Jarrod E. Stephens
The Ashland Beacon
Considering the most recent winter storm that many folks in our region are still recovering from, I’d say that it’s safe to say that most outdoorsmen were thrilled to get to turn the calendar page from February to March. With the anticipation of greening grass and gobbling turkeys, outdoorsmen are looking forward to more time in the field and less time window watching.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife just released their Spring 2021 hunting guide that includes all hunting regulations and reminds us that all hunting and fishing licenses now need to be renewed. Hunting or fishing licenses or combo licenses can be purchased, but the best value is the Sportsman’s License since you receive both your hunting and fishing licenses along with the trout stamp, all spring and fall tags for turkey and fall tags for deer. The revenue generated from license sales is reinvested directly back into programs to improve hunting and fishing opportunities in Kentucky.
Due to a decline in new numbers of outdoorsmen being initiated into the world of hunting and fishing, Kentucky and most other states have initiated what is referred to as a R3 program. The R3 program focuses on Recruiting, Retaining, and Reactivating people to the outdoors and what it has to offer. Recruiting refers to getting brand new hunters into the field while retaining simply refers to keeping the fire burning in those who may be getting away from our time-honored outdoors traditions. Reactivating focuses on finding former hunters and getting them back into the outdoors where they used to find enjoyment. Research has shown that the quarantines other restrictions set because of the pandemic have indeed helped to rekindle some involvement in the outdoors.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife has recently launched the Field to Fork Turkey Hunting Webinar Series with the hopes to get more hunters into the woods pursuing wild turkeys. The online program is a five-week series that focuses on getting turkey hunting information to new hunters. The series advances as follows:
•March 4, 6:30 p.m. – Basic Wild Turkey Ecology and Behavior for the Hunter
•March 10, 6:30 p.m. – Turkey Calling Basics
•March 17, 6:30 p.m. – Wild Turkey Processing and Cooking
•March 25, 6:30 p.m. – Turkey Hunting Equipment
•March 30, 6:30 p.m. – Scouting and Hunting Tactics for Wild Turkeys
Each webinar will be hosted over Zoom Video Communications and will also be livestreamed on YouTube. To preregister for the events, you will need to sign up at: http://app.fw.ky.gov/eventregistration/startpage.aspx?REGID=203
Remember that all hunters born after January 1, 1975 must complete a hunter’s education course and receive an orange card. The courses required for the certification are followed by a range day where students demonstrate firearms safety handling procedures. However, the restrictions caused by the covid-19 pandemic have also extended the cancellation of all in-person range day activities related to the hunter’s education courses. As was the case in 2020, the range days must be completed at home, recorded, and submitted to KDFW in video format. Visit the department’s website for more information. Don’t wait until the last minute to complete the course in order to be ready for the upcoming spring turkey season.
While the spring turkey season does not begin until April, the month of March is the perfect springboard for learning the tools of the trade and scouting for turkeys to hunt. As it is with all sports, practice leads to success, so take advantage of the free tools and webinars created by the KDFW as you march toward your next outdoors adventure.