Fall can seem like an eternity away when the heat index soars into 
the triple digits and air conditioners must work overtime to meet 
unrelenting demand.
    The arrival of the new Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide from the 
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources provides a 
comforting reassurance that summer is marching closer to fall. The 
free guide ships to outlets that sell licenses and permits, but it 
also can be viewed and downloaded from Kentucky Fish and Wildlife's 
website at fw.ky.gov.
    A valuable resource for anyone who plans to participate in fall 
hunting seasons, the annual publication lists season dates and 
summarizes rules and regulations for deer, elk, bear, turkey, small 
game, furbearers and other species. It also provides information 
about licensing and permit requirements, youth hunting, quota hunts, 
public lands hunting and much more.
    Changes since last year also are highlighted in the guide.
    There are several to note this year, including new or expanded 
hunting opportunities on wildlife management areas (WMAs) and state 
parks. An addendum to the bear hunting section of the guide is 
forthcoming. It will be available on the department's website or by 
calling the department at 1-800-858-1549.
    In addition to brushing up on the latest information, this also is a 
good time to start laying the groundwork for a safe and successful 
    Trail cameras have become a valued tool for many hunters. Derek 
Beard recently put up trail cameras on land he plans to hunt this 
fall in an effort to pattern deer before archery season, which this 
year opens Sept. 2 across the state.
    "Trail cameras will give you an idea about what's there," said 
Beard, Bluegrass Wildlife Region coordinator for Kentucky Fish and 
Wildlife. "I look for a high megapixel cameras and this time of year 
I like my flash cameras. They're older trail cameras, but I like a 
colored nighttime picture because it helps me identify those deer a 
lot better and get a better idea of what they look like."
    Tree stands can offer hunters an advantage in the woods, but safety 
should always be foremost in mind when utilizing one.
    Whether a stand has been left out in the elements since last year or 
is new from the box, it should be thoroughly inspected. Replace any 
damaged tethers, straps and lines. It's also wise to inspect safety 
harnesses and ensure they fit properly.
    If hanging a stand, pick a live tree that is relatively straight. 
Gabe Jenkins considers a few things before choosing a stand location.
    "I want it close to where I'm expecting deer to be," said Jenkins, 
the deer and elk program coordinator for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. 
"Another consideration is what type of weapon that I plan to be using 
in that tree stand, whether it's an archery setup or firearms or 
both. And accessibility."
    Something else to keep in mind: the invasive emerald ash borer has 
ravaged ash trees in recent years. While forest floors are littered 
with broken and shattered ash trees and their limbs, many dead ash 
trees are still standing.
    "You need to really pay attention to the kind of tree you're putting 
your stands in," Jenkins said. "Especially in the Bluegrass, the 
dominant tree species can be ash. You do not want to put your stand 
in a dead ash tree or in close proximity to one."
    Now is a good time to beat the fall rush and pre-register for hunter 
education courses. Hunters who are not license exempt and were born 
after Jan. 1, 1975 must carry a valid hunter education card or hunter 
education exemption permit while hunting. Hunter education cards are 
obtained by completing a hunter education course. Courses are offered 
in person throughout the state, online or on a CD-ROM. Register 
online through the department's website.
    While there, explore all that it has to offer. Find a place to hunt 
with the WMA and Public Lands search or public shooting ranges. Buy 
licenses or permits. Consider subscribing to Kentucky Afield 
magazine, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife's award-winning publication.
    The upcoming fall issue will explore grouse restoration efforts, 
profile hunters who harvested some of Kentucky's most impressive 
bucks last year and preview fall hunting opportunities.
    The hottest months of summer are upon us, but it's never too early 
to start thinking about fall.

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