The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission proposed several new deer, elk and fishing regulations at its June quarterly meeting.
The commission recommends all hunting, fishing and boating regulations for approval by the General Assembly. Legislators must approve all recommendations before they become law.
In elk-related business, the commission recommended hunting dates for the 2019 – 2020 seasons. The first segment of archery and crossbow elk seasons would open Sept. 14 and close Sept. 27. The second segment would open Dec. 5 and close Dec. 13. Hunters with this permit could take a bull or cow elk.
The first segment of the firearms season for bulls would open Sept. 28 and close Oct. 2, while the second segment would open Oct. 5 and close Oct. 9. The first segment of firearms season for cow elk would open Nov. 30 and close Dec. 4, while the second segment would open Dec. 28, 2019, and close Jan. 1, 2020.
Commissioners recommended creating three areas closed to elk hunting in order to emphasize elk viewing opportunities. Those areas would be Paul Van Booven Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Breathitt County, Fishtrap WMA in Pike County and an area centered around the future location of the Appalachian Wildlife Center in Bell County. The commission also recommended creating a series of hunting units in the elk restoration zone.
In other elk-related business, the commission proposed issuing 594 quota hunt permits for the 2019-2020 elk seasons. The number includes 175 archery/crossbow permits, under which a hunter could harvest either a bull or a cow elk. The commission also proposed 150 firearm bull permits, 244 firearm cow permits and 25 youth permits.
The proposed permit allocation is a reduction from the 2018 season. The change will encourage herd growth in areas with fewer elk, while the elk hunting units will distribute hunting pressure and provide a higher-quality hunting experience overall. Elk units are geographic hunting areas bounded by roads across the elk restoration zone.
In deer-related business, the commission recommended changing the crossbow season dates starting with the 2019-2020 season. Crossbow season would open the third Saturday in September and close on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday (Sept. 21, 2019 through Jan. 20, 2020). Archery deer season would open the first Saturday in September and close on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday (Sept 7, 2019 through Jan. 20, 2020).
In fisheries-related business, the commission recommended a 40-inch minimum size limit on muskellunge on Buckhorn Lake in Leslie and Perry counties. It also proposed a 14-inch minimum size limit and a six fish daily creel limit on walleye, sauger and their hybrids statewide.
The commission also recommended statewide regulations of a 12-inch size limit, six fish daily creel for largemouth bass on Paintsville Lake in Johnson and Morgan counties, Lake Reba in Madison County and Benjy Kinman Lake in Henry County. Also proposed was a 15 fish daily creel limit on sunfish on Lake Carnico in Nicholas County.
In other fisheries-related business, the commission proposed adding a two fish daily creel limit on paddlefish using traditional fishing methods and a four fish possession limit on paddlefish for both traditional and non-traditional methods. It also recommended that anglers no longer be allowed to harvest lake sturgeon using non-traditional methods, such as bow fishing or gigging.
The commission also proposed banning the commercial sale of two fish species, mooneye and goldeye. It also recommended removing the shad restriction for bait on Carpenter Lake in Daviess County and making Benjy Kinman Lake idle speed only for motor boats using the lake.
The commission also recommended revised limits for anglers who hand-grab channel and blue catfish from Taylorsville Lake, Barren River Lake, Fishtrap Lake and Dewey Lake. Commissioners proposed a five-fish daily creel limit of catfish for anglers using this method. Only one of the fish could exceed 25 inches.
If approved by legislators, fisheries regulations proposed at the meeting would take effect March 1, 2019.
The next scheduled Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting will be at 8:30 a.m. (Eastern time), Friday, Sept. 7. Meetings are held at Kentucky Fish and Wildlife headquarters, 1 Sportsman’s Lane off U.S. 60 in Frankfort.