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Your Own Wilderness

Not everyone has their own farm or a good place to hunt. Or sometimes a hunting trip means driving three hours to your uncle’s place, then driving three hours back after a long day afield.

The solution?

Try one of Kentucky’s dozens of wildlife management areas scattered throughout the state. Kentucky has thousands of acres open to the public for hunting, fishing, or just for a place to wander through the woods and enjoy nature.

If you’re a dove hunter who doesn’t have a place to go when the season opens September 1, pick up a copy of Kentucky’s dove hunting guide and page through to the back. You can get one wherever hunting or fishing licenses are sold, or call the Department of Fish and Wildlife at (800) 858-1549. You’ll find a list of dozens of private farms open to public hunting under special lease arrangements with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

Kentucky’s wildlife management areas are known for their deer and turkey hunting, but some also offer pheasant and waterfowl opportunities. Most are managed for hunting under a quota system, which means hunters must apply for an area then be selected during a drawing in October. This limits the number of hunters using an area on opening day and helps prevent overharvest.

These wildlife management areas are also good places for hikers to explore in the off-season. The 6,000-acre Hensley-Pine Mountain area in Letcher County offers spectacular spring wildflower displays, including blankets of trillium. The area is also home to some of Kentucky’s elusive black bears.

Beaver Creek, in McCreary and Pulaski counties, offers 17,000 acres of hiking, including a gorge. Visitors to the Adair area in Boone County can see a stand of federally endangered running buffalo clover. Or there’s Letourneau Woods, an 870-acre tract of old growth forest in Fulton County.

For anglers, the 60,000-acre Peabody wildlife management area in Ohio and Muhlenberg counties offers great bank fishing in ponds scattered throughout the property.

Order your free copy of the guide to wildlife management areas in Kentucky by calling (800) 858-1549 during normal weekday working hours. This guide provides directions to public hunting and fishing areas.

Interested in hunting for deer, waterfowl, or pheasant on a wildlife management area? Call (877) 598-2401 this month only to register for state quota hunts. Consult your hunting guide for specific regulations on individual wildlife management areas.

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