OUTDOORS: Fall a favorite time to enjoy nature's beauty

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Blue-green algae found in several area lakes

By John Herndon

My favorite time of the year has arrived once again. I have just returned home from a business trip to Gettysburg, Pa., and actually enjoyed the eight-plus hour drive through the mountains of West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.


The brilliant fall colors of the leaves can be somewhat distracting when you’re driving not to mention the wildlife. I truly have what some might call a “turkey neck” or “owl head” when driving through such wildlife-rich country.

It’s hard to keep your eyes on the road sometimes due to the views God provides us in nature if we just take the time to look at them. Make sure you take the time to enjoy God’s “canvas of color” this fall as autumn arrives and the leaves begin their transformations.



Earlier this year I included some information about cyanobacteria, better known as blue-green algae, being found in Taylorsville Lake.

Well, it appears, according to recently confirmed reports from the Kentucky Division of Water, that tests show the blue-green algae has now been found in several local lakes. Our own Beaver Lake, Guist Creek Lake in nearby Shelby County, Lake Reba in Madison County and neighboring Washington County’s Willisburg Lake have all been found to have levels of this algae that exceed what is considered cautionary limits.

According to the reports, exposure to the blue-green algae can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It can also cause skin, eye and throat irritation and possible breathing difficulties in some cases.

Yep, Happy Halloween but better to know than not, huh? Remember, the exposure can come from fish caught so be sure and rinse off any catch you have with clean tap water and wash hands with soap and water before and after cleaning your catch.

Keep your eyes on the water’s surface. Cyanbacteria typically appears as bright green paint shimmering on the surface of the water.


Bear hunting regulations expanded

A couple years ago I went to Harlan County to hunt black bears in what was Kentucky’s second modern day firearms hunt. The first one a year earlier was literally snowed out by a foot or more of snow in the eastern Kentucky mountains. There were only three open counties then.

That soon expanded to four open counties last year and now to sixteen counties in eastern Kentucky’s Bear Zone which includes Bell, Clay, Floyd, Harlan, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Leslie, Letcher, Martin, McCreary, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Wayne and Whitley. I didn’t have any luck that year but still enjoyed hunting the rough terrain that is Harlan County and much of eastern Kentucky.

The modern gun season is scheduled for Dec. 14-16 and remains open until a quota of 10 bears or five female bears is reached, whichever limit hunters reach first. Once either quota is met the bear season is closed the next day.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has also created a separate archer/crossbow season that will run from Nov. 23-Dec. 1. The quota for this hunt is also 10 bears or five female bears whichever limit hunters reach first. Once either is reached, then the season will close.

The Department has also created several bear hunting opportunities with dogs which I personally was hoping would never happen here in Kentucky but, as usual, they didn’t ask for my opinion. But, if they had, I would have advised and or voted against it given the opportunity. They did apparently ask for support and opinions from several organizations such as the Kentucky Houndsmen Association who I’m sure wasn’t biased at all toward establishing what is basically coon hunting on steroids.

Anyway, there are several regulations involving bear hunting with dogs so if that’s your thing then you better read up. I’m not for it so I’m not using my time here to promote it. I guess that’s one of the benefits of having somewhat of a monthly “bully pulpit.”

I would be curious as to what any of the readers out there think so send in some opinions.

Don’t get me wrong, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources overall does a great job managing our wildlife but I, like many others, are not always going to agree with their decisions. That’s what makes our country great as I think most folks would agree. I just hope the bear hunting doesn’t turn into a money making proposition like the elk lottery.

State and Bluegrass Region deer harvests

Kentucky hunters have enjoyed some good weather and the harvest results so far show just that.

As of Oct. 23, the statewide deer harvest tallied 21,121. That breakdown by harvest method is 9,084 archery, 3,957 firearm, 6,683 muzzleloader and 1,397 crossbow.

Anderson County, as of Oct. 23, is ranked 5th in the Bluegrass Harvest Region with 393 deer harvested. Our breakdown by harvest is 167 archery, 68 firearm, 130 muzzleloader and 28 crossbow.

Owen County leads the Bluegrass Harvest Region with a whopping 642 total deer harvested thru Oct. 23 with Pendleton County coming in second with 535. Boone County is third with 479 followed by Shelby County (415). Following Anderson County (5th) in sixth place is Scott County with 383 and Franklin County is in seventh with 357 deer harvested so far this year.


Quick shots

*I’ll be in the woods in a couple different states most of November so I won’t be writing a November column for Thanksgiving but would like to thank all my loyal readers that I hear from at ballgames, at the store or other places.

It helps to keep me going. Please feel free to send your thoughts, comments, harvest pictures or anything that may make a good outdoor related story to me in care of Ben or John at the News office and they will get it to me. Happy Halloween and Happy Thanksgiving!

Take a kid hunting and fishing soon!

See ya outside!