Skip to main content

Archery Deer, Turkey Seasons on Deck in Kentucky

Archery Deer, Turkey Seasons on Deck in Kentucky
Kentucky archery seasons for deer and wild turkey open September 6. The good weather conditions this fall point toward productive archery hunting for these species. Kentucky hunters harvested a record 144,409 deer during the 2013-2014 deer seasons.

The days are growing shorter and cooler temperatures are starting to show up in extended forecasts.

The transition to fall is underway.

For Kentucky hunters, it started weeks ago with the opening of early fall squirrel season. Labor Day ushered in the start of dove season, and the onrush of hunting opportunities continues this weekend.

Archery deer and wild turkey seasons open statewide on Sat., Sept. 6 and run through Jan. 19, 2015.

The past two deer seasons produced new overall harvest records in Kentucky, and bowhunters helped set the pace for both. September saw record deer harvests the past three seasons.

“Given good weather conditions we’re on track for a similar season,” said Karen Waldrop, deputy commissioner with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

The deer herd remains in fine shape after a 2013-14 season that saw hunters harvest a record 144,409 animals, and conditions have been favorable for fawn survival.

“I still think if hunters want to get a deer they can get one,” said David Yancy, deer biologist with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.

Turkeys provide another fall hunting opportunity.

A good year of poult production could mean more young turkeys available to hunters, and should lead to improved hunting next spring.

“Hopefully that increase in production will in turn help boost our fall harvest this year,” said Steven Dobey, wild turkey biologist with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.

Two variables – the weather and the mast crop - could have big impacts.


Biologists wrapped up their annual mast survey this week and preliminary reports indicate red and white oaks will be better than last year. Hickory nut production appears spotty while American beech nut production generally seems to be poor around the state.

“It looks like we’re going to have an excellent crop of red oak acorns this year,” said Ben Robinson, small game biologist with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “White oaks look to be good as well, but not to the level of red oaks.”

Red and white oak acorns are valued as food sources by deer, turkey and other forest animals.

If this turns out to be a good year for white oaks, key on those because deer prefer them over the bitterer red oak acorns, Yancy said. One way to distinguish a red oak from a white oak is by looking at its leaves. Red oak leaves have pointed lobes while white oaks have rounded lobes.

“You need to be doing the legwork to figure out what the deer are using,” Yancy said. “Where are the acorn-bearing oaks?”

Wild turkeys aren’t as finicky about hard mast, Dobey said, but they will concentrate around acorn-bearing oaks.

“To improve your success in the fall go out and do some preseason or in-season scouting to identify where the natural foods are,” he said. “If the turkeys are there, position yourself in the landscape to try to intersect those birds as they’re moving from roosting to feeding areas.”

Last season’s fall turkey harvest was down 39 percent, a drop attributed to extensive rainfall during major hunting timeframes. The two shotgun seasons have accounted for 77 percent of the entire fall turkey harvest over the past decade, Dobey said.

“In years where we have really abundant mast production, our deer and turkey harvests typically decline,” he said. “That’s because they don’t have to wander. When they wander, they encounter hunters. If there’s really good acorn production, head to the woods and find the food there. In doing so, hunters can increase their success in years of above average acorn production.”

For more information about the deer and fall turkey seasons, including legal equipment and bag limits, consult the 2014-15 Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide. It is available online at or wherever licenses are sold.

Editor’s Note: Kevin Kelly is a staff writer for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Get the latest from Kevin and the entire Kentucky Afield staff by following them on Twitter: @kyafield.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Sometimes you have to fish a bait that allows you to cover a lot of water efficiently. When you're on the search for bass that have moved into deeper water off the bank and away from obvious holding spots, a swimbait can locate them.

On the Search with Swimbaits

One of the best imitations of a wounded baitfish is the soft-plastic jerkbait, or fluke. A fluke darting just beneath the surface can be too much for a bass to resist. Rig it and fish it according to water conditions and cover to make this great bait even more effective.

Fun with Flukes

There are three models in SPRO's Outsider crankbait series: 55 (runs 3-4 feet), 60 (7-9) and 80 (19-21). Professional bass angler Jonathan Kelley goes over the specifics at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

SPRO's New Outsider Crankbait Series: First Look

Professional bass angler Jonathan Kelley highlights the features of SPRO's new lures at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

New Essential Series Spinnerbaits and Buzzbaits from SPRO

Syd Ribes with Sea Falcon highlights four new lures for saltwater fishing. At ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

New Lineup of Lures from Sea Falcon

Syd Ribes highlights two new saltwater lures from SPRO: Flutter Tail Shrimp and Cannon Ball Jig. At ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

New Saltwater Lures from SPRO

AFTCO's Matt Florentino highlights the features of the new Barricade cold-weather suit, a Best of Category winner at ICAST 2022 in Orlando. With Game & Fish's Adam Heggenstaller.

New from AFTCO: Barricade Cold Weather Tactical Gear

Three-time ICAST Best of Category winner Bubba covers it all with new knives set. With Bubba's Matt Kinamore and Game & Fish's  Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

4-in-1 Bubba Multi Flex Cutlery Kit

The innovative landing net will weigh and measure your catch while it's still in the net. Best of Category winner at ICAST 2022. With Game & Fish's Adam Heggenstaller.

Award-Winning Frabill Witness Net 'Keeps You Honest'

Game & Fish Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now