If you have an epicurean longing for the hind limbs of amphibians, prepare to jump at it next week.
Friday comes Kentucky Frog season. It’s kind of out of hunting season while also being a bit of hunting season too. Then again, this can be a period to take long leaps with roads that use neither ballistic weapons nor hunting gear, so let’s just stick with frog season.
This year’s long running season runs from May 20 through October 31. Most frog missions take place by dark of night, so the American toad hunt day is measured from noon until noon the following day. The daily limit of the American frog is 15.
Frogs can be caught by hunting with a rifle or shooting gear, and harvesting by these methods appropriately requires a hunting licence. Frogs can also be caught by fishing, so to speak, with a pole, string, and lure of some kind. This requires a fishing license.
More frogs likely performed their amphibious tasks by strumming, securing large spurs with a multi-sided gig head mounted on a long pole of bamboo or some other material. Meanwhile, some achieve the same by grabbing frogs by hand, stealthily and quickly. Either way, using lights to dazzle the American toad is usually a reminder to get close enough to either be bitten or grabbed by hand.
Anyone who takes the frogs by party or by hand can do so under a hunting or fishing license.
Any hunter more inclined to warm-blooded fur than frogs can take in the trees next Saturday, May 21, for the start of spring squirrel season.
The spring squirrel hunting period runs until June 17th. The funky spring season adds four weeks of hunting to the “fall” squirrel marathon season that actually begins in late summer (opens the third Saturday in August) and continues deep into winter, most recently and ends on the last day of February.
Between the spring season and the now-traditional fall hunting period, squirrels easily support most days of hunting for any type of game.
Spring season depends on the biological factor of spring-born strains of squirrels “leaving out” of their trees, dens and nests, to join their elders in different feeding behaviors in the forest and woodland.
The influx of new droppings leads to an increase in squirrel numbers from which the modest harvest of the hunters is negligible.
Wildlife managers remind us that squirrel numbers depend more on wealth or shortages in annual mast crops, especially acorns, and that hunters in organized seasons have no apparent impact on populations.
The regulations for hunting in the spring are the same as those in the autumn season. Among them, the daily maximum baggage on gray squirrels and/or foxes is six.
Kentucky fishermen finished their spring 2022 turkey hunting trip last Sunday, and the 23-day season died out with relative grumbling.
Poachers took a total of 26,850 birds from April 16 to May 8. The number of turkeys recorded through the tele-reporting system was the smallest spring harvest in 15 years – the lowest number since poachers collected 24,320 in 2007.
The last season’s crop was much lower than the previous year, with a spring crop of 29,196 in 2021.
This year’s traditional pitcher season got off to a rough start with unusually cold weather and some rain on the opening weekend. That first weekend, near the peak of turkey breeding season behavior and before the birds have grown particularly shy of man-made calls and general hunting pressure, is usually the most productive period of the 23-day season.
Managers adapt the season to include four weekends, which are periods when fishermen’s participation is high. Under typical conditions, the first weekend of hunting yields the most harvest in any two days and sets the tone for the entire season.
The much slower than usual start to the 2022 opening weekend could not have been offset by the re-emergence of better catches. Several days during the season were fraught with cold and periods of rain. But it seems that the weather was not everything.
It’s no secret that hunters have been noticing/complaining about fewer turkeys encountered over the past few seasons. Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife directors explained that turkey numbers have been declining over a few years due to declining survival rates in spring-hatched turkey brooders.
The high level of nest predation and cool, rainy weather during times when the youngest are particularly vulnerable are two factors that are blamed for the poor survival of new turkeys required year after year to stem population decline.
Ironically, the KDFWR biologists noticed an improvement in the survival of young turkeys in the spring of 2021. An increase in chicken-to-chicken numbers was seen somewhat in brood surveys conducted after last year’s nesting season.
However, an increasing number of new acrylic players in the population are just one-year-old “jake”, a relative juvenile, this spring.
The distribution of the last season’s harvest revealed in the remote verification totals may reflect the improvement in the number of year-old Eskimos. Records show that 4,904 out of 26,850 crop birds were ‘adult’, i.e. jake. These young made up nearly 19% of the total crop.
In comparison, geek yielded only 10% of turkeys taken in 2021.
Steve Fantres is a freelance outdoor writer. Email outdoor news items to [email protected] or phone 270-575-8650.