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Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission Proposes New Hunting Regulations

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission proposed several new deer, elk and small game hunting regulations at its quarterly meeting Dec 8.

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. Legislators must approve regulation recommendations before they become law.

In elk-related business, the commission proposed keeping the number of elk permits at 710 for the 2018-2019 elk seasons. The commission recommended issuing 250 bull permits, comprised of 100 bull elk archery and 150 bull elk firearm permits. The commission also proposed issuing 450 antlerless elk permits, comprised of 160 archery and 290 antlerless elk firearms permits.

In other elk-related business, the commission recommended including a question on the post-season survey for drawn elk hunters concerning elk wounded, but not recovered, by the hunter. Survey completion for drawn elk hunters will be mandatory.

In deer-related business, the commission proposed changes for deer quota hunts on wildlife management areas and quota hunts in general. These changes would become effective for the 2018-2019 deer seasons:

Create a 10 percent cap on non-resident quota hunt participants.
Adjust party applications for quota hunts to the average preference point total for the entire party.
Move the West Kentucky Wildlife Management Area (WMA) deer quota hunt to the third Saturday in December to facilitate the upcoming American Kennel Association’s retriever championship. The deer quota hunt on the area reverts to the normal timeframe of the third Saturday in November for the 2019 hunting season.
Move the Dewey Lake WMA deer quota hunt to the first weekend in November.
In other quota hunt-related business, the commission recommended removing the requirement that quota hunt applicants must enter their Social Security number to apply. Quota hunt applications will become online only. Applications by phone will be phased out after June 2018.

The commission will consider deer season dates and zone adjustments at the March, 2018 quarterly commission meeting.

In small game-related business, the commission proposed eliminating the upland bird quota hunt on Clay WMA in Nicholas, Bath and Fleming counties. They proposed replacing it with a two-day per week hunt framework where hunters could hunt on Tuesdays and Saturdays with a 3 p.m. closure daily. The open season would run from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31. Hunters must check-in and out at a self-service kiosk, display a hang-tag in their vehicle and must complete a hunting log each day. The daily bag limit for these hunts are four quail and two grouse.

In other small game-related business, the commission proposed eliminating the Peabody WMA quail quota hunts and replacing it with a two-day per week structure with a 3 p.m. daily closure. On the Ken Unit of Peabody WMA, hunters may hunt quail on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Hunters may hunt quail on Thursdays and Saturdays on the Sinclair Unit of Peabody WMA. The season would run from the Monday following the close of modern gun deer season until Feb. 10. Similar to Clay WMA, hunters must check-in and out at a self-service kiosk, display a hang-tag in their vehicle and complete a hunting log each day. The daily bag limit is four quail.

The commission also recommended rabbit hunters check-in and out at self-service kiosks on the Ken and Sinclair Units of Peabody WMA, Clay WMA and Rockcastle River WMA in Pulaski County. They must display hang-tags in their vehicles and complete a daily hunting log. Season dates, bag limits and general hunting requirements for rabbit, quail and grouse hunting on Rockcastle River WMA will mirror these requirements on Clay WMA.

These small game changes would become effective for the 2018-2019 hunting seasons.

The commission also proposed a set of minimum standards for new agreements for Hunting Access Areas (HAA). All properties shall be accessible by a public thoroughfare with a minimum tract size of 100 acres. They shall be open to public hunting and have a leash law for dogs, except from Nov. 1 through Feb. 28.

Agreements in the elk restoration zone shall be signed and completed by June 1 in order to be eligible for an elk permit for the upcoming season. If Kentucky Fish and Wildlife and the landowner determines that special elk hunting restrictions are warranted, then a Limited Entry Area (LEA) will be created around the enrolled land or the hunters may be placed using the voucher sign-up process to limit elk hunters if deemed a better fit by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.

The next regularly scheduled Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting will be 8:30 a.m. (Eastern time), Friday, March 9, 2018. Meetings are held at Kentucky Fish and Wildlife headquarters, located at 1 Sportsman’s Lane off U.S. 60 in Frankfort.