K-State Research and Extension News
Each week, K-State Research and Extension wildlife specialist Charlie Lee joins Eric Atkinson, agriculture director for the K-State Radio Network, to discuss a wide variety of wildlife issues of interest to farmers, ranchers, hunters, and wildlife enthusiasts of all kinds.
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While they won’t wipe out an entire no-till crop field, kangaroo rats can create severe spot damage in such fields. Crop residue provides ideal cover and habitat for these rodents, according to K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee. This week, he goes over how to employ an effective toxicant product against kangaroo rats, especially in newly planted no-till corn.
 

Steadily over the last 40 years, free-ranging horse and burrow numbers have swelled in parts of the West.  And in fact, under agreements with the Bureau of Land Management, several thousand of these animals reside in Kansas and Oklahoma.  A recent study was commissioned, in an attempt to address the rapid wild horse and burrow population growth, and the severe harm that growth is inflicting on natural ecosystems.  K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee reports on that effort.
 

After years of discussion on the issue, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has chosen to list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Western Kansas is part of this upland bird’s native range. This week, K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee talks about what this listing means for farmers and ranchers in that region.
 

Among the many negative consequences of extended drought conditions are the adverse impacts on deer. Drought leads to changes in deer herd density, which makes deer more susceptible to severe disease issues. That’s not to mention the stress caused by a shortage of drinking water. K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee talks about these effects and what landowners wanting to preserve their deer resources can do.
 

Badgers can be found rather commonly across the Plains region. Their upside is that they consume large numbers of rodents. However, as they pursue that prey, they create large burrows – often in reduced-tillage crop fields. And, those burrows can become a hazard for field equipment.  This week, K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee talks about contending with that damage through badger control.
 

Landowners and hunting enthusiasts often think of predator control as the quick fix for declining bobwhite quail populations. But it isn’t as simple as that, according to K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee. Effective predator control at the right time is not easily achieved. That’s why Charlie promotes the concept of predator management, rather than control, as he outlines this week.
 

Numerous Kansans have been witness to a highly unusual sight this past winter:  snowy owls showing up here in the Central Plains. This arctic bird has ventured far beyond its normal habitat, and K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee says there’s a great deal of speculation as to why…without any scientific conclusions yet. Regardless, he talks this week about this rare appearance of snowy owls in this region.
 

Landowners and game bird enthusiasts have an excellent opportunity to glean new ideas on upland game bird management at the 2014 State Habitat Convention, to take place on March 7th and 8th at the Great Plains Nature Center in Wichita.  K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee strongly endorses participation in this event, and joining him again this week with details on this convention is wildlife biologist Holly Shutt of Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever.
 
 

The steady decline in pheasant and quail numbers in Kansas is drawing considerable attention from wildlife agencies and organizations, as they strive to work with landowners in attempting to restore these upland game bird numbers.  That’s the mission of a wildlife biologist with Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever, Holly Shutt.  She joins K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee this week to talk about the lack of sufficient pheasant and quail habitat in the state.
 
 

The federal decision on whether to list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened or endangered species is to be announced in March.  Meantime, wildlife officials in Kansas are encouraging landowners in the lesser prairie chicken range to consider the special lesser prairie chicken conservation plan that many people hope will pre-empt the need for listing the bird.  K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee talks about the incentives that voluntary plan is offering landowners.
 
 

In March, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is scheduled to decide on whether to list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened or endangered species.  A large part of this bird’s home range resides in Kansas.  And a voluntary conservation plan has been put forth in an effort to avoid that listing.  In the first of a three-part series on the issue, K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee assesses the conservation plan and why it may well be in the best interest of landowners with lesser prairie chickens on their property to at least consider it.
 
 

Attempt after attempt has been made to figure out a way of quickly replenishing declining bobwhite quail populations. According to K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee, releasing pen-raised adult birds just hasn’t worked.  Another approach, releasing young quail chicks after minimal human contact, has been promoted as a possible solution, by way of a commercially marketed rearing-and-release system.  However, independent studies have shown that this system also comes up short, as Charlie discusses this week.
 
 

Numerous wildlife species have long been known for their ability to hibernate during the winter.  Even so, there are still a great many unknowns about this metabolic process, according to K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee.  This week, he talks about how hibernation behavior differs among wildlife species.
 
 

The fact is that many in the public are not in favor of using toxicants as a way of controlling nuisance birds like pigeons and geese.  That sentiment has given rise to the development of a contraceptive compound, made available free choice to birds through feeders. The effectiveness of this approach varies, and is often more long-term than short-term, as K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee discusses this week.
 
 

It’s been talked about amongst wildlife researchers for decades, and still, a good solution to the feral cat problem has been hard to come by.  Feral cats prey on numerous bird and small mammal species…and a recent study of feral cat activity in an island setting further quantified the problem.  This week, K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee offers thoughts on that study, suggesting that all control options for feral cats be duly considered.
 

Residents of the Central Plains are quite familiar with the vocalizations of coyotes…the nighttime barking, howling and yipping. A study recently completed in Michigan attempted to link that vocalization to specific coyote activity. The results could be helpful in predator coyote control efforts, as K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee discusses this week.
 

Sometimes, burrowing by rodents can go beyond being just a nuisance.  That burrowing can lead to various kinds of costly damage.  But to deal with that, the homeowner or landowner needs to be familiar with the rodent in question, because burrowing habits vary among rodent species.  K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee discusses those differences.
 

With the firearms deer hunting season underway in Kansas, K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee takes time this week to go over the recommendations for field-dressing harvested deer. He emphasizes that everything needs to be conducted with food safety firmly in mind.  And having the proper processing equipment, along with following the suggested techniques, will go a long way toward achieving that objective.
 

Birds in flight frequently collide with man-made objects, including wind turbines.  And a new summary of research on those incidents paints a clearer picture of just how often those collisions occur.  K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee takes a look at that report, saying that it reinforces the need to address this concern.

Wildlife management agencies in numerous states, including Kansas, continue to seek answers for chronic wasting disease, which has decimated deer in a number of areas.  Some recent developments in the state of Wisconsin have added to the dialogue over what to do about C-W-D. K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee talks about those this week.

There have been ongoing questions about the use of rodenticides in wildland rodent control, and their impact on non-target species.  A new study out of California offers the best look yet at that matter, according to K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee.  It examined non-target wildlife losses as a result of rodenticide ingestion over 20 years’ time.  And while still a concern, the results suggest that such rodenticide products can be used safely…if used correctly.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to render its final decision on whether to list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species next spring.  In advance of that, the service has agreed to evaluate a new conservation plan for this bird, developed for the five states where it resides, including Kansas.  However, as K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee explains this week, this action does not preclude the service from eventually listing the lesser prairie chicken.

Most people overlook the beneficial aspects of bats, according to K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee.  And one of those attributes is the bat’s propensity to feed on harmful or nuisance insects.  A recent study attempted to measure the volume of mosquitos that bats consume.  Charlie reviews the findings of that research this week.

There are numerous reasons why people provide supplemental feed to deer.  But up to now, the impact of that practice on the social behavior of deer hasn’t been researched.  That’s what prompted a new study in Texas, which showed some interesting results about deer interactions at supplemental feeding sites.  K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee reviews those findings.

It’s a rather unsung health concern for humans and animals in the wild alike: a parasite called the raccoon roundworm. When either people or animals come in contact with this roundworm’s eggs, the health consequences can be devastating.  A recent study tested out a method of potentially reducing or eliminating these parasites in raccoons and other wildlife species.  K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee reports on that research this week.

It’s well known that as captive exotic pets, certain reptiles and amphibians can be carriers of zoonotic diseases that can end up being food-borne pathogens.  Very little has been known, however, about the presence of such diseases in wild reptiles and amphibians.  A new study attempted to shed light on that question, and its relevance to food safety, which K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee reviews this week.

Snakes are beginning make their move to winter quarters – which can mean moving into outbuildings and homes. A new snake repellent study out of Georgia suggests the product may be effective. However, according to K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee says there are more effective ways to keep snakes from entering homes and buildings.

- 9/27/2013
Typically, fall is the time when the ill effects of epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or E-H-D, start showing up in deer herds. Hopefully, episodes of this devastating disease will be far less this year than last year, according to K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee. Still, it’s a condition that remains worrisome for those interested in preserving deer resources.

Soon now, the annual southward migration of scores of bird species will begin.  Often, birds will spend time in this region of the plains before heading on to their winter destination.  And landowners can do a few things to encourage their stay-over for an extended time, according to K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee.
                                          

A new report from the National Wildlife Federation explores the impact of climate change on freshwater fish, including the most popular of game fish.  And it says the evidence is clear:  that global warming is leading to changes in the composition of fish species in many rivers, streams and lakes.  K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee looks closer at those implications.

The teal hunting season will soon be underway in Kansas, continuing through September 22nd.  And thanks to favorable weather in the Northern Plains this spring and summer, teal numbers ought to be substantial as this waterfowl migrates south into Kansas, according to K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee. Changes have been made to the teal hunting regulations in the state for this year, which Charlie covers this week.

Often, landowners strive to develop the deer resources on their property by providing supplemental nutrients for deer in their natural habitat.   K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee calls that a “neutral” practice.  He says that supplemental feeding of deer does no harm, but by the same token, does little good…because the natural nutrient resources in a state like Kansas are more than sufficient enough to sustain a high-quality deer population.
                                 

Largely because of limited imports of shrimp from Asia, the economic returns to raising freshwater shrimp look very attractive right now.  But before one ventures into this form of aquaculture, the realities of producing commercial shrimp need to be fully understood first.  As K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee points out this week, this can be a very risky enterprise.

Bats are a species not to be feared, but to be appreciated, according to wildlife specialist Charlie Lee of K-State.  Their consumption of harmful insects is an important component of our outdoor biology.  However, bats are being seriously threatened by a disease called white nose syndrome, and scientists are scrambling to find an answer for it, as Charlie discusses this week.

During this mid-to-late summer stretch, migratory birds tend to collect in large roosts, which can lead to an assortment of problems in those roost locations. It takes a neighborhood effort to disperse those roosts, according to K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee.  This week he talks about that, and about the recommended techniques for breaking up those roosts.

A goal of most farm fish ponds is to have a balance of fish. But, how is that accomplished? K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee discusses several methods that will help maintain a balance of fish in the pond, including how the pond is stocked each year, keeping records of the fish that are caught and using a seine net.

Bluegill fish are popular fish for farm ponds. They’re fun to catch and good to eat. However, bluegill fish mature slowly and are often caught or killed before they reach full size. K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee discusses some of the steps that can be taken to increase the size of bluegill fish in farm ponds.

White-tail deer have been known to feed aggressively on standing soybean crops, much to the dismay of the farmer.  A recent study closely examined deer browsing on summer field crops, in an effort to better understand the soybean feeding pattern.  K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee says this research gives some guidance on when protecting soybean crops against deer browsing is most worthwhile.

Dry weather may not be the only reason why the water level in a farm pond is low.  That pond may be leaking, and the landowner may be compelled to do something about it.  The original construction of the pond is often at fault, according to K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee.  But there are means of fixing the leak, which vary by effectiveness and by expense.  He talks about the options this week.

Bird collisions with planes in flight at airports has been a long-standing problem.  And, in that airports typically occupy hundreds of acres of land, large numbers of birds can gather in those areas. There’s been some research into the kinds of ground cover on that land that encourages the build-up of bird populations around airports.  K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee talks about that this week.

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