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March 19, 2018

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Time to scout and develop a game plan as spring turkey season approaches

 

The landscape awakens almost spontaneously from its winter slumber. Winter flocks break up into smaller groups. Innumerable turkey calls and lifelike decoys reappear at sporting goods retailers.

Turkey hunters interpret these occurrences as signs that it will not be long before they are easing into their spots before dawn, filled with anticipation.

In Kentucky, hunters still have ample time to scout and develop a game plan to increase their odds of success in the upcoming spring turkey season. This year, Kentucky’s youth-only season is the weekend of April 7-8. The start of the 23-day general statewide season follows on April 14. It ends May 6.

“Start at the computer then get out in the field to find birds,” said Zak Danks, wild turkey program coordinator with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “Know some different approaches you might take and where you can move based on gobbling you hear once the season starts. Think about some good set-up spots or places to put your decoys, or vantage points to see birds.”

 

Spring turkey hunting season opens statewide April 14 and closes May 6. The season outlook is promising as a majority of Kentucky counties show a stable to increasing harvest trend over the past decade. Kentucky hunters harvested just over 33,000 birds during last year’s spring turkey season, the third highest on record. (Photo from KyAfield)Spring turkey hunting season opens statewide April 14 and closes May 6. The season outlook is promising as a majority of Kentucky counties show a stable to increasing harvest trend over the past decade. Kentucky hunters harvested just over 33,000 birds during last year’s spring turkey season, the third highest on record. (Photo from KyAfield)

Virtual scouting can save precious time for hunters looking to hunt public land. Topographic maps and satellite views may reveal access points, existing trails, open fields, wooded areas, elevation changes and creeks or fences where approaching gobblers could hang up. Kentucky offers dozens of wildlife management areas and other lands open for public use.

As a reminder, turkey calling is not allowed from March 1 until the opening of the youth-only season, and from the close of that season until the opening of the statewide season. Hunters may still use an owl, crow or other calls to locate turkeys while scouting.

It is always a good practice before the season to shoot your shotgun at a paper turkey head target using different brands of turkey loads. By patterning a shotgun ahead of time, the hunter knows the shotgun will shoot where it is aimed and deliver an acceptable number of pellets to the turkey’s vital area (head and neck).

“One thing I’ve learned over the past several years is just how good the hunting can be later in the season,” Danks said. “Last year, in particular, I had hunters contacting me well after the season ended saying they were still hearing turkeys gobble. So don’t get discouraged if you don’t have success early on. There’s still time to find turkeys throughout the season.”

In Kentucky, the spring hunting seasons are timed to give gobblers enough time to breed hens before subjecting the birds to hunting pressure. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife monitors turkey reproduction on a statewide scale through annual summer brood surveys.

Weather during the nesting period in May and June influences reproductive success. Heavy rains in Kentucky and surrounding states during that timeframe last year affected nesting success, which reflected in a statewide average of 1.2 poults per hen. A figure of 2.0 or higher is optimal. Hunters should expect to encounter fewer of the more easily fooled jakes, as a result, this season.

Kentucky annually ranks first or second among surrounding states in the number of turkeys taken per square mile.
Hunters took a record number of birds during the 2010 spring season and have averaged more than 31,000 birds over the seven seasons since.

Last spring, hunters reported taking 33,061 birds, which represents a 6 percent increase over the previous year and the third highest total on record. Muhlenberg County led all counties with hunters reporting 681 birds taken there. Looking at it differently, Pendleton County led the state with 1.76 birds harvested per square mile.

The majority of counties are showing a stable to increasing harvest trend over the past decade. Some counties are exhibiting lower harvest totals. In response, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife is expanding efforts to monitor the turkey population and reproduction. Feedback from hunters will play an important role.

A new spring hunting log and a post-season survey will soon be available on the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov. On the homepage, type “Spring Turkey Hunting” into the search box. The log serves to collect information about a hunter’s daily hunting effort, the number of turkeys seen, heard and harvested, observations about weather and other species observed. The post-season survey will include questions about spring hunting experiences.

“Our harvest totals tell us that we’re still in a pretty good situation on a statewide level,” Danks said. “We are hearing from people who tell us they’re not seeing as many turkeys as they had in the past. Most of that is from counties that have shown a decrease in the harvest. What’s the reason? It’s difficult to determine on a statewide scale when all we’ve had to go on is a harvest. We need information on hunter effort on a county level.

“The information gained from these hunter surveys and logs should help us track trends across the state.”

Hunters are allowed a limit of two bearded birds during the spring season, but no more than one bearded bird may be taken in a day.

The 2018 Kentucky Spring Hunting Guide provides information about current regulations, licenses and permits, legal equipment, safety tips and more. Find it online at fw.ky.gov or wherever licenses are sold.

Hunters also will have an opportunity to have their questions about spring turkey season answered during a special “Kentucky Afield” TV call-in show scheduled Saturday, March 24. The live one-hour show will air at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central on Kentucky Educational Television (KET). Joining host Chad Miles for the show will be Danks and pioneering turkey hunter Harold Knight.

By Kevin Kelly
Special to KyForward

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Kevin Kelly is a writer for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. 

 

February 23, 2018

Report: UK basketball players among those linked to potential NCAA violations

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky basketball players were included in documents published Friday pertaining to NBA agent Andy Miller and his ASM Sports agency that tie top programs and players to activity that appears to violate NCAA rules. 

Yahoo Sports released details from hundreds of pages of documents that specified potential impermissible benefits for current and former players at Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Michigan State and other schools. 

Current Wildcats' leading scorer Kevin Knox and former forwards Bam Adebayo and Nerlens Noel were among those linked to ASM Sports. 

From the report: 

An ASM balance sheet in the hands of federal investigators shows accounts through Dec. 31, 2015, with the subheading, “Loan to Players.” It listed several who were in high school or college as receiving four-figure and five-figure payments from ASM Sports. 

... A listing that refers to “BAM” for $12,000 is later identified in the documents as Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, who would go on to play at Kentucky in 2016-17. He did not sign with ASM. There’s a later reference to Adebayo that says he received $36,500. “Bad loan,” reads the document.... A listing that refers to “BAM” for $12,000 is later identified in the documents as Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, who would go on to play at Kentucky in 2016-17. He did not sign with ASM. There’s a later reference to Adebayo that says he received $36,500. “Bad loan,” reads the document.

... A listing that refers to “BAM” for $12,000 is later identified in the documents as Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, who would go on to play at Kentucky in 2016-17. He did not sign with ASM. There’s a later reference to Adebayo that says he received $36,500. “Bad loan,” reads the document.

Adebayo averaged 13 points and eight rebounds as a Kentucky freshman last season. He was selected No. 14 overall in the NBA draft by the Miami Heat in June. 

KEVIN KNOXKEVIN KNOXKnox, the freshman forward who is averaging 15.4 points and 5.6 rebounds, was listed among players as meeting with or having meals with Christian Dawkins, an associate of Miller. 

Duke's Wendell Carter, Michigan State’s Miles Bridges, Alabama’s Collin Sexton and North Carolina's Tony Bradley, among others, were included with Knox. 

From the report: 

Additional Dawkins expense reports list meals and meetings with players or their families while in college or high school, and before they turned pro. While small amounts, these could be categorized as extra benefits under NCAA rules. It appears Dawkins paid for the meals, which could be an important distinction.

While three criminal cases tied to the investigation may take years to play out, the documents viewed by Yahoo revealed the extent of the potential NCAA ramifications from the case. The documents show an underground recruiting operation that could create NCAA rules issues – both current and retroactive – for at least 20 Division I basketball programs and more than 25 players.

Noel, who played one season at Kentucky from 2012-13, was listed as receiving a loan totaling $4,350. 

NCAA President Mark Emmert released the following statement Friday morning:

"These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America," Emmert said in the release. "Simply put, people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports. They are an affront to all those who play by the rules. Following the Southern District of New York's indictments last year, the NCAA Board of Governors and I formed the independent Commission on College Basketball, chaired by Condoleezza Rice, to provide recommendations on how to clean up the sport. With these latest allegations, it's clear this work is more important now than ever.

The Board and I are completely committed to making transformational changes to the game and ensuring all involved in college basketball do so with integrity. We also will continue to cooperate with the efforts of federal prosecutors to identify and punish the unscrupulous parties seeking to exploit the system through criminal acts.”

By Fletcher Page
Louisville Courier Journal

 

CALAPARI SAYS HE 'HAS NOT HAD ANY RELATIONS' WITH AGENT: --CATS PAWS.COM

“I have no relationship with Andy Miller or any of his associates," Kentucky coach John Calipari said.“I have no relationship with Andy Miller or any of his associates," Kentucky coach John Calipari said.

“I have no relationship with Andy Miller or any of his associates," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "Neither my staff nor I utilized any agent, including Andy Miller or any of his associates, to provide any financial benefits to a current or former Kentucky student-athlete. We will cooperate fully with the appropriate authorities.”   --Cats Paws.com

Knox will play against Missouri Saturday

Kentucky freshman Kevin Knox, who was named in the Yahoo! Sports report on Friday morning, will still play against Missouri.

"At this point I believe so," coach John Calipari said when asked if Knox would play. "If there’s something that I don’t know..” Deputy Director of athletics DeWayne Peevy followed the statement with "there’s nothing additional to what you already know.”  --Cats Paws.com

 

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

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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.

 

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