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11/19/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/19/2020 12:48

1922-Kansas Fish and Game Department Promotes Its Resources

1922-Kansas State Fish and Game Department Promotes Its Resources
Written by Donna Casement, State Library of Kansas KGI Online Library Blog-November 19, 2020

1922-Kansas State Fish and Game Department Promotes Its Resources

Alva Clapp, Kansas State Fish and Game Warden, stated in his introduction to the fourth biennial report to Governor Henry J. Allen, 'To my mind the biggest thing that has come to this department in the past two years -the thing most far-reaching in its influence and which will eventually result in the greatest good both to the department and to the state-is the changed attitude of our people toward the department and the awakening of renewed interest in and appreciation of the value of our wild life and natural resources generally.' (1920-1922, Fourth Biennial Report of the Kansas State Fish and Game Department)
In 1922, the department published an eight-page pamphlet entitled, 'Things You Should Now About the Kansas State Fish and Game Department'. This promotional piece emphasized the infrastructure of the department, the availability of fish and game stock to landowners, and the low, public cost of state funding for this agency. (Things You Should Know About the Kansas State Fish and Game Department, 1922)

THE LOCATION

'THE HOME of the Kansas Fish and Game Department is at Pratt, Pratt county, where the state owns 187 acres of land on which there are ninety-seven ponds for rearing fish; also seven dwellings for the warden and his nine employees, an office and aquarium building, power house, barns, ice house, fish house, tools and equipment. The whole plant is in splendid physical condition, beautifully located, an institution of which Kansans may justly feel proud. Grounds and buildings are electric lighted. The institution could not be reproduced to-day for less than $300,000. A splendid aquarium containing all the native Kansas fish is maintained. Game birds may be seen in the rearing pens and a deer park is almost completed,' stated the pamphlet.

Visitors were encouraged to visit the fish hatchery and swim in the public swimming pool. Throughout the year, families picnicked and hundreds of automobiles visited the hatchery daily. 'The hatchery is two and a half miles east and one mile south of Pratt. It is one mile south of the 'Cannon Ball' highway.'


A photo of Mrs. Ray Watkins of Cherryvale with her 4 ½-pound bass was featured in the pamphlet. The backstory to this photo was highlighted in a 1921 department bulletin. Ray Watkins sent a letter to the Kansas Fish and Game Department that stated he and his wife had taken an expensive fishing trip to Colorado where they caught nothing. After returning home, he wrote that they had decided to fish in their home lake where, 'many fine fish are caught from the lake'. Mr. Watkins sent a picture of his wife and her catch, and a picture of himself and his 8 ½-pound bass he caught on their property. (1921, Kansas Fish and Game, Bulletin no. 7, page 27)

Landowners were encouraged to establish ponds and lakes for fishing. Referring to Mrs. Watkin's picture, the pamphlet stated, 'Here is visible proof of what can be done with fish in a made lake. The lake from which this fish was taken was made by damming an ordinary Kansas slough and stocking the impounded water with fish from the State Fish Hatchery. Thousands of fish are caught each year in this lake. It is also one of the best duck lakes in the state.'

HOW YOU MAY SECURE FISH, GAME, BIRDS AND EGGS

The Fish and Game Department emphasized in their brochure, 'There is no charge for anything supplied by this department. What it has and its services, are absolutely free to the people of Kansas. In sending out game birds for stocking, we expect the applicant to pay the express on the birds and to return the basket.'

The department encouraged anyone with 'living water' to obtain young fish for stocking purposes. Birds and eggs would be provided free to those who had suitable food and cover.

THE KANSAS FISH AND GAME DEPARTMENT DOES NOT COST THE TAXPAYER

'The Kansas Fish and Game Department does not cost the taxpayer of this state one cent. It is supported entirely from the hunters' license fee of $1 annually. Not only does it not cost the taxpayer anything, but it paid into the general revenue fund of the state in the last fiscal year about $3,500, for under our law five per cent of the gross receipts of the department are diverted into the state treasury to pay for printing, legal advice and the department's share of the running expense of the state.'

ORGANIZATION

The pamphlet encouraged every county to establish 'one or more good live sportsmen organizations whose first tenet should be the enforcement of the Kansas game laws and next, the dissemination of the principles of true conservation.'


Next week's blog will highlight the Department of Fish and Game's educational campaign to help establish wildlife conservation in Kansas during the early 20s.