Kentucky Enforces Wildlife Feeding Regulations

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Landowners should be aware of a new wildlife feeding regulation now in effect. From March 1 through July 31, wildlife may not be fed with grain, seed or manufactured animal feed outside the curtilage of the home – the area immediately surrounding a home or group of homes. The regulation was made to protect the health of wildlife, especially Kentucky’s large wild turkey flock.

"Concentrations of shelled corn and other grains exposed to heat and moisture can serve as a reservoir for aflatoxins, a byproduct of common molds that can be fatal to turkeys," said Steven Dobey, turkey program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. "Ultimately, this measure will increase the protection and overall health of Kentucky's wild turkey flock."

The new wildlife feeding regulation also helps Kentucky's conservation officers enforce regulations already on the books. Current laws prohibit turkey hunters from hunting over any area where bait is present, or for thirty days after the bait has been removed.

"In the past few years, we have had more baited areas than we can get to," said Major David Casey, assistant director of law enforcement for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. "Unethical hunters use grain or seeds to attract turkeys where they can be illegally poached."

"Turkeys are very susceptible to bait," Casey continued. "We in law enforcement believe a significant number of birds are being taken illegally over baited areas. This law will help the enforcement officers know that the bait they find is being used to help a poacher take turkeys."

The new regulation does not prohibit feeding wildlife within the curtilage of the home, or recreational feeding such as backyard bird feeders or feeding ducks and geese at parks. It doesn’t apply to municipal areas where hunting and trapping are not allowed. The regulation does not prohibit food plots and does not apply to normal agricultural practices.