The Fish and Wildlife Commission recommends all hunting, fishing and boating regulations for approval by the General Assembly and approves all expenditures by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. All recommendations must be approved by legislators before they become law.
In wildlife-related business, the Commission voted to increase the number of quota elk hunting permits to 1,000 for the 2009-10 hunting season, up from 400 quota elk permits awarded in 2008-09. The total number of permits will include 250 permits for antlered elk and 750 permits for antlerless elk. Commission members also voted to allow drawn elk hunters the option of paying for their quota elk permit online. These changes do not affect regulations and therefore do not require approval from legislators.
The Commission proposed adding a second week of firearms quota antlered elk hunting to the current one-week season. Under the proposal, drawn hunters who receive an antlered elk permit would be assigned to either the first or second week of the season. If approved, the two-week antlered elk firearms season would run Oct. 3-16, 2009. Hunters with a Landowner Cooperator or Special Commission permit would be allowed to hunt during both weeks of the firearms season. Archery and crossbow season framework for quota antlered elk hunting would remain unchanged. However, the proposal would move the opening of antlerless elk archery and crossbow seasons to Oct. 17, 2009, one week later than the current season framework.
Commission members also proposed additional hunting days for drawn quota antlerless elk hunting. Under the Commission recommendation, drawn quota antlerless elk hunters would be permitted to hunt antlerless elk during the modern gun deer season in November, in addition to the existing two-week firearms antlerless elk season in December. If approved, the change would allow quota antlerless elk hunting Nov. 14-23 and Dec. 12-25, 2009.
The Commission proposed a special youth elk hunt and drawing for 2009. Under the recommendation, five either-sex elk permits would be available to youth ages 15 and under. The permits would be valid for a special youth hunt on Paul Van Booven Wildlife Management Area Sept. 26-28, 2009. If approved, youth hunters could apply for the hunt by purchasing a $10 elk lottery application April 1-30, 2009.
Youth hunters may still purchase a separate $10 elk lottery application to enter the regular elk quota hunt drawing. Two youth permits, one antlered and one antlerless, are already awarded through the lottery, and will remain available for the 2009-10 elk season. These permits are valid during the regular elk season only.
In fisheries-related business, the Commission recommended standardizing the minimum size limit on muskellunge at 36 inches at Cave Run Lake, Green River Lake and Buckhorn Lake. Previously, Cave Run Lake and Green River Lake had a 30-inch minimum size limit for the species and Buckhorn Lake had a 40-inch minimum size limit.
Fisheries regulations voted on by the Commission at today’s meeting would take effect in March 2010.
The Commission also recommended implementing a 9-inch minimum size limit on crappie at Fishtrap Lake and removing yellow bass from the statewide aggregate daily limit of 15 fish for white, hybrid striped and yellow bass. There will be a 30 fish daily creel limit on yellow bass. Lick Creek in Simpson County and East Fork Clarks River in Calloway County will be removed as seasonal catch and release trout streams. Lick Creek will still be stocked with trout in the summer months.
The Commission also recommended discontinuing the practice of using a tooth patch as the regulatory method for identifying spotted bass. Anglers use a tooth patch as a means of differentiating spotted bass from largemouth bass. However, many largemouth bass also possess this tooth patch, which leads to confusion.
The next Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting will be held at 8 a.m., Friday, March 6, 2009 at #1 Sportsman’s Lane off U.S. 60 in Frankfort. Persons interested in addressing the Commission must notify the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner’s office in writing at least 30 days in advance to be considered for placement on the meeting agenda. People who are hearing impaired and plan to attend the meeting should contact Kentucky Fish and Wildlife at least 10 days in advance and the agency will provide a translator. To request to address the commission, write to Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Commissioner Dr. Jon Gassett, #1 Sportsman’s Lane, Frankfort, Kentucky, 40601.