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I want to start out this month’s column by dedicating this writing in memory of Kenny Detherage. Kenny was an avid outdoorsman and the Lilly/Detherage clans have always been like a family. I’ll never forget the many dove hunts the two families shared together over the years, the goat cookings and the many other good times. As outdoorsmen, I feel I can speak for us all; we have lost a great one. Kenny lost his battle with cancer on November 30, 2013. Thoughts and prayers are with this wonderful family.
I have always heard the older you get the faster time seems to go by in life. Twenty years ago, heck 10 years ago, it didn’t seem that way but now……….wow. This year both kids are now officially adults at 21 and 18 and the nest is mostly empty except for me and Momma Leigh. The checkbook is a lot emptier than in the past too with what seems like a constant trickle of cash to the University of Kentucky and to Eastern Kentucky University. Hunter did get to hunt with me a couple of days during the recent Kentucky gun season and Suzanne and I squeezed in a great day of hunting on the second Saturday. Still can’t seem to get Leigh to go deer hunting and for some reason she’s fine with her decision.
I guess unless you’ve grown up spending most of your time outdoors hunting and fishing it’s hard to appreciate the pleasure it brings us folks who have always enjoyed God’s great outdoors. I’ve often mentioned the sights, sounds and even the smells of the outdoors during each season. The amazing thing to me is that even though some of the sights, sounds and smells are similar there are many others that are season specific from blooming, pollen spewing flowers and trees in the spring to the fall leaves to the crisp winter snow.
The Lilly Camp in Kentucky had a lower harvest year but still managed to take out three decent bucks from the statewide deer herd. I managed to harvest one of the bigger bucks I’ve ever taken with the dispatch of a nice heavy-racked 13-pointer with a 20-inch spread. The bruiser weighed in at 180 pounds field dressed. Leigh was even impressed with its size and insisted I get it mounted so what other choice did I have but to make the trip over to Justin Tinsley’s shop and drop it off. Once it dries I hope to get the scoring from Justin too.
The Lilly Camp in West Virginia a couple of weeks ago was a three-buck trip also. Dad managed to pop a nice 8-pointer on opening morning, cousin Bobby harvested his 4-pointer on Friday and I followed up with a 5-point buck for the freezer. It was another good year that saw the resurrection of an area of the Monongahela National Forest that we hunted for years. Spices Run has seemed pretty desolate of deer for years but seems to be making a comeback even with the black bear and coyote population on the rise.
Speaking of black bears. Kentucky’s black bear season was held recently from Dec. 14-16. I’m writing this prior to the opening so we can talk harvest numbers in January once they are finalized. I hope to be able to head to Harlan County to hunt with my buddy Ed Middleton and Big Jim again this year but not sure it’s going to work out. Guess I’ll let you know in January if I’m still writing then. So far the bear hunting in the new 16 county bear zone has been good for archery and crossbow hunters. Their season, Nov. 23-Dec. 1 resulted in a 10-bear harvest which met the quota set by Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Letcher County led the way with four bears harvested but Wayne County produced the largest with a 375-pound male bruin taken with a crossbow.
Kentucky deer harvest update
By the time you read this, a new Kentucky state overall harvest record for deer will probably have been set. The modern firearm season a few weeks back has already set a new harvest record with 101,076 deer taken. The overall harvest record of 131,395 deer was just last year (2012) and should be easily eclipsed barring bad weather especially during the late muzzleloader season. As of Dec. 10, the harvest according to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife stood at 129,920 deer. Anderson County has contributed 2,108 deer to that harvest number. Franklin County added 1,789, Shelby County 2,520 and Spencer County pitched in 1,560 deer to the total.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
I want to wish all the readers out there a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I also want to thank those of you for reading my column each month for the past seven years. As I started this column so shall I end it with I can’t believe how fast time goes by and that it has really been that long since my first outdoor column.
I hope you all enjoy a great and safe holiday season and always remember the reason for the season.
And as always, take a kid hunting and fishing soon!
See ya outside!