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...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Elk quota hunt application deadline is rapidly approaching

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward Twenty years ago this December, seven elk were released atop Potato Knob in Perry County in front of thousands of onlookers. The landmark restoration of a free roaming elk herd in Kentucky was off and running. Fast forward to present day. There are now more elk in Kentucky than any state east of the Rocky Mountains and each year the prospect of harvesting one compels...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Vertical jigging for walleye, sauger, saugeye — Spring’s overlooked presentation

Vertical jigging may be the most overlooked presentation for catching walleye, sauger and saugeye in Kentucky’s lakes and rivers during the spring. In March and April these fish stack up below dams in rivers and lake tailwaters, and move into the headwaters of reservoirs, drawn by the current from feeder creeks and rivers. They school by size and concentrate around bottom structure, facing into...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Weather is just one of three things to consider for spring fishing

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward (This is the fifth 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 weather forecast calls for a redbud winter to hit this week. This...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: A quality decoy can provide wild turkey hunters with an advantage

It has happened to every wild turkey hunter. A gobbler responds to calling and moves towards the hunter, but abruptly stops, and hangs up just out of gun range. The hunter can see the gobbler but the gobbler doesn’t see a hen — what he thinks is the source of those seductive clucks and yelps. It’s a situation where hunting with a quality decoy could have been the difference between just another...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Forget the Final Four, early April is the time to hook trophy largemouth bass

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward (Note: This is the fourth 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). Now that the Kentucky-based teams are no longer in the NCAA basketball...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: With warmer weather, lots of food options, spring turkey season looks promising

With Kentucky’s spring wild turkey season on the horizon, the outlook is promising. A number of factors seem to point to better than average hunting conditions and flock status. Hens and gobblers are in excellent body condition after a heavy mast crop last fall, and a mild winter. The AccuWeather forecast for Central Kentucky is calling for average to above average temperatures, with near normal...

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...