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Happy spring, I think … maybe … hopefully!
You just can’t be sure around these parts anymore as to whether or not spring is really here to stay or continues to tease.
I know some of us are trying to force spring’s hand by getting fishing reels and gear lined up and ready to go. I’ve seen several boats heading down Highway 44 toward Taylorsville Lake on what few warm days we’ve had over the last couple of weeks. I have also gotten some reports of decent fishing in Taylorsville as well as Beaver Lake with a few good sized crappie being caught already. April will bring warming waters and the crappie and bass fishing should really pick up. The bass spawn will kick in once water temperatures get around 60 degrees so get ready and try fishing the shallower banks during this spawning period.
Another sign spring is coming is that some trees, shrubs and flowers are trying to bud out or stick their head above the ground line. It is good to start seeing things green up. Just getting out and walking around the woods and fields this time of year can really be amazing. Just seeing the new buds and blooms over the next several weeks gives hope that our long, dreary winter is about over.
Oh, and one of my favorite signs of spring: male turkey birds are looking for love and starting to gobble on a more regular basis. Speaking of turkeys, don’t forget the youth only turkey hunting weekend scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6.
The regular statewide turkey season opens the following weekend on Saturday, April 12 and runs through Sunday, May 4.
Walks in the spring woods can also lead to sheds. “Sheds” is a term for deer antlers that are shed or dropped off the head of the animal every year in late winter to early spring. The antlers for the next year start to grow back almost immediately. The shed antlers are favorite chewing for rodents like squirrels, voles and field mice since the antlers are bone and loaded with calcium. The shed antlers don’t last long laying in the woods due to the little gnawers so get out and see what you can find. The shed antlers make great decorations, wall hangers or knife handles as well as countless other things.
The deer I recently encountered didn’t have antlers and probably would have shed them if it had had horns. Apparently my writing about “bouncing a deer off the front fender of a vehicle” in last month’s outdoor column was bad luck or karma or whatever. That was proven on the way to Pleasant Hill Christian Church a few weeks ago when Leigh and I did just that, bounced a deer right off pretty much the whole front end of the vehicle and then some. It appears that after almost 10 years of service our Ford Explorer will be put to rest by the insurance company as a total loss. The tombstone shall read,“Totaling didn’t see it coming.”
*The Kentucky Legislature established the first hunting license on March 22, 1902. Don’t forget to purchase new hunting, fishing and trapping licenses before going afield in 2014-15. New ones are required the 1st day of March each year.
*The Kentucky Game and Fish Commission was formed on March 12, 1912.
*Boat registrations expire April 30, so don’t forget to renew before getting on the water.
*As of this writing, I have not heard of anyone being hired as the new Commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. A nationwide search was conducted with applications being accepted through the end of 2013.
*Warm days in April after a lot of rain are good times to get in the woods and search for one of nature’s delicacies, morel mushrooms. These are great cleaned up and sautéed in a skillet with a little butter. Be sure you know what you’re picking before eating. There are a lot of mushroom varieties that are not edible and are poisonous.
Take a kid hunting and fishing soon!
See ya outside!
Jeff Lilly is an outdoors columnist for The Anderson News.