The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission proposed several new deer and elk hunting regulations at its quarterly meeting Dec 2.
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.
In elk-related business, the commission proposed dropping the number of elk permits from 910 to 710 for the 2017-2018 elk seasons. The reductions will come from the cow elk archery and cow elk firearms permits.
The commission also proposed creating a mechanism to award an elk tag to landowners who allow elk trapping for restoration purposes. They also recommended reducing the number of applicants for group area applications from five to three for elk quota hunts. Drawn hunters may use any legal weapon during the 7-day firearms elk hunts.
In other elk-related business, the commission proposed creating two new elk management units (EMUs): the Knott-Floyd EMU and the Mayking EMU. They also recommended removing the Knott County EMU and Stoney Fork EMU.
In deer-related business, the commission recommended changes to deer hunting regulations for the 2017-2018 seasons. Commission members voted to allow air rifles .35-caliber and larger and powered by an external compression tank during the modern gun deer season.
The commission also recommended changes to deer hunting tagging requirements to allow hunters to remove the hide or head from a deer carcass before telechecking the animal. Hunters must still complete their hunter log at the time of harvest. Those processing deer in the field must ensure a proof of the animal’s sex in their possession if the carcass is cut into pieces, deboned or the head and hide removed. All pieces of the carcass that prove the sex of the deer must be transported together.
The commission also proposed changes for deer hunting on state parks, wildlife management areas and other public lands. These changes go into effect for the 2017-2018 deer seasons:
Require an unbroken hunter orange item the size of a hat or vest be firmly secured to all manufactured ground blinds while occupied on wildlife management areas (WMAs) open for modern gun deer season, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife quota deer hunts and the early and late muzzleloader deer seasons.
Remove the one deer per day daily bag limit on all Kentucky Fish and Wildlife quota hunts. Quota hunt bag limits now default to the bag limit applicable to the county in which the hunter is located.
Remove the 15-inch inside spread antler restriction for deer on all WMAs.
Open the following WMAs to early youth deer season and free youth weekend: Redbird WMA in Clay and Leslie counties, Beaver Creek WMA in McCreary and Pulaski counties, Mill Creek WMA in Jackson County, T.N. Sullivan WMA in Franklin County, Mullins WMA in Kenton County, Twin Eagle WMA in Owen County, Dennis-Gray WMA in Adair County, Green River WMA in Taylor and Adair counties and Rockcastle River WMA in Pulaski County.
The following WMAs will open to the late muzzleloader deer season: Dewey Lake WMA in Floyd County, Fishtrap Lake WMA in Pike County, Paintsville Lake WMA in Johnson and Morgan counties, Ping-Sinking Valley WMA in Pulaski County, Knobs State Forest and WMA in Bullitt County, Mullins WMA in Kenton County, Twin Eagle WMA in Owen County, Veterans Memorial WMA in Scott County, Dr. James R. Rich WMA in Owen County, Griffith Woods WMA in Harrison County, John A. Kleber WMA in Franklin and Owen counties, John C. Williams WMA in Nelson County, Kentucky River WMA in Henry and Owen counties, T.N. Sullivan WMA in Franklin County, Curtis Gates Lloyd WMA in Grant County, Taylorsville Lake WMA in Spencer, Anderson and Nelson counties, and Yellowbank WMA in Breckinridge County.
Open Mill Creek WMA in Jackson County to the first weekend of modern firearms deer season and remove the deer quota hunt on the area.
Open Rockcastle River WMA in Pulaski County to the first weekend of modern firearms deer season as well as the archery and crossbow deer seasons under statewide regulations.
Open the newly acquired Rolling Fork WMA in Nelson and LaRue counties under statewide regulations for deer hunting.
On Taylorsville Lake WMA in Spencer, Anderson and Nelson counties, remove the third deer quota hunt in January. Remove also the preference points for harvested female deer and the antlerless only requirement on the first Taylorsville WMA quota hunt.
On West Kentucky WMA in McCracken County, drop the last day (Wednesday) of the five-day deer quota hunt and create a mentor shotgun-only deer quota hunt on the “A” tract of the area during the normal December quota deer hunt.
On Big Rivers WMA and State Forest in Crittenden and Union counties, allow for small game hunting and the October shotgun season for turkey during the archery/crossbow quota hunt on the area.
Create unmanned Kentucky Fish and Wildlife administered quota deer hunts on the following state resort parks: Kincaid Lake State Park in Pendleton County, Dale Hollow State Resort Park in Cumberland and Clinton counties and Kenlake State Resort Park in Marshall and Calloway counties.
Remove the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife check stations at Lake Barkley State Resort Park in Trigg County and Greenbo Lake State Resort Park in Greenup County.
Create special deer hunts on the following state parks: Taylorsville Lake State Park in Spencer County, John James Audubon State Park in Henderson, My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown, Greenbo Lake State Resort Park in Greenup County, Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park in Robertson County and Carter Caves State Resort Park in Carter County.
The next regularly scheduled Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting will be 8:30 a.m. (Eastern time), Friday, March 17, 2017. Meetings are held at Kentucky Fish and Wildlife headquarters, located at 1 Sportsman’s Lane off U.S. 60 in Frankfort.