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Outdoors with Big Country — Ready for Fall Turkeys?
This time of year the birds aren't as responsive to hen yelps and gobbling but on selective days depending on the weather, turkeys may be very vocal early of the morning right as they fly down from their roost! Hens can be busted up this time of year and called back together using the "Kee Kee Run" calling method.
Expanded Bear Hunting Regulations in Kentucky
Making the Most out of your Fall Crappie Fishing Trips
"We broke the previous record for the month of April by $140,000," he said. "It's also $800,000 more than our average for April. This is much needed revenue for an agency that's driven by its license sales."
The department in recent years has aggressively pursued both convenience and opportunities for its customers.
A mobile app unveiled by the department last year allows anglers to use their GPS-enabled smart phones to find the nearest place to fish. Hunters can use their smart phones to buy a permit, check their deer or find season dates for all game.
The department's Internet site, which includes a wide range of information about outdoor opportunities in Kentucky, received 17 million hits last year. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife's Facebook site, launched in 2009, now has more than 44,000 followers.
The department's Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINs) program now stocks fish in 39 community lakes across the state. FINs Coordinator Dane Balsman said the program has generated huge interest among anglers.
"We tried to get on a FINs lake today to do some sampling in our boat, but we couldn't get in the water because there were too many people fishing," he said. "There were just people lined up from bank to bank. We'll probably have to wait until it rains and the crowd thins out before we can launch a boat."
In the past few years, the department has established a marketing division to help spread the word about Kentucky's many opportunities: From its 10,000-strong elk herd to generous fish stocking programs to its top five status for trophy deer.
The excitement is catching: The department received more than 61,000 applications by the April 30 deadline for its 2013 elk hunts. "Marketing is most effective when you've got an outstanding product to sell," said Marketing Director Brian Blank. "That's what we have in Kentucky. The good old days - if you're a hunter or an angler - are now in Kentucky."
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Record harvest for 2012-13 deer season in Kentucky
The previous record harvest of 124,752 occurred during the 2004-05 season.
"We had exceptionally good weather, with no rainouts over the three weekends of modern gun season this past November," said David Yancy, deer biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. "Coupled with that, we had an average to below average mast (acorn) crop. Deer had to search for food and that made it more likely they would be seen by hunters."
Looking over the harvest data, Yancy said the increase in the number of deer taken by firearms hunters really jumps out and is the number one reason for the overall harvest record.
"Firearms hunters bagged 12,249 more deer than last season," said Yancy. During the 2011-12 deer season, Kentucky firearms hunters took 83,363 deer. This season the total spiked to 95,612.
Archers also experienced an excellent season.
Archery hunters arrowed 18,705 deer, which represents the fourth consecutive harvest record dating back to the 2009-10 season.
A longer than normal season may have contributed to this year's record archery harvest. "Because of calendar shift, there was an extra seven days of hunting," Yancy. "Bow season opened on Sept. 1, the earliest it could have been."
Archery season for deer opens on the first Saturday in September and continues through the third Monday in January. On average, that's about 136 days of hunting.
The 2013-14 archery season dates are Sept. 7 through Jan. 20, 2014.
Prior to the 2012-13 deer season, Kentucky's deer herd was estimated to number about 850,000, a decrease from one million in 2003.
Good habitat, aggressive doe harvest and the one-buck limit are thought to be the main reasons for the development of Kentucky's quality deer herd. This herd grants good hunting opportunities in all 120 Kentucky counties.
Looking forward to next season, Yancy said odds are the deer harvest will remain within the statistical range of recent seasons.
"At this point, weather and the size of the mast crop or the availability of acorns are more of a factor in how many deer will be taken, than the actual size of the deer herd," explained Yancy. "Our herd has stabilized."
With hope, that stabilization will produce more harvest records next deer season.
Author Art Lander Jr. has been writing about the outdoors since the 1970s. He is a staff writer for Kentucky Afield Magazine.
Bill Dance Speaks Out on Army Corps Engineers
New Dam Regulation Proposal
We’ll be kicking off Billy’s partnering with WK Outdoors with the following video on limb lining.
WK Outdoors is excited to share Billy’s videos with our readers.
Four Things you need for Squirrel Season
First, stock up on patience. As all avid squirrel hunters
know, squirrels are not the kind of creature that you will always get through
stalking. Squirrels are very sensitive to both movement and sound. The best way
to get a squirrel is to scout a few days before your main hunting trip, spot a
few good trees with nests, holes, or simply find a spot with acorns littering
the ground and then come back a few days later armed and ready. Sit down near
your ideal spot and wait. The squirrels could come out immediately, or it may
be an hour. Patience is as important in a successful squirrel hunt as your gun
Next, mosquito repellant. This year, due to unusual weather issues, mosquitos are particularly thick. Ask around a bit, talk to other hunters, and find out what works best for them in mosquito repellants. Don’t just buy the first one you find, as some are not all that effective. On that same note, ticks are an issue this season as well, so try to find something that repels both.
The third thing that is wise to take, but is not required,
is a decent-sized plastic bag. The purpose here is to place your squirrels in
the bag after each kill. The limit is six. Squirrels have a very good sense of
smell. The smell of a dead squirrel can often keep more squirrels from coming
around. Put your kills in the bag and seal it as well as possible.
The next thing you need to take with you is the knowledge of
the weather. This year has shown sudden storms, droughts, high winds, hail, and
virtually every other extreme weather situation. Be prepared. Though one might
think the odds of getting hurt by weather are slims, you would be surprised at the
amount of weather-related deaths that occur every year.
Lastly, just keep in mind that preparation leads to success.
Make sure your gun barrels are cleaned, you have good reliable ammo, and be
sure that someone knows your location for safety purposes, or merely take a cell
phone with you. Safety first!
Wildcat Scott, Snakeman Jack and J.L. Graham Go After
Crappie, Stripes and Walleye
On the weekend of March 24, J.L. Graham partners with his twin brother Snakeman Jack and Wildcat Scott on an outdoor adventure deep into the woods of Western Kentucky, seeking some good fishing. Check out the video of the adventure below.