A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Most outbreaks of disease like covid-19 trace to consumption of wildlife in China

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a family of viruses common in animals that can cause human illness ranging from the symptoms of the common cold to life-threatening respiratory infections. According to a posting on the World Health Organization website, COVID-19 is the latest version of Coronavirus, a strain discovered in 2019 that was not previously found in humans. Coronavirus is a zoonotic disease, meaning...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Wading is an excellent and inexpensive way to fish in state’s abundant streams

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward Anglers in Kentucky often learned to fish by wading the abundant streams that course over the surface of our state. Many of these streams flow over a rocky bottom and hold substantial populations of smallmouth bass. Several streams flowing in the mountains of east Kentucky or streams powered by springs receive trout stocked by the Kentucky Department of Fish and...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Let’s go fishing which is best in Spring; we’re blessed with abundance of lakes and streams

We are blessed here in Kentucky with an abundance of streams and lakes, excellent fishing and no closed seasons. While the unofficial start to spring fishing begins with the new license year on March 1, we can fish year-round, weather permitting. Quality crappie is the name of the game at Taylorsville Lake, 3,050 acres in Spencer, Anderson and Nelson counties. (US Army Corps of Engineers photo) If...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The .357 Magnum, an American classic, for both security and hunting

Author’s note: This is the first article in an occasional series about modern rifle and pistol cartridges and their uses in hunting. A revolver chambered in .357 Magnum is an American Classic. This venerable “muscle” cartridge was embraced by law enforcement for decades, has been proven to be efficient on deer at a reasonable range and has given many a homeowner a sense of security in being...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The Bobcat is a secretive carnivore found in forests across Commonwealth

Bobcats (Photo by Summer M. Tribble, Wikipedia Commons) Editor’s Note: This is the fourth article in an occasional series about furbearers in Kentucky. The Kentucky Wildcat, the mascot of University of Kentucky (UK) sports teams, is a party animal on the sidelines who encourages cheering crowds at games and thrives in the limelight. But its namesake, the Bobcat (Lynx rufus), is quite the opposite....

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Although rare at backyard bird feeders, the Eastern Towhee is common in Ky.

Eastern Towhee (Photo by Brian Kushner, Audubon Society) Editor’s Note: This is the tenth article in an occasional series about backyard birds. The Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) is an infrequent visitor to backyard bird feeders. Consider yourself lucky to see this large sparrow, with distinctive plumage, feeding on the ground beneath one of your hanging feeders during the late winter...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Squirrel hunting for both food and sport has a long history in Kentucky

The fox squirrel, one of Kentucky’s two native species, is abundant in the park-like savannas of the state’s interior. (Photo by Gary Eslinger, US Fish and Wildlife Service) Hunting squirrels for food and sport is a tradition deeply embedded in Kentucky’s hunting culture. In early Kentucky, squirrels were present in our woodlands in startling numbers. Dave Baker, editor of Kentucky Afield...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The long-tailed weasel, a fearless little carnivore prevalent in Central Kentucky

This is the third article in an occasional series about furbearers in Kentucky. The word weasel is something of a dichotomy. By definition, a weasel is a deceitful or treacherous person. For some pet owners, weasel is a term of endearment. They call their small feisty dog, or mischievous cat, “you little weasel.” In nature, a weasel is a small mammal that looks cute and furry like a kid’s plush...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The muskrat is a native furbearer found in a variety of Kentucky waters

The Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) is a native furbearer found in farm ponds, slow-moving rivers, lakes and wetlands, wherever aquatic vegetation is present. They can be hunted or trapped during a 111-day season, which began November 11 and runs through February 29, in Kentucky. Muskrats are trapped for their fur pelts, which are used to make hats, jackets and coats. (Photo from Wikipedia Commons) Demand...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The Mourning Dove, both a game bird and favorite at backyard bird feeders

(This is the ninth article in an occasional series about Kentucky’s backyard birds.) The Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) is common and widely recognized across Kentucky, known for its speed on the wing, beautiful plumage and unique vocalization, a low mournful coo-ah, coo-ah, coo, coo, coo. Throughout the cold weather months, some local birds may band together with migrants. Small groups move...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky hunters post another big harvest as deer season comes to close

Kentucky’s 2019-20 hunting season for white-tailed deer ended Monday and hunters posted another big harvest, inching closer to the all-time record. Last season’s deer harvest of 145,753 was the second-highest ever, but that number was surpassed this season. Hunters reported taking 148,356 deer, 53 percent antlered and 47 percent antlerless, according to harvest data posted on the Kentucky Department...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The Cedar Waxing’s unique plumage, eating habits most often observed in winter

A lasting image of the Cedar Waxwing is a beautiful tan bird perched amid the dark green leaves of an American Holly tree, eating red berries. Most often observed here during the cold weather months, the Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) is a nomadic bird that moves irregularly, throughout both its breeding and wintering range, often from year to year, depending on food supplies. This bird is easily...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Rotator cuff injuries are a real risk for those who participate in outdoor activities

A lifetime in the outdoors can take a toll on hips, knees, ankles and shoulders. Problems may develop from decades of walking over uneven ground, overuse, repetitive motion or degeneration of the joints due to aging. No injury is more debilitating than a tear of the rotator cuff, which weakens the shoulder. Strong, healthy shoulders are imperative to enjoying the outdoors, but a lifetime of carrying...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Last minute gift ideas for the anglers, hunters and target shooters on your list

There are just four shopping days until Christmas. Is there an angler, hunter or target shooter on your shopping list? Here’s some last-minute gift ideas: • For the angler, a pair of boat shoes, ideal for fishing and casual wear. Head to the nearest Bass Pro Shop/Cabela’s and pick up a pair of World Wide Sportsman Men’s Blue Water Boat Shoes. MSRP is $79.99. These comfortable, sturdy, lace-up...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Northern Flicker a frequent winter visitor to Kentucky’s backyard bird feeders

As the first day of winter approaches, and we get hard freezes and our first snows, homeowners begin feeding songbirds at backyard feeders. Maybe the holiday spirit of sharing with those less fortunate has something to do with the timing. Cold, ice and snow, which become more frequent around Christmas, means hard times are ahead for our feathered friends. Food becomes a priority just to maintain body...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The Snowy Owl, a winter migrant rarely observed in Ky., but not unheard of

The spotting of Snowy Owls in northern parts of Kentucky is a rare occurance that only happens a few times each decade. (Photo from Wkipedia Commons) A glimpse of this winter migrant might be on the holiday wish list of birdwatchers in Kentucky, and bordering states to the north along the Ohio River. That’s because the Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus), a large raptor rarely observed in the region, spends...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: 20 years after first proposal Green River National Wildlife Refuge now a reality

(Photo from United States Fish and Wildlife Services) Almost 20 years after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) first published a proposal for a national wildlife refuge at the confluence of the Green and Ohio Rivers in Henderson County, the Green River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was officially established. The announcement was made Friday, November 22 by U.S. Secretary of the Interior David...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Despite a year of unusual weather, waterfowl season looks promising

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward The shot of cold that greeted Kentucky earlier in November pushed many waterfowl into the state, which should portend a great opening to the waterfowl hunting season on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28. “We have more birds early than we’ve had in a really long time,” said John Brunjes, migratory bird coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources....

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky deer harvest strong heading into final weekend of modern gun season

The deer harvest is strong heading into the final weekend of modern gun season, the highlight of Kentucky’s 2019-20 hunting season for white-tailed deer. Here’s some news and observations: (Click for larger image) • The season opened with a bang, literally, as hunters checked in 35,165 deer bagged during the weekend of November 9-10. “Overall, modern gun season is shaping up to be great,”...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The Cooper’s Hawk is a winged hunter with awe-inspiring aerial skills

Hunters who spend a lot of time afield in the fall are likely to observe all sorts of amazing animal behavior, none more awe-inspiring than the aerial skills of the Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii). Like all raptors in this genus, the Cooper’s Hawk hunts on the wing, while flying through timber and brush. Its hunting skills are the very definition of stealth and surprise. The Cooper’s Hawks’...