The area's leading online source for news!
Louisa-Lawrence Co, KY

In God We Trust - Established 2008

Menu

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources encourages deer hunters to participate in a new online survey about deer hunting and management in Kentucky.

The survey is available at www.research.net/r/KYDeerInput2016 through Sept. 9.

“We’ve not surveyed our hunters in a long time,” said Gabe Jenkins, deer program coordinator for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “Hunters in Kentucky are harvesting record numbers of deer and the state is producing a lot of trophy bucks each season. But maybe there are some things that could be done better. We want to give everybody a voice, and the survey provides a direct line of communication.”

Public input on Kentucky's deer program will be accepted through Sept. 9 (Photo Provided)Public input on Kentucky's deer program will be accepted through Sept. 9 (Photo Provided)

The survey is the first of its kind in more than a decade. It gauges hunter distribution, hunting habits and hunter satisfaction. The 46 questions cover a range of topics, including buck and doe harvest, season structure and season length, youth and mentor opportunities, legal equipment and alternative hunting methods.

“There are a handful of questions about populations,” Jenkins said. “I’m interested in what people on the ground are seeing. Are they seeing more deer or less deer compared to five, 10 years ago? And what are their feelings about that? Are we achieving what we need to achieve?”

Earlier this year, the department selected 2,500 resident and non-resident deer hunters at random to take the same survey and establish baseline data.
Potential changes stemming from the results of the survey will be carefully considered before recommendations are presented to the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission.

“We’re not going to be out to move quickly or do anything fast,” Jenkins said. “We’re going to take our time and be strategic.”

From F&W Communications

Kentucky’s archery season for deer opens one month from today, on Sept. 3, 2016. Now is the time for landowners and hunters to finalize preparations.

The 136-day season extends for parts of five months, through Jan. 16, 2017.

Pre-season preparations include: getting archery equipment checked out by a trusted archery technician, zeroing in on quality practice, seasonal mowing of hunting areas, setting out trail cameras, and trimming vegetation around treestands and ground blinds.

It takes a lot of work and attention to detail to be successful when hunting with a bow and arrow. Here’s some tips:

Gear Tuneup

Take your hunting bow to a trusted technician and have it checked out, top to bottom, especially the bow string. Your bow string may look okay, but it could be weakened under the center serving, where the arrow is attached to a nock or string loop. Bow strings stretch over time and hundreds of shots. That gets your bow out of tune, so that it shoots erratically and inconsistently.

Summer deer are relaxed and frequent open fields at dusk. But after bucks shed the velvet on their antlers in August, and testosterone levels rise, they change their daily patterns and will not tolerate human presence  (Photo by Brandon Broderick)Summer deer are relaxed and frequent open fields at dusk. But after bucks shed the velvet on their antlers in August, and testosterone levels rise, they change their daily patterns and will not tolerate human presence (Photo by Brandon Broderick)
If you plan to change vital equipment, don’t wait, do it now.For most people it takes several weeks to adjust to a new arrow rest or bow sight. It takes longer than you would think to sight in your bow when there’s been a change in equipment.
 

For most people it takes several weeks to adjust to a new arrow rest or bow sight. It takes longer than you would think to sight in your bow when there’s been a change in equipment.

Inspect carbon arrows carefully. Make sure they are free of cracks. Replace damaged fletching or nocks and be certain that the weight of your field points (practice points) are the same weight as your hunting broadheads. Set aside one broadhead for practice. As opening day of archery deer season approaches, sight in your bow with your practice broadhead.

Practice As If You Were Hunting

When you start practicing, take it slow. Don’t shoot too many arrows at first. Ease into it. Shoot a few arrows a day to build muscles back up.

Sloppy practice is bad practice, even in the beginning. Concentrate. Get back into the rhythm of archery. Make every arrow count. Get your draw routine and anchor point imprinted in your brain.

Practice as if you were hunting. If you are going to hunt from a ground blind, practice shooting from the chair or stool you will be sitting on in the blind.

If you are going to be hunting from a treestand, try to practice from an elevated position. Shoot from different distances so you’ll know your range limit.

When the season opens and you draw on a deer, your mind and body should be on auto-pilot. Archery is part mental, part muscle memory. Be ready.

Seasonal Mowing

By the first week of August deer fawns are old enough to run at their mother’s side to escape danger, there’s no risk of running over them with a tractor in high weeds.

Pre-season mowing should concentrate on opening up clearings where you will be hunting and creating access. Mowed trails through tall grass or weeds make it easy to quickly and quietly move in and out of your hunting area without being detected.

Deer are creatures of habit and will usually take the easy way through thick cover. They will walk down mowed trails, and mowed gaps in fences, which makes them easier to ambush.

Trail Cameras

In recent years, trail cameras have come into wide use because they help hunters “scout” deer in their hunting area around the clock by taking digital images or video. The images and video are stored on SD memory cards and viewed on a computer by the use of a card reader.

The small cameras are strapped on trees or fence posts, to monitor trails, funnels in the cover, entrances to bedding and feeding areas. Most hunters use trail cameras to find and study the daily patterns of a target deer, usually a mature, antlered buck.

During the late summer deer are segregated by sex, does with their fawns, and bucks in bachelor groups. It’s easy to get good photographs and video of deer feeding in open fields at dusk. Summer deer are relaxed and easy to find, and you can drive up to your camera during the midday in a truck or tractor, without fear of running off these deer.

When the season opens and you draw on a deer, your mind and body should be on auto-pilot. Archery is part mental, part muscle memory. Be ready. Early season is a good time to target does (Photo by Art Lander Jr.)When the season opens and you draw on a deer, your mind and body should be on auto-pilot. Archery is part mental, part muscle memory. Be ready. Early season is a good time to target does (Photo by Art Lander Jr.)
But after bucks shed the velvet on their antlers and testosterone levels rise, bachelor groups tend to disperse, bucks change their daily patterns and will not tolerate human presence. Trail cameras help hunters understand the changing habits of bucks as they shift from their summer patterns to pre-rut, rut and then winter patterns.

When hunting season opens, trail camera deployment and exchanging memory cards, takes a great deal of care and thought. One strategy is to place a camera in the area being hunted so that you can see what’s going on there when you are away from your treestand or ground blind. When you leave the area after hunting for the day, exchange the memory card in the camera.

As the rut approaches, trail cameras can help hunters find out when bucks start moving during daylight hours, in search of does coming into heat.

Treestand/Ground Blind Placement

Picking the right entry and exit route to your treestand or ground blind might be more important to success in deer hunting than where you actually hunt. Traveling undetected, when entering and exiting a hunting area, is a key to hunting success.

Get in fast and quiet, using gullies, creeks, standing corn, fencerows and mowed paths to shield movement. When hunting in the morning, don’t go in the woods in total darkness. Wait until there is enough light see your feet so you won’t step on sticks and make too much noise.

If a route is cluttered with downed timber or brush go in before the season and clear the way with a chainsaw. Stands should be approached from down wind, or cross wind, as long as the hunter’s scent is not being blown in the direction deer are expected to approach.

For more outdoors news and information, see Art Lander’s Outdoors on KyForward.

Stay away from your best stands on calm days. Deer can hear you approach from a long way off when it’s quiet in the woods.

Preseason, resist the temptation to sneak around your hunting area. Driving tractors and trucks around a hunting area mimics normal farm traffic, and doesn’t alert deer to danger, like a human on foot does.

Set your treestands and ground blinds well in advance of the season opening day. When trimming shooting lanes, be sure to pile up limbs away from deer trails or remove them from the area. Drape small, leafy branches over ground blinds for added camouflage.

At the beginning of archery season Kentucky deer are focused on fields of clover, alfalfa, or sprouting wheat, until the acorns ripen in September. Pick a tree which provides good cover in a fence line for your treestand, or a brushy area in the corner of the field, for a ground blind. Early in the season the wind predominately blows from the west, southwest, but frequently shifts to the northwest, with the advance of cool fronts.

The ideal positioning for hunting cool fronts is facing northwest. That way you’ll have the sun set over your left shoulder, and the wind in your face. Deer approaching from upwind won’t be able to smell you, and you’ll be hidden in the shadows as the sun moves to the western horizon.

Early in the season, concentrate on hunting in the late afternoons, especially during the first and last quarter moon periods, when the moon is a thin crescent, and positioned at 12 o’clock in the sky at dusk. That’s when deer are most likely to converge on feeding areas before dark.

Get ready now. Archery season for deer will be here in the blink of an eye.

1Art Lander Jr.1Art Lander Jr.Art Lander Jr. is outdoors editor for KyForward. He is a native Kentuckian, a graduate of Western Kentucky University and a life-long hunter, angler, gardener and nature enthusiast. He has worked as a newspaper columnist, magazine journalist and author and is a former staff writer for Kentucky Afield Magazine, editor of the annual Kentucky Hunting & Trapping Guide and Kentucky Spring Hunting Guide, and co-writer of the Kentucky Afield Outdoors newspaper column.

 

 

The Fort Gay High School Alumni Association will host the 4th annual Joe Damron Memorial Golf Tournament on Friday, September 2, 2016, at Eagle Ridge Golf Course at Yatesville Lake State Park in Louisa, KY.

The Alumni Association hosts the tournament to raise money to support an endowed scholarship it established through the Marshall University Foundation Inc.  Each year, a senior at Tolsia High School, Fort Gay, WV, is awarded a four-year academic scholarship to Marshall University.  This year’s award winner will share $12,000 for the 2016-17 school year with three previous Tolsia graduates, all of whom are designated by Marshall as “Fort Gay Scholars”.  The alumni group has funded 57 scholarships to 24 scholars since the initial grant in 1999.

The best ball tournament begins at 9:00 a.m. and is open to the public.  Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. “The golf course is in excellent condition this year,” said Paul Salmons, the tournament chairman. 

The entry fee is $50 per person, or $200 to sponsor a team of four persons.  The fee includes the cost for cart, green fees, a continental breakfast, snacks, beverages, and lunch.  There also will be prizes and awards. 

“You can help raise money for the scholarship program even if you are unable to play by sponsoring a golf hole with a tax-free donation of $100,” added Salmons.  Please contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or (606) 652-4048, if you wish to play in the tournament or want additional details about sponsorships.

Beginning float fishing classes offered

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will host three public meetings to gather comments from people interested in ruffed grouse management in the state.

Department biologists developed the state’s Ruffed Grouse and Young Forest Strategic Plan to lead focused management efforts to improve grouse numbers in eastern Kentucky.

Grouse2, webGrouse2, web

The department has already received public comments by phone and email. The upcoming meetings provide additional opportunity for the public to learn about the plan in detail and add their input.

Meeting dates, local times and locations include:

· Ashland area: 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, Northeast Fish and Game Club, Dezarn Lane (off South Big Run Road), near Coalton community.

· Whitesburg: 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11, 7 p.m., University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Office, 478 Extension Drive.

· London: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Office, 200 County Extension Drive.

The Ashland event will include an inaugural trap shoot and cookout sponsored by the Kentucky River Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society. The event will be held prior to the grouse plan meeting. Doors open at 9 a.m. for the event, with trap shooting from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Food will be provided.

Beginner Float Fishing Classes Offered in August

Enrollment is underway for novice anglers who want to try their hand at fishing from a kayak.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, in partnership with Canoe Kentucky of Frankfort, will offer free basic fishing classes in August through its Anglers Legacy program. Courses include three 90-minute classes that cover the basics of fishing, followed later by a fishing trip on the department’s headquarters lake and the Kentucky River or Elkhorn Creek in Franklin County.

Classes are offered as part of Canoe Kentucky’s Explore Nature Series. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife employees will teach the classes and offer their fishing expertise as part of the department’s ongoing effort to increase angling participation.

Registration is available by calling Canoe Kentucky’s Chris Howard at (502) 227-4492, or emailing him atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The course is limited to 20 participants. Equipment is provided. Participants must have a valid Kentucky fishing license.

Classes will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Eastern time) on Aug. 9, Aug. 16 and Aug. 23. During the Aug. 16 session, Lower Sportsman’s Lake, on the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife campus near Frankfort, will close at 4 p.m. for a class session. The lake will reopen for public use at daybreak, Aug. 17.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife encourages all anglers to enjoy float fishing trips around the state. Recommended floats, along with maps, mileages and descriptions, are available on the department’s website, fw.ky.gov. Search under the keywords “Blue Water Trails” for more information.

From F&W Communications

By Lee McClellan
Special to KyForward

Summer is arguably the most popular time to fish as muggy, hot days push people to the water for relief and relaxation.

Many anglers, especially those who seek game fish such as black bass, trout or striped bass, release their catch.

“Catch and release works and is a good thing,” said Dave Dreves, assistant director of fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “But, if you don’t handle the fish properly, your good intentions can be reversed.”

Fish grippers, such as this one used to remove a lure from the mouth of a smallmouth bass prior to release back into Jefferson County’s Floyds Fork Creek, are invaluable tools for anglers who want to release their catch in summer. Proper fish handling techniques help fish thrive after release during the hot months. (F&W Photo)Fish grippers, such as this one used to remove a lure from the mouth of a smallmouth bass prior to release back into Jefferson County’s Floyds Fork Creek, are invaluable tools for anglers who want to release their catch in summer. Proper fish handling techniques help fish thrive after release during the hot months. (F&W Photo)

Fish have a protective slime coat that acts as part of their immune system. Protecting this slime coat is of the utmost importance when handling fish.

“Fish are surrounded by pathogens all of their lives in the water they inhabit,” Dreves said. “The slime coat is their protection.”

A fish gripper is an essential tool for handling fish with ease and doesn’t harm them. They provide exceptional control of the fish by latching on to its lower lip. “They are a great thing, especially on toothy fish such as walleye, for getting hooks out of fish without touching them,” Dreves said. “They also keep people from squeezing a fish too hard which can damage internal organs.”

Some models with calibrated scales cost a pretty penny, but many on the market simply hold the fish and cost less than $20, with some less than $10.

“These devices keep people from handling a fish with a towel,” Dreves said. “I can’t imagine anything much worse you can do to a fish than using a towel to hold them. You must protect, not remove, the slime coat.”

If you must handle a fish with your hands, wet them first. Dry human skin strips off the fish’s slime coat. “Also, if you plan to measure its length, wet the measuring board before placing the fish on it,” Dreves said. “Make sure to keep the measuring board out of the sun. They can get really hot.”

Secure the fish when landing it. Do not allow the fish to flop around on the bank or in the bottom of a boat. This not only removes the protective slime coat, but may cause injuries.

Anglers who catch a big largemouth bass or hybrid striped bass usually want a photo to commemorate the event.

“You see these anglers on fishing shows sometimes hold their fish out of the water for way too long when talking to the camera,” Dreves said. “If I am fumbling around for a fish scale or a camera, I either put the fish back in the water while I hold it or I drop it in the livewell. A fish out of water can’t breathe.”

Livewells work great for keeping fish alive, but in summer they can be a potentially lethal environment for fish if proper procedures are not followed.

“Warmer water holds less dissolved oxygen,” Dreves said. “Because of the heat and the lower levels of dissolved oxygen, summer is a highly stressful time on fish in a livewell.”

Dreves explained the most important thing is to cool the water first after pumping it in from the lake. Two frozen 1/2-gallon jugs of water will cool a 30-gallon livewell about 10 degrees for roughly three hours.

“Then, you need to recirculate the water in the livewell to avoid pulling hot lake water back into the livewell,” he said. “You also don’t want to cool it more than 10 degrees.”

Enter “Keeping Your Bass Alive” in the search box in the top right corner of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s homepage at www.fw.ky.gov for complete details on proper livewell procedures for summer bass tournaments.

“Plus, if you plan to keep fish to eat, it is much better to place those fish in a cooler with ice right away than in a hot livewell,” Dreves said.

Light tackle is fun and produces a lot of fish. But, ultralight rods and 4-pound line are not the best choices for the stressful times of summer if you plan to release the fish.

“Some say light tackle is more sporting, but getting the fish in hand as quickly as possible is best for the fish’s health in summer. Long battles are not good for them when it is hot.”

Employing catch and release helps ensure good fishing for future generations, but sloppy techniques can cancel out the benefit of this practice in summer.

Lee_McClellanLee_McClellan

Author Lee McClellan is associate editor for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources manages, regulates, enforces and promotes responsible use of all fish and wildlife species, their habitats, public wildlife areas and waterways for the benefit of those resources and for public enjoyment. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife is an agency of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. For more information on the department, click here.