Kentucky Afield Outdoors: The time has come! Here’s your spring wild turkey season preview

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward Spring turkey hunting is slipping into position before daybreak and sitting still as the sun eases over the hills. It is breaking the silence with a call and getting a response that sends a shock of excitement down your spine. It is coaxing a love-struck gobbler closer and keeping your wits as it struts into range. “There’s something about that drumming, spitting,...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Nine-banded armadillo a curious critter — and an unwelcome exotic species

Their appearance is comical — a compact body, with the profile of a loaf of bread, covered by bony plates and scales. The legs seem way too short, but have grotesquely long “toenails.” The head is small with a pointed pig-like snout. The ears are pointy and erect, like the ears on a Chihuahua dog. They have a hairy belly, which is exposed when they stand upright on their hind legs. But this...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Angles stand excellent chance of catching a trophy muskellunge

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward (This is the third 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). Spring break for many conjures thoughts of traveling somewhere warm and...

Becoming an Outdoors Woman one-day seminar scheduled for April 8 at Salato Wildlife Center

Women who want a relaxed setting to learn more about the outdoors can now register for a special one-day Beyond BOW (Becoming an Outdoors-Woman) seminar being held April 8 at the Salato Wildlife Education Center in Frankfort. Women who want to learn an outdoor skill or build upon their basic skills can sample from a variety of topics, including basic fishing, fun with air guns, beginner crossbow, bow...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The eagle has landed — survived and flourished — back from the brink

This is the last of a two-part series on the comeback of America’s national symbol. On July 12, 1995 federal biologists believed that populations had recovered enough so that the bald eagle could be taken off the endangered species list, and designated as a threatened species. That designation lasted just 12 years. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced the delisting of the bald eagle...

Construction of new pistol shooting area temporarily closes John A. Kleber public rifle range

The public rifle range at John A. Kleber Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Owen County is temporarily closed while construction is underway on a new pistol shooting area. The existing facility is a rifle range. That range, however, is not open for pistols. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is constructing a “pistol pit” adjacent to the existing range to provide handgun enthusiasts...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Ahead of schedule, white bass spawning runs just around the corner

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward This is the second 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). February days in the 60s make for crowded boat ramps and golf courses...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Bald Eagle nesting resurgence — back from the brink of extinction

This is the first of a two-part series on the comeback of America’s national symbol. The Bald Eagle’s comeback from the brink of extinction is one of our country’s greatest conservation success stories. In Kentucky today there are more eagle habitat, and the number of nesting pairs of eagles may actually be higher than during the late 18th century, when explorers, long hunters and settlers first...

Fish and Wildlife Department seeks angler donations as Trophy Bass Program opens for the season

When Murray resident Austin Gruner caught an 8.2-ounce largemouth bass bulging with developing eggs from Kentucky Lake on Feb. 10, he didn’t keep it. Instead, Gruner took his trophy to Fisherman’s Headquarters in Benton, where employees held it for pick up by a Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources hatchery truck. When Murray resident Austin Gruner caught an 8.2-ounce largemouth bass...

State anglers will get additional access to section of Salt River with opening of new road

Road access to a section of Salt River above Taylorsville Lake is now open for vehicles in preparation for the coming white bass spawning run. The gated accesses at Palmer Road and Old River Road off KY 44 at Taylorsville Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) will remain open from daylight until dark through late summer, except for closures during youth and spring turkey seasons. The gates will remain...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Up and Coming Fisheries a savory menu of potential fishing trips

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward (This is the first 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 Fisheries Division’s Fishing Forecast each year presents its “Up...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The wild turkey in Kentucky and the story of the return of a native species

Second article of a two-part series on the wild turkey in Kentucky. Wildlife trades were an important component of wild turkey restoration efforts in Kentucky in the 1970s and 1980s. In the late 1970s turkeys were obtained from private hunting clubs in Mississippi and Arkansas, in exchange for white-tailed deer. These deer-turkey trades lasted from 1978 until 1981 and provided around 400 birds. In...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Make sure you get your new license so you can enjoy best fishing of year

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward The mild weather this winter has many thinking it will be an early spring across Kentucky. The earlier, the better for anglers, who by late February are like sprinters on their marks waiting for the starter’s pistol to fire. Some of the best fishing of the year is right around the corner. The new license year is, too. It starts March 1. For $20, an annual resident...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The wild turkey in Kentucky — the comeback story of a native species

First of a two-part series on the wild turkey in Kentucky — remnant flocks, limited hunting opportunities and early restoration efforts. It’s not unusual to drive down a country road in late March or early April and see a group of wild turkey hens being “courted” by a strutting gobbler in a roadside field. If you live in wild turkey country, and count the days until the spring hunting season,...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: With water temperatures cool, the peak of float-and-fly fishing is upon us

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward Although we’ve seen many warm fronts this winter with temperatures in the 60s just this past weekend, the water in our highland reservoirs is still cold. Water temperatures are in the high 40s in Lake Cumberland, Dale Hollow and Laurel River Lake. Once water temperatures drop below 50 degrees for extended periods, threadfin shad begin to suffer from the cold...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Don’t forget the squirrels — Kentucky hunting season’s last hurrah

A still afternoon is the ideal time to enjoy a few hours in the woods squirrel hunting. The season will be over soon, so don’t pass up the opportunity, especially when temperatures moderate. There are plenty of squirrels in Kentucky’s woodlands, and bag limits are generous. Kentucky’s fall 2016-17 squirrel season ends Feb. 28. The daily bag limit is six squirrels. There’s a higher percentage...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Be prepared when that unexpected winter fishing opportunity arises

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward Planning a fishing trip more than a couple days ahead of time can be a gamble in late winter when the weather is a mixed bag and the favorable conditions here today may be gone tomorrow. With some advance preparation, you can be ready to grab what you need and go when that friend calls at daybreak or the impulse strikes and the schedule allows for a last-minute trip. Performing...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: With the onset of February, it’s time to begin the annual search for shed antlers

Now is the time to start looking for shed antlers. By early February in Kentucky bucks have “dropped” their antlers from the past year. They weaken at the pedicle (base), and fall off the deer’s skull, usually when jarred loose by jumping a ditch (or fence), getting up from the their beds, running, or walking through thick cover. A scab forms over the pedicles and new growth won’t resume for...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: FINs lakes stocking results in excellent late season fishing for anglers

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward Five new lakes enrolled in the Fishing in Neighborhoods Program (FINs) will receive stockings of trout in February, a boon to anglers tired of being house bound as winter wears on. Flemingsburg Old Reservoir, an 11-acre lake in Fleming County, gets 900 trout while Leary Lake, a 5-acre lake on Lloyd Wildlife Management Area in Grant County, gets the same amount...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Fishing for a living, the Great Blue Heron is a model of patience in the wild

The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), a tall wading bird with a distinctive profile in flight, is North America’s largest heron. A model of patience, the Great Blue Heron fishes for a living, standing silently in the shallows of a stream, farm pond, wetland or lakeshore, waiting for some hapless minnow or sunfish to swim near, then striking with a rapid thrust of its bill. The Great Blue Heron stands...