KENTUCKY

Deer Forecast 2004 -- SOUTH

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Forty bucks made the B&C; book last season, a state record and a testament to Kentucky's restrictive buck limit of one per season.

Of the top 15 counties, 8 were in the Bluegrass Region. The harvest was led by Owen County, where hunters killed 1,720 bucks and 2,094 does. Statewide, 116,540 deer were reported via mandatory telephone check-in, with the number adjusted to about 150,000 to account for reporting noncompliance. Does in the mountainous Zone 4 portion of the state are protected from either-sex hunting. This year it's bucks-only during the modern gun and early muzzleloading seasons.

"These counties still have a young deer herd that is heavily mast dependent," says state big-game coordinator Jonathan Day. "We take a more cautious approach there because overharvest can occur. The Boone and Crockett Club deer come from all over the state, primarily due to great soils, great genetics and the one-buck limit, which allows them to age."

Archery season opens statewide September 4, one of the earliest dates in the South.

Contact: Department of Fish and Wildlife (800-858-1549; www.kdfwr.state.ky.us).