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Zone changes could affect deer hunters

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Bears making comeback in Kentucky

By Jeff Lilly

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife has officially issued its official hunting and trapping guide for the upcoming seasons. Not much has changed from last year’s regulations but always pick up a copy of the guide and read it before going afield. 

Zone changes

The department continues to make zone changes in order to better manage the deer herd, as well as other hunting and trapping opportunities, in the state.  Anderson County has long been a Zone 1 county and will remain one for the 2010-2011 seasons. Nelson County is the only county bordering Anderson that will be changed. Nelson was also a Zone 1 county last year but is being changed to Zone 2. The main difference is now Nelson County hunters are limited to a four total deer harvest per season as opposed to Zone 1’s unlimited antlerless harvest opportunities per season.

A couple of changes for at least part of Anderson County will be at the Taylorsville Lake Wildlife Management Area. According to the latest hunting guide, hunters drawn for an antlerless-only quota deer hunt will not lose accumulated preference points. There are also some date changes for the January quota hunts.  These hunts are now scheduled for the Jan. 8-9.

Elk

The elk boom success story has apparently reached its peak and leveled out.  Last year the number of elk permits offered by the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources reached a high of 1,000 opportunities. The next round of elk permits are decreasing by 200 so only 800 opportunities will be available.  Check the guide for other details concerning elk tagging, zones, etc. I guess this means my chances of ever getting drawn for a Kentucky elk hunt just went south again. Anybody else like the preference points system?

Bears

I like bears. Granted I’ve not had one chew on my leg like the guy at the Red River Gorge a few weeks back but I like bears. I’ve had the pleasure of watching several in their naturally wild habitat over the years while deer hunting in West Virginia. They are actually fairly common over there and stay pretty much to themselves.

Every year someone in our hunting party encounters a bear or two and I’ve been fortunate enough to be one of those more than once. One of my best memories of being in the woods was getting to watch a sow and her three cubs spend about an hour milling around the side of the mountain I happened to be on. All four laid down and enjoyed the sunshine on the blackest and shiniest hair I’ve ever seen. They bedded down not over 50 yards from me and stayed for about another hour before the little ones finally got too playful and the sow decided it was time for them to burn some energy so over the mountain they went. 

Bears are native to most of Kentucky. Man and our development of land have slowly pushed them out of most of the state but they are making a comeback.  I, for one, am glad. I just hope the recent man chewing bear hunt at the Gorge doesn’t cause people to take up arms and blast away at every black patch of hair they see in the woods. 

There are a couple of measures you can take while in the bear woods to make your adventure a little safer. First, you can actually buy little bells that attach to clothing that jingle when you walk so as not to surprise the bear. Second, carry special bear caliber pepper spray just in case the unthinkable happens.  And last, but not least, know how to identify bear “poo” to know if bears are in the area. It’s easy to identify because it may have little bells in it and smells a lot like pepper spray.   

Chupacobra

I believe I would take the bears over this thing whatever it is. The chupacobra craze has been going on since the mid-1990s and within the past few weeks is all over the news with one found in Texas. The pictures I’ve seen of this creature look like anything from a hairless raccoon to a severely manged dog or coyote. Neither one being pretty. The legendary creature apparently originates from Puerto Rico, South America or Mexico depending on what story you believe. The name, chupacobra, translates to mean “goat sucker”.  It supposedly kills goats, cattle and other livestock and sucks the blood of its victims. Texas and Mexico can keep its chupacobra. Here in good ole Anderson County, we’ve still got the Hillbilly Monster down on the river unless this past spring’s flood washed him downstream. 

Quick shots

*July 31 is the deadline for quota deer hunt drawing applications to be accepted at The Land Between the Lakes in far southwestern Kentucky.  Procedures and applications can be found online at http://www.lbl.org. Deer harvested at the Land Between the Lakes are not counted toward the statewide harvest limit.

*July 31 is the deadline for quota deer hunt drawing applications to be accepted at the Bluegrass Army Depot near Richmond, Kentucky.   Go to http://fw.ky.gov/pdf/armydepot10deer.pdf for more information.

*Squirrel season in Kentucky opens on Saturday, Aug. 21.

Take a kid hunting or fishing soon.

See ya outside.

Jeff Lilly is an outdoors columnist for The Anderson News. E-mail him at news@theandersonnews.com.