A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The Red-tailed Hawk, Kentucky’s most conspicuous raptor

The Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), a year-round resident, is perhaps the most conspicuous raptor in Kentucky. This large hawk, often observed paired up the late fall and winter, is one of six hawk species that nest in-state, including the Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, and Northern Harrier. Beginning in November, local resident populations of Red-tailed...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Good weather forecast predicted for Kentucky’s late fall turkey season

A warming trend will create good hunting conditions for the opening weekend of Kentucky’s late fall wild turkey season. The second of two fall seasons open to hunting with shotguns, the seven-day season opens tomorrow, Saturday, December 2 and continues through Friday, December 8. The forecast is calling for above normal temperatures in Central Kentucky Saturday and Sunday, then a chance of rain...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: 2017 deer season update, opening weekend gun season harvest fifth highest

Heading into the second week of Kentucky’s 16-day modern gun season for deer, now’s a good time to update the harvest reports for the 2017 season and take a look at recent trends. Here’s an overview of how the season has progressed so far: Since archery season opened on September 2, bow hunters in Kentucky have bagged 14,475 deer (Photo by Art Lander Jr.) • Since archery season opened 75...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky’s Elk Herd a “Seed Crop” for Appalachia, other herds outside the region

In Colonial America elk were common east of the Mississippi River. The eastern elk (Cervus canadensis canadensis), which was native to Kentucky, was one of six subspecies of elk that inhabited the northern and eastern U.S., and southern Canada. The eastern elk was larger than its western cousins. A full-grown bull could weigh up to 1000 pounds, stand 50-60 inches tall at the shoulder, and carry a...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Gray squirrels may be state’s most abundant, widely-distributed game animal

The Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) may be the most abundant, widely-distributed game animal in Kentucky. They make their homes in leaf nests and the cavities of large trees, in a wide range of environments. This includes remote forests of mountainous eastern Kentucky, farm woodlands, river bottoms, small towns, suburban backyards, and city parks. Kentucky is about 50 percent forested,...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: A look back at a half century of wildlife management milestones in Kentucky

The Baby Boomer Generation grew up hunting small game close to home — squirrels in groves of hickory trees in August and doves in September over harvested tobacco field sown in winter wheat. Around Thanksgiving, rabbits, and maybe a covey or two of quail, were jumped up from thick weeds and brush along the borders of farm fields. Hunters who grew up in the far western counties of the state,...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Changing deer patterns can result in the ritual ‘October Lull’ for hunters

Most bow hunters will tell you the most difficult time to hunt deer during Kentucky’s 136-day archery season may be the so-called October Lull. In early-to-mid October deer seem to disappear into thin air. Early season stands where hunters saw lots of deer suddenly go cold, as if some mythical switch has been flipped. In fact, there’s no drop off in deer activity. The October Lull can be explained...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Bolt-action rifle chambered in 7mm-08 good choice for Kentucky deer hunters

Selecting a rifle for deer hunting in Kentucky need not be a daunting task. Hunters who are planning on buying a firearm for their own use, for a son, daughter or grandchild, should consider a bolt-action rifle chambered in 7mm-08. The 7mm-08, developed my Remington in 1980, is an ideal cartridge for hunting deer in the conditions most often encountered in Kentucky, where shots are typically in the...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Woody Plants of Kentucky and Tennessee great addition for amateur naturalists

A deer hunter finds an acorn in the woods and wants to know what species of oak it came from; a hiker encounters an unfamiliar shrub at trail side covered in distinctive foliage and colorful berries. Even for experienced outdoor enthusiasts, the diversity of the natural world provides a continual source of amazement. Identification of woody plants — trees, shrubs, and woody vines — is...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: EHD outbreak update shows reports of dead, dying deer now in 72 counties

In the past month the number of reports of dead and/or dying deer received by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) has ballooned to 2,967. The tissue and blood samples taken from fresh specimens in the field confirmed that the cause was Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD), specifically the EHD-2 strain, according to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens,...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Regular cleaning of firearms will help protect your investment

With hunting season underway, rifles and shotguns are coming out of storage in gun cases or gun safes in preparation for trips afield. The question that every hunter needs to ask is: How long has it been since I thoroughly cleaned this firearm? Rifles and shotguns, purchased new or used — or inherited — represent a significant investment. Routine cleaning is needed to maintain best performance...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Cooler temperatures make outlook for new deer season promising

With Kentucky’s 2017-18 deer season set to open Saturday, with the start of archery hunting, the weather outlook for September looks promising. Yes, rain showers are likely for opening weekend, but the AccuWeather forecast for the month ahead is projected to be cooler to normal in temperature, following a cooler than normal August and a warmer than normal July. The season dates for Kentucky’s...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Recent EHD outbreak centered on Eastern Kentucky deer population

In recents weeks reports have been trickling in from landowners finding dead and/or dying deer on their property around farms ponds and small streams. Samples taken from some of the deer, and sent to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens, Georgia, verified that the cause was Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD), specifically the EHD-2 strain. “The epicenter was in Magoffin,...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Changes to Kentucky’s bear season reflect expansion of population

Major changes were made to this year’s black bear hunting season to reflect expanding bear populations throughout Eastern Kentucky. In 2017, for the first time, the state’s two distinct bear populations will be managed in three zones. There will be a new muzzleloader season in the 22 counties of Zone 3, and nonresidents may now buy permits to hunt bears. “Bear populations have been expanding...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Tree stands offer major advantages to Kentucky deer hunters

Tree stands are capable of taking hunters above the white-tailed deer’s line of sight and smell. That’s a big advantage for archery hunters who take shots at close range. But climbing up and down a tree isn’t without risks. A fall from a tree stand is no laughing matter — the consequences can be life-changing, much worse than a sprained ankle or broken arm. Each season deer hunters...