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KY – HUNTING – Weekend brings muzzleloader deer hunting

It is by one well-spaced shot at a time, but this Saturday and Sunday is open to a variety of firearms deer hunting with Kentucky’s early muzzleloader season. As is routine on the weekend starting with the third Saturday in October, this year’s first muzzleloading firearms deer pursuits are Oct. 17-18. This early black powder season is augmented by a longer and later hunt — a nine-day stretch that spans two weekends — Dec. 12-20. Regulations for the state’s muzzleloader hunting are uniform with those of the regular firearms season except, of course, that only firearms that are loaded from the muzzle can be used. Front-stuffing rifles as well as muzzleloading shotguns (single projectiles only) and muzzleloading handguns all are legal for this season. No breechloaders of any sort are permitted. Muzzleloading weapons may be of traditional or modern design. Telescopic or modern electronic sights can be utilized just as well as basic iron sights. Propellants can be traditional black powder or modern substitutes. The single projectiles allowed include round balls, conical bullets or sabot-mounted bullets. Here again, the guns just must be loaded from the muzzle. Because muzzleloader season is a firearms hunt, safety concerns are such that all participating must wear garments of solid fluorescent orange on head, chest and back. Likewise, any hunters afield involved in pursuits for other game also must wear the mandated orange. Raccoon and ’possum hunters active at night are excluded from the fluorescent orange requirement. Kentucky’s deer harvest regulations are unchanged this year from those of last year. There is a limit for the entire hunting year covering all methods/weapons and all seasons that permits each hunter to take only a single antlered buck. The one-buck limit, indeed, is a crown jewel of Kentucky’s deer management program, responsible for much more selectivity by hunters in buck harvest and, hence, a significant increase in the age structure among bucks in the overall deer population. This, say Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources biologists, has resulted in a major upturn in the production of bigger, trophy quality deer over the past several seasons.  [full article]

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