State board adopts resolution supporting expanded boating safety requirements

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – Earlier this month, the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission recommended changes to hunting and fishing regulations.

The Commission recommended the following hunting regulations:

  • Creating a wanton waste regulation specific to deer, elk, bear and game birds. This regulation would require hunters to make a reasonable effort to retrieve all game species taken as well as requiring the removal of usable portions of applicable game animals from the field. Thirty-two other states have wanton waste regulations already in place. The proposed regulation also contains language to define the dumping of animal carcasses as littering.
  • Replacing the special youth-only waterfowl hunting weekends for the east and west zones with two special statewide waterfowl hunting weekends for youths and veterans/active duty military. The first would occur the weekend before Thanksgiving, while the second would take place the second weekend of February. The Saturday of these two weekends would be for youth hunters, and the Sunday would be for military veterans and those on active duty. State waterfowl and other migratory bird hunting regulations must conform to a framework in federal law.

The following fishing regulations were also proposed:

  • Add Robert J. Barth Lake in Campbell County to the Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINs) program.
  • Enact a 20-inch minimum size limit and a one fish daily creel limit on Highsplint Lake in Harlan County. This lake produced the 14-pound, 9.5-ounce state record largemouth bass in 2019 and since has received heavy fishing pressure.
  • On the Clear Fork of Gasper River, enact a catch and release only restriction for all sport fish. A fish kill occurred on the stream in the summer of 2019, diminishing the sportfish population in Clear Fork.

The Commission also passed a resolution supporting the amendment of KRS 235.285 to expand the boater education requirement to include all motorized vessel operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1975.

The resolution also supported creating a temporary 14-day Boater Education Exemption Certificate contingent on review of boater education material and successful completion of a basic boating law test.

A video replay of the Dec. 4 meeting is available on the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ YouTube channel at

The next meeting of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled for March 5, 2021.

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