A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources donates 15,000 blue catfish to boost Kentucky River numbers

A generous donation of 15,000 blue catfish from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources boosted fish populations in the Kentucky River. “We’re grateful to West Virginia for helping us fortify blue catfish populations in areas where numbers are low and catfishing is popular,” said Paul Wilkes, acting director of fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Earlier...

New recipe card series — ‘Cook Wild Kentucky’ — to educate Kentuckians on how to prepare wild game

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources are teaming up to raise awareness about “Cook Wild Kentucky,” a new recipe card series from the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment aimed at educating Kentuckians on how to prepare wild game. “It is an unfortunate reality that 1 in 6 Kentuckians is food...

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife seeks conservation officer recruits; applications being taken for 20 positions

Applications are now being accepted for conservation officer recruit positions with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. The deadline to apply is 8 p.m. on Oct. 18. The department plans to fill 20 positions in locations across the state. Applicants must be at least 21 years old, possess a valid driver’s license and meet educational requirements or have experience in related fields. To...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Reviewing proper boating safety procedures in advance of Labor Day holiday

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward The sun sets earlier each day and the kids are back in school. Summer is all but over. This inevitability prompts many to visit lakes, rivers and streams to get in that last weekend of the summer boating season during the Labor Day holiday weekend. “Our busiest weekend of the year,” said Maj. Shane Carrier, assistant director of law enforcement for the Kentucky...

Waterfowl blind drawing set for mobility-impaired hunters at Doug Travis Wildlife Management Area

Applications will be accepted beginning Sept. 1 for two specially constructed waterfowl blinds for mobility-impaired hunters at Doug Travis Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Hickman and Carlisle counties. Applications for these quota hunts must be postmarked by Sept. 30. “One blind, Blind 19, is a boat-in site with a handicap-accessible boat ramp. Hunters must hunt within 10 yards of the location...

Department of Fish and Wildlife announces dates for Kentucky’s annual waterfowl blind drawings

Dates are now set for the annual waterfowl blind drawings for season-long sites at Lake Barkley, Sloughs, Doug Travis, Green River Lake and Barren River Lake wildlife management areas (WMAs). These are in addition to other public waterfowl hunting opportunities offered by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Upcoming season-long blind drawings include: • Lake Barkley WMA, Trigg...

Experimental device could block Asian carp from entering Lake Barkley; construction now underway

An experimental project designed to deter Asian carp from entering Lake Barkley in Western Kentucky is now underway. If weather conditions remain stable, the project is scheduled to become operational by fall. “We’re anxious to get this test underway because it has the potential to be a real game changer in the battle against Asian carp,” said Ron Brooks, director of fisheries for the Kentucky...

Salato Wildlife Education Center to host Hunting and Fishing Day celebration on Aug. 10; admission is free

Bring the entire family to Frankfort on Aug. 10 and join the celebration at Salato Hunting and Fishing Day. On this special day, admission to the Salato Wildlife Education Center is free for everyone. Salato Hunting and Fishing Day will include activities such as 3-D archery, archery trap shooting, air rifle shooting, casting and fishing. Salato staff also will offer an elk presentation at the center’s...

Lexington angler Clay Smith hooks state-record saugeye on Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam

Lexington angler Clay Smith was trolling a pink and white Berkley Flicker Shad crankbait for trout on the Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam when a fish struck. “I hooked it and thought it was an extremely large trout or a walleye,” Smith said. “When I got it in the boat, I truly thought it was a walleye. My fishing buddy thought it was a sauger.” It turns out it was both. Smith’s 8-pound,...