Jim Engel is the manager of the Great Outdoors Gun Shop in Atwood, KS. He has graciously agreed to contribute a regular blog feature on our website that focuses on guns, hunting and related topics.
Well, it appears that I have finally entered the 21st century. When Sacha and Chad came to me to see if I would be willing to write a blog, I initially thought that they were crazy. Then I thought that this would be a great way to get needed information out to the public. For those that don’t know me, I am Jim Engel, the manager of The Great Outdoors Gun Shop in Atwood. I went to school at Brewster from 1978 to 1991. After 3 years at Trinidad State Junior College in Trinidad Colorado to study Gunsmithing, I came back to NW KS. I started with the Thomas County Sheriff’s Office in December 1994. I worked for Thomas County for a total of about 13 years with the Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management. I have been the manager here for the past 4.5 years.
When I was with the Sheriff’s Office, it was usually what you knew that mattered. With Emergency Management, it was whom you knew that counted. Now, with the gun shop, it is back to what you know that makes a good business. I wanted to do this blog because there is a lot of misinformation out there that I am constantly having to correct.
One of the first things that I need to address are the new laws that are in effect with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. For the next two years, there is a pilot project in Kansas for Crossbows. The following is taken directly from the KDWPT website:
PRATT — On May 25, Governor Sam Brownback signed into law a bill that included provisions for a crossbow pilot project in as many as four deer management units during an archery big game season by anyone issued a big game permit valid during the archery season. The two-year pilot project will sunset on Jan. 31, 2014, at which time the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Secretary must report to the Kansas Legislature about the project.
For this pilot project, any person with a deer permit valid during the archery season for deer management units 1, 12, 15, and 19 may use a crossbow during the archery season, regardless of age or disability. Each person age 16 through 54 shall obtain a free crossbow hunter survey number from KDWPT before hunting with a crossbow during archery season.
Hunters may obtain a crossbow survey ID number by going online at the KDWPT website, ksoutdoors.com, and clicking on the Crossbow Survey ID display ad, or by typing the following URL into their web browsers: https://programs.ksoutdoors.com/Crossbow-Survey-ID-Number . Here, they must enter their KDWPT number, first name, last name, and email address (if available). An email address is not required, but if one is given, a confirmation email will be sent to them. Those who do not have access to the Internet may obtain a crossbow survey ID number at any KDWPT office. Those who sign up at a KDWPT office will also receive a printed receipt.
There can only be one survey ID per KDWPT number. For more information, phone 620-672-5911 and ask for the IT Help Desk.
Also new this year, hunters who have a youth big game permit valid during the archery season and those 55 and older who have a big game permit valid during the archery season may hunt with a crossbow. Those hunters do not need a crossbow survey ID number.
There is another big change that is going to take effect at the start of 2013. Kansas residents that are 65 to 74 years of age will be required to have a hunting license. The KDWPT has raised the senior hunting license exemption to 75 years of age and older. Don’t fear, there are going to be reduced cost licenses for those of you that are age 65-74. You can either get a license one year at a time for $9 or lifetime license for $40. The reason for this change is due to the fact there are not as many youth hunters anymore and the state has had to make some changes to pay for services.
There is also a new Prairie Chicken permit that is for sale. Make sure that if you go hunting chickens, you have the proper permit.
Don’t forget safety while handling firearms. Even the most seasoned of gun guys will probably have some sort of accident or close call during their time. If you follow the 10 gun safety commandments, you should never have an accident.
- Don’t rely on your gun’s safety.
- Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it.
- Use proper ammunition.
- If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, handle with care.
- Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.
- Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting.
- Don’t alter or modify your gun and have it serviced regularly.
- Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using.
And, I would like to add a couple more.
11. Shoot Sober
12. Use common sense
Look forward to more tips, commentary, observations and other stuff in the near future.