The itch is about to be scratched. Come November, and hunters are itching to take to the woods in pursuit of the wild and elusive white-tailed deer.
Kentucky’s modern gun season opens Nov. 14 and runs through Nov. 29. Ohio’s much-shorter gun season will open Nov. 30 and run through Dec. 6.
Regulations allow for a couple of freezers to be filled with fresh venison by the successful hunter.
In the five northeastern Kentucky counties – Lewis, Greenup, Boyd, Carter and Lawrence – all in zone 2, hunters may purchase a hunting license and the statewide deer permit, which allows them to kill four deer, either three does and a buck or four does.
Across the Ohio River in Scioto County, that Kentucky hunter can buy a non-resident license and take three more deer – two does and a buck or three does. The same works vice versa for the Ohio resident wanting to hunt in Kentucky.
The term bucks and does is referred to in the regulations for both states as “antlered” and “antlerless” deer, since a doe can occasionally grow antlers.
Only one buck can be taken for all seasons in both states, regardless of where or how it is taken. An antlered deer has at least one antler 13 inches or longer in length.
The push to kill more does, of course, is aimed at reducing the deer herd, or at least stabilizing it.
Deer hunters have the opportunity to have lots of ground venison for chili this winter, roasts to bake with onions, celery and vegetables and back strap chops to grill during the summer.
In addition to the four deer the Kentucky hunter can take, he or she may purchase an additional deer permit allowing the harvest of two more deer – either the buck and a doe, or two does.
The additional deer permit is not valid unless the hunter has first purchased the annual hunting license and statewide deer permit. He must be able to show proof of that in the field.
Hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
All hunters, including archery and crossbow hunters, and persons accompanying hunters must wear hunter orange clothing during modern gun season.
Kentucky hunters set a record harvest of 124,752 during the 2004-05 season. That record was broken when a deer harvest was posted for the 2012-13 deer season, which ended with the close of archery season in January.
That year hunters bagged 131,388 whitetails of which 56 percent were male and 44 percent female. Firearms hunters reported taking 95,612 deer while archers harvested 18,705 deer. Muzzleloader hunters took 14,583 deer and crossbow hunters, 2,488 deer.
Wildlife biologists with the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources are hopeful of a harvest this year of around 130,000 deer. Ohio’s all seasons harvest numbers usually exceed that.
High Water Striper
Looking back to a late November day nine years ago, the Ohio River was high, muddy, swift and rising. Not a good time, you would think, to go fishing.
Mike Sutton went anyway. And he was glad that he did. Casting out from the South Shore waterfront on a Monday in early afternoon, he landed a huge rock fish (striped bass).
“That was a fight to remember, I’ll tell you that,” Sutton said of his conquest.
He had caught several small stripers and had hooked one of them on for bait. He rushed his big catch to a nearby residence and weighed it on a set of garage scales at 20 pounds, then returned with the fish to the river, where he released it and watched it swim away.
Reach G. SAM PIATT at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 932-3619.