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Boating; Boating safety; Law Enforcement; Private Land; Public Land; Wildlife
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 15, 2022) — Extremely low water conditions caused by a severe drought in western Kentucky will affect waterfowl hunting this weekend at two wildlife management areas (WMAs) in Ballard County due to safety concerns and impaired access.
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources' staff have been closely monitoring the conditions at Ballard WMA and Boatwright WMA.
At Ballard WMA, conditions across the area are unsuitable to hold the youth-only waterfowl hunt on Saturday, Nov. 19 and the veterans and active-duty military waterfowl hunting day scheduled on Sunday, Nov. 20. Both hunts have been canceled, and no stand-by opportunities will be available.
Hunters drawn for these hunts will be refunded their preference points. Refunds also will be issued to drawn hunters who already purchased the Ballard WMA 1-day waterfowl permit in preparation for this weekend. Cancellation of the hunts this weekend does not affect the youth-only waterfowl and military/veteran-only hunt days in February.
Boatwright WMA still has locations suitable for waterfowl hunting during this weekend's special hunts, but fewer blind sites will be available for the on-site draws Saturday and Sunday because of the unusually low water conditions.
Water levels at both WMAs will continue to be monitored to determine the availability of future waterfowl hunts.
Officials remind all hunters to remain vigilant about safety during low water conditions, whether on public or private lands. Areas that typically covered with water but now appear to be dry as a result of the drought may appear safe to walk across, presenting hazardous conditions similar to quicksand. Low water levels in many areas that typically have deeper water in fall have also resulted in exposed or shallowly covered tree roots, gravel bars and debris that could result in unexpected or unseen hazards for boats and motors.
Hunters are encouraged to scout potential hunting sites in daylight hours to check for hazards, such as stumps, rocks and muddy areas. Hunters with boats should check safety equipment and wear a life jacket, as obstacles not previously posing a danger at normal water levels may impact watercraft at the current, lower levels.
For more information and any updates on changes to hunting opportunities affected by the low water conditions, please visit Kentucky Fish and Wildlife's website (fw.ky.gov), monitor official social media channels, or call the department's Information Center at 1-800-858-1549 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (EST) on weekdays.
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