Deer harvest third highest ever recorded

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By The Staff

With several weeks still left in the season, deer hunters have already recorded one of the state’s highest harvest totals ever. Kentucky hunters telechecked 117,124 deer as of December 22.

“The late muzzleloader wasn’t so hot because of the weather, but we are already at our third highest harvest ever,” said Tina Brunjes, big game program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “We have the free youth deer weekend coming up and also the January harvest and we should end up near 120,000. If we get good weather this weekend and the archery and crossbow hunters do well, we could squeak into second place.”

The all-time deer harvest record is 124,752 set in 2004, followed by 122,233 in 2006.

“The free youth deer hunting weekend is this coming weekend and we encourage our youth to participate,” Brunjes said. “They usually average about 970 deer for that weekend, but we would like to see it higher for this year.”

Resident and non-resident youth ages 15 and under who are accompanied by an adult may hunt Dec. 27 - 28 without a hunting license or deer permit. Deer bag limits, zone and equipment restrictions and telecheck requirements remain in effect.

“It is a great avenue to get youth involved in hunting,” Brunjes said. “Plus, it doesn’t cost anything.”

For all hunters, crossbow season for deer closes on Dec. 31, while archery season continues through Jan. 19.