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Youth Deer Hunting Season Opens Soon

Posted by on Oct 2, 2010

Kentucky’s Youth-Only firearms season for deer, first held in 1996, is the weekend of Oct. 9-10.

The season was created to offer resident and non-resident boys and girls ages 15 and under an introduction to deer hunting with the maximum opportunity for success. Youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult. This adult might be a parent, grandparent, relative, family friend or mentor at least 18 years of age. The adult must be in position to take immediate control of the youth hunter’s firearm at all times. Non-hunting adults accompanying youth during this season do not need a valid Kentucky hunting license or deer permit. Adults who plan to hunt with a youth during this season must use archery equipment only.

“Youth hunters must be able to handle and control the firearm independently,” said Brunjes. “Even though the adult has to be at the youth hunter’s side, the adult can’t hold the firearm for the youth.”

Deer of either sex may be taken during Youth-Only firearms deer season. Unless license exempt, boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 15 must possess a valid hunting license, deer permit and hunter education card. Hunters under age 12 aren’t required to possess a hunting license or a hunter education course to participate.

Youth hunters must abide by bag limits, zone restrictions and all other deer hunting regulations applicable to the county in which they hunt. They must use their own Social Security number to Telecheck harvested deer.

The deer harvest on this weekend can vary widely due to the season’s two-day length and October time frame. For example, youth hunters bagged 4,024 deer in 2009, while they took just 2,266 in 2008.

“Over the last five years, the harvest has averaged 3,747 deer,” said Brunjes. “Severe weather, such as a rainstorm or heat wave, can essentially wipe out a season.”

Deer typically feed on acorns in the woods in early October. They eat as much forage as they can find such as winter wheat, clover and alfalfa before the first frosts kill back greenery. But this year, the drought conditions of August and September made forage unavailable or unpalatable to deer because it is dry and in poor condition. Acorns started falling earlier than normal and many small creeks dried up. Look for deer to linger near water sources in woodlands.

The Youth-Only firearms season for deer is the first of five firearms deer seasons. The early muzzleloader season is Oct. 16-17. Modern Gun deer season opens Nov. 13 and closes Nov. 28 in Zones 1 and 2, and Nov. 22 in Zones 3 and 4. Late muzzleloader season is Dec. 11-19 and Free Youth Hunting Weekend is Jan. 1-2, 2011.

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Use These Tips For An Excellent Deer Season

Posted by on Aug 27, 2010

Kentucky’s 135-day archery season begins Saturday, Sept. 4. At the beginning of archery season, Kentucky deer are focused on food. Fields of clover, alfalfa, or sprouting wheat, planted as a cover crop, are good places to hunt.

Pick a tree that provides good cover in a fenceline for your treestand, or a brushy area in the corner of the field for a ground blind. Early in the season the wind predominately blows from the west or southwest, but frequently shifts to the northwest with the advance of cool fronts.

Facing your stand northwest is the ideal positioning for hunting cool front. That way you’ll have the sun set over your left shoulder, and the wind in your face. Deer approaching from upwind won’t be able to smell you, and you’ll be hidden in the shadows as the sun moves to the western horizon.

Early in the season, concentrate on hunting in the late afternoons, especially during the first and last quarter moon periods. This is when the moon is a thin crescent and positioned at 12 o’clock in the sky at dusk. Deer are most likely to converge on feeding areas before dark during this time.

Modern gun deer season opens Nov. 13 statewide. The season runs until Nov. 28 for Zone 1 and Zone 2 counties and until Nov. 22 for Zone 3 and Zone 4 counties. Picking the right entry and exit route to your treestand or ground blind might be more important to success in deer hunting than where you actually hunt.

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Advisory for Kentucky Fish Consumption Unchanged

Posted by on Aug 23, 2010

Pregnant Women, Children Should Follow Guidelines for Special Populations

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), the Department for Environmental Protection and the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources today issued fish consumption advisories for bodies of water in Kentucky. The 2010 advisories remain unchanged from those issued last year. 
These advisories inform the public of possible risks of eating unrestricted amounts of some fish retrieved from Kentucky’s waterways. The advisories were issued due to elevated levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and mercury levels found in some species of fish sampled for these substances. 
“Children, pregnant women and women who are planning to become pregnant are more sensitive to contaminants sometimes found in fish,” said William Hacker, M.D., DPH commissioner. “Breastfeeding mothers should also be careful about the kinds of fish eaten and the frequency of consumption. By following the guidelines in this advisory, individuals can reduce their exposure to contaminants in fish, help reduce their health risks, and still get the benefits of eating fish.” 
“Fish are a nutritious, low-fat food and good for you when eaten in moderation,” said Ron Brooks, director of fisheries with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. “Cooking may reduce some contaminants in fish, but will not reduce mercury levels.”
The following are consumption precautions for various tested species in these bodies of water. Typically, if a species is not listed, this does not necessarily mean these other fish species are risk-free to consumers. Rather, it means there may not be data available for that particular species.

Lake Cumberland
Lake Cumberland is approximately 47,680 acres and impounds the Cumberland River in south central Kentucky. This advisory is considered to be a lake-wide advisory and will include the waters from the confluence of Laurel River and Cumberland River to the Wolf Creek Dam on Lake Cumberland.
Fish Groups             Contaminant       General Population     Sensitive Population
Black Bass                     Mercury                      1 meal/month                6 meals/year
Crappie/Rock Bass  Mercury                       1 meal/week                  1 meal/month
Guist Creek Lake
Guist Creek Lake is approximately 321 acres and impounds Guist Creek and Tick Creek in Shelby County. This advisory is considered to be lake-wide from the headwaters of the lake to the dam.

Fish Groups        Contaminant                  General Population    Sensitive Population
Black Bass            Mercury                               1 meal per month            6 meals per year

Fish Lake
Ballard Wildlife Management Areas, Fish Lake, is an approximately 30-acre natural lake in Ballard County. This advisory is considered to be lake-wide from the headwaters of the lake to the outflow of Shawnee Creek.

Fish Group          Contaminant      General Population         Sensitive Population
Black Bass            Mercury               1 meal per month            6 meals per year
Suckers/Carp     Mercury               1 meal per month            6 meals per year

Green River Lake
Green River Lake is approximately 8,210 acres and impounds Robinson Creek and the Green River in Taylor and Adair counties. The advisory for PCBs and mercury is considered lake-wide from the headwaters of the lake to the dam. Due to decreasing levels of PCBs in the Green River Lake, the advisory is modified from “do not eat” to one meal per month for the general population and six meals per year for the sensitive population. Channel Catfish are being removed from the PCB advisory.

Fish Group             Contaminant              General Population     Sensitive Population
Suckers/Carp        PCB                                     1 meal per month            6 meals per year
Black Bass               Mercury                            1 meal per month            6 meals per year
Catfish/Drum        Mercury                            1 meal per month            6 meals per year

Knox Creek
There are approximately 7.8 miles of Knox Creek in Pike County. The headwaters of Knox Creek are located predominantly in Buchanan County, Va. Virginia issued a similar fish consumption advisory for its section of this creek. This fish consumption advisory will include all of Knox Creek from the Virginia-Kentucky state line to the Tug Fork River.

Fish Group          Contaminant           General Population   Special Population
Black Bass                           PCB, Mercury            1 meal per month      6 meals per year
Crappie/Rock Bass           PCB, Mercury            1 meal per month      6 meals per year
Catfish/Drum                     PCB                                6 meals per year                     No Consumption
Flathead Catfish               PCB, Mercury            No Consumption                    No Consumption

Fishtrap Lake
Fishtrap Lake is approximately 1,100 acres and impounds the Levisa Fork River in Pike County. This advisory will include the Levisa Fork River from the Kentucky-Virginia state line to the dam on Fishtrap Lake. Virginia issued a similar fish consumption advisory for a portion of the Levisa Fork River in its state.

Fish Groups             Contaminant General Population         Special Population
Black Bass                 PCB, Mercury               1 meal per week              1 meal per month
White Bass               PCB, Mercury               1 meal per month            6 meals per year
Catfish/Drum          PCB, Mercury               1 meal per month            6 meals per year
Suckers/Carp       PCB, Mercury  1 meal per month            6 meals per year
Flathead Catfish   PCB, Mercury 1 meal per week              1 meal per month
These are the most recent advisories listed for Kentucky waterways. Other, longstanding advisories remain in effect for parts of Drakes Creek in Franklin; Little Bayou Creek and Metropolis Lake, both in McCracken County; Mud River (from Hancock Lake Dam to Wolf Lick Creek and from Wolf Lick Creek to the Green River); and Town Branch in Logan County. Additional information regarding Kentucky’s fish consumption advisories can be found on the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife website, at http://fw.ky.gov/fishadvisory.asp?lid=900&NavPath=C101 .

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Bass Mortality At Small Tournaments Concerns Anglers, Biologists

Posted by on Aug 13, 2010

The dog days of August make fishing during the day miserable. After warming the air all summer, the late summer sun seems the hottest from now until the first weeks of September.

The heat forces bass tournaments into the dark hours at this time of year, but the stresses on the bass caught in those tournaments do not diminish just because its night time. Late summer into early fall presents considerable stresses to black bass just trying to survive.

“The fish are stressed before they get caught from the high water temperatures, especially with the hot summer we’ve had,” said Chris Hickey, black bass biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “The ordeal of catching the fish, fighting it, placing it in a livewell for hours, weighing it in and releasing the fish by the marina or ramp into water warmer than where they were is really hard on a bass. They try to make it back home and may not have enough stamina left. Sometimes, they don’t ever recover.”

Anglers recently voiced concerns to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife after they found several 4 to 7-pound bass floating dead following a recent bass tournament at Ken Lake Marina on Kentucky Lake.

“Those tournament anglers could legally take six largemouth, smallmouth or spotted (Kentucky) bass in aggregate daily,” said Gerry Buynak, assistant director of fisheries for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “By releasing these fish, a good number likely survived.”

Larger bass are at greater risk of dying from the stresses of tournament fishing.

“Their oxygen requirements are much higher” Hickey said. “The big ones stay out of the water longest for photos, showing off and such. Those 6-pound fish are more likely to die from stress than a 16-incher. When people see several large bass floating near a ramp or marina after a tournament, they get really upset.”

The larger tournament trails do a great job of employing strategies such as placing the fish in salted, oxygenated tanks while waiting for their fish to be weighed. They also use release boats to distribute bass all over the lake and not stockpile them at the weigh-in site. They limit the time bass are out of the water.

Smaller bass tournaments such as those put on by clubs or by your workplace don’t have the resources that large tournament organizations possess. However, some simple strategies will keep more bass alive and limit mortality.

“There are some simple things small tournament organizers can do to reduce mortality,” Buynak said.

Buynak explained that tournament organizers can shorten the length of tournaments held in summer into early fall. For example, shorten the time frame from 8 hours to 4 hours. They can adopt a paper tournament format such as musky anglers do by calling an observer to validate the catch and take digital photo for further proof. They can also stage multiple weigh-ins, one halfway through and one at the end of the tournament, to reduce the time bass slosh around in a livewell.

Anglers fishing the tournament can also employ some simple tactics to reduce stress on the bass.

· Play the bass quickly after it’s hooked. Don’t use underpowered rods and line for tournament fishing, forcing you to play the fish for a long time before landing it.

· Wet your hands before handling the fish as this helps protect the vital slime coat on a bass. The slime coat is the bass’ protection from infection, parasites and disease.

· Also, don’t let the bass flop around on the boat deck. The hot boat deck makes bass flop around after contact. The deck’s carpet removes the vital slime coat of a bass. Fight the fish and remove the hooks quickly; don’t let it flop around on the boat’s deck. Get the bass in the boat’s livewell as quickly as possible.

· Cooling the water in your livewell is one of the most important things to do when surface water temperatures rise above 75 degrees. Some area lakes have water temperatures pushing 90 degrees right now. Cooler water holds more dissolved oxygen than warmer water. Cool the water no more than 10 degrees.

· Adding 1/3 cup of non-iodized or rock salt for every 5 gallons of water in the livewell also aides in reducing stress on the bass. Non-iodized salt works as an anesthetic for bass and makes them more comfortable.

· Salt also helps bass regenerate their protective coating slime that protects them from infection and disease. Commercial livewell additives such as Please Release Me provide about the same benefits as salt.

· Run the livewell aerator continuously in hot weather and whenever more than five pounds of bass are in it. This reduces stress on the bass by keeping the livewell water brimming with dissolved oxygen that fish need to breathe.

· Exchange one-half the water in the livewell every 2 to 3 hours. Add the proper amount of salt and cool the water again.

Late summer and early fall bass fishing usually means fishing deep. If you catch a bass from a depth of 20 feet or more, you may have to “fizz” the bass. Bass possess an expandable bladder in their abdomens that allows them greater buoyancy when needed. When an angler pulls a bass from deep water, the fish often have this bladder extended. They float belly up in the livewell and strain desperately to right themselves.

You’ll have to deflate the bladder with a hypodermic needle with the plunger removed. Draw a line from the split between the dorsal fins along the bass’ back to its anal vent. Insert the needle at a 45-degree angle toward the fish’s head about four rows of scales below where this line meets the lateral line. Listen for a hissing sound and submerge the fish and needle. Wait until the bubbles stop and release the bass. Do not squeeze it. If you remove too much air, the bass will sink to the bottom like a rock.

“Just because it swims away after you release it doesn’t mean it is fine,” said Gerry Buynak, assistant director of fisheries for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “Bass may die the next day or a few days later from the stress. But, fizzing and the other precautions will increase chances for survival.”

Tournament angling is popular in Kentucky during the summer. The money spent by tournament anglers helps drive the economy near our major and minor lakes. The excise taxes paid by tournament anglers purchasing motorboat fuel and fishing equipment fund the construction of new boat ramps as well as fisheries management. Their purchase of annual fishing licenses helps provide the money needed to operate Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.

Bass tournament anglers are an important group. Following these precautions will help ensure healthy fish after your bass tournament.

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Waterfowl Blind Drawing Date for Green River Lake WMA

Posted by on Aug 13, 2010

Dates are now set for the waterfowl blind drawings for the Doug Travis, Lake Barkley, Barren River Lake and Green River Lake Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). Hunters interested in registering for the waterfowl blind drawings must be at least 18 years of age and possess a valid 2010-2011 Kentucky hunting license, a Kentucky waterfowl permit and a federal migratory bird permit (waterfowl stamp permit) at the time of the drawing.

The waterfowl blind drawing for Doug Travis WMA in Carlisle and Hickman counties will be Saturday, Aug. 28. The drawing will be held at the WMA office, located ½ mile south of Berkley on KY 123. Registration begins at 9 a.m. Central time with the drawing at 10 a.m.

The Lake Barkley WMA waterfowl blind drawing will be at 8 a.m. Central time Monday, Sept. 20. The drawing will be held at the shelter on the east side of the Cumberland River, located at Barkley dam off U.S. 62 near Lake City. Use the power house entrance and then turn right toward the drawing location.

The Green River Lake WMA waterfowl blind drawing will be Saturday, Sept. 25. The drawing will be held at the Green River Lake Corps of Engineers office pavilion, located off KY 55 approximately seven miles south of Campbellsville. Registration is 9 a.m. Eastern time with the drawing at 10 a.m.

The Barren River Lake WMA waterfowl blind drawing will be from 7 to 9 a.m. Central time on Saturday, Oct. 2. The drawing is being held at the Barren River Lake Corps of Engineers office at Barren River Lake dam, located off KY 252.

The waterfowl blind drawing date and location for Sloughs WMA will be announced at a later time.

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