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Ky. archers set deer harvest record for fourth September in a row; take 5,838 in 24 days


The outlook for Kentucky’s 2013-14 deer season is excellent. (Photo courtesy Mathews Archery)


By Art Lander Jr.
KyForward outdoors editor

For the fourth year in a row Kentucky archers have set a deer harvest record for the month of September.

Telecheck data posted on fw.ky.gov revealed that 5,838 deer were taken in 24 days of hunting last month — archers arrowed 5,493 and hunters with crossbow exemptions took 343 deer.

Kentucky’s 2013-14 deer season opened on Saturday, Sept. 7. Archery season is 136 days long and continues through Monday, Jan. 20, 2014.

“Several factors are likely playing a role in the increasing archery harvest in September,” said Tina Brunjes, deer program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “It seems to be a statewide trend, with pockets of the state (having a higher archery deer harvest) than others.”

The September harvest was 33.8 percent bucks and 66.2 percent does.

“About 90 percent of the successful archers (4,622) killed one deer,” said Brunjes “There was an average of 1.13 deer killed per successful archery hunter.”

The combination of a higher success rate for archers, increased interest in archery hunting and more deer available to hunters are thought to be driving the record harvests.

But the harvest increases are not limited to the deer-rich Zone 1 counties, which are concentrated in northcentral and far Western Kentucky.

Brunjes said there are some counties in Zones 2-4 (which have shorter seasons and more restrictive harvest regulations) where the archery deer harvest has steadily increased during September in recent years.

Record harvests for the past three Septembers were: 5,577 deer in 2012, 4,945 in 2011 and 4,407 in 2010.

“It rained less than two inches in September and it was relatively cool,” said Brunjes. “(Good hunting) weather always plays a role in the harvest.”

The current statewide population estimate for Kentucky’s deer herd is about 750,000, before fawning, with a stable to slightly decreasing trend. “It has been a good year for deer reproduction and survival,” said Brunjes. Heavy rains in the spring and early summer created lots of food and cover for deer.

The outlook for Kentucky’s 2013-14 deer season is excellent.

Last season’s deer harvest was the highest on record. Deer hunters reported taking 131,395 deer, a 9.8 percent increase from the 2011-12 season.

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