Art Lander’s Outdoors: If it’s August, it must be time to prepare for a new archery deer season

When August arrives, it’s time to start getting ready for the upcoming archery deer season. Kentucky’s 2017-18 deer season starts with the opening of archery hunting on Saturday, Sept. 2. Last season archery hunters checked in 19,571 deer they harvested, which is about 3 percent below the five-year average archery deer harvest of 20,162. Here’s a checklist, with some tips that will improve your...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Eradicating invasive plants, tall fescue grass first step to better wildlife habitat

Landowners who want to improve wildlife habitat on their hunting property should make an effort every year to implement at least one recommended project. At the top of the list should be a continual effort to stop the spread of invasive plants, and eradicate tall fescue grass. It can be frustrating, time consuming and costly, but all that ground work is well worth the effort. Improving habitat benefits...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The good times are long over, but memories remain from beloved first pickup truck

When the good times were rolling. Our kids and dogs in the bed of my first pickup truck. (Photo from Art Lander Jr.) Author’s Note: I recently found this column I wrote 23 years ago, dated Feb. 6, 1994. I hope readers can relate to this column because of the good times they had with their first pickup truck. We were joined on a sunny April afternoon in 1983 — a free spirit and an eager help-mate. We...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: How to use trails cameras on your property; tips on mounting, retrieving images

This is part two of a two-part series on the evolution of remote cameras from the film era to today’s infrared digital scouting cameras, and how trail cameras are used by deer and wild turkey hunters. Hunters wish they knew more about the white-tailed deer and wild turkeys on their hunting property. But only so much can be learned from boots on the ground scouting. It’s impossible to be everywhere...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: From film to digital, remote cameras have been used by hunters for ages

This is part one of a two-part series on the evolution of remote cameras from the film era to today’s infrared digital scouting cameras, and how trail cameras are used by deer and wild turkey hunters. Using remote cameras to capture images of wildlife dates back much farther in the past than probably imagined. In the infancy of film photography in the late 19th century, innovative wildlife photographers...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Raccoons in the attic? Nuisance wildlife no laughing matter for people, pets

Kentucky is blessed with a diversity of wildlife – some 74 species of mammals, 380 species of birds, and 112 species of reptiles and amphibians. Many landowners encourage wildlife on their property and spend countless hours and considerable sums of money to improve habitat for rabbits and quail, white-tailed deer and wild turkeys. But when a family of raccoons takes up residence in the attic, or...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...