Kentucky Afield Outdoors: A few tips on how to choose the best kayak for flat water fishing

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward A car, truck or sport utility vehicle with a couple of kayaks on the roof with fishing poles visible through the back window is an increasingly common sight on Kentucky highways. Sales data shows kayak fishing and related kayak accessories increasing in popularity. Some of this popularity has to do with many baby boomers reaching retirement age and wanting a new...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Early Kentucky’s era of exploitation awakened conservation movement

This second article in a two-part series, in honor of Kentucky’s 225th anniversary of statehood, focuses on the 150 years from 1750 to 1900, with a timeline of human use of natural resources. The research for this article is courtesy of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Kentucky’s historical era began when Virginia physician and land speculator Thomas Walker passed through...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Newly published plan to bring back ruffed grouse comes into focus

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward A newly published plan developed by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources offers a long-range strategy to help ruffed grouse populations rebound in eastern Kentucky after years of decline. The Ruffed Grouse and Young Forest Strategic Plan looks 10 years out and its success hinges on an array of partners working together to create the young forest...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: State’s 225th anniversary recalls Kentucky’s early bountiful resources, native peoples

First of two-part series, in honor of Kentucky’s 225th anniversary of statehood, explores the flora and fauna of early Kentucky, Native American cultures, and human use of natural resources during pre-history. The research for this article is courtesy of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Just as the giants of the Pleistocene Era (Ice Age) were dying out, a primitive stone age...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Fun the key to encourage your young angler’s growing interest this summer

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward If free fishing weekend was a home run with your kiddos, you might be wondering about how to keep the momentum going throughout the summer. Take a cue from them: keep it fun. Does this mean they need to catch a fish or get a bite every cast? Not necessarily. Fun can be wading a creek or floating down one for the first time in a canoe or kayak. Fun can be seeing how...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Once upon a time, American bison was free-ranging native Kentucky species

During Kentucky’s pioneer era, longhunters and early explorers feasted on buffalo steaks and roasts. Herds were vast and had a significant impact on the land, grazing down vegetation as they traveled, and creating an extensive network of wide trails throughout the state. Many of Kentucky’s buffalo trails served as primitive roads for early explorers, and eventually became state and federal highways...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Here are two excellent options for combating early summer fishing blues

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward (This is the ninth and final installment of the “Spring Fishing Fever” series of articles, detailing productive fishing techniques and opportunities across Kentucky. An archive of past articles is available on the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov). June is one of the best months for outside activities such as fishing. However, many predator species,...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: It’s a dangerous world out there, but wildlife finds a way to survive and thrive

A Cooper’s hawk snatches a young squirrel from the side of a tree, a red fox finds a nest of newborn rabbits in an overgrown field, and a largemouth bass ambushes an unsuspecting school of minnows. These are all examples of predation, the drama of predator versus prey, that plays out everyday in Kentucky’s woods, fields and waterways. Many species of wildlife prey on (eat) other animals to survive...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Despite challenges, state hunters posted productive spring turkey season

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward Turkey hunters in Kentucky encountered wind, rain and wild temperature swings this past spring season but did not let factors out of their control keep them from posting impressive results. The 2017 youth-only and general seasons produced a total harvest of 33,061 turkeys – a 6.5 percent increase over 2016 and the third highest on record for the state. “We were...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Of all the Asian exotic threats to woodlands, chestnut blight stands out as worst

Anglers bemoan the scourge of Asian carp — silver and bighead carp — fouling our rivers and lakes at the expense of bass, crappie, striped bass, walleye and other game fish. Land managers spend thousands of dollars and man hours eradicating Asian Bush Honeysuckle, which forms dense thickets in forest understories, shading out, and out-competing native vegetation, posing a threat not only...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Memorial Day is the official kick-off for the state’s summer boating season

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward Kentucky’s lakes and streams are bound to be crowded with anglers, paddlers and pleasure boaters during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend. Boating safety officials want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable experience on the water. “On really busy holidays, the boat’s operator has to remain extremely attentive,” said Zac Campbell, boating education...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: By the numbers — here’s a closer look at fish and wildlife facts in Kentucky

Here’s some fish and wildlife facts by the numbers: *4 Hunters took fewer than 100 wild turkeys in 4 of Kentucky’s 120 counties during the recently-concluded 2017 spring wild turkey season: Jefferson, 90; Woodford, 85; Fulton, 84, and Fayette, 70. *8 Why do white-tailed deer seem to be always eating? Because, every day they require 8 pounds of vegetation per 100 pounds of body weight. * 9 A white-tailed...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Two good state resort parks for early summer largemouth bass fishing

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward (This is the eighth installment of the “Spring Fishing Fever” series of articles, detailing productive fishing techniques and opportunities across Kentucky. The series will continue until early summer. An archive of past articles is available on the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov). The months of May and June make for two of the best for catching largemouth...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Much more than a toy, the slingshot has come of age as legal hunting weapon

Charles Goodyear’s process of making vulcanized rubber was revolutionary, leading to the eventual creation of a wide range of products beneficial to society — from automobile tires to inflatable life jackets. But the development of the slingshot was likely an unintended consequence of the self-taught chemist and manufacturing engineer’s invention, which was patented on June 15, 1844. The...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Late spring great time of year to take the kids fishing for some bluegill

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward (This is the seventh installment of the “Spring Fishing Fever” series of articles, detailing productive fishing techniques and opportunities across Kentucky. The series will continue until early summer. An archive of past articles is available on the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov). It is Kentucky Derby week, a fantastic time of year. Summer is around...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky’s spring squirrel hunting season has deep historical roots

Hunting squirrels is a tradition that dates back to early Kentucky. During the settlement era, as other wild game became scarce, subsistence hunters turned their attention to squirrels to feed their families, taking them with small-caliber flintlock longrifles and smooth bore fowlers, loaded with shot. In Kentucky’s vast forests, squirrels are abundant, and active throughout most of the year. According...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Now a common presence in state, coyotes coexist in the urban landscape

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward An expansion from its historic range in the interior plains brought the coyote to Kentucky where as recently as the early 1970s sightings of these animals were still considered rare. Coyotes are now common across the state but their presence in urban and suburban areas can surprise residents. “People in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and Denver have grown accustomed...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest — the legacy of a German immigrant

Isaac Wolfe Bernheim immigrated to the U.S. from Germany when he was 17 years old. When he reached New York, he had $4 in his pocket. But like many hard working German immigrants in the 19th century, he thrived in America’s land of opportunity, adopted its values and way of life, and prospered financially. At first he traveled on horseback, peddling household goods and hardware to German immigrants...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: What is old becomes new again — swimbaits will fool that trophy fish

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward (This is the sixth installment of the “Spring Fishing Fever” series of articles detailing productive fishing techniques and opportunities across Kentucky. The series will continue until early summer. An archive of past articles is available on the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov). Anglers with a bit of salt in their hair remember fondly the venerable...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Rising water temperatures result in best largemouth bass fishing of the year

When water temperatures in Kentucky’s small lakes, streams and major reservoirs rise into the mid-to-upper 60s largemouth bass begin feeding along the shoreline, in preparation for spawning. For fly fishermen it’s the start of some of the best largemouth bass fishing of the year. This “topwater” action continues post-spawn into May, when water temperatures warm into the mid-to-upper 70s, and...