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.”
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 pounds 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 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, 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 harvest. What’s the reason? It’s difficult to determine on a statewide scale when all we’ve had to go on is 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.
Crews from the fisheries division of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will remove largemouth bass from Beaver Lake in Anderson County in the coming weeks to alleviate overcrowding and improve growth rates of fish.
“In March of 2017, we took nearly 2,400 largemouth bass out of Beaver Lake,” said David Baker, Central Fisheries District biologist for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “We did our annual population sampling the following month, and the number of largemouth bass we found were still double what we want for Beaver Lake.”
Baker explained bountiful largemouth bass reproduction in 2016 and 2017 further compounded overcrowding in the 158-acre lake.
“We want to be proactive and prevent a bottleneck of fish 8 to 11 inches long,” Baker said. “This removal will reduce competition for food among the younger age bass and improve growth rates for the bass near the 12-inch minimum size limit.”
The minimum size limit for largemouth bass on Beaver Lake reverted to the statewide size limit of 12 inches on March. Previously, the lake had a 15-inch minimum size limit on largemouth bass.
“We plan to take bass under 6 inches from last year’s spawn and bass 7 to 9 inches from the 2016 spawn,” Baker said. “Most will go into the Cane Run arm of Herrington Lake. Largemouth bass reproduction is typically poor in the lower end of Herrington.”
The Fisheries Division manages Beaver Lake for bluegill and redear sunfish. Removing small bass allows panfish to thrive in the lake. “We’ve witnessed big improvements in the number of quality bluegill,” Baker said. “In our population sampling last spring, the numbers of bluegill that were 6 inches and longer exploded.”
Baker also said before the improvement, each hour of population sampling landed 50 to 75 bluegill over 6 inches. “Now, we see 200 to 250 per hour,” he said. “We also saw our highest rates ever for bluegill 8 inches and longer.”
More than 75,000 trucking professionals and representatives will park in Louisville March 22-24 for the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS), the largest annual heavy-duty trucking industry event in the world.
The Kentucky Exposition Center has hosted MATS every year since 1972, and the show brings $26 million in economic impact to the Louisville region.
This industry-only event accommodates the entire trucking industry in one venue, so professionals can see new products and services; test drive new trucks and technology; connect with suppliers, distributors and customers; and stay up-to-date with changes in the industry.
More than 1,000 exhibitors will showcase everything from engines to electronics, tools to tires and sealants to sleeper cabs – plus a large number of recruiters will be in attendance. Numerous seminars offer educational opportunities for companies, fleets and trucking professionals.
For more information, visit www.truckingshow.com.
Nominations are now being accepted for Kentucky’s most distinguished awards honoring excellence for the preservation and rehabilitation of historic buildings, and cultural and archaeological sites. Presented annually since 1979, the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation Historic Preservation Awards ceremony will take place this May in Frankfort during National Historic Preservation Month.
The awards are named for Kentucky’s first state historic preservation officer and recognize contributions to preserving our collective heritage at the local level and throughout the Commonwealth via personal commitment, investment, advocacy, volunteerism, building partnerships, public involvement, lifelong dedication or significant achievement. The Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation hosts the event in partnership with the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office (KHC).
Awards are presented in four categories, and all nominations must be received in the KHC office or postmarked by Friday, April 20. Guidelines, nomination form, submittal instructions and more about previous recipients are available at www.heritage.ky.gov.
Preservation Project awards honor outstanding examples of rehabilitation, restoration and adaptive reuse including, in 2017, a former lumber mill in Covington converted into a community placemaking hub, a Paducah Coca-Cola Plant restored to its former Art Deco glory, the painstaking rebuilding of iconic Rabbit Hash General Store following a fire, and a former Odd Fellows Hall in downtown Paris converted to apartments and retail.
Service to Preservation awards recognize individuals, organizations, nonprofits, public officials, financial institutions, news media, volunteers and others whose contributions have had a positive impact in their communities. In 2017 these included a Midway couple honored for their hands-on rehabilitation of multiple family homes, two Lexington neighborhood associations documenting their African American heritage, and the annual University of Kentucky Historic Preservation Symposium.
The Ida Lee Willis Memorial Award goes to the individual who has demonstrated outstanding dedication to the cause of historic preservation in the Commonwealth. Last year, Linda Bruckheimer of Bloomfield was recognized for more than two decades of preservation philanthropy, investment and advocacy.
Grassroots Awards are given at the selection committee’s discretion and honor those who have committed their personal time and resources to successfully take on a challenge that addresses a preservation issue at the most fundamental level, such as, in 2017, a Mt. Washington youth group that preserved a historic limestone mile marker and a Johnson County man who extensively restored an all-wood vernacular frame structure.
The memorial foundation was chartered in 1979 to honor the late Ida Lee Willis, the first executive director of the Kentucky Heritage Commission (now Kentucky Heritage Council). Current board members are Stephen L. Collins of Shelbyville, chair; William Averell of Frankfort, vice chair; Barbara Hulette of Danville, secretary; Robert Griffith of Louisville, treasurer; and Christopher J. Black, Paducah; Marion Forcht, Corbin; Jolene Greenwell and Charles W. Stewart, Frankfort; Alice Willett Heaton, Bardstown; David L. Morgan and Charles Parrish, Louisville; Donna Horn-Taylor, Springfield; and Milton and Anne Thompson, Washington, D.C.
Attorney General Andy Beshear and a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general sent a letter urging congress to scrap legislation that would block states from combating fraud and abuse by the student loan industry.
The coalition is advising Congress to remove language from the pending version of the Higher Education Act reauthorization, H.R. 4508, also known as the PROSPER Act that will obstruct state oversight of private companies that initiate, service or collect on student loans.
“In the face of a student loan debt crisis in our country, protecting Kentucky students from predatory loan companies who seek to mislead them is simply the right thing to do,” Beshear said. “Congress must take immediate action and join our coalition in standing up for students.”
In the fourth quarter of 2017, U.S. borrowers owed an estimated $1.38 trillion in federal and private student loans – more than auto loans, credit cards or any other non-mortgage loan category.
The letter also points out in recent years, state attorneys general have investigated significant, far-reaching abuses in the student loan industry and won settlements returning tens of millions of dollars to student borrowers.
In Kentucky, the Office of the Attorney General has helped more than 9,000 students receive more than $25.5 million in restitution, including debt relief, from predatory lenders and for-profit colleges.
Beshear said today’s letter is just the latest action he has taken to protect Kentuckians from a series of acts by the U.S. Department of Education that aim to strip critical protections from millions of students and families repaying student loans.
In October, Beshear and 18 other state attorneys general sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education, demanding the department stop rolling back vital safeguards for student loan borrowers.
In July 2017, Beshear and 20 other state attorneys general submitted public comments in response to the department’s announcement of intentions to delay large portions of the Borrower Defense Rule, which was designed to hold abusive higher education institutions accountable for cheating students and taxpayers out of billions of dollars in federal loans.
Beshear opposed the department’s efforts to replace the Gainful Employment regulations that empower students to make informed decisions about their education, and protects students from burdensome debt and poor job prospects.
Beshear remains committed to holding for-profit colleges accountable in Kentucky and helping defrauded students.
Students who have been a victim of a for-profit college or predatory loan practices may contact the Office of the Attorney General by phone, 502-696-5300 or by completing an online complaint form.
Gov. Matt Bevin congratulated Kings Royal Biotech Inc. (KRB), a manufacturer of cannabidiol isolate, for breaking ground on its $30 million-plus facility, a project expected to create 140 full-time jobs in the West Kentucky city of Bardwell.
“Ag-tech businesses are increasingly recognizing the many benefits of manufacturing hemp-related products in Kentucky,” Gov. Bevin said. “We are grateful for the jobs and investment that Kings Royal Biotech brings and for the company’s efforts to build lasting relationships with West Kentucky farmers. We look forward to seeing our state become a global leader in this rapidly growing industry. Congratulations to KRB on today’s announcement and to the Carlisle County community on this exciting new opportunity.”
KRB will build its 75,000-square-foot building on nearly nine acres in Carlisle County. The facility will use state-of-the-art methods to extract, refine and re-crystallize cannabidiol (CBD) from industrial hemp and is believed to be the largest operation of its kind in the nation. With the issuance of an industrial hemp research pilot program processor license by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, KRB plans to start processing hemp in late 2018 and ramp up to full capacity by summer 2019.
“Industrial hemp is the next big thing in Kentucky,” said Keith Taylor, chief operating officer at KRB. “The bourbon industry is synonymous with the state, and it is our goal to reach that level of success, where any time someone thinks of hemp-related products, they think of Kentucky.”
KRB, incorporated in Kentucky in 2017, partnered with a China-based company specializing in industrial hemp-related products to establish the Bardwell operation. KRB licensed its partner’s patented extraction and crystallization process in West Kentucky. CBD isolate and full spectrum oil will then be sold in commercial quantities throughout the US and worldwide. People use CBD isolate for numerous health and wellness purposes.
Taylor noted Kentucky’s ideal conditions for the growth of hemp as a major influence in its decision to locate in the state, and the company has hired J.T. Workman IV, of Carlisle County, as its growing manager. Workman assisted the company to secure an agreement with local farmers to plant and harvest more than 1,000 acres of hemp.
KRB also has partnered with Andrea Schiavi of Lexington-based Schiavi Seeds LLC to provide hemp seeds certified through the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA). Schiavi Seeds received recognition in fall 2017 for becoming the first company since the 1930s to produce certified hemp seeds in the commonwealth.
“Kentucky’s nationally-renowned industrial hemp research pilot program continues to grow,” said Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles. “The number of processors is increasing, creating new market opportunities for our farmers and jobs for Kentuckians across the commonwealth. I’d like to thank Governor Bevin and the Cabinet for Economic Development for continuing to attract new and exciting businesses to Kentucky.”
Sen. Danny Carroll, of Paducah, expressed enthusiasm for the project.
“I’d like to congratulate and welcome Kings Royal Biotech to Carlisle County as it builds a $30 million facility that will create 140 jobs in Senate District 2,” Sen. Carroll said. “As a manufacturer of CBD, Kings Royal Biotech uses state-of-the-art methods that will help the commonwealth lead the nation in this fast-growing industry. I look forward to the completion of this project and the national distribution of its Kentucky products.”
Rep. Steven Rudy, of Paducah, welcomed the company to west Kentucky.
“This facility will be a tremendous asset for the Carlisle County region,” Rep. Rudy said. “Hemp production is a growing industry and the company will provide more than 100 great jobs in Kentucky. We welcome Kings Royal Biotech to the state.”
Carlisle County Judge-Executive Greg Terry said the project shines a light on the community’s ability to support new business.
“I am very proud of the work that the Carlisle County Industrial Development Board has done to show what a great place Carlisle County would be for this new CBD isolate facility,” Judge-Executive Terry said. “I look forward to working with Kings Royal Biotech during this process.”
KRB can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. In fiscal 2017, the Kentucky Skills Network provided training for more than 120,000 Kentuckians and 5,700 companies from a variety of industry sectors.
A detailed community profile for Carlisle County can be viewed at http://bit.ly/CarlisleCo.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.
For the first time in Kentucky, some child protection cases will be open to the public under a four-year pilot project that will take place 2018-2021. The Supreme Court of Kentucky issued an order March 13 authorizing the Open Court Pilot Project. In 2018, Family Courts will be open from March 19-May 31 in Hopkins and Jefferson counties and the four-county judicial circuit of Harrison, Nicholas, Pendleton and Robertson. Although child protection cases are normally closed due to confidentiality, the pilot project will provide an opportunity to look at whether it’s beneficial to open some cases for the public to observe. The public and media will be able to attend proceedings in cases involving child dependency, neglect and abuse, and termination of parental rights. Judges in the first six counties to participate in the pilot project volunteered to open their courts for a two-month observation/evaluation period. The 2016 Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation asking the Supreme Court to institute a pilot project to study open courts. The project is covered in KRS 21A.190-192. “I’ve long been in favor of opening courts when there are benefits to be gained in accountability and transparency,” Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. said. “Kentucky has been discussing opening child protection cases for several years, and I look forward to seeing what we learn from this pilot project. I appreciate the judges in the pilot counties, who are as invested as I am in determining how to balance the public’s need to know with the child’s need for privacy.” Parents and other parties and professionals involved in the proceedings, such as attorneys and social workers, will be asked to complete a survey about their experience with open court. Reporters will also have the opportunity to take a survey. Signs outside the Family Court Courtrooms will give the public information about the pilot project and the rules for participating. Those who attend proceedings are prohibited from recording audio or video and taking photos, taking notes with the name or personal information of any minor child who is a party or witness unless the name/information was obtained outside of court, getting copies of any documents or court recordings, and sharing the name or personal information of any party or witness unless they are discussing it with another party or witness in the case or unless they obtained the information outside of court. Media outlets must adhere to the same rules as the public. The media may report on cases that take place in open court but may not record audio or video or take photos, take notes with the name or personal information of any minor child who is a party or witness unless the name/information was obtained outside of court, get copies of any documents or court recordings or share the name or personal information of any party or witness unless they are discussing with another party or witness in the case or unless they obtained the information outside of court. In the context of the pilot project, the definition of party includes the child, the child’s parents and/or custodian and the social service worker. A judge may close proceedings if it is determined to be in the best interest of the child or for other good cause. The procedure for closing a case during the pilot project is described in KRS 21A.190(2). All cases involving sexual abuse will be closed. The Department of Family and Juvenile Services at the Administrative Office of the Courts is administering the pilot project. Court staff will attend court proceedings to observe and will conduct focus groups with family members and professionals involved in the cases. They will also provide surveys to participants. The AOC will report to the legislature annually on the project. Family Court Case Schedule The schedules for Family Courts participating in the Open Court Pilot Project are:
Jefferson County – 8:30 a.m. ET Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Jefferson County Judicial Center, 700 W. Jefferson St., Louisville
Hopkins County – 9 a.m. CT Tuesday, Hopkins County Justice Center, 120 E. Center St., Madisonville Harrison County – 1:30 p.m. ET on the first and third Wednesday of the month, Harrison County Justice Center, 115 Court St., Cynthiana
Nicholas County – 1 p.m. ET on the first and third Tuesday of the month, Nicholas County Courthouse, 125 E. Main St., Carlisle
Pendleton County – 10 a.m. ET on the first and third Tuesday of the month, Pendleton County Judicial Center, 120 Ridgeway Ave., Falmouth
Robertson County – 10 a.m. ET on the first and third Tuesday of the month, Robertson County Judicial Center, 127 E. Walnut St., Mount Olivet