The Kentucky deer harvest record for the state's 16-day modern gun season has been broken.
That's enough to break the previous record, set in 2015, by nearly 1,400.
"We anticipated an increase in harvest for the season due to several changes in deer regulations implemented earlier this year," said Gabe Jenkins, Deer and Elk Program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
Those changes, decided after several meetings with deer hunters, officials and other stakeholders, included expanding the modern gun deer season to 16 days statewide, instead of certain areas. That adjustment added six additional hunting days in some areas. Other regulation changes shifted the statewide and youth deer permits to allow for the harvest of up to four deer, and also reclassified 32 counties to a less restrictive zone.
Interestingly enough, Opening Day and the beginning of the season showed average harvest numbers, but it was the last six days that made up ground on the record.
"It's obvious hunters took advantage of the last six days because 23,553 deer were checked in that timeframe," Jenkins said. "The 10-year average for the last six days of modern gun season before this year was 15,429."
The typical procedure at this juncture sees biologists analyzing the effects of the regulatory changes, including consideration of last year's epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) outbreak. More thorough statistics on the statewide deer harvest will be available after archery deer season ends January 21, 2019.