Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky’s Elk Herd a “Seed Crop” for Appalachia, other herds outside the region

In Colonial America elk were common east of the Mississippi River. The eastern elk (Cervus canadensis canadensis), which was native to Kentucky, was one of six subspecies of elk that inhabited the northern and eastern U.S., and southern Canada. The eastern elk was larger than its western cousins. A full-grown bull could weigh up to 1000 pounds, stand 50-60 inches tall at the shoulder, and carry a...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Changing deer patterns can result in the ritual ‘October Lull’ for hunters

Most bow hunters will tell you the most difficult time to hunt deer during Kentucky’s 136-day archery season may be the so-called October Lull. In early-to-mid October deer seem to disappear into thin air. Early season stands where hunters saw lots of deer suddenly go cold, as if some mythical switch has been flipped. In fact, there’s no drop off in deer activity. The October Lull can be explained...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Bolt-action rifle chambered in 7mm-08 good choice for Kentucky deer hunters

Selecting a rifle for deer hunting in Kentucky need not be a daunting task. Hunters who are planning on buying a firearm for their own use, for a son, daughter or grandchild, should consider a bolt-action rifle chambered in 7mm-08. The 7mm-08, developed my Remington in 1980, is an ideal cartridge for hunting deer in the conditions most often encountered in Kentucky, where shots are typically in the...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Woody Plants of Kentucky and Tennessee great addition for amateur naturalists

A deer hunter finds an acorn in the woods and wants to know what species of oak it came from; a hiker encounters an unfamiliar shrub at trail side covered in distinctive foliage and colorful berries. Even for experienced outdoor enthusiasts, the diversity of the natural world provides a continual source of amazement. Identification of woody plants — trees, shrubs, and woody vines — is...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: EHD outbreak update shows reports of dead, dying deer now in 72 counties

In the past month the number of reports of dead and/or dying deer received by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) has ballooned to 2,967. The tissue and blood samples taken from fresh specimens in the field confirmed that the cause was Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD), specifically the EHD-2 strain, according to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens,...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Regular cleaning of firearms will help protect your investment

With hunting season underway, rifles and shotguns are coming out of storage in gun cases or gun safes in preparation for trips afield. The question that every hunter needs to ask is: How long has it been since I thoroughly cleaned this firearm? Rifles and shotguns, purchased new or used — or inherited — represent a significant investment. Routine cleaning is needed to maintain best performance...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Cooler temperatures make outlook for new deer season promising

With Kentucky’s 2017-18 deer season set to open Saturday, with the start of archery hunting, the weather outlook for September looks promising. Yes, rain showers are likely for opening weekend, but the AccuWeather forecast for the month ahead is projected to be cooler to normal in temperature, following a cooler than normal August and a warmer than normal July. The season dates for Kentucky’s...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Recent EHD outbreak centered on Eastern Kentucky deer population

In recents weeks reports have been trickling in from landowners finding dead and/or dying deer on their property around farms ponds and small streams. Samples taken from some of the deer, and sent to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens, Georgia, verified that the cause was Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD), specifically the EHD-2 strain. “The epicenter was in Magoffin,...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Changes to Kentucky’s bear season reflect expansion of population

Major changes were made to this year’s black bear hunting season to reflect expanding bear populations throughout Eastern Kentucky. In 2017, for the first time, the state’s two distinct bear populations will be managed in three zones. There will be a new muzzleloader season in the 22 counties of Zone 3, and nonresidents may now buy permits to hunt bears. “Bear populations have been expanding...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Tree stands offer major advantages to Kentucky deer hunters

Tree stands are capable of taking hunters above the white-tailed deer’s line of sight and smell. That’s a big advantage for archery hunters who take shots at close range. But climbing up and down a tree isn’t without risks. A fall from a tree stand is no laughing matter — the consequences can be life-changing, much worse than a sprained ankle or broken arm. Each season deer hunters...

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: 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...