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By Wendy Mitchell
Modern gun deer hunting season is about to begin, with new hunter guidelines focused on precaution after an April discovery in Holmes County, Ohio, of a transmittable disease in a captive deer.
“This season, hunters coming to Kentucky from Ohio, will not be able to transport whole carcasses of deer into Kentucky because a case of chronic wasting disease was identified in Ohio,” said Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife (KDFW) Officer James Beckett. “Brain matter and spinal materials from cervids are not allowed into the state from Ohio because of it.”
Deer, elk and moose are considered cervids.
According to KDFW, “... there are laws in place restricting the importation of both live and harvested cervids (including, but not limited to deer, elk, reindeer, and moose). Importation into Kentucky of live cervids is prohibited by statute, except in specific circumstances (KRS 150.725, 150.730, 150.735, and 150.740), and is a Class D felony.”
Transportation of whole deer into or even through Kentucky is also prohibited from Illinois, Missouri, Virginia, and West Virginia, where CWD has also been identified, officials said.
Since April a single buck which tested positive for CWD has been quarantined on a private hunting preserve in Millersburg, Ohio.
According to officials the deer had come from a private herd in Pennsylvania, which was also discovered to have CWD.
A cervid can have the disease for months or years before symptoms appear and there is currently no practical live-animal test for chronic wasting disease, officials said.
According to officials, Ohio quarantined 43 captive deer operations in Ohio since April 15 for receiving approximately 125 deer from private preserves in Pennsylvania that later tested positive for CWD, but has since lifted more than 50 of the quarantines and continues to monitor the others until ODNR is satisfied that the threat of disease transference has passed.
ODNR officials reiterated, there is no evidence CWD affected the wild deer population in Ohio.
There have also been no reported cases of CWD in Kentucky in either wild or preserve area deer, Beckett said.
Chronic Wasting Disease was first discovered in captive mule deer in Colorado in 1967.
Since 2002, more than 22,000 deer harvested in Kentucky have been tested for CWD with none testing positive for the disease, officials said.
Though major concentrations of CWD have been identified in western states, only a few, usually in captive herds, cases of CWD have been found.
According to KDFW website information, CWD belongs to a group of diseases called Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies, which includes scrapie in sheep and goats, bovine spongiform encephalopathy ("mad cow” disease) in cattle, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.
It is suspected that the agent responsible for causing TSEs is an abnormal protein called a prion.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the disease which produces brain lesions and is fatal in deer, elk and moose, cannot be transmitted to humans, still hunters should use precaution when field dressing their kill.
In addition, hunters should not harvest any animal which appears sick or is acting strange and should contact the local fish and wildlife department with location information, officials said.
For information on specific hunting regulations in Ohio go to www.wildohio.com or Kentucky go to www.fw.ky.gov
Muskellunge have returned to Dewey Lake in Floyd County.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has stocked 500 muskies measuring 13 inches apiece in the lake. While the lake is not slated to receive annual stockings of this species, department personnel will add muskellunge when excess fish are available from state hatcheries.
Dewey Lake was once home to the state record tiger muskie, a hybrid cross between muskellunge and the northern pike. The fish that went into the lake this week are pure muskies. The lake is within the native range of muskies in the state.
Currently, Dewey Lake is covered by statewide regulations for muskies: an angler may keep only one fish over 30 inches. Fisheries biologists will consider recommending a minimum size limit of 36 inches, the same as Buckhorn, Cave Run and Green River lakes.
Biologists anticipate good growth rates for muskellunge, as the lake has a good amount of forage fish to feed upon. Fish stocked should reach 30 inches by 2017, and 36 inches around 2019.
The weather looks good and carts may cross at 90 degrees. Winter golf rates are available! Call for a tee time!
We are having our final outing for the year tomorrow. Xtreme Cheer Golf Scramble, 9:00 a.m. shotgun, they are still accepting 4-somes!!!! Come on out!
See you at the course!
Missy Kennedy, PGA Head Golf Professional
Yatesville Lake State Park
(606) 673-4300 phone
Kentucky Press News Service
FRANKFORT – The Kentucky State Parks are offering lodging discounts to current and former members of the armed services with the “USA Military Discount” program from Nov. 1 to March 31, 2015.
The program is available to those on active military duty, retired members of the military, veterans, members of the National Guard and reservists. Proof of military service is required at check-in.
“This special lodging offer is one way we can show our appreciation to the men and women who serve or who have served in uniform for our country,” Parks Commissioner Elaine Walker said in a news release. “Our Kentucky State Parks offer many great outdoor opportunities for military families.”
There are 17 Kentucky state parks with resorts that offer golf, fishing, hiking, and full-service restaurants. Many resorts are near or include historic sites and museums and offer programs during the fall and winter, such as elk tours, eagle watching tours and entertainment.
This offer may not be used in conjunction with other special discounts or packages. The discount is based on availability, for leisure travel only, and may exclude special events and holidays.
For more information about Kentucky State Parks and to make reservations, visit www.parks.ky.gov .
During the months of April through October, current and former members of the military can get a 10 percent lodging or camping discount.
This is the second installment of a series of articles titled “Fall Fishing Festival” profiling the productive fishing on Kentucky’s lakes, rivers and streams in fall.
FRANKFORT, Ky. – You arrive at the Holcomb’s Landing Ramp just after dawn and look at the shoreline of Lake Cumberland. A line of damp rocks several inches thick rings the lake and the rip rap on the face of Wolf Creek Dam.
Your heart sinks. They are releasing a lot of water quickly through the dam and into the Cumberland River below it. The first smallmouth bass trip of the fall may be a bust.
“When they pull water through the dam, the falling water pulls the predator fish off their preferred habitat,” said John Williams, southeastern fisheries district program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “Being out of their comfort zone makes them skittish.”
Falling water, along with the fall turnover and cold fronts, are challenges in decoding fall bass fishing patterns. Falling water is a common situation found in fall as many lakes across Kentucky experience significant drawdown to winter pool.
Most large reservoirs in Kentucky begin the fall drawdown in the middle of October, but others start in late September while a few begin in November.
“This puts the bass more on the move,” said Eric Cummins, southwestern fisheries district program coordinator for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “Anglers won’t pattern them as well during the drawdown.”
Williams said he noticed the flat nature of the upper ends of creek arms during the drawdown of Lake Cumberland for repairs on Wolf Creek Dam. “Dam releases pull water and baitfish off those flats and back into the channel or along steeper banks,” he said.
This pulling effect scatters the baitfish, but they relocate and suspend over long points, channel ledges or underwater humps near the mouth of coves or creek arms. The bass follow.
Shad-colored, deep-running crankbaits and suspending jerkbaits fished near these structures work well. Mentally note the location of the first bass of the day and use the same presentation in a similar area on other parts of the lake.
As the fall winds blow ever colder air over the surface of Kentucky reservoirs, the top layer of water cools and begins mixing with the chillier, denser water underneath. The thermal layering of the water column formed during the heat of summer breaks up. Eventually, the water’s surface layer is the same temperature and density as the water under it, a phenomenon commonly known as turnover.
“During the turnover, the fish are off,” Cummins explained. “The dissolved oxygen levels drop. The turnover releases gases trapped during the summer by temperature that can have a slight sulphur smell.”
Williams explained the shallower creek arms and the upper reaches of the lake turn over before the deeper main lake. “The whole water column has to cool down to match the bottom level. In our deep lakes like Laurel River and Cumberland, the full turnover isn’t complete until November and into December,” he said.
On shallower lakes like Barren River Lake, the turnover is almost finished. The Louisville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ website has a graph of the dissolved oxygen profile for all of the lakes in its district including Barren River, Buckhorn, Carr Creek, Cave Run, Green River, Nolin River, Rough River and Taylorsville. From the homepage, click on the “Water Information” tab and the “Updated Lake Temperatures and Dissolved Oxygen Levels” tab.
“Most of the readings are taken near the dam, so if the line on the graph is nearly vertical, turnover is done,” Cummins explained. “If the graph shows a strong line at a certain depth, the thermal layers in the water column haven’t broken up yet.”
After you arrive at the water and notice off-colored water with a smell, fish another section of the lake. If you are near the dam, the upper lake and major creek arms have likely turned over. If you are in a major creek arm or upper lake, the deeper water at the dam probably hasn’t turned over yet.
“The fishing is much better where the lake isn’t turning over,” Cummins said. “If you see turnover on one of our smaller lakes, choose another lake to fish.”
Minor cold fronts actually can help fishing in early fall. Bass feed heavily in the days leading up to the front and a small deep-running chrome crankbait draws strikes. After the minor front passes, baitfish school a bit more and settle a little deeper, but bass still hit. The drop shot technique using a 3 ½-inch soft plastic jerkbait in the sexy shad color can work wonders in this situation.
A major cold front, especially later in fall, that drops the lake temperature several degrees means tough, but not impossible, fishing. Anglers must downsize their lure size, use lighter line and fish much slower.
A 4-inch black finesse worm rigged on a 3/16-ounce small Shakey head and fished in the “dead stick” presentation may save the day. Simply cast to the point, channel ledge or hump and let the rig sink to the bottom. Reel in the slack, keep a tight line and squeeze the rod handle to impart a subtle action to the worm. Grumpy bass that passed by all other offerings often succumb to this.
Get out this fall and overcome some of these challenging situations. Fall brings great weather and deserted lakes, perfect conditions for bass fishing.