With gun deer season opening, people advised to be careful in woods

Hikers, others warned of precautions in Boone National Forest

WINCHESTER, Ky. (WTVQ) – With the start of Kentucky’s modern gun deer hunting season on Saturday, November 13, visitors to the Daniel Boone National Forest are likely to see an increase in orange across the Forest. During this busy time, hunters and recreational visitors alike are encouraged to follow safety precautions, like wearing blaze orange clothing, as well as all state and federal hunting laws and regulations.

Modern gun season lasts from November 13 to November 28, but bowhunting season continues through January 2022 so visitors should continue to practice hunting season safety through the new year. These dates, as well as all licensing, bag limits, and other seasonal regulations, are set by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and are enforced in all areas of the Forest.

During this time, all visitors should ensure that they and their companions can be easily identified from a distance by avoiding neutral colors like tan or grey. Hunters are required to wear blaze orange on their head and torso, but it is best practice for all Forest visitors, including accompanying pets or service animals, to wear blaze orange into the Forest.

While hunting is allowed in most areas of the Forest, there are certain locations where hunting is prohibited. There is to be no hunting or shooting into or from inside of caves, across developed roadways or bodies of water, or within 150 yards of a residence, building, or developed recreation site. While hunters may use developed recreation sites like campgrounds, they may not display firearms within the site unless they are cleaning or transporting them from a vehicle. There are also several areas on the Forest where hunting is prohibited to protect specific resource areas. Hunters should carefully plan their routes to avoid these areas and to avoid inadvertently crossing onto privately-owned lands.

Hunters should also note that baiting is not allowed anywhere on the Forest and hunting stands and blinds must be portable with no permanent fasteners such as screws or nails. Stands and blinds must be removed by the end of hunting season; any stands that remain on the Forest after the end of bowhunting season will be confiscated. As a best practice, hunters should label stands with contact info and remove them as soon as they have completed their season.

All visitors should also remain on the lookout for deer that display erratic behavior or that appear sick. They may be impacted by Chronic Wasting Disease and should be reported immediately to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. Similarly, any sightings of feral pigs should also be reported. Hunting feral pigs teaches them to evade capture and makes it more difficult to contain this invasive species.

For more information on state hunting laws and regulations, visit the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources website.

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