A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Celebrating a memorable hunt in a special place as hunting season nears its end

It is a long walk in the dark to the narrow fold of land hidden between two ridges. Across a rolling pasture, and down the grassy farm road that slopes to the woods edge. The stars are bright in the cloudless sky. There’s a hint of yellow on the horizon. I feel my way into the timber and shuffle downhill through the leaves. The woods are clear underfoot. Even in darkness, there is the feeling of...

Licenses and permits to fish, hunt and trap in Kentucky on sale now; resident fees unchanged

Licenses and permits to fish, hunt and trap in Kentucky in the coming license year are on sale now. The 2019-20 license year starts March 1. License and permit fees for Kentucky residents for the 2019-20 license year are unchanged from the 2018-19 license year. Prices on some options for non-residents have changed and include: • Annual fishing license, $55 • One-day fishing license, $15 • Seven-day...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Winter is the best time to start wildlife management work on your hunting property

With hunting seasons winding down, now is the time to start habitat work on a property being managed for wildlife. Weather permitting, you’ll be finished, and ready for plantings in the late winter and early spring. Creating a good habitat for wildlife is an ongoing process of seasonal mowing, timber management, planting forage and allowing some areas to naturally regenerate. Habitat has to be maintained...

Carlisle native Rich Storm appointed Commissioner of Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

Rich Storm, of Carlisle, has been appointed as the new Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, replacing Frank Jemley of Louisville, who has served as the agency’s acting Commissioner since March 2018. “Rich Storm has been an exemplary leader in his time on the Fish and Wildlife Commission,” said Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Don Parkinson. “We...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Hunters hit deer harvest records; Chronic Wasting Disease now in six states

Kentucky’s 2018-19 white-tailed deer season closes at the end of shooting hours on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 21. It’s been a very eventful last four months since the season opened with archery hunting on September 1. An increase in the bag limit, allowing four deer to be taken on statewide and youth deer permits, a lengthening of modern gun season by six days in the counties of Zone...

Biologists predict improvement in waterfowl hunting in Kentucky as bitter cold predicted north of river

A bitter cold front is expected to wash over duck-holding areas north of the Ohio River early next week, which should mean good news for waterfowl hunting in Kentucky, according to experts at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “The cold is coming,” said John Brunjes, migratory bird program coordinator for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “An expanding cold trough should create...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: A friendly bird, the Tufted Titmouse is known for crested head, distinctive song

This is the last in a series of articles about small songbirds often seen around bird feeders in rural and suburban areas of Kentucky during the late fall and winter. The Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) is identified by a crest of gray feathers on its head and its distinctive song. The Tufted Titmouse has a distinctive head with a pointed, gray crest, square black patch on its forehead and short,...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: A gravity-defying busy little bird, the White-breasted Nuthatch puts on a show

Editor’s Note: This is the third article in a series about small songbirds most often seen around bird feeders in rural and suburban areas of Kentucky during the late fall and winter. The White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) is a gravity-defying, busy little bird. Hang your bird feeder, or suet cage, off a mature hardwood tree, and sit back and enjoy the show. The White-breasted Nuthatch...

Ky. broadens ban on imported deer to include all U.S. states in effort to curb spread of wasting disease

Acting to protect Kentucky wildlife from chronic wasting disease, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources on Monday expanded its ban against hunters bringing any harvested deer, elk or other cervids into the Bluegrass State unless the brain and spinal cord of the carcass have been removed. The ban now applies to cervids harvested from all U.S. states and all foreign countries. Under...

DFWR restricts importation of deer from Tennessee to combat spread of chronic wasting disease

To further safeguard Kentucky’s deer and elk from chronic wasting disease, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources announced new restrictions Saturday on the importation of deer from Tennessee. Effective immediately, hunters are prohibited from bringing any deer from Tennessee into Kentucky unless the brain and spinal column have been removed first. A deer shows signs of chronic wasting...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Carolina Chickadees are year-round residents that brighten the dreariest of days

Editor’s Note: This is the second article in a series about small songbirds most often seen around bird feeders in rural and suburban areas of Kentucky during the late fall and winter. The Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) is a cheerful little bird that brightens up even the dreariest cold days. The Carolina Chickadee is a permanent, year-round resident of Kentucky and a frequent visitor...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The Dark-eyed Junco — It’s a sure sign of cold weather when this snowbird arrives

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of articles about small songbirds most often seen around bird feeders in rural and suburban areas of Kentucky during the late fall and winter. The Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) is the very definition of the term “snowbird,” living most of the year at high elevations in northern latitudes, then heading south as cold weather sets in and the snow...

Expanded opportunities lead to new harvest record for modern gun deer season concluded Nov. 25

A record 106,797 deer were taken over Kentucky’s 16-day modern gun season that concluded Nov. 25, topping the previous record from 2015 by almost 1,400 deer. “We anticipated an increase in harvest for the season due to several changes in deer regulations implemented earlier this year,” said Gabe Jenkins, Deer and Elk Program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. The...

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

Is there an angler, hunter or target shooter on your holiday shopping list? New gear is always an appreciated gift. Below are some items they would like to find under the tree on Christmas morning: The Z Man Turbo Crawz(Photo provided) • For the bass angler, advanced plastic baits from Z Man Fishing. Their proprietary manufacturing process created ElaZtech® material, which is soft and pliable, yet...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Our state’s many streams and rivers are an important part of history, everyday life

They are present everywhere we travel — to work, school, or shopping trips in urban, rural or suburban areas. Driving Kentucky roadways you are likely to cross a small stream or river, or see one off in the distance. Kentucky waterways, important in our history, and part of our daily life, are where we escape to relax and recreate — fish, hunt, canoe, kayak, pleasure boat, or simply take...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Colds temperatures mean optimistic outlook for upcoming waterfowl season

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward The first snippets of snow fell last week, making most people frown, but put a smile on the faces of Kentucky waterfowl hunters. The cold weather the week before the waterfowl season opener on Thanksgiving Day is a good sign. “Waterfowl hunting in Kentucky is nearly 100 percent weather dependent,” said Wes Little, migratory bird biologist for the Kentucky Department...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: A regional migrant, the American black duck is prized by Kentucky hunters

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth and final article in a series about the ducks taken by hunters in Kentucky during waterfowl season. The American black duck (Aix rubripes) is a regional migrant prized by hunters because of its scarcity. They are most often taken in the eastern third of Kentucky while hunting the Ohio River, its backwaters and tributaries, from Cincinnati to Ashland. This large...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The wood duck ranks third among waterfowl harvested across the state

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of articles about the ducks most often taken by hunters in Kentucky during waterfowl season. The wood duck (Aix sponsa) is Kentucky’s homegrown duck, nesting throughout the state in trees along creeks, rivers, and wetlands, and in reservoirs where flooded timber is present. Last season hunters in Kentucky bagged 9,721 “woodies,” ranked third...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: For deer hunters across Kentucky ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’

The lyrics are from a Christmas song made famous by Andy Williams in 1963. But, for Kentucky deer hunters, November is “the most wonderful time of the year.” When the calendar flips, the interaction between does and bucks begins to heat up as the days get shorter, and the nights cooler. The timing of the rut, the white-tailed deer’s annual mating season, is the question every deer hunter wants...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The Gadwall ranks second in Kentucky duck harvest, third in Mississippi flyway

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles about the ducks most often taken by hunters in Kentucky during waterfowl season. The gadwall (Anas strepera) ranks second in duck harvest in Kentucky, and third throughout the 14 states of the Mississippi Flyway. Last waterfowl season hunters in Kentucky hunters bagged 16,942 gadwall ducks. (Photo courtesy of the Audubon Society) Last...