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

In God We Trust - Established 2008

Menu

February 19, 2018

KENTUCKY AFIELD OUTDOORS

Tim Slone, retired director of the Information and Education Division of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, holds a black crappie caught from Taylorsville Lake. The increase in the minimum size limit to 10 inches for crappie on Taylorsville Lake is one of several new fishing regulations for 2018 that anglers must know before fishing this spring (Photo from Kentucky Afield)Tim Slone, retired director of the Information and Education Division of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, holds a black crappie caught from Taylorsville Lake. The increase in the minimum size limit to 10 inches for crappie on Taylorsville Lake is one of several new fishing regulations for 2018 that anglers must know before fishing this spring (Photo from Kentucky Afield)

A reduction in the statewide daily creel limit from 30 fish to 20 fish for crappie highlights the new fishing regulations for 2018. The regulations go into effect March 1.

“Anglers requested this regulation,” said Ron Brooks, director of Fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “The amount of hours spent crappie fishing and the fishing pressure on crappie are increasing across the state. Crappie are popular to eat. Crappie anglers recognized the increase in fishing pressure and requested this regulation to protect the resource.”

Concerns about fishing pressure on brown trout also prompted a reduction in the statewide daily creel limit and an increase in the minimum size limit for the coming fishing license year. Previously, the statewide daily creel limit on brown trout was three fish with a 12-inch minimum size limit. Beginning March 1, the statewide daily creel limit on brown trout will be one fish with a 16-inch minimum size limit.

“When we stock brown trout, we hope they hold over to the next year at least,” Brooks said. “We only put them in streams where they have a chance to hold over and grow bigger. They are not a put-and-take opportunity. This regulation should help the size structure improve on brown trout.”

Brooks notes the daily creel limit on rainbow trout remains eight fish. “We didn’t want to take the opportunity to harvest eight rainbow trout away from anglers,” he said. “They will be able to harvest one brown trout at least 16 inches long in addition to the eight rainbow trout.”

There is no minimum size limit on the statewide regulations for rainbow trout.

Anglers using jugs, trotlines or limb lines must now use the Customer Identification Number provided on their fishing license to tag their jugs, trotlines or limb lines beginning March 1. Anglers employing these devices previously used their name and address, but this new requirement will protect the identity of those anglers.

New special regulations for blue and channel catfish on Barren River Lake mirror similar regulations on Taylorsville Lake in Anderson, Spencer and Nelson counties, Fishtrap Lake in Pike County and Dewey Lake in Floyd County.

For blue and channel catfish on Barren River Lake, there will be a 15-fish daily creel limit with only one of those fish may be longer than 25 inches. “We are trying to establish a trophy fishery for these lakes,” Brooks said. “That is why we are stocking blue catfish. We hope to establish a self-sustaining population.”

Taylorsville Lake is an up-and-comer for crappie. The minimum size limit for crappie on the 3,050-acre lake increases to 10 inches for 2018. “For the last several years, the crappie fishing on Taylorsville Lake has been fantastic,” Brooks said. “A 9-inch crappie in Taylorsville often hasn’t had a chance to spawn. Increasing the minimum size limit to 10 inches will allow more crappie to spawn at least once before harvest.”

Other new regulations deal with the Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINs) program. Possession or use of live shad will be prohibited on all FINs lakes. In addition, Southland Christian Church Lake, a 2.6-acre lake in Jessamine County, is now enrolled in the FINs program.

A new regulation for 2018 removes the 15-inch minimum size limit for largemouth bass on 158-acre Beaver Lake in Anderson County. The lake reverts to statewide regulations for this species. Crappie, bluegill and other sunfish also go under statewide regulations on 88-acre Benjy Kinman Lake in Henry County. The lake previously had a 15-fish daily creel lake on bluegill and sunfish.

Other special regulations for 2018 affect Beech Fork Reservoir, also known as Staunton Reservoir, in Powell County and Willisburg Park Pond in Washington County. Beginning March 1, there will be a 15-inch minimum size limit for largemouth bass and a 15-fish daily creel limit on bluegill on Beech Fork Reservoir.

Also beginning March 1, there will be a 15-inch minimum size limit and a one-fish daily creel limit on largemouth bass on Willisburg Park Pond. Anglers on this lake may keep 15 sunfish daily with no minimum size limit and four channel catfish daily with no minimum size limit.

Also on March 1, anglers may use dip nets to collect baitfish statewide.

Anglers should remember the current license year expires Feb. 28. Anglers fishing after this date must purchase their 2018-2019 fishing license.

Warm winds will soon blow across Kentucky, driving anglers to the water. Keep these new regulations in mind when fishing this spring.

By Lee McClellan
Special to KyForward

###

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.

 

February 16, 2018

ART LANDER'S OUTDOORS:

Driving rural backroads or busy highways through wooded suburbs, motorists are likely to see skunk carcasses in the road this time of year.

The reason is simple — it’s mating season, and skunks, particularly males, are roaming around in search of mates. The nocturnal mammals aren’t that fast or agile and have predominately black fur, so they get run over unintentionally on dark roadways. Motorists beware!

The skunk most common in Kentucky is the striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), a native species that by the late Pleistocene geologic time period, 70,000 to 14,500 years ago, was widely distributed throughout the southern United States. Today, the striped skunk is found in all Lower 48 states, southern Canada and northern Mexico.

There are 13 subspecies of the striped skunk. Their common name in the rural South is polecat.


The skunk most common in Kentucky is the striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), a native species that is found in all Lower 48 states, southern Canada and northern Mexico. There are 13 subspecies of the striped skunk. Their common name in the rural South is polecat. (Photo by by Wallace Keck)

The skunk most common in Kentucky is the striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), a native species that is found in all Lower 48 states, southern Canada and northern Mexico. There are 13 subspecies of the striped skunk. Their common name in the rural South is polecat. (Photo by by Wallace Keck)The skunk most common in Kentucky is the striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), a native species that is found in all Lower 48 states, southern Canada and northern Mexico. There are 13 subspecies of the striped skunk. Their common name in the rural South is polecat. (Photo by by Wallace Keck)Description

The medium-sized, 20 to 30 inch mammal, has a stout build, with short legs, a small, conical head and a long, heavily-furred tail.

Adult males are 10 percent larger than females. Body weights range from four to nine pounds, though some robust males may tip the scales at up to 12 pounds.

Their back feet are flat, with bare soles. Their forefeet are armed with five long, curved claws adapted for digging.

The color patterns of the fur can vary greatly, but generally consist of a black base with a white stripe extending from the head which divides along the shoulders, continuing along the flanks to the rump and tail. Brown or cream-colored mutations occasionally occur.

Habitat

Striped skunks are found in a variety of habitats, but prefer forest borders and brushy fields, near a pond, lake or stream.

They often sleep above ground during warmer weather, but dig dens below ground at the onset of cold weather. When the opportunity presents itself, striped skunks will also use dens abandoned by other animals.

Females with unweaned kits make use of underground dens in spring and early summer. In cultivated areas, striped skunks will often dig their dens in fencerows, where they are less likely to be disturbed by machinery or livestock.

In winter it is common for a single den to be occupied by multiple females and a single male. During severe cold the striped skunk saves its energy by lowering its body temperature, and depends primarily on its fat reserves to survive.

Their preference for semi-open lands puts them in contact with their only significant predator, large birds of prey, such as the Great Horned Owl. Foxes, bobcats and coyotes usually avoid striped skunks, but will kill and eat them when starving.


Striped skunks often sleep above ground during warmer weather, but dig dens below ground at the onset of cold weather. Females with unweaned kits make use of underground dens in spring and early summer. (Photo provided)

Striped skunks often sleep above ground during warmer weather, but dig dens below ground at the onset of cold weather. Females with unweaned kits make use of underground dens in spring and early summer. (Photo provided)Striped skunks often sleep above ground during warmer weather, but dig dens below ground at the onset of cold weather. Females with unweaned kits make use of underground dens in spring and early summer. (Photo provided)Food Habits

Striped skunks are omnivores, feeding on a variety of plant and animal matter.

Primarily an insectivore, the striped skunk most frequently consumes grasshoppers, beetles, crickets, and caterpillars. In the winter and spring months, the striped skunk will supplement its diet with vertebrates such as mice and voles.

They are also known to eat the chicks and eggs of ground-nesting birds, including wild turkeys. They are nocturnal, but start hunting in late afternoon.

Scent Glands

Like all skunks, the striped skunk possesses two highly developed scent glands, one on each side of their anus.

The oily, yellow-colored scent that they can spray at a considerable distance, consists of a mixture of thiols, odorous compounds that resemble the smell of garlic or rotten eggs, only worse.

Dog owners beware!

If the family dog has a run-in with a skunk, it’s no laughing matter. That unmistakable, musky odor will take your breath away.

Dogs can get sprayed by skunks year-round, but late winter to spring seems to offer dogs more opportunities to get in trouble. Skunk activity picks up in February when males start wandering in search of mates, and skunk populations are highest in the spring after baby skunks are born.

Both commercial preparations and home remedies are used with varying success to try to defeat the powerful smell. But, in the end, it’s time that heals all. The offensive odor eventually goes away, wearing off on its own.

The key to cutting the smell to tolerable levels is neutralizing the spray’s pH. Skunk spray is alkaline, high on the pH scale, so that’s why home remedies are acidic.

The gestation period for striped skunks lasts around 59 to 77 days, with kits being born at about mid-May to early June. The eyes open after around three weeks, and are weaned after 42 to 56 days. (Photo provided)The gestation period for striped skunks lasts around 59 to 77 days, with kits being born at about mid-May to early June. The eyes open after around three weeks, and are weaned after 42 to 56 days. (Photo provided)Home remedies include tomato juice, milk, and cider vinegar. Tomato juice and vinegar contain acetic acid, and milk contains lactic acid.

De-skunking a dog takes lots of scrubbing and a steady flow of clean water from the garden hose. This means working outside. If done right, it’s a two person job and everyone is going to get wet.

First thoroughly soap the dog, using a concentrated dish soap like Dawn Ultra, then rinse with the garden hose.

Cider vinegar is perhaps the best choice of the home remedies. It’s less expensive than milk and isn’t as messy to apply as tomato juice.

Rinse the dog several times, mixing about 1 1⁄2 cups of vinegar in about two gallons of warm water. Pour or spray the solution all over the dog and thoroughly rub it into its fur.

Another effective home remedy is a mixture of one quart of hydrogen peroxide with 1/4 cup baking soda and one teaspoon of dish soap. A third option is to mix a 16-ounce bottle of hydrogen peroxide with a large can of tomato juice and a teaspoon of dish soap.

Whatever remedy, it’s going to take several applications to make an impact on the foul scent.

Skunk Breeding and Reproduction

Striped skunks are polygamous and they breed once a year, though yearling females who have failed to mate may enter a second estrous cycle a month after the first.

The mating season starts in mid-February and continues through mid-April.

A single male may have a harem of females, which he mates with and defends against other males for a period of about 35 days. Once the mating period has finished, the impregnated females confine themselves to their dens, while the males attempt to rebuild their fat reserves.

The gestation period lasts around 59 to 77 days, with kits being born at about mid-May to early June.

Litters generally consist of 2 to 12 kits, born blind and sparsely furred, weighing 25 to 40 grams. The eyes open after around three weeks, and are weaned after 42 to 56 days. At this point, the kits may accompany their mother outside the den, becoming independent after about three months.

It’s that time of the year — skunk mating season. Motorists and dog owners beware! It’s a stinky proposition.

###

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.

 

February 10, 2018

A 17-year-old teen from Knox County, Kentucky, has translated his love for hunting and fishing into a wildly popular video channel.

Kendall Gray “started making videos of his outdoor adventures in the summer of 2016 to pass the time, but his YouTube channel has since blossomed into a dedicated online community with nearly 190,000 subscribers and 34.5 million views,” Will Wright reports for The Lexington Herald-Leader. “His fans even sport their own hashtag, #GrayGang.”

And he gets fan mail from people all over the country, mostly from tweens and teens.

It’s helping him learn more about business: Gray says he spends up to 35 hours a week shooting and editing his videos as well as managing merchandise. He’s sold more than 3,000 pieces of branded merchandise to fans all over the country; his mother Brenda helps him manage the orders.

He shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. “I’ll take it as far as it wants to go. I’m going to have fun and let other people have fun through my videos,” he told Wright, who also works as a journalist for the Ground Truth Project in Central Appalachia.

One of Gray’s most popular videos, with more than 1.5 million views, shows his efforts to catch a red fox that escaped from one of his snares.

Check it out:

Click pic for video

 

SOMEMRSEP