Finalized Kentucky Deer Regulations for 2018

From the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources:

New Regulations Finalized for Kentucky’s 2018-19 Deer Season

Some changes to Kentucky’s deer hunting regulations are now in effect for the 2018-19 season.  These changes are highlighted below.

For more information, consult the updated 2018-19 Kentucky Hunting & Trapping Guide.  The printed version of the updated fall Hunting & Trapping Guide guide will be available by mid to late September at locations that sell hunting and fishing licenses. You can always find up-to-date hunting, fishing and boating guides and other related information at our website, fw.ky.gov.

2018-19 Deer Seasons Chart

Significant Changes for this Season

Season Structure

  • Modern gun deer season will now be 16 days across all zones (Zones 1,2,3,4)

Deer Permits

  • Deer Permit now allows holder to harvest up to 4 deer (zone bag limits apply)
  • Youth Deer Permit now allows holder to harvest up to 4 deer (zone bag limits apply)
  • Sportsman’s License, Senior Sportsman’s License & Disabled Sportsman’s License each now allow holders to harvest up to 4 deer (zone bag limits apply)
  • Hunters may harvest more deer by purchasing Additional Deer Permits (2 deer per permit; zone bag limits apply)

Bag limits by zone

  • Hunters may still only take 1 buck statewide during the season; this has not changed.
  • Each zone’s bag limit is now separate (not cumulative across zones); hunters may now harvest up to the zone-specific bag limit in each zone, if they have valid deer permits to do so
  • Zone 1 – Hunters may harvest an unlimited number of antlerless deer with purchase of Additional Deer Permits
  • Zone 2 – Hunters may harvest up to 4 deer
  • Zone 3 – Hunters may harvest up to 4 deer, no more than 1 antlerless deer may be taken with a firearm or qualifying air gun
  • Zone 4 – Hunters may harvest up to 2 deer (one antlered. one antlerless), no antlerless deer harvest during October muzzleloader season, modern gun season and the first 6 days of December muzzleloader season. While hunters may only harvest 2 deer each in Zone 4, they may harvest the 2 remaining deer on their Deer Permit (or on a Sportsman’s License) in Zones 1-3

Explanation of bag limits by zone:

  • Hunters may now take a separate bag limit of deer in each zone. For example, during the season, a hunter may take: 2 deer in Zone 4; plus 4 deer in Zone 3; plus four deer in Zone 2; plus an unlimited number of antlerless deer in Zone 1. Note that Additional Deer Permits (two deer per permit) are required to harvest more than 4 deer.  As always, a hunter may only harvest 1 antlered deer (buck) statewide.
  • Why the change? In Kentucky, fewer than 7 percent of successful hunters take more than 2 deer in a season; fewer than 1 percent take more than 4 deer.  Kentucky Fish & Wildlife encourages hunters to help manage the state’s deer population through legal hunting during the deer season by: 1) harvesting more does in Zone 1 counties; and 2) helping farmers who are experiencing crop damage from deer by harvesting more does. We also encourage hunters to consider donating part of their harvest to Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry to help feed those in need.

Deer Zones

  • 32 counties have changed deer zones this season:
    • Zone 1 – Union, Henderson, McLean, Muhlenberg, Todd, Mercer, Mason and Hart counties have changed to Zone 1 from Zone 2
    • Zone 2 – Warren, Allen, Monroe, Barren, Metcalfe, Adair, Edmonson, Butler, Breckinridge, Meade, Hancock, Daviess, Taylor, Casey, Lincoln, Boyle, Madison, Clark, Montgomery and Bath counties have changed to Zone 2 from Zone 3
    • Zone 3 – Garrard, Pulaski, Wayne and Laurel counties have changed to Zone 3 from Zone 4

 Deer Zones

 

Background

These changes began in 2016, with a survey of hunters and their suggestions for changes to the deer regulations. During the following year, the department held a number of meetings with advisory groups and sportsman’s groups to craft new deer management regulations that served the best interests of hunters and landowners as a whole.

The Wildlife Committee of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission (board) discussed these changes at a public meeting held in February 2018. The full Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission voted on these changes during a public meeting held in March 2018.

The department followed these public discussions with press releases detailing each proposed change and the reasons behind each.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife values input from the public on all proposed regulations. The Commission conducts quarterly public meetings in December, March, June and September. The Commission conducts Committee meetings in November, February, May and August. These are open to the public. Check the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website at fw.ky.gov for agendas.

We hope you have a great hunting season and thank you for your support!

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