April 15, 2019

Kentucky: Crossbow Season Expansion Approved by Legislative Subcommittee

By John Culclasure, Central Appalachian States Manager

On April 9, the Kentucky Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee passed a regulation change that would significantly increase opportunities for hunting with crossbows.

While still needing final legislative committee approval, it is expected that the regulation change will be approved, resulting in roughly 52 more days open to crossbow deer hunting. Crossbow season would open on the third Saturday in September and run through the third Monday in January. Two weeks on the front of the season would be reserved for vertical archery hunters.

The regulation change would also expand youth deer crossbow season to be fully concurrent with vertical archery season which is consistent with crossbow season for residents over the age of 64. Crossbow season for youth would open on the first Saturday in September.

The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission twice approved the crossbow season expansion. Stakeholders groups and public comments received on the proposal also weighed heavily in favor of the expansions. Additionally, the expansions were supported by a number of groups, including the Kentucky Crossbow Federation.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation submitted a letter supporting the regulation change. The letter states, “Expansions would increase opportunities for hunters, support Kentucky’s hunting heritage, and facilitate increased economic output and conservation funding for the Commonwealth.”

Crossbows are a valuable tool for deer management and support hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation efforts.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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