A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

State, federal officials visit Western Kentucky to observe experimental method to combat Asian carp

Tens of thousands of pounds of carp were removed from Smith and Pisgah bays Monday as part of experimental harvests of Asian Carp in Kentucky Lake. (Photo from KDFWR) State and federal officials joined local partners at Pisgah Bay Monday to observe first-hand an experimental research method to address the Asian carp population at Kentucky Lake. Gov. Andy Beshear and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch...

Experimental Asian carp harvest method to be employed at Kentucky Lake during February

The deployment of an experimental Asian carp harvest method on Kentucky Lake will impact public access during the month of February. In an effort to rid the lake of thousands of invasive Asian carp, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and the Tennessee Valley Authority have scheduled a research...

Now, for a little fun, you can name this new species of crayfish to support ‘Kentucky Wild;’ clock is ticking

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is offering a unique opportunity to name a new species through an auction to help support vulnerable wildlife facing threats in the Commonwealth. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife at-risk species biologist Zack Couch discovered the rare crayfish near Louisville, and it is only known to exist in a few streams in Jefferson, Bullitt and Meade counties. Funding...

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...

Department of Fish and Wildlife researchers to begin major new study on Kentucky’s elk population

Researchers will use a helicopter to locate and capture elk this month as part of a major research study on elk reproduction and population growth. The research will be conducted throughout Kentucky’s elk zone and will launch this month. “Netting by helicopter is the best way to live-capture elk for this important study on reproduction and survival,” said Kyle Sams, acting deer and elk program...

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources accepting trees for Christmas for the Fishes program

Repurposing your used cut Christmas trees helps give Kentucky’s underwater inhabitants new homes after the holiday season ends. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is collecting natural Christmas trees at 39 drop-off locations across the state for its Christmas for the Fishes program. Collection will continue until mid-January. “Christmas for the Fishes gives people the opportunity...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Explore Kentucky’s wildlife management areas during Christmas holiday

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward The Christmas holiday provides most of us some much-needed days off and time with family and friends, but sometimes, it is nice to escape from all of the food and festivities and stretch your legs. For those who need to relax and get away for a bit, Kentucky’s wildlife management areas (WMAs) offer a place to go wander. “We have 89 public wildlife management...

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...

Despite unusual weather year in Kentucky, waterfowl season looks promising, opens on Thanksgiving Day

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. “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. “We recently saw 20,000 to 30,000 ducks...

Federal, state officials announce establishment of Green River National Wildlife Refuge in Henderson

On Friday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, along with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials, and their counterparts from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, announced the establishment of the Green River National Wildlife Refuge near the confluence of the Ohio and Green rivers in Henderson. “Under President Donald...

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,”...

Bio-acoustic fish fence aimed at stopping Asian carp migration now operational at Lake Barkley

An experimental project designed to keep invasive Asian carp from moving farther up the Cumberland River was unveiled Friday at Lake Barkley. A bio-acoustic fish fence (BAFF) was deployed on the downstream side of Barkley Lock. U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and U.S. Congressman James Comer along with project partners, ceremonially inaugurated the BAFF system as part of a three-year evaluation to deter...

KDFWR debuts new crime-fighting app; available through iTunes App Store, Google Play Store

Need to report suspected illegal activity related to fish, wildlife or boating to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources? Now, there’s an app for that. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife has partnered with tip411 to offer the public a way to submit anonymous tips using the new KFWLaw smartphone app or by text message and the web. Similar technology has helped reduce crime in communities nationwide. “Through...

Modern gun season for deer opens Nov. 9; hunters can take advantage of full rut cycle over 16-days

One of the favorite times of the year for tens of thousands of Kentuckians begins Nov. 9 as modern gun deer season opens statewide. The 16-day season closes Nov. 24. The season sits squarely in the rut, when male deer are most actively pursuing does to breed. “Our modern gun season this year starts very early in November,” said Gabe Jenkins, deer and elk program coordinator for the Kentucky Department...

KDFWR increasing monitoring of deer and elk for chronic wasting disease as hunting season returns

As hunters return to the woods and fields for the fall seasons, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is increasing its efforts to monitor the state for chronic wasting disease (CWD) at the same time. Seventeen years ago, the department recognized an encroaching threat to Kentucky’s deer and elk herds and took steps to prevent the spread of CWD to the state. Now, in 2019, the agency...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky Wild program supports endangered, threatened non-game wildlife

The Kentucky Wild program, launched during the summer of 2018 by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR), directly supports non-game wildlife facing threats in our state. Many wildlife species that we take for granted like have experienced long term population declines in recent decades, most notably songbirds, bats and amphibians. Proceeds from membership in the program are...

Public auction of surplus, confiscated items set for Oct. 28 at Fish and Wildlife headquarters in Frankfort

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will conduct its fall public auction of surplus and confiscated items on Oct. 28 at department headquarters in Frankfort. Surplus auction items include four-wheel-drive Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge trucks, Yamaha all-terrain vehicles, ATV trailers, Boston Whaler boats with Mercury motors, aluminum canoes, jon boats and more. Bidding on surplus items...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky is home to a rich diversity of native and non-native fish and wildlife

A wide variety of fish and wildlife species are found throughout Kentucky. While most are native species, several notable desirable non-native species have been introduced into our woods and waters. There are also a few undesirable, non-native species that have taken up residency here. Here’s some insight and details, based on information posted on the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources...