The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission proposed new steps to make it more convenient for people to obtain their hunter education certification, set elk permit quotas for the 2020-21 season and adopted fishing regulations for newly introduced cutthroat trout at its quarterly meeting on June 7.
The commission is a nine-member board, comprised of volunteers who serve four-year terms after nomination by licensed hunters and anglers, appointed by the governor, and confirmed by the Kentucky senate. The commission recommends hunting, fishing and boating regulations on behalf of the sportsmen and sportswomen of the Commonwealth.
In hunter education-related business, the commission recommended a change that would allow participants the option of completing their training through a free online-only course rather than traveling to a firing range for in-person training. This would fulfill requests from people already familiar with firearms use to make the process more convenient.
Participants in Kentucky hunter education courses would still have opportunities to shoot a gun at a range as part of their training.
Several other states have gone to online courses to provide better convenience and customer service to hunters. If approved by legislators, the change would take effect March 1, 2020.
Commission members also proposed requiring license-exempt individuals, including landowners, their spouses, dependent children and tenants, to obtain hunter education certification if born on or after January 1, 2002. If approved by legislators, the change would take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
In elk-related business, the commission proposed issuing 594 quota hunt permits for the 2020-2021 elk seasons, the same number of permits for the 2019-2020 seasons. The number includes 175 archery/crossbow permits, under which a hunter could harvest either a bull or a cow elk. The commission also proposed 150 firearm bull permits, 244 firearm cow permits and 25 youth permits.
In wildlife-related business, the commission recommended removing the three-shotshell limit on shotguns for the Snow Goose Conservation Order Season following a recent statutory change. The Snow Goose Conservation Order season helps reduce rapidly growing populations of snow geese that are damaging fragile Arctic habitat.
In fisheries-related business, the commission recommended a 20-inch minimum size limit and with a one-fish daily creel limit on cutthroat trout in the Cumberland River from Wolf Creek Dam to the Tennessee state line. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife began stocking cutthroat trout this past spring.
The commission also approved a three-year elk research project to determine cow and yearling reproduction and calf survival. They also approved a study of the population of the eastern hellbender and a survey of the public regarding interest and need for public shooting ranges.
A video replay of the committee meetings is available online via the Commission and Committee Meeting Archive link under Important Info on the department's homepage.
The next meeting of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission will be held in September. Once set, meeting agendas and dates are available online at fw.ky.gov.