The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission proposed the dates of the 2016-2017 deer seasons, changes to deer zones and slight modifications for elk hunting at its quarterly meeting Dec. 4.
Commission members proposed deer zone changes for Hardin, Webster and Marion counties. They also recommended modifying deer hunting regulations on four wildlife management areas (WMAs).
The commission also recommended keeping the number of elk permits the same as last year and created two new limited entry areas (LEAs) for elk hunting.
The commission recommends all hunting, fishing and boating regulations for approval by the General Assembly and approves all expenditures by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. All recommendations must be approved by legislators before they become law.
2016-2017 deer season dates (no changes from last season, dates reflect calendar shift)
Archery: Sept. 3, 2016 – Jan. 16, 2017, either sex
Crossbow: Oct. 1 – Oct. 16; Nov. 12 – Dec. 31, 2016, either sex
Early Youth Weekend: Oct. 8 – 9, 2016, either sex
Zones 1, 2 and 3: Oct. 15 – 16, 2016, either sex
Zone 4: antlered only
Zones 1 and 2: Nov. 12 – Nov. 27, 2016, either sex
Zone 3: Nov. 12 – Nov. 21, 2016, either sex
Zone 4: Nov. 12 – Nov. 21, 2016, antlered only
Late Muzzleloader: statewide: Dec. 10 – Dec. 18, 2016
Zone 4: Dec. 10 – Dec. 18, 2016, antlered only
Dec. 16 – Dec. 18, 2016, either sex
Late Youth Weekend: Dec. 31, 2016 – Jan. 1, 2017, either sex
Bag limits remain the same as last season.
In other deer-related business, the commission recommended a few zone changes. Hardin and Webster counties change from Zone 2 to Zone 1 while Marion County moves from Zone 3 to Zone 2.
They also proposed several changes to deer hunting on some public lands. These changes will be effective for the 2016-2017 deer seasons:
Open Knobs State Forest and WMA in Bullitt County for the youth firearms deer season.
Open Grayson Lake WMA in Carter and Elliott counties for the late muzzleloader season under statewide regulations.
Remove the one deer per season bag limit on Higginson-Henry WMA in Union County and place the area under statewide bag limits.
On Big Rivers State Forest and WMA in Union and Crittenden counties, create an archery/crossbow only quota hunt from the Monday following the October youth deer weekend through Nov. 30 and close the area to all deer hunting except quota hunts during this period.
Allow drawn hunters on Kentucky Fish and Wildlife quota hunts to bring one assistant with them on the hunt. The assistant must check in and check out with the drawn quota hunter.
In elk-related business, the Commission recommended keeping the number of elk quota hunter permits at the current level of 910. They also proposed allowing elk landowner permit holders to hunt on private property adjacent to the enrolled land if the adjacent landowner grants permission for elk hunting.
In other elk-related business, the commission proposed creating two Limited Entry Areas (LEAs). One will encompass the new lands as part of the Revelation Energy Hunting Access Area in Floyd, Martin and Pike counties and will be called Tug Fork LEA. The other encompasses the Fishtrap WMA in Pike County and will be called the Levisa Fork LEA. As this area is an active elk release site, it will remain closed to elk hunting until the herd reaches a harvestable population.
The commission also proposed creating an easy to use checking requirement for deer harvested with out-of-season permits. They also proposed allowing Kentucky Fish and Wildlife to establish temporary hunting seasons and regulations for newly acquired properties.
The commission also recommended allowing slingshots as legal equipment for taking small game.
The next Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. (Eastern time) Friday, March 4, 2016. Meetings are held in the Arnold Mitchell Building, located at 1 Sportsman’s Lane in Frankfort.