With modern gun season opening this weekend for deer, many people are anxious to fill their freezer with some fresh meat. However, all hunters must following protocol to transition from the field to the freezer to keep their harvest legal.
First, make sure you have the appropriate licenses. Most hunters must have a Kentucky Hunting License AND a Deer Permit before you start hunting. Kentucky resident landowners, their spouses, and their dependent children hunting on their property are license/permit exempt. In most cases, to qualify as a dependent, your parents must claim you as such on their taxes. Generally, if your name is not on the deed and you are not a spouse or dependent child of the deed holder, you need a license.
The next step for a legal harvest requires logging your animal. Regardless of your license status, you must log the date, sex, and county of the harvest on your harvest log BEFORE you move the animal from the spot it was found. This log can be found on the back of your license. If you are license exempt, you must either print out a harvest log (fw.ky.gov) or create your own with an index card or piece of paper.
The final requirement to a legal harvest is Telechecking your deer. You can access the Telecheck system by phone (1-800-CHK-GAME) or online (fw.ky.gov). All harvested deer must be checked-in before midnight the day the animal is recovered, or before the hide or head is removed, whichever comes first. Once you have entered your information, you will be given a confirmation number to record on your harvest log. This confirmation number is critical as it acts as proof of a legal harvest. Entering false information into the Telecheck system, or entering someone else’s deer as your own, is a criminal offense.
I hope everyone has a safe and successful hunting season. Please remember to wear your orange (head and torso), ask permission, and thank the landowner. If you have any questions or need to report a violation, call 1-800-25-ALERT.
--OFFICER BJ MCCOY,
KENTUCKY FISH AND WILDLIFE