A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

Governor Bevin announces first-ever fish house contract to combat Asian carp in Western Kentucky

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today New initiatives to solve the Asian carp situation in western Kentucky were unveiled Tuesday by Gov. Matt Bevin at a press conference. Bevin announced the award of the state’s first-ever fish house contract. Kentucky Fish Center, LLC of Wickliffe, Ky., will establish the fish house, which will expand the market for Kentucky-caught Asian carp. Angie Yu, operator of Two...

Potential Asian carp deterrent — an underwater wall of sound — to be tested below Barkley Dam

Asian carp have become a major concern in the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers and many other rivers within the Mississippi River basin. In Western Kentucky, two of the state’s largest reservoirs, Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, were formed by the construction of navigation dams on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, respectively. The lock systems of these dams are the primary sources of reservoir...

Division of Forestry prepares for fall wildfire season; restrictions on outdoor burning in effect

The Kentucky Division of Forestry is preparing for fall wildfire season. Wildfires in Kentucky threaten damage to homes, private property, trees and landscapes. More importantly, they place lives at risk, including those of firefighters. The vast majority of Kentucky’s wildfires are preventable, the result of arson and careless open-burning (burning of trash, debris and brush). Despite a wet beginning...

New Hunting Access areas open in six Eastern Ky. counties — more than 35,000 acres — this fall

Working with private landowners is one way the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources expands public hunting opportunities across the state. Recently, the department reached Hunting Access Area agreements with RH Group and Elk Horn Coal Company, opening more than 35,000 acres in Floyd, Magoffin, Pike, McCreary, Letcher and Knott counties for public hunting this fall. “We are excited to...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: September is quota hunt application month for state’s public Lands

Now through the end of September, individuals can apply for deer, waterfowl, pheasant and sandhill crane quota hunts offered by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources at state wildlife management areas and other public lands. Deer hunts offered include a shotgun-only, youth-mentor hunt at the West Kentucky Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Dec. 15-18. Several Kentucky state parks will...

Tree Farmer of the Year Field Day on Oct. 9 highlights Clifton Taylor family farm in Gravel Switch

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky The Clifton Taylor family tree farm in Gravel Switch will be the site of the Tree Farmer of the Year Field Day on Oct. 9. The Kentucky Forest Industries Association selected Taylor as the 2017 Kentucky Tree Farmer of the Year. The honor recognizes his extensive stewardship work. The free field day is presented in conjunction with the University of Kentucky...

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...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Ideal habitat conditions should make for a productive dove season

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward For the middle of August, much of Kentucky looks as green as late May. Corn is high and robust, pastures are green and streams run bank full. The lush conditions should translate into productive hunting when the dove season opens Sept. 1. “Sunflowers look great overall,” said Wes Little, migratory bird biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Stick it to dangerous currents and uneven terrain with a wading staff

Those of us who wade rocky streams for smallmouth or tailwaters for trout sometimes bite off more than we can chew. An eddy on the other side of the stream looks inviting and the more you stare at it, the more you want to cast there. The only problem is a waist-deep run with strong current lies between you and the enticing water. You begin crossing the stream, but about halfway, the current begins...

Big Bone Lick fish relocated by state Fish and Wildlife team, as leaking dam is evaluated

Helping save fish facing an uncertain future and improving a public fishing opportunity at the same time were all in day’s work for a team of fisheries biologists and technicians with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources this week. The department offered its assistance to the Kentucky Department of Parks after the recent discovery of a leaking dam at Big Bone Lick State Historic...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: State program aims to ‘recruit, retain and reactivate’ adult anglers

School kids fervently look forward to summer break, but often after a few weeks, they complain of boredom. An 18-inch largemouth bass jumping and shaking its head at the end of a line is a sure-fire way to cure boredom and instill a passion for a lifelong wholesome activity in a young person. Many parents would like to teach their kids how to fish, but don’t know how to fish themselves. The Angler’s...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky’s semi-aquatic turtle population highest in western streams

On a warm, spring day, it’s not unusual to see a row of semi-aquatic turtles basking in the sun on a log floating in a pond, small lake, stream, or wetland. A few species are found statewide, but the highest populations are in western Kentucky. Anglers are probably most familiar with the largest of these turtles. The Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina), found in waterways throughout the...

University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service offers short woodland management course

By Carol Lea Spence Special to KyForward Woodland owners who are wondering how to get the most from their property can benefit from attending one of three University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service short courses tailored to their region. A forest in Eastern Kentucky (photo by Matt Barton). “Folks aren’t always aware of all the resources that are available to help them achieve their objectives,”...

Live webcam gives viewers front row seat as young peregrine falcons prepare to take flight

Before diving at speeds of 200 miles per hour and fulfilling the title of “World’s Fastest Flying Birds,” four peregrine falcons nesting in Louisville will spend the next several weeks learning to fly. And, webcam viewers will have a live front row seat. The webcam’s installed through a partnership with Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and located inside the peregrine falcon...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Time to scout and develop a game plan as spring turkey season approaches

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward The landscape awakens almost spontaneously from its winter slumber. Winter flocks break up into smaller groups. Innumerable turkey calls and lifelike decoys reappear at sporting goods retailers. Turkey hunters interpret these occurrences as signs that it will not be long before they are easing into their spots before dawn, filled with anticipation. In Kentucky, hunters...

Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park plans free fishing workshop for educators April 7

Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park is hosting a “Teacher’s Tackle Box” workshop for teachers and youth group leaders on April 7. (Photo from Kentucky State Parks) This free workshop, offered by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, is designed to help adults lead a fishing field trip for youths. No previous experience is necessary. This workshop is designed for educators,...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Kentucky announces updated 2018 fishing regulations effective March 1

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward A reduction in the statewide daily creel limit from 30 fish to 20 fish for crappie highlights the new fishing regulations for 2018. The regulations go into effect March 1. “Anglers requested this regulation,” said Ron Brooks, director of Fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “The amount of hours spent crappie fishing and the...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Hunters post fifth-highest deer harvest on record; call for trophy deer entries

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward Looking at the total number of deer harvested by hunters in Kentucky during the 2017-18 season, it would appear nothing was out of the ordinary. The season ended earlier this month. When it did, hunters had combined to take more than 136,000 deer across the state, making it the sixth consecutive season with a harvest total greater than 130,000 and the fifth highest...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: A look back at 20 years since inception of Kentucky’s elk restoration project

This is the first in an occasional series of articles on elk in Kentucky, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the elk restoration project.  The end-of-the-year holiday celebrations have a special significance this year as it was 20 years ago this December 18th that Kentucky’s elk restoration project began. The return of elk to the mountains of eastern Kentucky has had an immense social, economic...