• Contemplating past successes and next year’s goals

    As 2010 ends and 2011 starts, it’s a time for reflection on the year gone by, and a quick look ahead.

    For those who love the outdoors, when we look back we can see some of the harmful things man has done to the outdoors. But we also can see many positives.

    When I was a kid growing up in East-Central Illinois, there were no deer and turkeys. Now, they are abundant throughout most Midwestern states. Elk once again flourish in Eastern Kentucky, and the bear population has grown to the point where two Kentucky hunters took bears last month.

  • A dog’s role in writer’s Christmas memories

    Santa’s sleigh has always been pulled by reindeer. Rudolph and his red nose came later.

    Reindeer are found in the far North. That’s true. But it seems to me that a dog sled might have worked just as well, if not better. Dogs are said to be man’s best friend, and undoubtedly are easier to train and more dependable than reindeer.

    And as far as the flying bit, my dogs always have been able to fly off the couch after a dog treat, or sail to the door if a squirrel approaches the deck.

  • Two Kentucky hunters record successful state black bear hunts this season

    Danny Smith of Phelps, carved his name into Kentucky’s hunting annals Dec. 18, when he claimed the state’s first legally harvested black bear in the modern era.

    Smith took the 265-pound male bear in Pike County about five hours into his hunt. He owned the state’s record for the largest bear for about a day, until Billy Joe Dixon, Cumberland, took a 280-pound male on the second day.

  • Photo: Scouting for Food

  • Game wardens share humorous stories

    “Kentucky Game Warden Diaries,” a paperback book written by Bluegrass state conservation officers, has been published and is available just in time for Christmas giving.

    Published by Wildlife Publishing in Auburn in South Central Kentucky, “Kentucky Game Warden Diaries, Vol. 1” is a collection of true stories of what happens when a game warden goes on duty.

  • Deer tracks evoke questions

    “That’s a big buck, and he’s following a doe,” said my hunting companion. He is an accomplished outdoorsman and a successful hunter. I assumed he was right, and maybe he was. Maybe he wasn’t.

    That doesn’t mean tracks should be ignored. Certainly not. What can tracks tell an experienced outdoors person?

  • Bow hunting expertise requires practice

    Man has been using arrowheads for thousands of years. No one is sure just how long. Arrowheads from prehistoric times are commonly found along the Ohio River and elsewhere in the state.

    Arrowheads probably were used on spears before the bow was developed long ago, and it has only been in relatively recent time that the modern bows and arrows came onto the scene.

  • Smoked turkey a holiday treat

    The lore of Thanksgiving is quite a bit different than the reality. But, that’s OK with me. The modern version has much to be enjoyed, and certainly there is much for which to be thankful.

    The first Thanksgiving most likely didn’t have turkey, certainly no cranberries, pumpkin pies, and no pilgrims. It was far different from today’s feast and football games.

    Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days. I love to eat, spend time with family and watch football. It just doesn’t get much better than that.

  • Try deer chili for holidays

    Modern gun deer season began last weekend, and Thanksgiving is celebrated next week.

    So what does one have to do with the other besides dates that coincide?

    Thanksgiving means hunting to me. That is Thanksgiving morning. And it is a time to be especially thankful for our country and nature’s bounty.

    I’ve always associated Thanksgiving with a time to be thankful for my good fortune. It was on Thanksgiving morning that I shot my first rabbit.

  • Toolmaker turns editor, lure maker

    From tool and die maker, to fishing guide, to boat upholstery, to lure maker, to computer guru, to fishing magazine editor. That’s Chris Erwin.

    “I came from bass fishing. I started club fishing in 1971 and I didn’t think I’d ever get tired of bass fishing, but if you catch a fish 40 inches long in six inches of water and if that doesn’t thrill you, then you’re dead,” explained Chris as we enjoyed a beautiful fall morning fishing Cave Run Lake.