, 2019 AND Oct. 12-14, 2019 • Muzzleloader: Sept. 16-29, 2019 AND Oct. 12-14, 2019 • Archery: Sept. 16-Dec. 31, 2019 • Pre-rut Whitetail Antlerless Only (WAO): Oct. 12-14, 2019 • Regular Firearm: Dec. 4-Dec., 15, 2019 • 1st Extended WAO: Jan. 1, 2020 • 2nd Extended WAO: Jan. 1-5, 2020 • 3rd Extended WAO: Jan. 1-12, 2020 • Extended Archery WAO: Jan. 13-31, 2020 SPRING TURKEY • Youth/Disabled Season: April 1-16, 2019 • Archery-Only Season: April 8-16, 2019 • Regular Season: April 17-May 31, 2019
PHOTOGRAPH Kip Kraisinger for Kansas Outdoor Corps
FALL TURKEY (Permit required) • Season: Oct. 1-Dec. 3 and Dec. 16, 2019 Jan. 31, 2020 PHEASANT • Regular Season: Nov. 9, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020 • Youth Season: Nov. 2-3, 2019 • Daily Bag Limit: 4 cocks in regular season, 2 cocks in youth season • Possession Limit: 16 during regular season; 4 in youth season QUAIL • Regular Season: Nov. 9, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020 • Youth Season: Nov. 2-3, 2019 • Daily Bag Limit: 8 in regular season, 4 in youth season • Possession Limit: 32 in regular season; 8 in youth season
GREATER PRAIRIE CHICKEN (Permit required) • Early Season (Greater Prairie Chicken Unit):Sept. 1-Oct. 15, 2019 • Regular Season (Greater Prairie Chicken Unit): Nov. 16, 2019 - Jan. 31, 2020 • Daily Bag Limit: 2 • Possession Limit: 8 SQUIRREL • Season: June 1, 2019-Feb. 28, 2020 • Daily bag limit: 5 • Possession limit: 20 RABBITS (Cottontail & Jackrabbit) • Season: All year • Daily bag limit: 10 • Possession limit: 30 CROW • Season: Nov.10, 2019- March 10, 2020 • No Limit FURBEARERS (Hunting and trapping) • Season: Nov. 13, 2019-Feb. 15, 2020 • No limit • Species: badger, bobcat, mink, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, swift fox, red fox, gray fox, striped skunk, weasel. BEAVER AND OTTER TRAPPING • Season (statewide): Nov. 13, 2019-March 31, 2020 • NO OPEN TRAPPING OR HUNTING SEASON ON ANY OTHER FURBEARERS COYOTES HUNTING & TRAPPING • Season (statewide): All year
For more regulations and to view unit maps, go to ksoutdoors.com
www.ravenwoodlodge.com 101475 S.W 61st, Topeka, KS 66610
DOVE (Mourning, white-winged, Eurasian collared, and ringed turtle doves) • Season: Sept.1-Nov. 29, 2019 • Daily bag limit: 15 (The daily bag limit applies to mourning and white-winged doves, single species or in combination. There is no limit on Eurasian collared and ringed turtle dove, but any taken in addition to a limit of mourning and white-winged doves must have a fully-feathered wing attached during transport.) • Possession limit: 45 EXOTIC DOVE (Eurasian collared and ringed turtle doves only) • Year-round • No limit RAIL (Sora and Virginia) • Season: Sept. 1-Nov 9, 2019 • Daily bag limit: 25 • Possession limit: 75 COMMON SNIPE • Season: Sept. 1-Dec. 16, 2019 • Daily bag limit: 8 • Possession limit: 24 WOODCOCK • Season: Oct. 120-Nov. 25, 2019 • Daily bag limit: • Possession limit: 9 SANDHILL CRANE (Permit required) • Season: Nov. 6, 2019-Jan. 2, 2020 • Daily bag limit: 3 • Possession limit: 9 Duck and goose seasons are set using frameworks provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and those seasons will be approved at the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission meeting in April 2019. Season dates will be updated at www.ksoutdoors.com as soon as they are approved.
54 Fort Scott
Columbus 69 CHEROKEE
Mound City 31
Prairie Spirit Trail
92 LEAVENOskaloosa WORTH 16 24 40
Holton 116 ATCHISON
Flint Hills Trail
Tuttle Creek 13
Council Grove 177
40 Junction 57 City GEARY
McPHERSON 35W Mc Pherson
Sublette 190 HASKELL SEWARD 83 160
for more information on state parks, outdoor activities, events and more.
Hays is surrounded by prime walk-in hunting areas, so you spend less time asking for permission and more time doing what you love. Inside the city limits, youâ€™ll find plenty of hunting outfitters, restaurants and hotel options.
Call 800-569-4505 for a free hunting packet!
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return to the flint hills Manhattan, Kansas is a great community for you to rededicate, rediscover and reimagine. Our stable economy, affordable cost of living, numerous housing options, entertainment and excellent medical facilities assure you of a comfortable, exciting lifestyle. Make our community your home. Return to the Flint Hills. Contact us for a free info packet to learn more about returning to Manhattan. 785-776-8829 | www.ReturnToTheFlintHills.com
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Find your next outdoor adventure - from hiking Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park or paddling your way down the mighty Kaw River - Kansas...
Published on Jan 8, 2019
Find your next outdoor adventure - from hiking Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park or paddling your way down the mighty Kaw River - Kansas...