Frankfort, Ky. – One of the deer hunter’s common laments is not being able to find a place to hunt. Kentucky is roughly 95 percent privately owned, so finding an accommodating landowner can be the toughest part of the deer hunting equation.
The challenge is even more daunting if you follow a rude, disrespectful hunter.
“Respect the landowner and conduct yourself with class and you’ll be allowed to hunt again,” said Tina Brunjes, big game program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “If you treat their land disrespectfully, not only will you not be allowed back, but you’ve effectively barred others from hunting there in the future.”
One of the easiest things to do is pack out what you brought with you. No landowner likes to walk across their property and see soda cans, wrappers from trail mix bars or spent brass laying near where you set up a tree stand.
Always close any gate behind you. Cross fences at the post, not in the middle between posts. A landowner that spent several thousand dollars in new fencing will be hot if they happen upon a section broken down by a hunter crossing it. The best plan is to go through a gate if one is available, even if you have to walk a ways to use it.
“Don’t drive across crop fields or through mudholes,” Brunjes said. “This is one of the things that can make a landowner really mad, especially driving across crop fields. Think about how you would want a visitor to treat your land and act accordingly.”
Retrieving a deer from neighboring property can cause tremendous friction between the landowner and his or her neighbor. “Don’t set up your tree stand or hunt near the property line,” said David Yancy, deer biologist for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “You must have permission from the property owner to go onto their land to retrieve a deer or you are trespassing.”
Disposing of the internal organs left over from field dressing a deer can be problematic. “Be discreet about where you dispose of it,” Yancy said. “Place it behind a tree or a log and away from any trails or roads. They disappear quickly. Raccoons and other wildlife eat them up.”
Few landowners would enjoy having high-powered rifles fired near their home or other outbuildings, especially if they have children. Don’t hunt near these structures.
Use a climbing or ladder stand for your hunting. Refrain from using devices that require drilling into a tree. Don’t nail steps to a tree to get up in a stand. Drilling or gouging trees causes stress and gives an entry port for parasites and diseases to attack the tree.
Also, pay close attention to the location of cattle, horses or other livestock on the land. Always identify the target and look for what is behind it before you pull the trigger.
Keep these things in mind this modern gun deer season and you will help keep private land open for all deer hunters. The modern gun deer season opens statewide this weekend, Nov. 14 statewide. Gun season closes Nov. 23 in Zones 3 and 4, while Zones 1 and 2 remain open to modern gun hunting through Nov. 29.
For more information on deer hunting, consult the 2009-2010 Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide, available free wherever hunting licenses are sold. The guide is also on the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife web site at fw.ky.gov.