Hunters harvested 95,000-plus deer

Published 3:16 pm Wednesday, December 13, 2023


The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has announced that the state’s 2023 modern gun deer season, which ran Nov. 11-26, resulted in a statewide harvest of 95,408.

KDFWR says during that two-week period, 56% of the harvest was antlered deer, with antlerless making up the remaining 44%.

Email newsletter signup

2023 resulted in one of the lowest recent harvests, ranking fourth during the past six years. 2018 was the highest at 106,803, followed by 106,033 the following year. In 2020, during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, the harvest was the lowest at 94,677. 2021 saw a slight recovery to 95,164, then there was a big jump in 2022 to 102,324, but still below pre-pandemic levels.

The top ten counties for the 2023 modern gun deer harvest were Hardin, with 2,305; Christian, 2,135; Breckenridge, 2,120; Grayson, 1,841; Graves, 1,839; Shelby, 1,829; Crittenden, 1,819; Ohio, 1,775; Pendleton, 1,748; and Nelson, 1,723.

According to KDFWR officials, Kentucky is now a top ten state for hunters seeking a trophy buck.  The herd. The herd is also substantial enough to support the harvest of more than 130,000 deer each year, which translates to a lot of venison for the table.

KDFWR notes that hunters are the primary managers of the state’s deer herd.  The Department’s guidelines maximize opportunities for hunters, while helping balance deer herd numbers through carefully considered zones and bag limits.

If you’re still looking for your trophy buck this hunting season, the muzzleloader season runs from Dec. 9-17, and the free youth weekend is Dec. 30-31. Archery and crossbow season remains open until Jan.15, 2024.