Kentucky - Western KY, Typically Best, Impacted by Drought

Forecast: While the July mail carrier survey results showed a slight statewide decrease, the mild winter meant good carryover going into spring and summer breeding season, with many unofficial reports of early breeding activity. Mid-summer brought drought to much of the Bluegrass State, with the western part of the state being impacted the hardest and longest.

Timely rains fell across central and eastern Kentucky later in the summer months and breeding activity seemed to pick up as a result. Ben Robinson, wildlife biologist-small game program, thinks there was a good late nesting across much of the state with the exception of western Kentucky. Unfortunately, this area is typically the most productive one in terms of quail hunting.

The Peabody Wildlife Management Area continues to lead the way for public quail hunting land. Portions of the WMA are open only to drawn quota hunters, but several thousand acres are still available for general use. Those hunters near West Kentucky WMA will also have a good opportunity to fill their packs with bobs. Private lands in the central portion of the state, specifically near the Mammoth Cave Area, that are currently enrolled in the Farm Bill CREP program, will provide hunters with ample opportunity to harvest quail; however, permission must be obtained before hunting on private lands. In addition, Eastern Kentucky reclaimed coal mine areas offer overlooked areas worth hunting.

Robinson says far western portions of the state typically produce the best quail numbers, but this area was severely impacted by drought, so how this hunting season will turn out is still up in the air. Overall, hunters should expect better than average quail hunting in Kentucky this year, particularly in those areas with good habitat.

Season Dates: November 12, 2012 through February 10, 2013 (western zone) November 1-9 and November 12, 2012 through January 31, 2013 (all other counties)
Daily Bag Limit: 8
Possession Limit: 16
Field Notes: Kentucky has recently created the Kentucky Bobwhite Battalion, a site for all things quail in the state. Visit their Facebook page to join the group and show your support. Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, a 3,000 acre National Historic Landmark, located in the heart of Kentucky's famed Bluegrass Region, is now home to an intensive bobwhite quail management project.

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