A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Rural Kentucky landowners asked to be on lookout for wild pigs on their property

Landowners in southeastern Henry County recently received a letter from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) asking for help in locating the remaining wild pigs in the county. “In the last three years we have prioritized four areas across the state to concentrate our efforts,” said wildlife biologist John Hast, program coordinator for the department’s wild pig eradication...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Green River National Wildlife Refuge near Henderson to protect nearly 24,000 acres

Plans are in the works for the establishment of a national wildlife refuge near Henderson. A statement posted on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website in part read, “The Service has been directed to approve the establishment of the Green River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), near the confluence of the Green River and Ohio River in Henderson County. The refuge should consist of approximately...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The spotted (Kentucky) bass not recognized as a separate species until 1927

Once thought to be a hybrid between the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, and easily confused with the largemouth bass in coloration, the spotted bass was not recognized by ichthyologists as a separate species until 1927. The spotted bass is one of four species of black bass found in Kentucky waters. All are members of family, Centrarchidae, which includes sunfish and crappie. Identification in...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Some of the best fishing for smallmouth bass arrives with autumn, as waters cool

With the arrival of autumn, as water temperatures begin to decline because of cooler nights and shorter days, anglers turn their attention to smallmouth bass. The best fishing for this species of black bass is during the cool to cold weather months, when they tend to be shallower, and more active. One of four species of black bass found in Kentucky waters, the smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieui)...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Richard Taylor’s new book explores history, inhabitants of Elkhorn Creek

Richard Taylor, a professor of English and Kenan Visiting Writer at Transylvania University, explores the natural history, early inhabitants, and commerce along an eight-mile stretch of the main stem of the Bluegrass Region’s most esteemed waterway in his new book Elkhorn: Evolution of a Kentucky Landscape, published by University Press of Kentucky. Paul Sawyier (1865-1917) was an American impressionist...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: 19th Central Ky. reel makers sparked popularity of bass sport angling in America

The many beautiful, free-flowing streams of Central Kentucky spawned more than bountiful populations of black bass. They encouraged generations of 19th-century anglers turned inventors to build and perfect fishing reels that would spark the popularity of sport angling in America. John Milam, son of B.C. Milam, became an apprentice, and eventual partner in his father’s reel making business. Their...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: 2018-19 Kentucky Deer Season Preview; Job #1 — Harvest More Does

When Kentucky’s 2018-19 deer season opens tomorrow, with the beginning of archery hunting, opportunities to bring home some venison couldn’t be better. Kentucky’s deer herd is large, populations in some counties are at an all-time high, and regulations have been significantly liberalized. Kentucky’s 143-day archery season opens September 1 and continues through January 21, 2019. Archery season...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: When it comes to bow hunting accuracy it’s all about repetition

Bow hunting accuracy is all about repetition — doing everything the same way every shot. Whether you are punching holes in a foam target in the backyard or drawing on a deer while hunting from a tree stand in the woods, the ability to put an arrow where you want it to go depends on a series of events that must be duplicated as practiced and perfectly executed. Here’s some advice on pre-shot...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: A bowhunter’s gear wish list as Kentucky’s archery season for deer approaches

With Kentucky’s 143-day archery season for deer opening in about two weeks, bow hunters are getting their gear ready and honing their shooting skills. The season dates are September 1, through January 21, 2019. The archery industry cranks out improved, high-quality gear every year, but some products stand the test of time. Do you have an archery gear wish list? Here’s some new products, and one...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Fall squirrel season; summer grilling and smoking; spring-assisted pocket knives

Kentucky’s squirrel season is the longest hunting season on the fall calendar. Opening day is a week from tomorrow, on Saturday, August 18. The 2018-19 season is 194 days long, and continues through November 9, closes for the opening weekend of gun season for deer, then re-opens November 12, and continues through February 28, 2019. The daily bag limit is six squirrels. Squirrels are the most stable...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Asian long-horned beetle threatens maple trees, other hardwoods in Kentucky

An Asian insect pest, which threatens maple trees and other hardwoods in North America, has been found on Kentucky’s doorstep. Multiple infestations of the Asian Long-Horned Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) were found beginning in 2012 in southern Ohio’s Clermont County, just east of Cincinnati. An Asian insect pest, the Asian Long-Horned Beetle, which threatens maple trees and other hardwoods...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Missouri’s Elk, Mountain Lion; Antlerless Deer Harvest Declines; Feral Hogs

Missouri’s elk herd may be hunted as early as 2020, according to a story posted July 18, on the Springfield News-Leader website. The herd was established in the southeastern corner of the state in 2011 when 108 elk were translocated from Kentucky. Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) biologist Aaron Hildreth, said the new herd bounced back from the stress of relocation, and a sustained drought...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The Black Rat Snake, common across Kentucky, helps control rodents

The Black Rat Snake, genus Elaphe, species obsoleta, but also referred to by some taxonomists as Pantherophis alleghaniensis, is one of Kentucky’s largest snakes. An article posted on the Live Science website explained the scientific name differences. Until the early 2000s, both Old and New World rat snakes were generally thought to belong to the same genus, Elaphe, according to Alan Savitzky,...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The Eastern Kingbird, a snappy dresser, aerial artist and migratory traveler

The Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) is a snappy dresser, an aerial artist that catches its prey on the wing, and spends the winter in tropical climes. Its demeanor and distinctive plumage are all business — upright posture, white shirt (breast), and dark suit — gray head, back, wings and white-tipped square tail. Coloration is similar to the Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe), but...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Field to Fork workshop aimed at helping inexperienced hunters learn archery skills

Designed for adults with little or no experience hunting white-tailed deer with bows and arrows, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) will host a Field to Fork workshop on Saturday, July 28, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Field to Fork workshops have been held in Kentucky for several years.This is the first year for an archery workshop, but in the past workshops have been held...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Looking back on spring turkey season; harvest downturn raised questions

Kentucky’s 2018 spring wild turkey season was a head scratcher — certainly not what most hunters have experienced in recent years. From county to county, the harvest varied, but overall, the turkey harvest was down statewide. Post-season, hunters are pondering a few puzzling questions. In some counties, hunters reported observing fewer turkeys and hearing less gobbling than in recent years....

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The American Goldfinch, male turns bright yellow as days lengthen in spring

Adult males turn a bright yellow in what seems like just a matter of days as if they were blooming wildflowers, when the days begin to lengthen in spring. The American Goldfinch undergoes two molts a year. It sheds and re-grows most of its feathers before the onset of cold weather, then sheds and re-grows all its feathers, excepts for its wings and tail, in the spring. (Photo provided) The American...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky’s semi-aquatic turtle population highest in western streams

On a warm, spring day, it’s not unusual to see a row of semi-aquatic turtles basking in the sun on a log floating in a pond, small lake, stream, or wetland. A few species are found statewide, but the highest populations are in western Kentucky. Anglers are probably most familiar with the largest of these turtles. The Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina), found in waterways throughout the...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: No songbird more visible in greening landscape of spring than Indigo Bunting

In the greening landscape of spring, no bird is more visible than the Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea). The vibrant, cerulean blue plumage of the male seems almost out of place, as if it belongs on some resident of a tropical rain forest. In fact, this diminutive insect and seed-eating bird in the Cardinal family, Cardinalidae, may mingle with exotic, colorful birds during its annual southward migration...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Those insidious, blood-sucking ticks are out with vengeance — be careful

They are insidious arachnids that emerge from tall grass, wood piles and leaf litter to feed on warm-blooded creatures. What makes ticks so creepy is once they find a host — a human, a dog, or wild animal — they crawl around until they find a place to begin sucking blood. Usually, it’s where a capillary is close to the surface of the skin. A walk through the woods, tall grass, and weeds,...