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Deer Hunting in Kentucky

The secret is out. Kentucky isn’t the best place to build lake homes or along the coastal shores, but it’s a great place to buy some secluded affordable deer hunting land. With the rolling to hilly terrain, no nice lakes that you can actually build on the lake instead of having 300+ foot setbacks, etc., Kentucky is not conducive to urban sprawl. Avid hunters have turned into Kentucky hunting outfitters because they have discovered the time is right for Whitetail hunting.   Out west in the traditional hot bed areas of monster buck such as Illinois, Montana, Oklahoma, etc., the farmland out there costs a fortune! It costs a lot a lot of money to be able to hunt farms out there because the super wealthy already own the premium hunting land. 

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What I feel has happened is this: 

Social Media and peer pressure.   

Out west they just “accidentally” have grown bigger bucks faster because of their food sources from big farmers. By definition, the more land is owned by rich big farmers, the less land that is hunted. The niche for big whitetail deer hunting just happened to be the best in the nation. I will tell you Kentucky does not offer the plentiful food sources for deer to munch on from the big time farmers, but Kentucky offers the seclusion and cover that can easily compete with those other states. The social media aspect comes into play because we have turned into a culture of “I want it now.” These young kids and even adults are pressured to shoot nothing but monster non-typical drop time bucks that you see on stickers on trucks. The photos are all over SnapeFace (Bill Bellacheck) and that is the expectation.    

Kentucky Trophy Deer

The expectation of shooting big bucks out West was more of a slow evolution of generational land ownership. People in Kentucky, I believe, has used deer more as a source of food. I know my relatives didn’t necessarily follow the laws. They just shot deer and ate them. Dare I suggest how entitlements are also playing a role in Kentucky growing bigger deer? Dare I suggest with the generational welfare becoming a profession, there is no longer a need to randomly kill/poach Kentucky trophy deer. People can just go to a Wal-Mart and pull out their credit card (food stamps) and buy whatever food they want. The reason I’m making this conclusion is that I believe we have now passed the point with rising healthcare costs and the middle class wages are so close to welfare lifestyles, that more and more see the light and just decide to collect a check that is supposed to be a “living wage”. I’m drawing the conclusion that entitlements has been great for those wanting to go out on a paid Kentucky deer hunt.  

What to Expect from an Outfitter

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Kentucky Outfitters

Let’s say you are wanting to go deer hunting in Kentucky but aren’t really certain on how to go about doing it. Let’s say you don’t have a dad or friends that have helped you grow as an outdoorsman, listening to the stories and learning some of the “extra” things available to hunters if they have a little extra money to throw around. Because we all know to most of us, the idea of deer hunting is limited to having a friend who has somehow acquired access to hunt a random person’s piece of property.    You could always book a more affordable Kentucky turkey hunt just to see the facility if you’re that curious and want to do some turkey hunting anyway.   You bring your own clothes, snacks, weapon and cash. It’s really that simple. 20% is a fairly common tipping rate when it comes to outfitters which can be very pricey, but what you can afford. Most Kentucky hunting outfitters are not as wealthy as you are and they also understand not everyone that goes hunting has a lot of money either. Do what you want to do, especially if you shoot a trophy whitetail you are happy with!   

Kentucky guide service

Professional Hunting Guide Services

Most will have processors they recommend and can help you get it to a local one or they will just make sure your animal is preserved so you can take it home with you in the back of your truck. If you don’t like gutting a deer, no problem…just remember them when it comes to tipping time. Some may have fees for certain types of services like that, but most of these are “small things” to them where it would be an insult to charge you $50 to gut a deer. It will take these guys less than 15 minutes and it’s not an issue. When you start paying thousands and thouands of dollars for your Kentucky whitetail hunt, you’re likely going with another hunter or two, everything is going to be done to your liking 

Kentucky deer hunt steps

Steps to a Kentucky Deer Hunt

Step #1: Buy a deer rifle and a scope. Cost: $400 for a standard Wal-Mart .243, .270, 30-30, 30-06, 300 mag, 7mm or whatever is fine. Don’t worry about “best gun” to be used on a Kentucky deer hunt. The differences just don’t matter and they all will do the job. As far as a scope (known as optics for people in the game) cost: $60 and you’ll be fine. I have 6X18 Leauopolds, 44 fixed, Swarvoski, etc. I’ve paid more for scopes than I have cars. They aren’t needed for Whitetail Kentucky deer hunting. If you want to be “cool”, buy a 6.5 Creedmoor, it’s trending as being the most accurate long-range rifle if you’re into measuring differences by parts per million. Buy 20 rounds of ammo and use half of it to sight in your scope to get you through this year's ky hunting seasons.    

Step #2: Research Kentucky Hunting Outfitters in a Kentucky hunting forum. They all are likely good guys, but not all are equal. Take a wild guess on how you can determine the “value”? That’s right, the free market society with live in allows for pricing to be a considerable indicator as to what you’re getting. Just decide if you want lodging, good food prepared for you and the type of guide service you want to have at your disposal. Most places will either take you to a stand or tell you exactly where to go. People don’t actually sit in blinds with you all day long unless you’re a celebrity of some sort traveling with a camera crew.   

Step #3: Book your Kentucky deer hunt! If you’re wanting to gun hunt you better book 6 months in advance. Most are sold out within a few months of Kentucky deer hunting season. 

Outfitter Minimum Size Buck Requirements

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What defines a Kentucky trophy deer?

What should be the minimum size deer outfitters require?   Quick Question: Are we in the United States of America or China? 

We are a free market capitalistic society for starters. Let’s base this discussion on “legally” there is no foundation or even should it ever be suggested that you regulate such ridiculousness. The only “legal” argument would actually be to ALLOW Kentucky hunting outfitters to shoot baby fawns to reduce the numbers of deer vs. Kentucky outfitters having the high standards and expectations of managing the size of the Kentucky trophy deer.  Make no mistake, you can buy good quality grain fed beef in a grocery for pennies on the dollar compared to deer meet. I’m not buying the “I hunt for food” argument. Those days of inefficiency where everyone has to be a farmer are long gone.   Just a caveat to the argument about “meat hunters”, I have yet to see a non-alcohol, non-smoking, non- Mountain drinking healthy Vegan deer hunter. I’m not buying the lean meat argument either, but it’s great deer camp debate!   

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Correct Answer: Depends. It really depends on the area and the collective minds of the locals who, in time, determine what good deer are for the area. Producing 150 inch bucks is a culture mentality, not because some Kentucky hunting outfitter creates good soil, has a mineral program, fertilizes and keeps the best food sources for the local deer. Kentucky Whitetails don’t recognize property lines. These deer can be snuffed out by anyone hunting within 5 miles of the best managed Kentucky deer property or Kentucky hunting lease.   

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Correct Answer: The free market dictates the size of deer Kentucky deer outfitters require as a minimum standard. If a property owner is allowing every spike to be shot by everybody with 50 bucks in their pocket, then that person is ruining trophy hunting for all his neighbors. How do you combat that? Well, the days of hunting for food are over! Unfortuantely. People can just sit on their couches, watch TV and have us middle class people wait on them hand and foot. We’ll auto deposit money in their welfare food stamp card, work hard in the fields, drive semis to the stores, unload and put the food in the cars for them to take home and eat! No need to hunt for food any more.    

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Correct Answer: As the population grows, and the gap between the have and have nots increases, there is less and less large tracks of land to go around. The free market will solve the issue. With social media pressuring and “bullying” everyone into the concept that if you shoot less than a 8 point you’re not a real man. The more informed people are about what is trending, the more TV shows showing these monster 190 inch bucks, the more it’s uncool to shoot a 4 pointer. It never used to be like this. Kentucky trophy deer hunting is mainstream and a popular hobby amongst people from all types of backgrounds.  So the more informed little old granny is who owns 400 acres, who lets her grandson and all his friends hunt the farm, on how much her land is worth, the better her quality of life becomes after she sells for 1.2 million dollars. These “uninformed” people out in the country (thanks to American Pickers as well) are really non-existent. Everyone knows their property values now and those kids who were drooling for inheriting some land had the money spent before they even sold the family farm. 

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Hunting land is mainstream and all but bought up and used by avid hunters.   The days of shooting 4 pointers year after year are long gone in Kentucky.   More and more people are being educating by the “next level” of hunting by referring to deer as how big “in inches” vs. simply a “8 pointer” or a “10 point” being shot on a successful Kentucky deer hunt.   The more things costs the more we are dictated as to what should or should be done on our own property. Everything is relative. Enjoy the outdoors. A small basket rack 80 inch 8 pointer is a trophy if you’re hunting in Florida. It’s all relative and don’t let anyone dictate what you think! Learn all the viewpoints and make a decision for yourself. In the end, I think we all come up with a reasonable Kentucky Outfitter minimum buck requirement which obviously is 126.43 inches.