www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Hunters enter guilty pleas -11/21/2014, 9:50 AM

Pheasant numbers higher -11/7/2014, 9:53 AM

If the pheasant numbers are better, why aren't we seeing more? -11/7/2014, 9:53 AM

KDWP&T set to woo out-of-state hunters -11/7/2014, 9:53 AM

Federal charges filed against 8 in 2013 Graham County dove hunt -11/7/2014, 9:53 AM

Politics trumps science -10/17/2014, 11:50 AM

Diminutive burrowing owl briefly stands guard -10/17/2014, 11:50 AM

Rescuing the injured -10/10/2014, 10:00 AM

Manager takes to the sky -9/19/2014, 2:30 PM

Of dragonflies, new bad habits -9/12/2014, 9:51 AM

A real rarity -9/5/2014, 9:56 AM

Peak camping season ends with a bang -9/5/2014, 9:46 AM

Mourning the loss of the last passenger pigeon -- too many already -9/5/2014, 9:46 AM

Bird a top choice for hunters -8/29/2014, 9:22 AM

Doves all around -8/29/2014, 9:22 AM

FWS details ESA listing for bat -8/22/2014, 12:15 PM

Tales from the land of Don't -8/8/2014, 6:07 PM

'Kansas Fishes' hot off the press -8/8/2014, 6:07 PM

Pheasant tour off target -8/1/2014, 8:17 AM

Pheasant harvest falls again -7/24/2014, 11:02 AM

Biologist calls idea 'ludicrous' -7/18/2014, 2:13 PM

Appeals court exonerates Texas water board -7/11/2014, 12:01 PM

Survey finds more prairie chickens -7/11/2014, 11:52 AM

Hunting outlook up; duck numbers sharply higher -7/11/2014, 11:52 AM

New round of federal lawsuits at loggerheads with one another -6/20/2014, 11:34 AM

KDWP&T OKs regional ban on prairie chicken hunting -6/20/2014, 11:34 AM

KNRC not ready to give up -6/20/2014, 11:34 AM

Serenading a historic landmark -5/30/2014, 11:03 AM

KNRC set to ask for more money -5/30/2014, 11:03 AM

Kansas seceding on wildlife -5/9/2014, 8:31 AM

Kansas courts back federal endangered species law -5/9/2014, 8:30 AM

Review nearing completion -4/25/2014, 11:07 AM

Bat species should be studied, biologist says -4/25/2014, 11:07 AM

Bats an economic benefit for farmers -4/24/2014, 11:08 AM

Walleye smaller, still productive -4/18/2014, 11:00 AM

In the baking aisle, shoppers agree environment is critical -4/18/2014, 11:00 AM

Lawsuits lining up on listing -4/11/2014, 11:00 AM

Webster too low for irrigation -4/10/2014, 11:00 AM

-4/4/2014, 4:55 PM

-4/4/2014, 4:55 PM

FWS lists prairie chicken as threatened -3/28/2014, 9:47 AM

Whooping cranes reach Kansas; winter numbers up slightly -3/28/2014, 8:35 AM

Ferret numbers still tumbling -3/28/2014, 8:35 AM

Oklahoma, oil group suing FWS -3/20/2014, 9:59 AM

Divining rod for discs -3/20/2014, 9:59 AM

Despite valiant effort, no success in finding snowy owl -3/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Capturing the moment -3/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Kansas: Not so flat after all -3/7/2014, 3:49 PM

Rod, reel a good fit -2/28/2014, 7:53 AM

Spring just a snowstorm or so away -2/28/2014, 7:53 AM

At 90: Best deer ever -2/21/2014, 10:33 AM

Tests confirm 5 new CWD cases -2/14/2014, 10:13 AM

Senate votes to invoke 'sovereignty' over state's prairie chickens -2/14/2014, 10:13 AM

KNRC to deliver report, asking for more money from member counties -2/7/2014, 10:50 AM

Group flunks states, federal agencies dealing with prairie dogs -2/7/2014, 12:12 PM

Brownback ready to sue feds -2/7/2014, 10:50 AM

Big oil companies bankrolling conservation plan -2/6/2014, 10:50 AM

Audubon blasts 'sovereign' bill -1/31/2014, 9:49 AM

Feds again asking for listing comments -1/31/2014, 9:48 AM

Utilities enrolling in program -1/31/2014, 9:48 AM

Listing controversy continues -1/17/2014, 10:30 AM

Friends on the water -12/20/2013, 9:54 AM

Federal wildlife agency lays out rules for oil, gas protection -12/20/2013, 9:54 AM

A beckoning -12/13/2013, 9:08 AM

Listing more likely as FWS adds rules -12/13/2013, 8:59 AM

It's happening right before our eyes! -11/29/2013, 10:28 AM

Governor's Ringneck Classic draws a crowd -11/22/2013, 9:29 AM

Drought saps pheasant numbers -11/8/2013, 6:50 PM

Sporting clays sure to be hot at hunt -11/8/2013, 6:50 PM

Counties set to talk chickens -11/1/2013, 12:08 PM

Dangerous delight -10/18/2013, 9:44 AM

Coping with (more) bad habits -10/11/2013, 12:01 PM

Celebrating fossil discoveries -10/11/2013, 11:51 AM

Making a wish come true -9/27/2013, 11:39 AM

Prairie chicken numbers tumble -9/27/2013, 11:39 AM

Counties meet FWS, present plans -9/20/2013, 12:25 PM

Oakley man in pursuit of grouse -9/13/2013, 11:23 AM

Counties hoping to halt listing -9/6/2013, 11:54 AM

Going outdoors -8/23/2013, 10:15 AM

Wetlands no longer bone dry -8/16/2013, 11:46 AM

Duck numbers remain strong -7/26/2013, 11:48 AM

Updated survey, conservation plan upcoming -7/26/2013, 11:39 AM

Pheasant outlook not so bright -7/19/2013, 11:48 AM

High heat, strong winds finally show a beneficial side -7/12/2013, 12:05 PM

FWS delay reopens comment period -7/12/2013, 12:05 PM

Study refutes wind tower effect on greater prairie chickens -7/12/2013, 12:05 PM

Flowering cacti drought's treat -6/21/2013, 11:58 AM

Building a bridge over a key spring -6/14/2013, 9:57 AM

Country matters: Lemon painted-cup taking over -6/7/2013, 8:52 AM

Wind dampens great camping -5/31/2013, 12:22 PM

Wildlife benefits can boost CRP offers -5/24/2013, 11:42 AM

Camping season begins -5/24/2013, 11:42 AM

Field day focuses on wildlife needs -5/17/2013, 11:52 AM

FWS making big changes for LEPC rule -5/10/2013, 2:14 PM

Pheasants Forever biologists planning workshops on CRP enrollment -5/10/2013, 2:14 PM

Conservation plan nearly complete -5/3/2013, 10:31 AM

Final prairie chicken meeting upcoming -4/26/2013, 8:31 AM

Wildlife highlights Trego forestry day -4/26/2013, 8:31 AM

NRCS recognizes area volunteers -4/26/2013, 8:30 AM

Learning to cope -4/19/2013, 9:30 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Dry weather lowers prairie dog numbers, might limit need to poison

Published on -9/2/2011, 11:56 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

RUSSELL SPRINGS -- Prairie dog populations at the main black-footed ferret reintroduction site are so low that poisoning might be limited to the 30-foot grass barriers that ring much of the 10,000-acre ranch.

Typically, an additional 600 to 700 acres of grass are poisoned annually to help reduce the density of prairie dog populations and, as a result, the pressure to flee onto adjoining lands.

Drought and natural forces, however, have combined to reduce the number of prairie dogs on the Haverfield-Barnhardt complex that Larry Haverfield oversees.

Overall, Haverfield is estimating the 10,000-acre complex only has about a fourth of the prairie dogs it had when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to start releasing the highly endangered black-footed ferrets on the ranch.

He suspects the existing prairie dog population had only a fourth of its normal reproduction, the result of dry conditions that were so harsh the animals were forced into an almost unheard of hibernation to survive the weather.

Wildlife biologists had expected reproduction rates to fall, but they didn't know by how much.

FWS also has released ferrets on the Smoky Valley Ranch owned by the Nature Conservancy, and the numbers there -- for both prairie dogs and ferrets -- are markedly lower.

"They'll use the least poison they ever have this fall," Haverfield predicted.

This year, he's suggested the prairie dogs within the 30-yard-wide barriers be poisoned as soon as possible.

"And then wait until December and come back and do 30 yards inside the barrier," Haverfield said.

That would mean poisoning back prairie dogs along a 60-yard-wide border.

The vegetative barriers are an area that has been cordoned off from grazing cattle, allowing the grass to grow and serve as a visual barrier to migrating prairie dogs.

Haverfield has 25 miles of vegetative barriers on the ranch, adjacent to adjoining landowners.

There's another 10 miles of specially designed fences that were installed by the Audubon of Kansas.

"The fence, it does help," he said. "Especially if you get a little bit of trash and stuff that blows up in there. If everything's clean, they go under the wire."

Even blowing thistles -- small enough not to take out the fence -- are enough to serve as a barrier, Haverfield said.

He also contends the vegetative barriers are working.

"It looks to me like 30 yards is adequate," he said, especially if the animals brave enough to venture into the taller grass are poisoned.

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos