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.
Churchill Downs announced Champions Day presented by Twinspires.com, a new Derby Week event that will take place at the racetrack on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. Champions Day will delight Kentucky Derby fans by celebrating the greatest moments in the sport’s history and honoring its legendary jockeys and trainers. Gates open at 11:00 a.m., first post at 12:45 p.m. Tickets start at $10 at www.KentuckyDerbyWeek.com.
In addition to a full day of live Thoroughbred races, this must-see event for any racing fan will offer guests the opportunity to meet famed Derby and Oaks-winning jockeys and trainers. These horse racing legends will be in the Plaza and Paddock from 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Guests can purchase a collectible poster for the jockeys and trainers to sign. Proceeds from the poster sales will benefit the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
Featured jockeys include Pat Day, winner of the Kentucky Oaks in 1988 and 2000 and the Kentucky Derby in 1992; Gary Stevens, winner of the Kentucky Oaks in 1986 and 1999 and the Kentucky Derby in 1988, 1995, and 1997; and Craig Perret who won the 1990 Kentucky Derby. Hall of Famers D. Wayne Lukas, a four-time Kentucky Derby winner in 1988, 1995, 1996 and 1999, and Carl Nafzger, who trained the 1990 and 2007 Kentucky Derby winners, will be two of several featured trainers.
Champions Day guests are invited to learn from the best in the business at the Advanced Insider Handicapping Seminar presented by Twinspires.com in the Aristides Lounge from 12:00 p.m. – 12:40 p.m. “At the Races” host Steve Byk and clocker and bloodstock agent, Gary Young, will share their expertise on Derby Week handicapping. Two of the most respected handicappers in the game, Byk’s “At the Races” is Thoroughbred racing’s longest running and best known daily radio news magazine, while horses recommended by Young have accounted for three Breeders Cup and 17 Grade I races.
Derby history enthusiasts will especially enjoy the Big Board on Champions Day as it brings Kentucky Derby history to life. The Kentucky Derby Museum and Churchill Downs have curated captivating oral history, fascinating trivia and archived footage of the sport’s most sensational moments to share throughout the day.
Fans who want to take advantage of everything that Champions Day and Tuesday of Derby Week have to offer can purchase the “Ultimate Champions Experience.” This $250 special ticket package includes:
The First 20 guests to purchase Ultimate Champions Experience tickets will receive one admission pass to the Derby Post Draw at 11:00 a.m. on Champions Day. www.KentuckyDerbyWeek.com.
“Stories of Ali,” a brand new lecture program of the Muhammad Ali Center will bring its Oral History Project to life through a series of live recorded programs. Each event will focus on a specific topic of Muhammad’s life, featuring two or three persons knowledgeable about the Muhammad Ali-specific theme to participate in a public oral history forum facilitated by the Center’s Collections Department.
The inaugural program, “Ali and the Nation”, will be on Friday, March 30th from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Ali Center. It is free and open to the public.
“Stories of Ali: Ali and the Nation” will present two approaches and understandings of the Nation of Islam: to explore Ali’s early religious conversion and his choice to devote much of his life to his new faith. The two interviewees are:
Dr. Brandon McCormack, professor of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville, will offer an educational and historical perspective.
Donald Lassere, president and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center, grew up on the South Side of Chicago and has memories of the Nation of Islam selling bean pies and serving as protectors. Through his role at the Center, Donald will offer a unique perspective of the Louisville Lip. His stories will be of a personal nature, based on memories, and professional knowledge.
The Muhammad Ali Center’s Oral History Project is an ongoing initiative created to utilize the practice of oral history to document the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali. More information about the Project is available here.
Louisville Metro and Airbnb announced today the finalization of an agreement that will allow the company to collect and remit taxes on behalf of its hosts in Louisville and Jefferson County. Effective April 1, Airbnb will automatically collect and remit the Louisville Transient Room Tax (8.5%) for taxable bookings. The agreement allows Louisville to fully benefit from people visiting and staying longer through home sharing.
Collecting and remitting hotel taxes can be complicated, as the rules were designed for traditional hospitality providers and large hotel corporations with teams of lawyers and accountants.
That’s why Airbnb has begun partnering with governments throughout the world to collect and remit taxes, making the process seamless and easy for hosts to pay their fair share while contributing new revenue for local governments. These agreements are particularly impactful for a city like Louisville, where some homeowners may only be hosting visitors during a handful of large events such as the Kentucky Derby, and therefore are less likely to be aware of the applicable taxes associated with short-term rentals.
“I am delighted to see that the city has settled on an agreement with Airbnb. We have leisure and convention travelers requesting the option of an Airbnb. We have a growing number of Airbnb Hosts in Louisville – this will put them on the same playing field as our other accommodations in paying the transient room tax,” said Karen Williams, President & CEO of the Louisville Convention Bureau.
“We are always looking for opportunities to better serve taxpayers,” said Louisville Metro Revenue Commission Director Angela Dunn. “This agreement advances that goal by streamlining the local tax process for hosts.”
This marks Airbnb’s third tax agreement in Kentucky. In September 2017, the company announced a statewide tax agreement with the Kentucky Department of Revenue that authorized the company to collect and remit the state sales tax on all Kentucky Airbnb bookings (including in Louisville Metro). And earlier this year, Airbnb and Lexington announced an agreement authorizing Airbnb to collect and remit Lexington’s local room tax.
“We believe this agreement will unlock significant new revenue for Louisville Convention Bureau moving forward, and we’re so thrilled to have finalized it well prior to the Derby,” said Laura Spanjian, policy director for Airbnb. “With clear, fair rules to regulate home sharing and now a tax agreement to bring in new revenue, Louisville has emerged as a national model for how cities can capitalize from the sharing economy.”
The agreement comes at a time of dynamic home sharing growth in the Greater Louisville area. In 2017, Louisville-area Airbnb hosts earned $10 million in supplemental income while welcoming over 78,000 guest arrivals to the city.