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Deer gun season to open Saturday in Kentucky

Nov. 11, 2010 @ 09:45 PM

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The frost on the leaves in the pre-dawn hours along with the general nip in the air makes Kentucky deer hunters happy. Modern gun deer season opens this Saturday, Nov. 13.

In the excitement brought by the arrival of the most popular of deer seasons, hunters need to keep in mind some simple things to make the season productive, safe and ensure they’ll be invited back next year.

This sounds extremely simplistic, but it always rings true: treat the landowner and their land with respect.

“Treat the property like you would want to get invited back,” said Tina Brunjes, deer and elk coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “Use some common sense.”

Remember to leave gates as you found them and cross fences at the posts, not in the middle section between posts. Few things make a landowner angrier than someone who breaks down their fence by crossing in the middle of the stretch between fence posts. Replacing or repairing fences costs a lot of money and you won’t be invited back next year if you cause damage crossing one this year.

Using a gate is the best plan, even if you have to walk a distance.

“Try not to hunt along a fence that marks a property boundary,” said David Yancy, deer biologist for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “If your deer jumps the fence, get the landowner’s permission before your try to retrieve it. Don’t trespass.”

    If you must drive across the landowner’s property, keep your vehicle on the roads. “Be careful not to rut the place up,” Yancy said. “Drive around mudholes and don’t make them worse. Don’t drive across crop fields or pastures.”

After a successful hunt and field dressing, a hunter must dispose of a gut pile.

“Ask the landowner before you discard a gut pile,” Brunjes said. “Use your sense and don’t dump it in a creek or where a neighbor can see or smell it. Don’t dispose of it near the landowner’s home.”

You can also offer to bury the gut pile for the landowner, but raccoons and other critters quickly consume the pile if left out in the woods.

Not only does a hunter have a gut pile to dispose of after field dressing the deer, they also have a carcass.

“Do not throw them on the side of the road or on other people’s property, said Capt. Myra Minton, assistant director of law enforcement for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “You can’t leave it on a wildlife management area, either. It is considered littering and you can be cited.”

Minton suggests hunters contact their local waste removal company or government agency that handles trash and inquire about carcass disposal.

“Most of the time, they will dispose of the carcass at the landfill,” Minton said. “Contact them first, however.”

You hear stories every year about people in a buck fever-induced panic firing at sounds in the woods with tragic consequences. Always know your target before you pull the trigger. If there is any trace of doubt, pass on the shot.

Do not fire at deer on top of a ridge or hill; always have a backstop in case the bullet goes through the animal or you miss. A bullet can travel a long distance after clearing the hill or ridge.

Also, avoid hunting near a home or outbuilding. Not many folks appreciate someone firing high-powered rifles near their home, especially if they have children or pets.

Be mindful of the location of livestock such as horse or cattle. Hunt as far away from them as possible. Horses can spook and injure themselves from the sound of a rifle discharging a round.

Modern gun deer season opens Nov. 13 and closes Nov. 28 in Zone 1 and Zone 2 counties. The season closes Nov. 22 in Zone 3 and Zone 4 counties. For more information about deer season, consult the 2011 Kentucky Hunting and Trapping guide, available free wherever hunting licenses are sold. You may request one by calling 1-800-8580-1549.

 Author Lee McClellan is an award-winning associate editor for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. He is a life-long hunter and angler, with a passion for smallmouth bass fishing.