Chronic wasting disease (CWD), an always fatal neurological disease that affects whitetail deer and other cervids, is closing in on Kentucky but state game officials are determined to keep it at bay.
After CWD was recently detected in 10 deer killed in Tennessee, Kentucky wildlife officials extended a ban that prohibits the transport of any deer, elk or other cervid into Kentucky unless the brain and spinal cord have been removed. The ban now applies to any cervid taken anywhere outside Kentucky and is effective immediately. It previously applied only to cervids taken from states or provinces where CWD had been detected.
Chronic wasting disease has not been found in Kentucky. It has been reported or detected in at least 25 states, including Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee, six of the seven states that border Kentucky.
Kentucky wildlife agency spokesman Kevin Kelly said quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal cord or head attached, boned-out meat, antlers, antlers attached to a clean skull plate, a clean skull, clean teeth, hides and finished taxidermy works can be brought into Kentucky.
Details at www.fw.ky.gov or call the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources at 1-800-858-1549.
Kentucky is one of a handful of states that offers a sandhill crane hunting season. My column in the December/January issue of Kentucky Monthly offers a glimpse as to how the season became about.
Read it here.
Problems with deer?
Whitetails causing crop damage?
Looking for a place to hunt?
Check out the outdoor column in the February issue of Kentucky Monthly http://www.kentuckymonthly.com/topics/gary_garth/.
I happen to live in a slice of the country where we get local TV political ads from four states. It has not been easy viewing. The Illinoisans seem to be the hardest knuckled bunch but none are people I’d care to share a duck blind with.
In my home state of Kentucky we have a creel full of local, state and national races. The big one, of course, is for U. S. Senate, where Candidate R apparently thinks President Obama is his opponent and Candidate D can’t seem to do much more than talk about the past evils, failings and shortcomings of Candidate R.
I, for one, would like to have heard some fresh ideas, or at least some general thoughts on how any of the candidates, but especially Kentucky senate Candidate D and Candidate R, plan to deal with any of the long list of challenges facing the country: the economy, environment, ISIS, health care, immigration, crime, minimum wage, education, crumbling bridges and highways, poverty, Ebola . . . as everyone knows, it’s a long list.
The political ads have ranged from befuddled to ridiculous. I can only assume they hit the same lowest common denominator across the country. The price tag: $4 billion.
Please vote Tuesday, even if you have to hold your nose to do so.
Turkey season opens Saturday. I was doing some windshield scouting this afternoon.
Road follows a small creek to a low head dam. I know this place. The water spilling over the dam funnels off a little rock ledge onto a gravel spit then flattens into a pool that fills a sharp bend. The spot is about the size of a two-car garage. Usually fluctuates from torrent to trickle. Not today. Just about right. Fishy.
Had a 7-foot 4 weight fly rod in the truck. Weather was sunny and breezy. Cool enough for a jacket. The water temp was barely touching 50 but . . .
Pulled on knee boots and waded onto the tongue of the gravel spit. Two casts. Two bass. Not large but feisty.
Pretty good afternoon of scouting.
USA Today publishes a slew of speciality publications and recently the Gannett flagship ventured into the outdoor realm with summer/fall 2013 USA Today Hunt & Fish magazine. Read more
If you’ll be in the Louisville, Ky., area Sunday, July 14, check this out:
The Jewish Federation of Louisville will host a trap shoot at the Jefferson County Sportsman Club at 12100 Waterford Road from 10 a.m. until noon.
You’ll not only get to shoot a few rounds (ammo and instructions included) but also hear from Keren Benabou, a former captain for the Israeli Defense Forces. Benabou and her family now live in Louisville.
The cost is $54 per person and reservations are required at www.jewishlouisville.org/unique.
Kentucky isn’t on the cusp of becoming a major bear hunting destination but hunting opportunities for bruins will be expanded this year if the General Assembly approves a recommendation by the state game commission.
The nine-member board voted earlier this month to expand the bear hunt zone from four to 16 counties and add a nine-day archery/crossbow bear hunt Nov. 23-Dec. 1. The three-day gun hunt will be Dec. 14-16. Season limits remain very conservative (10 for archery and probably 10 but gun hunters) but expanding the bear range is news to be noted. Bears in the Bluegrass are on the move.
Trout fishing on Kentucky’s Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam has fallen on hard times of late, a consequence of extensive repair work on the dam which lowered the lake and warmed the tailwater. In 2009 Kentucky fishery officials decided to let anglers keep five extra rainbow trout per day. That ends tomorrow (June 15). The dam work is finished and tailwater conditions are improving. Regular rainbow creel limits on the Cumberland are five fish with a 15-20 inch slot and only one rainbow longer than 20 inches.
Details at www.fw.ky.gov.
Friends have been plastering photos of themselves on Facebook grinning wildly while hoisting or kneeling beside a large, dead turkey. I’m happy for them. Really, I am.
I have tried repeatedly to bag a turkey this year and what I have to show for my efforts amount to little more than a nasty cut on my left leg (barbwire), an errant collection of tick bites and repeated mistakes that have sent birds scurrying. Although I have yet to fire a shell at live bird I have not been without my chances.
The latest blunder happened this morning. I won’t bore you with details except to say there is a time to call and a time to sit quietly and I apparently have yet to learn when to do what.
Turkeys have a walnut size brain. I’m glad it isn’t the size of an orange. I’d never see one.
At church Sunday evening, while I should have been focusing on what the minister was saying, my mind kept drifting back to a question my friend Gary asked during the pre-service meet and greet time that hinges around the coffee pot.
Gary had been sharing his recent deer exploit (one day afield; one small buck). Gary is retired and is not an experienced hunter (he’d borrowed his son’s muzzleloader for the hunt) but was very pleased with his deer success. He said he was thinking about trying turkey hunting and said someone told him he’d need a “3 1/2-inch” shotgun. He wasn’t sure what that meant.
Another friend, who is a skilled and highly experienced hunter, joined the conversation and – with only the best of intentions and wanting only to help – delved into the attributes and detriments of various chambers, chokes and gauges. His information was accurate and detailed but long before he announced that a 12 gauge, full choke 3-inch would be okay for turkeys, Gary’s eyes had glazed over. I know this look. Your listener (or reader) has no idea what you’re talking about and (in Gary’s case) is too polite to say so.
I’m often guilty of this and wonder how many of us unintentionally cool a budding interest in hunting or fishing with an onslaught of data resulting in sensory overload. Wishing to help, we dump an avalanche of information on someone and, suddenly, if you’re on the receiving end of this pronouncement, the endeavor appears hopelessly complicated.
I caught up with Gary after church and asked what he’d decided about a turkey gun. He shrugged with an “I don’t know” kind of smile.
I told him that I am not a turkey expert (I’m not; far from it, in fact) but suggested that he use the shotgun he has, regardless of gauge or chamber. Just use what he’s comfortable shooting. He offered that the only shotgun he’d ever used is the one he used for squirrel hunting. I said that a gun that will handle squirrels will down a turkey. We talked briefly about patterning his gun so he’d know its effective turkey range but I thought his gun (a 12-gauge 870, 3-inch, modified fixed, as it turned out) would be fine.
My friend seemed relieved. I only hope that the advise was sound.