The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission at its quarterly meeting Dec. 7 proposed removing the elk hunting unit system for the 2013-2014 elk seasons. Commission members also voted to modify deer hunting regulations on select wildlife management areas (WMAs) along with some small game regulations.
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 effective for the 2013-2014 elk season, the commission proposed removing the elk hunt unit system and creating three limited entry areas (LEAs). Hunters not drawn to hunt in a limited entry area could hunt anywhere else within the 16-county elk restoration zone where they have permission to do so.
The restriction that only two other persons could assist a drawn elk hunter will be removed. The elk lottery application start date will move to Jan. 1, beginning with the 2014 elk season.
In other elk-related business, the commission will replace the three-day youth-only elk hunt on Paul Van Booven WMA in Breathitt County with a youth hunt of 10 hunters who may hunt the elk restoration zone (outside the LEAs) for all elk seasons. The commission also proposed an amendment to the elk hunting regulations allowing a drawn hunter to participate the following year if a death in the immediate family prevents the hunter from participating in the elk hunt for which the person was drawn.
In deer-related business, the commission recommended several changes to public land deer hunting on wildlife management areas. These changes will not affect the current hunting seasons, but will be effective for the 2013-2014 deer seasons:
* On Miller-Welch Central Kentucky WMA in Madison County, the archery deer season will now run from Monday through Thursday from the first Saturday in September through Dec. 17, then daily for the remainder of the season. Previously, archery deer hunters could only hunt on Wednesdays during the early period. Crossbows will be allowed for deer hunting when allowed by statewide seasons on this area.
* On Taylorsville Lake WMA in Spencer, Anderson and Nelson counties, hunters will be able to earn up to four preference points, one for each female deer checked in during the antlerless only quota hunt.
* The 15-inch outside spread antler restriction will be removed from Higginson-Henry WMA in Union County and Beaver Creek WMA in McCreary and Pulaski counties.
* On Redbird WMA in Clay and Leslie counties, only archery and crossbow hunting will be allowed for deer.
* On Paul Van Booven WMA, the vehicle restriction after dark and the deer quota hunts are removed. The area will be open to statewide regulations for all deer seasons.
* The October deer muzzleloader season will now be open on Clay WMA in Nicholas, Bath and Fleming counties.
* The mobility impaired deer hunts will alternate annually from Zilpo or Twin Knobs Campgrounds on Cave Run Lake, instead of on both campgrounds simultaneously.
In small game-related business, the commission recommended allowing .25-caliber air rifles to take small game for the 2013-14 season. They also proposed allowing an experimental hunting framework for bobwhite quail on the Sinclair Tract of Peabody WMA, beginning with the 2013-14 season. This would allow biologists to learn more about quail harvest thresholds. During the statewide quail hunting season next year, hunters could use this tract from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, but will have to check in daily at the Peabody WMA office. They will also have their hunter harvest logs visible in the windshield of their vehicle and fill them out upon check-out from the area.
The next Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting will be held at 8:30 a.m., Friday, March 8, 2013 at #1 Sportsman’s Lane off U.S. 60 in Frankfort. Persons interested in addressing the commission must notify the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner’s office in writing at least 30 days in advance of the committee meetings on Feb. 1, 2013 to be considered for placement on the commission meeting agenda. People who are hearing-impaired and plan to attend the meeting should contact Kentucky Fish and Wildlife at least 10 days in advance and the agency will provide a translator. To request to address the commission, write to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, Commissioner Dr. Jon Gassett, #1 Sportsman’s Lane, Frankfort, Kentucky, 40601.