Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Conditions are ideal across the state for opening of waterfowl seasons

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward The outlook for the upcoming waterfowl hunting seasons looks as promising as any seasons in recent memory. “It is shaping up to be a phenomenal year,” said John Brunjes, migratory bird coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “We are still at all-time highs for duck numbers with as many breeding ducks as we’ve ever had. It’s...

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...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Fish and Wildlife Department online survey improves state’s HIP data

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward Kentucky is drawing national attention after dramatically improving the accuracy of harvest and participation information collected from its waterfowl and migratory bird hunters. The Harvest Information Program (HIP) provides state and federal biologists with data to generate reliable estimates of migratory bird hunter activity and harvest. The estimates are used...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Youth movement likely behind strong archery growth in Kentucky and U.S.

Youth participation in archery is thought to be a major factor in the growth of target archery and bow hunting in Kentucky, and across the country. The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) has introduced millions of kids in elementary, middle school and high school to archery across the U.S., since the program started here in 2002. Many of the youngsters who were involved in NASP through...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Fresh blanket of snow opens window to new discoveries about wildlife

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward Newly fallen snow has a way of awakening the spirit of adventure in kids and grown-ups alike. It’s also nature’s tattletale. As such, a fresh blanket of snow opens a window to new discoveries by revealing which animals inhabit the landscape around us and how they use it during the winter months. Animal tracking in the snow exercises the body and mind, and it...

Previously unlisted dove field in Johnson County opened by state Fish and Wildlife

Fields no longer available for public dove hunting include those in Menifee County, Yatesville Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and a privately-owned field located off KY 32 in Fleming County. The dove field at the Marietta Booth tract of Clay WMA in Fleming County is not affected and will remain open for dove hunting (F&W Photo)   Three dove fields listed in Kentucky’s 2015 dove guide...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Strong opening month fuels second-highest deer harvest

Kentucky hunters telechecked 138,892 deer during the 2014-2015 deer season that closed Jan. 19. This is the second highest total on record. Kentucky deer hunters bagged a record 144,409 deer in the 2013-2014 season (F&W Photo)   By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward   After two seasons of record harvests, Kentucky’s deer hunters kept the pace up this past season.   The 2014-15 season...

Fish and Wildlife to stock 10,000 rainbow trout at locations in Lincoln, Henry counties

(Photo from Creative Commons)   The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will stock 10,000 rainbow trout at two locations in Lincoln and Henry counties next week, among others.   Lincoln County’s Cedar Creek Lake will receive 9,000 trout Jan. 27 while a six-acre lake on the Boone Tract of Kentucky River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) will receive 1,000 trout Jan. 28.   The...

Kentucky will return the favor by helping Wisconsin program to increase elk herd

Wisconsin will pay the cost of the elk translocation program and will also assist Kentucky financially in the development of forest habitat projects in eastern Kentucky that will benefit wildlife, with a special emphasis placed on ruffed grouse (Creative Commons Photo)   Kentucky will help Wisconsin boost its elk herd by providing 150 elk cows, calves and yearling male elk over the next three...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: State trying to create more opportunities to hunt deer, elk

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward   The stretch between Christmas and New Year’s Day can be a time to relax, reflect and make resolutions for the year ahead.   The Wildlife Division of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is well into its planning for the 2015-16 hunting seasons, and one word keeps coming up in the discussions.   Opportunity.   The focus...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: End of the year an excellent time to go after plentiful rabbits

Tim Slone, director of the information and education division of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, admires a rabbit he harvested last winter in Henry County. Winter’s cold and snow make great conditions for rabbit hunting (F&W Photo)   By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward   Outdoors enthusiasts of a certain age well remember their grandfathers extolling the virtues...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: End of the year
an excellent time to go after plentiful rabbits

Tim Slone, director of the information and education division of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, admires a rabbit he harvested last winter in Henry County. Winter’s cold and snow make great conditions for rabbit hunting (F&W Photo)   By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward   Outdoors enthusiasts of a certain age well remember their grandfathers extolling the virtues...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Once thought to only exist in Kentucky, spotted bass abound

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward   They were not even recognized as a distinctive fish species until 1927. People for many years believed these fish only existed in Kentucky.   Glenn Barber of Versailles holds a spotted bass caught in Indian Creek on Lake Cumberland. Spotted bass from schools in fall, making for exciting and productive fishing. Lakes across Kentucky hold burgeoning populations...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Early fall full of anglers’ whoops as they catch muskellunge

Dave Dreves, fisheries program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, holds a 48 ½-inch long, 42-pound muskellunge captured and released during population sampling on Cave Run Lake this past spring. Fall is one of the most productive times to catch trophy muskellunge like this one from Cave Run Lake, Green River Lake and Buckhorn Lake. (Photo from F&W)   By...

Online registration lets anglers avoid traffic jams at boat ramps during fishing tourneys

Fishing tournament anglers have a handy tool that can prevent congestion at boat ramps and on the water: the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ online registration site.   Register for fishing tournaments online to avoid congestion at boat ramp. (Photo from F&W) “We’re urging tournament organizers to use this voluntary registration site to help ensure a...

Kentucky to break ground on newest ‘in-lieu’ wetlands and stream restoration project

U.S. Corps of Engineers Lt. Col. John L. Hudson and Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Commissioner Gregory Johnson will join the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state legislators and Russell County officials on Friday, Aug. 8, in breaking ground for Kentucky’s newest in-lieu fee program wetlands and stream restoration project just below the Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery at...

Joint Kentucky-Ohio juried art exhibit issues invitation for national wildlife submissions

Ronnie Williford will judge the wildlife submissions. The artist says he draws like most people breathe. (Photo from R. Williford.com)   The Ohio Valley Art League and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources are inviting artists to enter the 2014 Kentucky National Wildlife Art Exhibit. This is the 11th biennial year for this juried wildlife exhibit.   The exhibit is open to...

New land acquired for public use by hunters and anglers, expected to be open in August

  Bald eagle’s nest (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)   The Kentucky River Wildlife Management Area just grew by more than a third in size.   Earlier this month, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources completed its 18-month-long effort to acquire the 926-acre property of Stephen Boone in Henry County. It is located along KY 389 about three miles north of Gratz.   “What...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Night fishing bite just starting, but striped bass look good so far

Fisheries technician Ryan Kausing holds a large striped bass from the Lake Cumberland tailwater. After several down years due to the drawdown of Lake Cumberland for repair work on Wolf Creek Dam, the striped bass fishery in the lake is rapidly improving. All signs point toward the world class striped bass fishing in Lake Cumberland returning in a few years. (Photo from F&W)   By Lee McClellan Special...

Return of Lake Cumberland to its normal levels will be boon to fishing in coming years

Biologists with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources predict the return of Lake Cumberland to its normal summertime level will prove a boon to fishing in the coming years.   The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Tuesday that the lake should return to its old level of 723 feet above sea level by mid-May. Lake Cumberland had been held at a lower level since 2007, while repairs...