A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Common in rural Ky., the Barn Swallow is an acrobatic bird at home around humans

The barn swallow is an acrobatic bird, with its distinctive profile in flight, that’s at home around humans, nesting on bridge abutments, the rafters of barns, sheds, and the eaves of porches. They are most numerous in rural Kentucky, often observed along roadsides, flying over fields and pastures. A male barn swallow (Photo courtesy of National Audubon Society) The Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica,...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Wet springs cause many issues across Kentucky, nuisance chiggers are one

Wet springs cause all sorts of issues in rural and suburban Kentucky — delays in the plantings of farm crops and vegetable gardens, and the muddying up of creeks and rivers, that frustrates anglers. Heavy rains and warming temperatures cause the grass to grow insanely fast, making it a real chore just keeping up all that string trimming, and the mowing of grass in yards and fields. But the cruelest...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Squirrel season has a long tradition in Ky; spring season makes biological sense

During the settlement era in Kentucky, squirrels were an important source of food as larger game became less plentiful (Image from Wikimedia Commons) During the settlement era in Kentucky, as white-tailed deer, bison, elk, wild turkeys and black bears disappeared from the landscape, rural folks hunted small game for food. Subsistence hunters were often afield at times other than fall and winter, and...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: New book is first to highlight the unique diversity of Red River Gorge watershed

Rock Bridge is one of more than 100 natural sandstone arches in the Red River Gorge. (Photo from Wikipedia Commons) Red River Gorge National Geological Area, a unique natural area in Daniel Boone National Forest, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year to east-central Kentucky. Wildflowers and Ferns of Red River Gorge and the Greater Red River Basin is the first book of its kind on the Gorge...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Bullfrog season opens today; delicacy has been enjoyed by generations of Kyians

Bullfrog season opens in spring, but the nightly chorus is considered by many to be the song of summer. In the still night air the bullfrog’s deep, raspy call sounds like “jug-o-rum, jug-o-rum.” The allure of the season is being outdoors at night — listening to the sounds of whippoorwills and crickets, walking through fields of tall grass by the light of the moon and stars, marveling at...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Bowfishing basics: Shooting fish is an enjoyable off-season practice for hunters

Archers who hunt deer, elk and wild turkeys should consider shooting fish in the off-season. It’s an enjoyable practice that will help keep your archery skills sharp. Legendary archer Fred Bear is considered the father of modern bow fishing in America. (Photo from Bow Fishing Association of America) Bow fishing is most popular in late spring and summer after water conditions stabilized and surface...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky has long history of anglers fly fishing for bass in state’s lakes, streams

The early history of fly fishing for bass in Kentucky rivers and stream traces back to single-action, English-style reels — what we know today as click-and pawl reels. Early Kentucky settlers were of English and Scotch-Irish ancestry, and they had a deep love of fishing. Their forefathers practiced the art of fly fishing so the tackle and traditions of fly fishing came to America from the British...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Cutthroat trout becomes fourth species of trout to be stocked in Ky. waters

With the recent stocking of Cutthroat trout there are now four species of trout in Kentucky waters. All four species are non-native members of family Salmonidae, and can be caught in the Cumberland tailwaters, which extends for 75 miles from Wolf Creek Dam, which impounds Lake Cumberland, downstream to the Kentucky/Tennessee line. Cutthroat Trout On April 16 the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Spring wild turkey season tips and strategies for a successful hunt

Kentucky’s 23-day spring wild turkey general season opens tomorrow and continues through Sunday, May 5. At our farm, the afternoon before the opening morning is filled with ritual — listening for gobbling at dusk, as birds fly up to roost, a celebratory meal, and then getting gear organized. Turkey hunters have a lot of gear to keep track of, so make sure everything you need is in one place....

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky’s spring wild turkey season opens April 6 with youth-only weekend

A wet March, combined with the extended forecast of seasonal to above-normal temperatures in April, is a good reason to be optimistic. Kentucky’s 2019 spring wild turkey season starts tomorrow, with the opening of the youth-only season, the weekend of April 6-7. The 23-day general statewide season begins the following Saturday, April 13, and runs through Sunday, May 5. Seasonal weather is good for...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Early spring chores important part of preparation for wild turkey, deer hunters

It’s that time of the year. Early spring is prime time to complete a number of important, annual chores on your farm, or hunting property, for the benefit of wild turkey and white-tailed deer. There are several reasons why now is the time to be out there, finishing wildlife management and habitat projects, scouting and getting re-familiarized with areas not visited that often. It’s a sure sign...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Longear sunfish, the most abundant in Ky. streams, adapts well to reservoirs

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth and last article in a series about Kentucky’s native sunfish species. The longear sunfish (Lepomis megalotis ) is Kentucky’s most abundant stream sunfish, that adapts well to reservoirs impounded from major rivers. A beautifully-colored sunfish that is very familiar to anglers who fish rocky creeks, the longear is called a sun granny, or referred to simply...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Rock bass, at home in rocky, cool waters, are a favorite with stream fishermen

Editor’s Note: This is the third article in a series about Kentucky’s native sunfish species. The rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris) is most often caught from rocky, cool water streams in Central and Eastern Kentucky. A favorite with stream fishermen, the rock bass in known by the common names of red eye or goggle-eye. Statewide, there’s no daily creel limit, with no minimum size limit. The...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The redear sunfish, mostly found in clear waters with rooted aquatic vegetation

Editor’s Note: This is the second article in a series about Kentucky’s native sunfish species. The redear sunfish (Lepomis microlophus) is found throughout Kentucky, but most common in clear waters — farm ponds, small lakes, and major reservoirs where submerged, rooted aquatic vegetation is present. Statewide, there’s a 20-fish daily creel limit, with no minimum size limit. The redear...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The perfect fish for beginning anglers, the Bluegill is state’s most popular sunfish

Editor’s Note: This is the first article in a series about Kentucky’s native sunfish species. The bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) is Kentucky’s most popular sunfish, a native species most common in farm ponds, small lakes, and major reservoirs. A perfect fish for beginning anglers, the bluegill is a real scrapper when hooked on light tackle, and is one of our best-tasting fish. The bluegill’s...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Teddy Roosevelt an admired president, conservationist, American icon of freedom

Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt Jr. (1858 – 1919) was one of America’s most popular, admired and beloved presidents. The two-term Republican (1901-1909) was an outdoorsman, war hero, conservationist, book author and journalist, and naval historian. His likeness was carved into Mount Rushmore alongside other America icons of freedom — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. His...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Evaluating Kentucky’s crappie populations, creel limits and regulations

Editor’s Note: This is the third and final article in the three-part series on crappie fishing in Kentucky. Fishery biologists have three ways of evaluating crappie fisheries to gain a better understanding of catch rates, crappie reproductive success and population trends. Creel surveys, which are usually conducted from March through October, provide angler input. Creel clerks talk with anglers...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Changes in management of Crappie in small lakes and preferred water conditions

Editor’s note: This is the second article in the three-part series on crappie fishing in Kentucky. In Kentucky, when anglers think crappie, their go-to waters are usually major reservoirs. But in recent years biologists have found some inventive ways to increase the quality of crappie fisheries in small, state-owned lakes. Crappie usually don’t do well in small lakes because they get off massive...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Crappie a highly popular native game fish abundant throughout Kentucky

Editor’s note: This is the first article in the three-part series on crappie fishing opportunities in Kentucky. It’s cold and snowy now, but a month to six weeks from now, avid crappie anglers will be gearing up for the upcoming spring spawn. It’s the highlight of the year on the crappie fishing calendar, as fish staging in deep channels in lakes, begin moving up shallow in creeks, and eventually...

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...