Officials: New bill could increase deer hunt

Published: Jul. 15, 2017 at 12:05 AM EDT
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Department of Fish and Wildlife officials may soon call on hunters to keep drivers in the community safe.

Senate Bill 83 went into effect June 29th. It places new responsibilities on Fish and Wildlife Department officials to reduce the number of traffic accidents caused by deer and elk collisions.

Gabe Jenkins, Deer and Elk Coordinator for the Department of Fish and Wildlife, told WYMT the reason deer and elk pose a threat to Eastern Kentucky drivers is because of the terrain.

"In the mountains, there's not really any berms alongside the roads", said Gabe Jenkins. "So if an animal is crossing a road, they literally go from the forest, to the road, back to the forest. As motorists, you can't see them coming."

One proposed solution to reduce the number of traffic accidents is to increase the number of deer people can hunt.

"We were releasing deer a decade and a half ago, now we have too many", said Gabe Jenkins. "Our hunters have to be willing to take a few more deer. We are the ones who manage the population."

Fish and Wildlife is not the only department trying to stem the number of animal related accidents. Transportation cabinet officials are keeping track of areas where collisions occur most frequently.

"We start getting reports that there is a number of vehicle versus deer collisions in certain areas", said H.B. Elkins, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Official. "Then we will go out and post the signs. But it's not really something that we can prepare for."

Elkins suggests that drivers be extra cautious in the time leading up to the next Fall hunt.

"So what we encourage drivers to do is obviously slow down in the overnight and then the early morning and late afternoon twilight hours", said H.B. Elkins. "Because that's when deer are most active."

Information on hunting licenses and the upcoming hunts can be found by clicking the link above.