Michael Pearce

The Eagle's outdoor reporter highlights the latest hunting, fishing and wildlife news.

Michael Pearce

Arkansas River group to host free float

By Michael Pearce

mpearce@wichitaeagle.com

August 18, 2016 04:23 PM

On Sept. 25, the Arkansas River Coalition will host a twilight float down the Little Arkansas River in Wichita. The club that’s dedicated to promoting wise use of the Arkansas River system holds the floats of about two hours about every month when the weather is warm. This float begins at a launch site near 30th and Porter and will end at North Woodland Park, near 20th and Shelton.

This stretch of river is pretty shallow and not too challenging. The club will supply kayaks and all safety gear for those who make their requests in advance. For information call 316-684-0730 or wallyseibel@aol.com.

More updates

The early corn harvest will do well for dove hunters when the season opens Sept. 1 as the small birds like to feast on the big kernels. A few rains, though, and that same waste grain on the ground will probably germinate and sprout which means there won’t be much left for waterfowl and waterfowl hunters when those seasons begin. Hopefully there will be plenty of wheat planted for migrating birds.

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Speaking of birds, I know some are getting tired of reading it but I’m still getting some nice reports of young pheasants, quail and turkeys. Some spots should be excellent but some will be poor. I’m guessing it will be an average year for pheasants, overall, and above average for quail in many areas. As recently as five years ago I never thought we’d again see strong quail populations in places like the Flint Hills. Sometimes it’s great to be wrong.

Fishing is still pretty strong at most lakes. A buddy routinely catches 100 or more at day at Marion Reservoir. The fish are a mix of wipers, white bass and walleye. The same species are going at Cheney, too. A few people have had success fishing for whites and wipers where gulls are diving at the water, though that style of fishing hasn’t been as good as it has some years. It may improve as the water fools.

Even those who’ve been watching the Olympics may not be familiar with Kim Rhodes. She’s a clay target shooter who just won a medal in her sixth consecutive Olympics. Yes, six trips to the Olympics and at least one medal every time. There aren’t many sports where someone can have that kind of longevity and it’s a heck of an accomplishment. Some avid shooters claim the media is largely ignoring her because of her strong support for firearms ownership. Others say it’s just because the American public has little interest in shooting. I met her many years ago at the Governor’s Turkey Hunt in El Dorado. She was young then but was a delight to spend time with. Other reporters who’ve worked with her recently say she hasn’t changed.

Upcoming coverage

On the topic of female shooters, Sunday’s Outdoors page will have a feature on Megan Hilbish. She’s a 20-year-old college student from Emporia who did well at the National Rifle Association Smallbore Rifle National Championships last month in Indiana. In rifle competitions there are usually no classes per gender. To take second in a group of about 200 shooters Hilbish had to top a lot of men who’ve been into serious target shooting longer than she’s been alive. The article takes a look at how the farm girl/college student got ready for one of the largest shooting contests in the nation.

I’m in the middle of another article on how state parks are changing to be more appealing to their ever-changing clientele. Many are wanting to offer shelters that fit in between cabins and large RVs and primitive tent camping. It also appears more and more campers don’t want to do a truly primitive camp. Every year more ask for electricity, largely so they can keep their cell phones and tablets charged. Many campgrounds are also making sure they have areas where people can get at least temporary wifi service.

Things are going slow, but they are going, for a feature on some great projects Boy Scouts have completed for their Eagle Scout projects. About every state park in Kansas as at least one Eagle Scout project, as do many lakes, reservoirs and city parks. Some have been very creative.

Also the deeper I dig into an article about the upcoming monarch butterfly migration and population the more I find to the story. Some biologists say they’re an indicator species that needs to be watched to see what the future might hold for humans and other animals.

Michael’s world

If an award were ever to be given for ugly tomatoes, I’d certainly be in the running this year. By now about every tomato I pick is cracked and splotched. At least they still taste food. I’m really having a problem with some kind of critter eating them as they start to ripen. I’m not sure if it’s birds, rodents or some large insects. I’m also fighting a bad crop of weeds in the garden this year, too, and that’s not helping.

Sunday there’s going to be a baby shower for Jerrod’s wife, Carilyn. We’re heading up Saturday afternoon to help them celebrate her birthday, which was this week. He parents have flown in from New York so it’ll be good to see them, too. While Kathy, Carilyn and her mom, Amy, are at the shower, Jerrod, his father-in-law, Brent, and I are headed to a Royal’s game. It’s been at least 20 years since I’ve been to one.

Dove season is only about two weeks away. Two weeks. That’s not long. Unfortunately all of the rain we’ve had could make hunting over waterholes pretty hard. A lot of the wheat stubble fields have grown up to high for the birds to use, also. I may hit the road for a few days over Labor Day weekend and travel around and see some friends in western Kansas who usually have some good spots. I’m about ready and Cade’s always read.

This week when the vet saw Cade, she said “...normally I tell people dogs act like puppies until their about a year-and-a-half old. With Labs, it’s more like five years old. With this Lab it’s going to 12 or how ever many years he lives. I guess she could say the same thing about me and childhood.

I’m really liking the way this weekend looks, with lows in the 50s and highs in the 70s - Aug-tober!

Bests,

Michael Perace

mpearce@wichitaeagle.com