In Nov. 6-12 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
Saturday morning marks the beginning of White-tailed deer season for the state's 254,000 gun hunters and in Russell County, with temperatures forecast to be in the 30's at daybreak on opening morning, hundreds of local hunters are preparing to head to the deer woods to hunt Kentucky's most popular big game.
Russell County, located in zone 3 of the state's hunting zones, will see hunters using modern firearms in the woods through November 17.
In 2007 alone, the county saw a total of 351 deer checked in with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. Of those, 167 were bucks while 184 were does. Last year's harvest was down more than 100 from the previous year, according to the KDFWR.
"The deer harvest to this point is up from last year," said Tina Brunjes, big game program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, in a news release. "That's partly due to good weather, but also indicative that we've got a lot of deer."
Kentucky's total deer herd is estimated at one million, according to state statistics.
State reports suggest that hunters should focus on white oaks this year when looking for deer food sources as red oak acorns will be scarce due to the late freeze in the spring of 2007.
Last year's reported county harvests show that 41 deer were taken with a bow and arrow, 52 taken by muzzleloader, 15 by crossbow and 243 by modern firearm, according to statistics provided by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.
With most Russell County deer being taken during these two weeks, deer will be more likely to roam near roadways, making this a dangerous time of year for motorists.
As of Monday, the county has seen 30 bucks taken against 45 does, state statistics show. Of these, 30 deer have been taken by archery, 31 by muzzleloader, six by crossbow and eight by modern firearm.
Archery season for deer began September 6 and runs through January 19 of next year. The eight deer reported taken in the county by modern guns were taken by youths during the annual youth hunt weekend. The statewide event is held to get youth more involved in the outdoors and gives them a chance to harvest a deer before the modern gun deer season begins.
The state already had one weekend of muzzleloader hunting and another week, December 13-21, is slated for the muzzleloader hunter as well.
Crossbow hunters will be able to hunt November 8 through December 31 in Russell County.
In zone 3, a hunter may take no more than four deer total and combined with zones 2 and 4. Two deer may be taken using the statewide permit and up to two more antlerless deer may be taken using one bonus antlerless-only deer permit, according to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
Of these, all four deer may be taken with archery or crossbow equipment and a hunter may take no more than two deer with a firearm.
A hunter is limited to one deer with visible antlers, excluding button bucks, per license year statewide, except additional antlered deer may be taken on WMA or State Park quota hunts or federal areas, according to fish and wildlife officials.
All paper licenses and permits must be signed and all information completed before hunting, according to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Kentucky's Hunter Orange Clothing Law requires all hunters hunting for any type of game during the modern gun and muzzleloader deer seasons to wear solid, unbroken blaze (hunter) orange visible from all sides on the head, back and chest, according to Kentucky state law.
Taking off hunter orange after arriving at your hunting spot violates this law, therefore, hunter orange must be kept on at all times while hunting during the state's modern firearm deer season.
Hunter education is required for all hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1975, except kids under 12 and hunters who are license exempt, according to state wildlife officials.
However, a one-time temporary hunter education exemption permit is available for $5 online at fw.ky.gov, which allows hunting for one year from the date of purchase without a hunter education card while accompanied by a legal adult hunter who meets Kentucky's hunter education requirement.
Adults planning to take a youth hunter with them must accompany them throughout the hunt and must be able to take immediate control of the youth hunter's firearm at all times.
For more information on this upcoming modern gun season for deer, visit fw.ky.gov