KDFWR Encourages Antlerless Deer Harvest

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Kentucky’s modern gun deer season opened Saturday, November 8, throughout the Commonwealth and wildlife biologists who manage the state’s deer herd are encouraging hunters to take as many antlerless deer as they legally can.

At the onset of the deer archery season in early September, Forest Systems Coordinator Jonathan Day, of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR), expected the statewide herd size to be in excess of 800,000 animals.

“We’d like to have a harvest of 120,000 or so to help keep herd numbers stable, and taking more antlerless deer than antlered bucks is key,” said Day.

“Doe harvest is important in herd management and to the goal of providing better class bucks out there,” the biologist explains.

Taking a sufficient number of antlerless deer helps balance the herd, control growth and can increase the quality of the buck population. Fewer antlerless deer reduces competition for living space and food, and increases productivity. Hunters who may not have personal need for venison from more than one deer are encouraged to consider donating the extra meat to Kentucky Hunter’s For the Hungry, or share it with family and friends.

Kentucky’s season offers ample opportunity to take multiple deer, and Day hopes hunters will do just that, especially in Zone 1 and 2 counties where herd densities are higher.

One change in season regulations this year is that any deer with visible antler, except button bucks (male fawns), is considered a legally antlered buck for harvest recording purposes. Hunters are permitted to take one legally antlered deer per license year, unless participating in a public land quota hunt or hunting on special federal lands hunts.

All hunters are reminded that wearing visible hunter orange clothing on the head, back and chest is required when any deer firearms season is open. Recording deer taken on a hunter harvest log before moving the deer, and calling the automated telecheck system to report harvest is mandatory for all successful hunters. Harvested deer must be reported by phone by midnight of the day the animal is recovered, and the check-in confirmation number for each deer must be written down and retained with the hunter harvest log while afield during the entire season. The toll-free deer check-in phone number is 1-800-245-4263.

Persons who take their deer to a meat processor must include their confirmation number, name and telephone number on a carcass tag which proves the animal has been reported as the law requires, and that identifies who owns the deer. Deer must be checked-in and bear a check-in confirmation number, along with the hunter’s name and phone number, before leaving the possession of the hunter who took the deer for any reason.

During opening weekend of the modern gun deer season, hunters who have questions about any requirements or procedures may contact the KDFWR Information Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern at 1-800-858-1549. Personnel can assist in answering questions about deer season.

Lastly, hunters should remember that trespassing is against the law. You cannot go onto private property for any reason without first receiving permission from the landowner or tenant. It is the responsibility of every hunter to know the boundaries of the property on which he hunts, and respect those boundaries accordingly. Ignorance is not an excuse.

For complete hunting season information, obtain a copy of the 2003-04 Kentucky Fall Hunting & Trapping Guide.