Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission proposes regulation changes

​​​​​NOTE: The following is a summary of action taken by the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission at a regular meeting on September 22, 2023. Official meeting minutes will be reviewed at a future meeting. Please note that proposed regulation changes are reviewed by the legislative branch for legal conformity, which typically takes several months. Both proposed and recently enacted amendments are posted at The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources provides this summary to enhance the public’s awareness about potential changes to hunting, fishing, boating or other related regulations.

​​​FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 25, 2023) — In a meeting held Sept. 22, 2023, the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission recommended two changes for commercial fishing in Kentucky, and awarded special commission permits to several charitable organizations that conduct wildlife conservation and related participation programs or projects in Kentucky for fundraising.

The Commission voted in favor of amending 301 KAR 1:150, an administrative regulation that establishes areas where commercial fishing is allowed. The proposed change would remove ten waterbodies across Kentucky open to commercial fishing that have exhibited low use and harvest over the last decade, and would define a new upper boundary for waters open to commercial fishing on the Green River.​​​

​​​The commission also voted unanimously to:

  • Amend 301 KAR 1:155, an administrative regulation establishing commercial fishing requirements. The proposed changes would expand locations with trophy catfish harvest regulations, modify Trophy Catfish Harvest Permit regulations downstream of Cannelton Lock and Dam, and fix formatting of monthly reporting materials.
  • Amend 301 KAR 3:100, a Special Commission Permits regulation, to reconsider the current requirement in regulation that special commission permits for elk be randomly assigned an elk hunting unit. (These provisions will be filed in conjunction with the amendments to 301 KAR 3:100 advanced by the commission at its June quarterly meeting.)
  • Set the total number of elk permits available through the 2024 Elk Hunt Drawing at 500.

If approved by the legislature, proposed administrative regulation changes are anticipated to take effect by fall 2024.​​​

Following discussions, the Commission decided to table a potential prohibition on hunting wild pigs in Kentucky as well as changes to commercial guide licensing and fees until a future meeting before taking a vote. These topics are slated for action or further discussion at the next quarterly commission meeting.​​​

​​​In other business, the Commission passed a resolution honoring the 50th anniversary of the National Wild Turkey Federation for its vital role in restoring and conserving wild turkeys in Kentucky and nationally.

​​​The Commission also awarded special commission permits for 2024 to several non-profit conservation organizations in Kentucky for fundraising.

​​​By state law, the Commission may award up to 10 hunting permits per year for deer, wild turkey, waterfowl and elk to qualifying organizations to support projects that enhance fish and wildlife resources or participation in related recreational activities within the Commonwealth.

Recipients of 2024 special commission permits were:​​​

  • Bluegrass Land Conservancy (deer, turkey, waterfowl)
  • Caldwell County Sportsman Club (deer, turkey, waterfowl, elk)
  • Carr Creek Fish and Game Club (turkey, waterfowl)
  • Kentucky Ducks Unlimited (deer, turkey, waterfowl, elk)
  • Kentucky Elk Guide Association, Inc. (deer, turkey, waterfowl, elk)
  • Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation (deer, turkey, waterfowl, elk)
  • Kentucky Houndsmen Association Foundation for Sportsmen’s Rights, Inc. (deer, elk)
  • Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry (deer, turkey, waterfowl, elk)
  • National Deer Association (deer, turkey, elk)
  • National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) – Kentucky State Chapter (deer, turkey, waterfowl)
  • The Nature Conservancy – Kentucky (deer, turkey, waterfowl)

Note: Only nine waterfowl permits were awarded because there were 10 applicants but two were under the same NWTF non-profit incorporation.​​​

​​​The meeting was livestreamed on the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ YouTube channel, where a replay of the meeting is available on demand.

​​​Individuals or organizations may contact their district representative on the commission about any pertinent topic of concern. Procedures for submitting public comments about current business items via email or in person are outlined in the agenda for each meeting, which is generally posted 1-2 weeks prior to the meeting date.

The commission, a nine-member board comprised of volunteers who serve four-year terms, recommends hunting, fishing and boating regulations on behalf of the anglers, hunters, and other wildlife-related stakeholders in the commonwealth. Any recommendation by the commission to amend or create a state administrative regulation must receive legislative approval before becoming law. The process of promulgating regulations spans several months.​​​

​​​The next quarterly commission meeting is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Frankfort. Agendas will be posted at​ when available.

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