Kentucky Posts Second-Highest Deer Harvest on Record

Kentucky Posts Second-Highest Deer Harvest on Record
Kentucky hunters telechecked 138,892 deer during the 2014-2015 deer season that closed Jan. 19. This is the second highest total on record. Kentucky deer hunters bagged a record 144,409 deer in the 2013-2014 season.

After two seasons of record harvests, Kentucky’s deer hunters kept the pace up this past season.

The 2014-15 season closed on Jan. 19 with 138,892 deer checked; the second highest total on record and third consecutive season with a harvest exceeding 130,000 deer.

“I’m happy,” said Gabe Jenkins, deer and elk program coordinator with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “There are a lot of deer on the landscape, and we’re seeing an uptick in license sales. We’re providing hunting opportunity and our hunters are able to be successful. As an agency, that’s what we want to do.”

A record 144,409 deer were taken during the 2013-14 season when a spotty acorn crop put deer on the move.


Acorns were plentiful across much of the state this time around. Recognizing this, many hunters likely shifted their focus from field edges to the timber and travel corridors instead.


A strong opening month and an unprecedented start to the modern gun deer season emerged as key drivers.

“The three seasons where we have had our three greatest harvests have featured big Novembers,” said David Yancy, deer biologist with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “And there’s no question September has become more important or more interesting to hunters. I think hunters have gotten to where they like it and can’t wait to get out there.”

Hunters checked 5,928 deer in September, the third highest total on record for that month. Favorable weather across the state spurred a record harvest on opening weekend of modern gun deer season.

Compared to the previous season, the modern gun harvest finished at 102,889, down less than 2 percent from the season before.


Archers bagged 18,368 deer and muzzleloader hunters 14,673. Crossbow hunters accounted for 2,962 of the harvest total.

Owen County again led the state. Hunters there checked 3,470 whitetails. Pendleton County was next with 3,305 followed by Crittenden County at 3,224, Christian County at 3,062 and Graves County at 2,964.

The majority of deer taken were male. Female deer accounted for 45.7 percent of the overall harvest.


Biologists estimated the statewide herd at 1 million deer entering this past season. Herd estimates are derived through computer modeling that takes into account harvest and age structure data.

Looking ahead, the prospects are promising for a strong 2015-16 season.

“We really had a more pronounced December and January rut,” Jenkins said. “Those late ruts are usually an indicator of herd health. I heard a lot of people talking about fawns cycling in January. That’s strictly related to health; the fact that they’re good, fat and capable of doing that. More than likely, they will have a fawn, and that equates to more fawns on the landscape this spring which equates to more hunting opportunity next season.”

The Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide annually features a list of trophy bucks harvested the previous season that met qualifications for entry into the Boone and Crockett Club’s record books. A buck must net score 160 or higher typical or 185 or higher non-typical, as determined by the Boone and Crockett scoring system.

Hunters who want their trophy included in the list should send a non-returnable photo, copies of the completed and signed score sheets, and include the county in which the deer was taken and the equipment used to harvest the deer to: Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide, #1 Sportsman’s Lane, Frankfort, KY 40601 by May 1, 2015. The same information may also be submitted electronically by emailing info.center@ky.gov.

“Our Boone and Crockett submission numbers have been high over the past five years,” Jenkins said. “That’s a good indicator of health and herd quality.”

Editor’s Note: Author 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 Kelly 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

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Berkley

Berkley's New Terminal Tackle

OSG's Lynn Burkhead and Chad LaChance, host of World Fishing Network's Fishful Thinker television show, talk about Berkley's new innovative terminal tackle being introduced at ICAST 2019.

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

From rugged reliability to smooth integration of cutting edge technology across several different platforms, OSG's Lynn Burkhead learns that there's much to like about the new Optimum and Optimum TS downriggers from Canon.

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

Fresh off catching the biggest bass in ICAST Cup history, 13 Fishing pro Jessie Mizell shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Big Squirm soft plastic worm and the company's unique Pathfinder topwater walking bait that is totally weedless in design.

Costa and Captains for Clean Water

Costa and Captains for Clean Water

With the company's heavy involvement in initiatives like Kick the Plastic and Captains for Clean Water campaigns, Costa's Amanda Sabin tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead all about the sunglass maker's unwavering commitment to help the freshwater and saltwater environment.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures? Other Freshwater

5 Great Lures For Bluegills

Stephen D. Carpenteri - March 10, 2011

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures?

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the biggest pike come from Europe. Records

Top 10 Biggest Pike World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - August 19, 2015

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the...

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies. Panfish

Find and Fish Bluegill Beds Efficiently

Terry Madewell - May 22, 2019

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies.

See More Trending Articles

More Whitetail

Most major deer-urine scent companies are adopting the technology. Whitetail

Commercial CWD Test for Deer Scents Available, in Wide Use

Game & Fish Digital Staff - February 20, 2020

Most major deer-urine scent companies are adopting the technology.

Hunters have a love-hate relationship with deer decoys. Here's how to get the most out of your next setup. Whitetail

Whitetails: How to Deke a Bruiser

Bob Robb - November 25, 2019

Hunters have a love-hate relationship with deer decoys. Here's how to get the most out of your...

Take advantage of the second rut and arrow a great buck to close your season. Whitetail

Bowhunting: Second Rut, Last Chance

Dr. Todd A. Kuhn - December 23, 2019

Take advantage of the second rut and arrow a great buck to close your season.

He found his 19-point 'buck' to be a doe as he started field-dressing. Whitetail

Missouri Hunter Bags Rare Antlered Doe

G&F Online Staff - December 02, 2019

He found his 19-point 'buck' to be a doe as he started field-dressing.

See More Whitetail

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

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 mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now