Makayla Chapman’s first deer hunt wasn’t exactly a well-kept secret
The nation watched when the 9-year-old joined her father Brent, a nationally known pro bass fisherman from Lake Quivira, on a rifle hunt during the Kansas deer season.
The hunt was shown live Wednesday on the Outdoor Channel website, and tweets during the program indicated that hunters from as far away as Canada were watching.
Little Makayla, hunting alongside her dad in an enclosed blind on the family land in eastern Kansas, didn’t disappoint.
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About halfway into the scheduled 3 to 6 p.m. programming, she watched a buck walk into a clearing. She calmly leveled her rifle, squeezed the trigger and shot her first deer as video cameras captured the event.
Her dad tweeted, “Still shaking from the excitement and the cold.”
For Brent, it was yet one more page of the scrapbook capturing the 2014 hunting season. He shot a big buck in Kansas in November with his bow. Then he took his first elk while hunting with fellow pro fisherman Clifford Pirch in Arizona.
But watching his daughter shoot her first deer might have been the best moment of all.
“Having the film crew along with us didn’t bother her,” Brent said. “She was just excited to be part of this.”
Chronic Wasting Disease back in the news
Missouri wildlife biologists and hunters were disheartened to learn that another whitetail taken by a hunter tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
The deer, which was taken in Adair County, was the first one to be found with the disease in Missouri since 2013. CWD, a fatal disease that can spread through a deer herd, was first discovered in the state in 2011, when it was found in a private hunting preserve in Linn County.
Later, other cases were found in a hunting preserve in northwest Macon County, and then among free-ranging wild deer. This is the 11th wild whitetail found with the disease over the years.
“I guess we were hopeful that we wouldn’t find any more cases,” said Jason Sumners, a deer biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation. “But this buck was well within the dispersal area for bucks (from the core area where CWD cases were previously found).
“We intend to keep testing deer taken by hunters and monitor the situation.”
Hunters in the containment zone of Adair, Chariton, Linn, Macon, Randolph and Sullivan counties can volunteer to have tissue samples taken from the deer they shoot. A list of cooperating sampling locations can be found on the Department of Conservation’s website, mdc.mo.gov.
A good deer season
Missouri firearms deer hunters are on a good pace.
They already have shot 194,997 deer in all segments of the season combined. That’s four percent above the harvest at this time last year.
The latest addition to that total came Nov. 26 through Dec. 7, when hunters shot 9,107 deer during the antlerless season.
Two more portions of the firearms season remain — the alternative methods season Dec. 20-30 and the late youth portion Jan. 3-4.
A waterfowl magnet
So, do you want to know where all the ducks and geese are in Kansas?
No, not Cheyenne Bottoms. Not the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, either.
The unlikely answer is the Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge in northwest Kansas.
The refuge, on Kirwin Reservoir, has had big waterfowl numbers in the past, especially large concentrations of Canada geese. But few can recall a season like this one.
Kirwin is holding 500,000 geese, mostly snows and blues, and more than 400,000 ducks, half mallards, this week. And with warmer weather predicted, the marshes should have open water, keeping the waterfowl from migrating on.
To reach outdoors editor Brent Frazee, call 816-516-4744 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.