- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Fall is here and archery season is in full swing. The cooler temps will have the leaves turning autumn colors and starting the beginning of what will be the end of summer. These same cooler temperatures will soon have the white tailed bucks here in Kentucky starting their annual frenzy to find as many lady friends as possible.
October typically is when we here in the Bluegrass start to see some early stages of the rut. Most bucks are still running in what’s commonly referred to as “bachelor groups.” These groups won’t last much longer as the testosterone within these deer builds the groups start the process of establishing dominance within the herd and then it’s basically every buck for himself. October is probably the greatest time to be in the Kentucky woods hunting due to this and just the overall sights, smells and sounds of the fall.
October also ushers in a couple of different ways to hunt big bucks. Kentucky’s first segment of the crossbow season opens on Monday, Oct. 1and runs thru Sunday, Oct. 21.
Over the years, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife has become more liberal with the crossbow season from its humble beginnings of a week long season in late December. I didn’t bother with getting an expensive crossbow until several years ago once the season was extended. Crossbows, much like the regular long bows, recurve bows and compound bows we reviewed in my August outdoor column, come in a number of versions, styles and makes.
My advice on getting started in crossbow hunting would be the same as with any means of procuring hunting equipment: do your research. The internet makes reviewing the many different specifications on the hundreds of crossbows available so much simpler and much less expensive that running all over to different sporting good stores. I like doing the initial research online but advise to always (if possible) get hands on before purchasing. If possible, get with someone you know who already has a hunting crossbow and fire some bolts (crossbow arrows) down range with their supervision to see how you like the method and equipment.
Crossbows, like any other hunting equipment, can be very dangerous so always treat them as if they are loaded. Modern crossbows, as opposed to the more primitive ones, can launch their payload at incredible speeds of over 350 feet per second and manufacturers seem to continue to increase that number every hunting season with new products. Modern crossbows have followed the path of the compound bow with many models having cams, silencers, scopes and what seems like an unlimited number of gadgets to go along with them. My crossbow is actually of the recurve style but still shoots a hunting bolt upwards of 350 feet per second.
The regular statewide archery season remains open during the crossbow seasons. The last segment of the crossbow season in Zone 1 counties (Anderson is one) starts on Nov. 10 and runs thru Dec. 31. Hunters can hunt and harvest deer of either sex. Don’t forget you can also hunt and harvest turkey during these seasons. Be sure and check restrictions, rules and regulations as well as bag limits with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources before going afield.
The early muzzleloader deer season in Kentucky is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 20-21 in all four hunting zones across the state offering yet another means of harvesting venison.
The equipment for hunting with this method has also modernized a great deal. My old Thompson/Center New Englander has served me well over the years and I have yet to purchase a newer version of today’s muzzleloading rifles. This is another area where manufacturers of these weapons continue to improve on the accuracy and overall feel and performance of their products. A lot of these newer models are as accurate as some centerfire rifles out to several hundred yards. Most even look more like a centerfire rifle than an old “smoke pole” like I carry.
Here again, I advise to do your research, get with a black powder experienced buddy and let him walk you through the process of loading , shooting and cleaning of these guns. Visit a local gun shop or sporting goods store for a “hands on” feel of different models. Black powder guns are great fun to shoot and hunt with but you’ll soon find out they are very high maintenance due mostly to the corrosive nature of black powder to the gun metal. Cleaning is essential in order to keep them operable and reliable for years to come. As with all weapons, treat them at all times as if they are loaded.
Youth-only firearm season
Kentucky’s first segment of the youth-only firearms season is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 13-14.
The October youth-only firearms season requires hunters age 12-15 to have appropriate hunting license and deer permits per Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources regulations. All bag limts, zone restrictions and other requirements apply so be sure and check regulations before going afield.
Youth hunters under age 12 are not required to have a hunting license or deer permit per KDFWR.
*Per last week’s front page of The Anderson News: alcohol and hunting at the same time is not a good idea.
*Check with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources at 1-800-858-1549 if you still need to take a Hunter Education Course.
*Telecheck your harvest by calling 1-800-245-4263. This number is in service 24 hours a day during open seasons.
*Squirrel season is still open until a brief closure Nov. 9-12 for the opening weekend of modern firearm season for deer.
*The first segment of the fall turkey season opens for shotgunners on Saturday, Oct. 27 and runs thru Friday, Nov. 2.
*September is the only month for hunters to apply for the quota hunts offered by the state for deer, pheasant, quail and upland birds. Hunters can apply online at www.fw.ky.gov or call 1-877-598-2401 before the end of the month.
Take a kid hunting and fishing soon!
See ya outside!
Jeff Lilly is an outdoors columnist for The Anderson News. Comment at www.theandersonnews.com.