Deer Forecast-South

Pendleton County

A blanket of roses fit for a Derby winner was in order for the new state-record typical whitetail taken last season in Pendleton County, located between Lexington and Cincinnati. Robert Smith's three-year-old 10-point scored 2042/8 points and had an inside spread of more than 20 inches. The whitetail was able to mature due to the benefits of the statewide one-buck limit on private land that was put in place in 1991. With about 95 percent of the state privately held and public land at a premium, more super-bucks are expected in years to come. Some 106,000 deer were taken last season; slightly more than half were does. The current population is about 760,000. Six of the state's biggest wildlife management areas have 15-inch outside-spread restrictions. Hunters on the Bluegrass Army Depot must also adhere to the 15-inch outside-spread restrictions. Fort Knox Military Reservation has a 12-inch outside-spread limit. "We've gotten increasingly liberal with our doe harvest, to the point of unlimited doe tags," says David Yancy, assistant deer biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. "We're trying to drive down our deer numbers. Bonus tag sales [BRACKET "for does"] grew 84 percent last year from 1999-2000. For the first time, we killed more does than bucks. We'd like to see it at about 60 percent does and 40 percent bucks." About 35,000 deer were killed in the Bluegrass region between Lexington, Louisville and Cincinnati. Yancy says that despite the continuing urbanization of those areas, mixed woodlots and farmland along the Ohio River and its tributaries make quality habitat.