The nice lady on the phone who promised to send me a map and regulations pamphlet assured me that while I was hunting Kentucky, I’d feel like I was hunting God’s Country.
Boy, was she right.
Hunting Christian County — AAA Outfitters specifically — in November ranks as one of the most enjoyable outdoor experiences of my life.
I saw more deer in five hunts than I typically do in a season, and the promise of big bucks seemed to electrify the crisp air over the beanfields and in the hardwood bottoms.
I scored on an 8-point and a doe, but if I had chosen to, I could have loaded the bed of my truck with does.
The Bluegrass State has seen the light on deer management, and it’s doing wonders for the health and balance of its herd.
Here in Louisiana, hunters are subject to a six-deer-per-season limit that is as laughable as any regulation on any law book anywhere. It’s like telling a speckled trout angler he’s limited to 200 fish a year.
Put simply, it’s unenforceable.
And besides that, it leads to a lot of guesswork for biologists who every spring attempt to quantify the health of the state’s herd and set regulation parameters for the coming season.
That’s not an issue in Kentucky. Hunters there are legally required to call a toll-free number to report a kill by midnight on the day of the kill. After making the report, a hunter is given a confirmation number that must accompany the deer wherever it goes.
If agents run across a hunter who has a deer without a confirmation number, they can quickly test the animal to get a fairly accurate idea of how long it’s been dead. If it’s more than 24 hours old, the hunter is cited for having harvested the deer illegally.
It’s a tagging system that doesn’t require actual tags, and it allows biologists to get a much more accurate count of how many deer are harvested every year, and in which counties they’re harvested.
Such a system would work wonders here in the Bayou State. This could all be accomplished with different harvest guidelines for the various areas of the state.
Kentucky is divided into four zones. Christian County is located in the agriculture-rich western portion of the state, which is overrun with deer, much like the delta region of Louisiana. In this section of the state, known as Zone 1, hunters are allowed one buck and one doe with a basic deer license. After those tags are filled, hunters can purchase, for $12.50, another license that allows the harvest of two more does. Because the state is desirous of bringing the doe-to-buck ratio of the herd in that zone more in balance, hunters can purchase as many two-doe tags as they can fill in a season. Other zones have stricter regulations.
It’s a true win-win. In Zone 1, hunters get to bag as many deer as they’d like, and statewide, biologists knows exactly how many are being harvested. Also, the state gets the added income from the sale of the additional tags.
When you must purchase the right to harvest more deer, even at the bargain-basement price of $12.50, it gives you a new respect for the animals.
Aside from all the other benefits, such a system might steer Louisiana hunters away from the pervasive philosophy that “if it’s brown, it’s down.”
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