Kansas deer hunters will celebrate a golden anniversary next week.
It’s been 50 years since the state’s first modern firearms hunt took place. With the deer herd still growing, that inaugural season was a just a shadow of what it has become. The 1965 season was only five days long, 3,975 permits were issued and only 1,153 deer were taken.
Fast forward to the 2015 season, which will open Wednesday and run through Dec. 16. Today, Kansas is in the national eye, known nationally for its trophy bucks and its high hunter success rates. Last year, 123,000 hunters shot 93,939 deer.
And all indications point to another successful season.
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“I look for a season similar to last year,” said Lloyd Fox, big-game biologist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. “We have areas where deer numbers are still coming back from several years of drought and the EHD (epizootic hemorrhagic disease) outbreak.
“But overall, we still have plenty of deer. If the weather cooperates, we should see some good hunting.”
Missouri deer season continues
Missouri firearms deer hunters didn’t get much of a break.
The statewide season ended Tuesday and the antlerless season started a day later. It continues through Dec. 6.
Limits differ by county. In counties north of Interstate 70, hunters are allowed either one or two antlerless deer in the season. In many counties in southern Missouri, the antlerless season is not in effect. Check regulations for details.
Soar like an eagle
Bald eagles will be the featured guests when the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge plays host to its 37th annual Eagle Days on Dec. 5-6.
The free event will feature a chance to view wild eagles perched in trees overlooking the marshes, and a closeup look at captive birds displayed by the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield.
Eagle Days is a cooperative effort run by the Missouri Department of Conservation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other public and private conservation groups.
Staff members from the Department of Conservation and volunteers will be at interpretive stops along the driving tour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Dickerson Park Zoo will present hourly programs including live captive eagles from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Crisis avoided at Lake Taneycomo
The near-catastrophic situation at Lake Taneycomo has eased with the help of cooler weather.
With the dissolved oxygen levels entering Taneycomo from Table Rock Lake at low levels, large numbers of trout were dying at the Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery and some dieoffs were reported on the lake.
But cooler temperatures caused Table Rock to turn over, sending more oxygenated water into Taneycomo. And flood gates at the dam were opened for a while, again adding oxygen to the water.
The trout have definitely responded. Lilleys’ Landing Resort and Marina reports that the fishing has been the best it has been in weeks, with trout hitting Gulp Eggs, egg flies and scud flies in the Branson Landing area.