Merry Christmas to all sportsmen, sportswomen, and youngsters. We wish you the very best Holiday season for you and your families. These are certainly trying and fearful times, so cherish your families at all time.
We must all also realize that there are many families, and in particular, children, across this Commonwealth who are not as fortunate as some of us. Statistics show that 1 child out of every 4 children lives in poverty. Some counties reflect that rate as high as 55%. Many school systems are financially strapped due to the amount of free lunches, and take home weekend meals that these kids are provided. We urge all our members, those who can afford, to donate food, clothing, money, etc, to those organizations that are deemed worthy and legitimate. A perfect way for our members is to harvest an extra deer and donate it to Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry. They have established a legitimate avenue of very worthy charities to donate the venison too, and it is getting to the intended targets. Some homeless shelters depend on this donated venison to feed those in need.
As stated above, these are also fearful times. We have enemies throughout the world who have pledged violence and terror here in our country. The shooting in San Bernandino which killed 14 innocent people is just the tip of the iceberg. We must also be prepared to protect our families, friends, and communities against these threats. Certainly, I am not talking about wild west shootouts or anything that would violate current law, but certainly safeguards can be taken. Take advantage of the Carry Concealed Permits, and if you do not have one, take the course and obtain the permit. Then, as with anything, practice…practice….practice. Hopefully you or your family will never be in a position where that practice will be required, but at least you are ready. Not only do we have the enemies abroad from the terrorist groups, but unfortunately we have our issues with the rampant use of heroin and meth that is causing devastation in some communities.
Simple safeguards can go a long way in preventing some crime. I have strategically placed several “deer trail camera’s” around my own home that capture photographs of everything occurring around my home. Granted, not as nearly effective as a monitored alarm system, but some folks just cannot afford those fees. I was able to catch two thieves and recover a stolen trailer from my home due to having them on camera. If you have a home, a deer cabin, or a barn, etc,….invest in a couple cameras and stash them where they are unseen to most trespassers. Law Enforcement officers have advised me that one big target for thieves are trucks with lots of outdoor stickers on them. While I love my “Bowtech” and “Mossy Oak” decals, I have now removed all of them after having my truck broken into and two black powder rifles stolen a few years back. It is like a big beacon that says “Hunter’s truck…..lots of good stuff”. All of my ladder stands now have cable locks on them, which is an unfortunate sign of the time as trespassers and thieves are active in the woods as well. This is Christmas time but don’t leave packages visible inside the vehicle if you park and go into another store. One big item that is occurring in my area this time of year is thieves cruising the subdivisions looking for packages laying on the porch that were dropped off by UPS, FEDEX, USPS, etc. If at all possible, send them to your work or the home of a friend that you know someone will be at, if you are gone during the day.
When I grew up as a child, most of our neighbors never even locked a door on their home or their vehicles. We knew all our neighbors and everyone watched out for each other. However, “the times they are a’changing”, and we must take precautions to work and protect all that is dear to us.
What is perhaps as important as anything is the quality and integrity of our Leaders. Sportsmen have excellent friends on both sides of the aisle and it is your duty and responsibility as an outdoors person, to investigate, read, listen to debates, and make your decisions on whom to support based upon that information acquired. I don’t vote on straight party lines, even as a conservative, because I might be eliminating someone from the other party that especially loves the outdoor sports as much as I do. Educate yourself and your voting family members and remember our biggest battles are fought in Washington and Frankfort, and we need good folks there who represent us. As the oldest line in politics goes……”If you don’t vote……don’t complain”. We have a long time until the next General Election, but in the interim, call your State Representative, State Senator, US Congressman, or US Senator, and let them know how you feel on every single issue affecting our passion. Believe me, the phone calls and emails are counted and they do bear a lot of weight.
Being an active sportsmen means much more than heading to the field, the water, or the duck blind. It means knowing the issues, knowing the candidates, and being able to protect your family, and help provide for others.
The LKS Board of Directors and myself wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
If you are a Sportsman, or Sportswoman, this is our cherished time of the year. Hunting seasons are going full bore and fall fishing is red hot. Our free time is consumed with antlers, feathers, and fins. However, this is also the time of year that can affect our passion and the future of our sport for generations to come.
Tuesday, November 3rd is Election Day. Here in Ky we have a very contested Governor’s Race, along with numerous state and local offices. On the National Level, we don’t have as much on the line here in KY, but primary’s are heating up for 2016. All you have to do is turn on the radio or television, or just ride down the road, to be inundated with ads proclaiming each person’s special qualities to serve, or too sadly, why the other guy is not fit to serve.
Note that the League is a 501 (c)3 corporation and thus we cannot endorse any political party or candidate. We can however lobby for issues or bills when the legislature is in session. However, the one thing we can do is show up at the voting booth and educate ourselves as to each candidate and their position on the items we hold dear. Take time and research the candidates and see where they stand on 2nd Amendment rights, hunting and fishing issues, land conservation, access to public hunting, and a myriad of other issues that have a direct impact on our sport.
By education, I don’t mean listening to their ads. Those ads are professionally prepared to tell you what you want to hear, not necessarily what they, in fact, perform. If they are an incumbent, research their voting record. Google up articles and speeches they have provided and get a feel for their actual heading. On the larger races such as Governor, I will also look up the donor lists for each candidate and see if groups like HSUS , PETA, Sierra Club, etc are major donors. That should be an immediate red flag to any sportsman. If they are new to politics, just send them an email or post on their Facebook Page, and ask them a question and see if you get a response.
We as sportsmen are our own worst enemy. Hunter apathy has been the biggest reason for losses we have incurred in various portions of the country. We seem to only respond when a group comes after something that we cherish, such as HSUS in Maine last year, and by then we are way behind. We need to be proactive and the best way to do that is at the ballot box and getting those folks in office whom we know support our lifestyle. If you are in a position to contribute to a candidate that supports our outdoors heritage, then by all means, send them a check, but be sure you let them know WHY you sent a check. If they get a check, they have no idea whether you are a sportsman, or a supporter of some other cause. We have to be vocal and we have to let them know that we are here in force, and at the ballot box in force.
Statistics have shown that less than 10% of the population hunt and fish. It also shows that less than 10% are adamantly opposed to hunting and fishing. It is the other 80% that we have to convince. Talk to your friends and family members who don’t hunt or fish, and encourage them to support your candidates of choice.
Showing up to vote on Tuesday, November 3rd is more important than showing up at your deer stand or duck blind on opening day, especially if you want to continue to enjoy those opening days. You owe it to the generations before you who fought for your rights, and you owe it to our future generations as well.
Ed Morris, LKS President, 2015-16
Well, it is that time of year that so many of us wait for with such great anticipation and expectation. Hunting season is upon us again and hopefully we have prepared and are ready to go. However, let’s take a second and review a few very important items that are overshadowed by thoughts of the air full of flying birds and big velvet racks.
All of us have families at home that need and hope we return safely. So many times we are so enthralled with the spirit of the hunt that we overlook items that can have so many dire ramifications. In addition, we sometimes forget that this is supposed to be fun and not a competition. Let’s discuss a few of these issues:
- Tree stand safety accounts for more accidents and fatalities than any other portion of the outdoor hunting community. Don’t assume those straps you put on that ladder stand or hang-on two years ago are still good. Replace them.
- 75% of serious tree stand falls occur while climbing up or down, now while actually setting in the stand. Most folks use safety harnesses and hook them up when they set in the stand. I would urge all of you to invest $35 in the safety lines with the Prussic knots that allow you to be safe from the time you leave the ground until you step off the last rung.
- Check your firearms from last season……deer hunters, bird hunters, etc. Clean them and make sure they are in good working order. A faulty safety or trigger can result in serious injury or death.
- Let someone know where you are hunting if you are going by yourself. Give them an approximate home arrival time. Always carry a cellphone on you so that a GPS coordinate can be used to locate you in case of an accident.
- Dress appropriately and carry extra. Many of those who waterfowl hunt have seen the day start at 40 degrees and end at -10. Carry a spare set of clothes, a blanket, etc, in a waterproof bag in your duck boat. Anyone that has never slipped while putting out decoys or retrieving a bird has not duck hunted very long. Hypothermia can set it in far less time than you can get in the boat and get back to the dock. I always have a fire making kit as well and a propane heater.
- Nobody should venture afield without a small first aid kit, and a small survival kit. A space blanket and a lighter can make all the difference in the world if you have to spend the night out unexpectedly.
- Make sure your vehicle is ready for bad weather……getting stuck in the back country in freezing temps is not fun at all.
- Sharpen your knives and keep them that way. More bad cuts are caused by dull knives and people forcing them to cut.
- Pay attention to your other loved one’s…your dogs. Heat or extreme cold can be deadly on our 4 legged friends. A warm truck and fresh water is little enough to provide them for how hard they work for us. Check their pads and coats and make sure their shots are all up to date.
- Just remember safety first……….everyone should go home at night!
The next item is to remember to get the kids out and let them enjoy. Remember to them it is just fun and don’t put pressure on them to kill the biggest buck or the most birds. Let them ask 100 questions if they want and never appear to be frustrated with them. Most of all, when they get tired and want to leave, pack up and go. If you force them to stay out, sit in the rain or cold, the next time you ask them to go, that last trip will be what is on their mind. Let them go home each time with a pleasant thought about their day afield.
That’s all for this version of the President’s message. I wish everyone a great, and most of all, a safe season afield. We live in a great state with great resources. Invite a friend along who maybe has never had the opportunity to go afield and hunt or fish. Introduce him to the outdoors and the League of Kentucky Sportsmen and you will have a friend for life.
Gotta go……….I have a tree stand calling my name……….
It was a great honor to have been elected President of the League of Ky Sportsmen for 2015-16, at our recent convention in Louisville. I am both humbled and excited to serve the fine sportsmen, sportswomen, and youth who participate in hunting, fishing, and outdoor activities in our state. We are fortunate to have the finest outdoor resources of any state in the Union and we need to continue to protect them.
80 years ago, a group of wise forward thinking individuals banded together with an idea to help conserve the diminishing resources in KY. They formed LKS and moved forward with a strong agenda to preserve our resources and our rights. They successfully lobbied the legislature to have the Ky Dept. of Fish & Wildlife removed from the normal hierarchy of state government to become its own entity. They fought to remove its funding from the General Fund and the whim of politicians, and to be a self sustaining agency, funded by hunting and fishing licenses, and matching taxes. Note that this was in 1935, prior to television, internet, cellphones, and social media. Telephones were only available in metropolitan areas. Yet, somehow these individuals were able to have the foresight, skills, and most of all, the determination to preserve our hunting and fishing heritage for their children and grandchildren.
Now today, we live in a world of instant information, and unfortunately instant gratification. We forget the battles that those before us fought to allow us the opportunities that we have today. Everyone should note that we are now living “ in the good old days”! Kentucky’s deer and elk herd is the envy of the nation. Our fishing resources are among the best in the world. It appears that small game is on the rebound. Many of us remember the days when if we saw a deer track, it was the highlight of a hunt. Now we have those who are only interested in a 160 class buck or a 10 lb bass. We need to return to the joy of just being outdoors, enjoying our time afield, and teaching our kids and grandkids how to have fun!
One big difference however between now and then, is the level of opposition to the sport and lifestyle that we love so much. In 1935 there were anti-hunters and anti-gun folks, but they were very limited and had very little influence. Move ahead to today however, and sportsmen are under attack every day. Our opponents are well organized, banded together, and very well funded. Witness the attacks on our sport last year in Maine, Michigan, and Minnesota if you have any doubt. However, while our opponents band together, work in well coordinated campaigns together, sportsmen have become splintered and tend to work for their own preferred outdoor activity. When LKS was founded in 1935, most of the current outdoor groups and organizations were not in existence. Ky sportsmen joined LKS to have a voice with the KDFWR and the legislature. As time has progressed, sportsmen have gravitated to their own groups. However, as the legendary Fred Bear said “if you are not working to protect hunting, then you are working to destroy hunting”. I will tell you as strongly as I can, that LKS fights groups such as HSUS and PETA every year when they introduce new legislation in Frankfort to limit your hunting and fishing rights. It is time for all sportsmen to reassert themselves and help fight these attacks.
LKS is NOT IN COMPETITION with all of these other sporting groups. LKS is NOT HOSTING FUNDRAISING BANQUETS in your area. LKS is NOT SOLICITING YOUR VENDORS OR MEMBERS. LKS is here to support all of these clubs and step to their aid and assistance when necessary. I myself am a member of QDMA, DU, RMEF, etc. All of these other outdoor groups do wonderful work and are a very important and valued entity in the outdoors community, but we must come together as our opponents do to defend our rights to hunt, fish, and own weapons.
It is time for the bickering and infighting between sportsmen’s groups to come to an end. We must realize that we are all in this together and that we need to represent a singular voice and presence when we walk into the halls of the Legislature. You may not be a trapper, or a houndsman, or a waterfowler, or deer hunt over feeders, hunt with crossbows, etc, but we must ALL be prepared to fight for their rights to do so, as your particular passion may be the next one under attack. We need to realize that we are not in competition with each other, but we all share a much larger and formidable opponent in the anti-hunting forces. Note that sport fishing is also becoming a target of the “anti’s” and more proposed legislation is being done annually to limit those opportunities.
I would encourage you to seek out a local LKS affiliated club and join and support those local clubs. Grass roots organizations are the strength of any group. By joining one of those clubs, you will become a member of LKS. If you have no clubs near you and want to join LKS, just go to www.kentuckysportsmen.com and join. Another option is to form your own club and join as a group. It only takes 15 members to become an affiliated LKS club, with voting rights, etc. I know some hunt clubs that have that many members. We have statewide affiliates such as QDMA, Quail Forever, UBK, DU, KY Trappers Association, Kentucky Taxidermy Association, that you can join as well. If you need any further information on how to join or affiliate, just contact us through the website and we will have someone local to your area contact you.
President, LKS, 2015-16
It comes with no surprise that with the Kentucky General Assembly now in full swing that a cadre of last minute legislation is hitting the floor.
Sportsmen need to take heed, paying close attention to legislation that could have drastic ramifications on your 2nd Amendment rights as well as infringe upon your right to hunt, fish and trap within the Commonwealth.
I like to think that most legislation is positively motivated. Alas, many personal, self-serving agendas, lacking broad appeal, like fish swimming upstream make it into a Bill. Many times the most innocuous, unassuming legislation harbors the greatest potential threat.
Caution is urged, read beyond the synopsis or recap that is offered of legislation. Dig deep into the body of the Bill, ask yourself at the end of each sentence…What does that mean? How does it affect me? What could that mean?
The 2014 Kentucky General Assembly currently has numerous firearm, fish & wildlife and animal Bills offered for consideration. While the list of Bills is daunting there are ways to cut to the chase so to speak.
I offer you a quick and easy link which will allow you the opportunity to stay abreast of current and newly introduced legislation. Simply follow this link… http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/14RS/record.htm then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Bill & Amendment Index – Headings. From this point you can search through the myriad listing of category specific legislation.
Being aware of and reviewing proposed legislation is only the first step. The next step, while easy, is where most fall short…that is to contact the sponsoring legislator(s), as well as your own representatives. It is important that you speak out in support of your beliefs. I assure there are those speaking to the contrary and making their voice heard. You can locate those that represent you from this link… http://www.lrc.ky.gov/
It’s true that a single voice can make a difference. Let yourself be heard…it is your God given, constitutional right to be heard by those that represent you.
Warm Barrels & Tight Lines.
There is no better time to than the New Year to kick off a redesigned website. This age of electronic media brings our membership closer together on topics and issues of interest.
Our newly formatted website is less cluttered, easier to read, contains active information from the National Rifle Association and the United States Sportsmen Alliance. Our ever growing Facebook page can also be accessed from the LKS website. The LKS Facebook page is a family oriented and is open to all. This is the perfect spot to ask a question, post a picture of your recent hunting or fishing trip or just to stay abreast of up to the minute news.
Visit the “Store” to pick up those one-of-a-kind League of Kentucky Sportsmen items. T-Shirts, Camp Chairs, Cutlery and more make great gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays or just to say thank you!
Renew your annual membership or sign up your friends and family on the website. You can even join the NRA from our website. Did you know that the League of Kentucky Sportsmen is the designated Statewide Affiliate for the National Rifle Association? That’s right; the League of Kentucky Sportsmen represents over 68,000 NRA members from across the state!
So while temperatures are plummeting and the wind is howling take a few minutes to experience all the latest features and benefits of the League of Kentucky Sportsmen!
Warm Barrels & Tight Lines,
Mark Nethery President
It’s been several months since I put pen to paper, make that fingers to keyboard. As much as I hate to keep up with the headlines, I do.
In just a few short months since my last writing we have seen government managed health care crash before ever getting off the runway, the NSA is listening to everyone’s phone calls, the Middle East is still in turmoil, Miley Cyrus is twerking uncontrollably, Nelson Mandela has passed away, it was announced that the Superbowl could potentially be played on a weekday if there is inclement weather and Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty was just booted off his own show. The travesty of it all.
I like to focus on the positive…it keeps my blood pressure down and I sleep better at night.
While the rest of the world is embroiled in headlines, those that enjoy our Commonwealth’s great outdoors, hunting, fishing, trapping, recreational shooting or just enjoying the view; have a lot to smile about.
Where do I start? Fall started with some spectacular foliage, a little sprinkle of snow and great temperatures to enjoy outside. Sportsmen and women of the Commonwealth are enjoying a record deer harvest, the first dedicated archery bear season was a success, Lake Cumberland is well on the mend from the dam project and reports from small game hunters seem to reflect a continued rebound in populations. Life is good for the sportsmen in Kentucky.
I still haven’t given you a good excuse as to why I am so tardy in delivering this message. It isn’t a factor of being lazy as I‘ve been quite busy. My health is good, plenty of fresh air, lots of exercise outdoors…mmm, maybe that’s the real reason.
The fact of the matter is I have many excuses, with most being found two paragraphs back. If enjoying the outdoors, hunting, fishing, working dogs or simply enjoying the view is culpable, then that’s my excuse and I hope it is your excuse also. Use it well and encourage others to do the same.
Warm Barrels & Tight Lines.
October is a magical time of year, one of my favorites.
Days grow shorter and shadows grow longer. Nights are cold and days are refreshing. The smell of a campfire and the glow of the flames bounce off our faces as we take in the night sky of twinkling lights.
This is the time of year that the sportsmen and women of our Commonwealth relish in the splendor of our country sides. more »
I had a softer, more gentle, politically correct letter written for this month but I have wadded it up and thrown it in the trash…much like what many have tried to do with our with our 2nd Amendment Rights.
I believe in the 2nd Amendment, I think you believe in the 2nd Amendment; but many in Washington, D.C. apparently do not believe in the 2nd Amendment. more »
Tomorrow morning I want you to walk out your door, close your eyes, take a deep breath, exhale and open your eyes.
Ask yourself if you are looking at the same world as just a few seconds before.
The answer is No. more »