Hunt from home
Before you head out to Kentucky’s woods or waters this fall, take some time to do some surfing—on the website of the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources.
In the past few years, the department has upgraded its mapping programs to open new opportunities for hunters, anglers, and wildlife watchers. Just go online to Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources to begin.
“Hunters can actually start their scouting from the comfort of their homes,” says Wildlife Assistant Director Chris Garland, who oversees the department’s wildlife management areas.
“At home, hunters can call up detailed maps and satellite images of our public lands,” he says. “They can identify the spots with the best potential. Once they’re scouting in the field, they can use their smartphone to locate their exact position within that management area. It’s a great tool for people who want to explore our public lands.”
Public and private access
These tools are handy for exploring some of the state’s far-flung wildlife management areas—which are government-owned—and hunting access areas, which are open for public use under an agreement but are still privately owned.
Hunting access areas are created by landowners who open their property to public hunting. They receive one elk permit for every 5,000 acres enrolled in the program.
This summer, Kentucky had 86,000 acres under hunting access management agreements.
“Hunting access areas are additional places to hunt and enjoy the outdoors,” says Deer and Elk Program Coordinator Gabe Jenkins. “The department does not do any active management on these areas, such as planting food plots. The majority of these areas do not have boundaries marked.”
The department’s smartphone apps enable hunters exploring these properties to determine whether they are within the access area. Search under the keyword “map,” or pull down the “hunt” tab on the department’s website and select “where to hunt” for more information on these areas.
Electronic mapping extends beyond the terrestrial. Anglers can now get the GPS locations for fish attractors at lakes across the state. Just go to the department’s website and search under the keywords “fish attractors.” The interactive Google maps allow users to click an icon and see the type of fish habitat there—whether stumps, brush, stake beds, or pallet stacks.
Another new innovation is on the way, with bottom contour mapping now ongoing at many of the state’s smaller public lakes. The project will allow anglers to see features on the bottom such as holes and humps.
This year, spend some time surfing inside before you venture outside. You’ll be glad you did.
September 1 is opening day of dove season. Use Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources to find your nearest public field.