A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Art Lander’s Outdoors: By the numbers — here’s a closer look at fish and wildlife facts in Kentucky

Here’s some fish and wildlife facts by the numbers:

Hunters took fewer than 100 wild turkeys in 4 of Kentucky’s 120 counties during the recently-concluded 2017 spring wild turkey season: Jefferson, 90; Woodford, 85; Fulton, 84, and Fayette, 70.

Why do white-tailed deer seem to be always eating? Because, every day they require 8 pounds of vegetation per 100 pounds of body weight.

* 9
A white-tailed deer has vertical jump of 9 feet.

* 10.375
According to the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), the world record Spotted Bass, a.k.a. Kentucky Bass, weighed 10.375 pounds (10 pounds, six ounces), and was caught in 2015 in Yuba County, California.

Kentucky’s state record Spotted Bass weighed 7.625 pounds (7 pounds, 10 ounces) and was caught in Nelson County in 1970.

A white-tailed deer fawn can stand 20 minutes after being born, walk in an hour and begin to run in 24 hours.

r of abundant food, about 36 percent of female gray squirrels bear two litters.

* 40
In short bursts a white-tailed deer can run 40 miles per hour.

* 44
The gestation period of a gray squirrel, the carrying of a fetus inside a female, is about 44 days.

Desert pupfish can live in hot springs where water temperatures are greater than 113 degrees F.

Do white-tailed deer have eyes in the back of their heads? Well, almost. Since the eyes are on the sides of its head, a deer has a 310-degree field of vision.

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

Muhlenberg County led the state in harvest during Kentucky’s 2017 spring wild turkey season, where hunters bagged 682 birds. In three other counties the hunter harvest exceeded 600: Logan, 663; Pulaski, 610, and Hart, 606.

In the year 1900 there were an estimated 500,000 white-tailed deer in the U.S. Today, the population is in excess of 32 million.

Chinook salmon tagged by researchers in the Yukon River in Alaska traveled nearly 2,000 miles in 60 days. Salmon born in freshwater rivers, spend their adults years in the ocean, then return to the very same river where they were born, to spawn.

* 27,000
Why are “stink” baits so effective for catching channel catfish. It may be because channel catfish have over 27,000 taste buds. Humans have around 7,000.

* 32,000
Worldwide there are about 32,000 species of fish, more than all the other species of vertebrates combined.

* 33,057
Kentucky’s 2017 spring wild turkey season harvest was 33,057 bearded birds — a remarkable number considering the early spring, and lack of gobbling reported in some counties.

The oldest fishhook ever found dates back about 42,000 years.

* 1,000,000
Today, there are an estimated 1,000,000 Rocky Mountain elk in the U.S., but in 1907, the herd estimated was just 41,000.

* 7,000,000
Today, there are an estimated 7,000,000 wild turkeys in the U.S. In 1900, the flock numbered about 100,000.


Art Lander Jr. is outdoors editor for NKyTribune and 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.

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