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OUTDOORS: Flawed elk hunt drawing system should be overhauled

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Be sure to know boating regulations before hitting the water

By Jeff Lilly

Allow me to rant a little about the recent Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife’s annual elk “drawing.”

As you can probably guess, neither I, nor anyone I know of as of this writing, was drawn for any of the tags again this year. I vowed before buying a license for the 2013-14 seasons that I would not “donate” another $10 of my hard earned money to a flawed system but I did anyway hoping for one last opportunity after all these years. 

Well, I’m going to say it again……..not again. I still favor a points system of some type since I have known people who have been drawn not only once but twice within a three-year period. It also seems that if you know the right people your odds increase for getting drawn for a tag but I’ll leave that to the reader’s imagination. 

I will give credit to the Department for the re-establishment of a herd that now reportedly tops 10,000 elk. It’s just a shame that a rotating-type system can’t be established to allow the average hunter spending $10 more of a chance to experience the chance to harvest one of these magnificent animals. For what I’ve spent buying chances over the years for my family and me, I could have had a good start on a trip out west to hunt elk. Guess my $10 for next year’s Kentucky elk hunt will go into an “out west” fund rather than the Kentucky draw since I’ve lost faith in the current system of getting drawn here in the bluegrass.

At least Kentucky is a great place to purchase licenses according to reports. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources broke the all time record for hunting and fishing license sales this past month. There were over $7 million worth of licenses sold in the month of April. That bodes well for the department since this is their primary source of revenue and they receive no state general fund dollars to operate. 

Sorry guys, but until the elk draw system is revamped, you’ll have to get my annual elk hunt donation from someone else next year.

 

Boating

It’s time. The weather is warm and the local fishing and boating waters are warming up along with it so get ready. 

With turkey season closing the middle of May (in West Virginia which Hunter and I managed to harvest four nice birds between us) it seems the getting on the water time has sneaked up on me again this year. We were able to trout fish the last day of our annual track to the West Virginia mountains and pulled a half dozen or so to the bank but recent rains left little bank to work with.  The high waters of the local rivers and creeks made for mighty dangerous and nearly impossible trout fishing but the kayakers up that way were out in force. Made me wish I’d taken mine up to join them on the rain swollen rapids.

Locally the rivers and creeks are looking pretty good for fishing and boating. Suzanne’s already been asking when we might be getting the canoe or the kayaks on the water.  I have got to get out there all I can as she is graduating with the ACHS Class of 2013 on May 30. 

Hard to believe how quickly our “babies” have grown up so heed my advice to take them hunting, fishing, boating or just outside and enjoy being with them while you can. Memories can be made that will never be lost.

No matter your mode of transportation on the water, make sure safety is first and foremost.  Always make sure your equipment is “sea worthy” before jumping in and shoving out to deep water. Always make sure to wear the proper personal flotation devise and that all passengers are also equipped with proper flotation devises. Be sure and review the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources rules and regulations pertaining to boating and fishing before going out on the waterways. 

You might be surprised to find that different rules and regulations apply to different sized boats.  Some are pretty picky as Hunter and I found out two years ago on Taylorsville Lake while on a bass fishing adventure. We received some “info” from a couple of the game wardens while we were chatting as they reviewed our fishing licenses. 

The veteran officer made us aware that the size and color of my boat license numbers were not within the guidelines. They were too small (1½ inches tall) and were also black, which is not enough contrast to the dark blue metal flake Ranger’s hide. 

I thought it pretty silly since I’d had the boat for 15 years and no other officer had ever noticed.  Of course, I didn’t tell him that. He told me the numbers and letters that comprise the boat license on both sides of the outsides of the hull had to be a minimum of two inches in height and of a contrasting color to the hull of the vessel. 

No ticket was issued but I guess I still didn’t believe it until I got back to the truck and Hunter and I looked it up in the annual boating guide. Sure enough, the officer was spot on and I was appreciative of the “info” and not a ticket. I also, made it a point to purchase new number and letter stickers that were two inches and white and had them on the boat before hitting the lake the next weekend. 

Always check the hunting, trapping, fishing and boating regulations that are provided online or the free published booklets the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources puts out before going on your next adventure.  Be safe and enjoy God’s great outdoors.

Take a kid hunting and fishing soon.

See ya outside!