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Modern Gun Season for Deer opens statewide Nov. 9
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife
Frankfort, KY - One of the favorite times of the year for tens of thousands of Kentuckians begins Saturday, November 9, 2019, as modern gun deer season opens statewide. The 16-day season closes on Sunday, November 24, 2019.
The season sits squarely in the rut, when male deer are most actively pursuing does to breed.
"Our modern gun season this year starts very early in November," said Gabe Jenkins, deer and elk program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. "The timing is perfect. We should have pre-rut, the peak of the rut and the post-rut all within the 16 days of the season. It should be a great modern gun season."
Around 300,000 people hunt deer in Kentucky each year.
The upcoming modern gun deer season did not look rosy a month ago, as a debilitating drought gripped Kentucky. The month of September was the driest month on record in the state, with an average total rainfall of less than a quarter inch.
"We finally had rain in October, which triggered regrowth and the green-up of plants that will provide a flush of nutrients on the landscape," Jenkins said. "This will help winter survival for deer, especially in a year with a poor mast crop."
Dry, hot weather early in the season has affected this year's initial deer harvest. "We had a good opening weekend for archery season and a banner youth hunt weekend," Jenkins said. "However, we are still below the 10-year average for harvest at this time of the season, which is directly related to heat and drought."
Deer hunters have reported more than 21,500 deer harvested so far this season.
Kentucky's spotty 2019 crop of mast, primarily tree nuts favored by deer such as beechnuts and acorns, may help hunters by keeping deer on the move for food during modern gun season. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife's annual mast survey shows low production of white oak acorns and hickory nuts.
Red oaks show better acorn production with beech trees producing the most nuts. Red oak acorns hold more tannins than white oak acorns and do not taste as good to deer.
"Red oak stands will be really good toward the end of the modern gun season and into the late muzzleloader season," Jenkins said. "The tannins leach out of the red oak acorns over time, making them more palatable to deer. There's not a lot of groceries on the landscape this year, they will eat the red oak acorns as the season progresses."
The lack of acorns should produce more deer movement. "Do not give up after the first weekend of the modern gun season," Jenkins said. "There is better chase activity with younger bucks early, but the second weekend should be the prime weekend."
Jenkins said his favorite time to hunt during modern gun season is toward the end, when the initial deer breeding season is winding down. "I like hunting post-rut because of that last-ditch effort by the big bucks trying to find that last doe," he said.
Hunters must check current regulations to ensure they are following all the legal requirements before going afield. Some general regulations and tips for this season include:
Biologists have not detected the presence of tuberculosis in Kentucky's deer, or chronic wasting disease in its deer and elk. "The Lower Peninsula of Michigan is the only place tuberculosis in deer can be found," Jenkins said. "We do not have tuberculosis in Kentucky."
For more information on deer hunting, visit the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife webpage at fw.ky.gov or consult the Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide, available free wherever they sell hunting licenses.
This story was posted on 2019-11-06 07:39:49
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