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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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: 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...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The Mallard, Kentucky’s most-taken species during waterfowl season

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of articles about the ducks most often taken by hunters in Kentucky during waterfowl season. The Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is Kentucky’s top duck, the species most often taken by hunters during waterfowl season. “Of the 144,400 ducks taken in 2017, 76,376 were mallards,” said John Brunjes, migratory bird program coordinator for the Kentucky...

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...