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Eastern Kentucky hunting?
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Pat Lefemine 17-Dec-19
Kevin Dill 17-Dec-19
Russell 17-Dec-19
Deflatem 17-Dec-19
Trial153 17-Dec-19
Medicare Bhtr 17-Dec-19
Bowfreak 17-Dec-19
Southern draw 18-Dec-19
Pat Lefemine 18-Dec-19
Ken Moody Safaris 18-Dec-19
Bowfreak 18-Dec-19
Pat Lefemine 18-Dec-19
Jeff Holchin 18-Dec-19
nehunter 18-Dec-19
RMhunter 18-Dec-19
redquebec 18-Dec-19
Rth1229 18-Dec-19
Pat Lefemine 19-Dec-19
SteveD 19-Dec-19
Bowfreak 19-Dec-19
redquebec 19-Dec-19
Bowfreak 19-Dec-19
woodguy65 19-Dec-19
redquebec 19-Dec-19
SJJ 19-Dec-19
redquebec 19-Dec-19
redquebec 19-Dec-19
dmann 19-Dec-19
JTreeman 19-Dec-19
Pat Lefemine 19-Dec-19
Bowfreak 19-Dec-19
RMhunter 19-Dec-19
Charlie Rehor 19-Dec-19
From: Pat Lefemine
17-Dec-19
I know absolutely nothing about Kentucky other than it seems to be a sleeper for trophy whitetails. It's also at the far end of my driving distance tolerance.

I have been looking for another piece of ground and I found one that looks interesting in Notheastern KY. It's in Nicholas County. It's not one of the big trophy counties like Pulaski or Ohio County, but it looks good based on the aerial images with good water, terrain, cover and about 20% open to wooded.

I did a search and found some locals talking about the county. They say poaching is rampant, spotlighting all the time, trespassers, all the big ones have been shot, blah blah blah. But then again it seems every internet forum (probably including this one) the locals go out of their way to scare people from hunting their county. So I have no faith in those reports.

I'm primarily interested in deer quality, and soil quality. Thanks -

From: Kevin Dill
17-Dec-19
I live a few hours north of the area you're considering, but we travel through there every summer. Big rolling hills and beautiful country. Soil is likely very good, as you're on the edge of the Bluegrass region and (expensive) horse country. I know nothing about the deer in that area, but would be surprised if the herd wasn't very healthy and numerous. With Lexington not far away, I would assume some competitive pressure may exist. Plenty of good bourbon to celebrate the hunt.

From: Russell
17-Dec-19

Russell's Link
Regarding poaching, I would talk with the local game wardens.

For soil analysis, I use the USDA site. I've talked with them a time or two.

Also, I've spoken with the KY dept of Ag regarding CRP, gameland improvements, etc. They were very helpful.

From: Deflatem
17-Dec-19
There are much better counties than Nicholas, but if you have a good property then that's a plus. generally the problem is that deer bounce from property to property. Hard to keep them from getting popped by the guy on the other side of a fence. Generally a good state for deer though. I would look at the counties along the Ohio river between Louisville an Cincinnati and south to the Bluegrass parkway.

From: Trial153
17-Dec-19
Western and north central Kentucky is the the place to be...

17-Dec-19
Pat, Kentucky just had a record deer harvest for the 16 day gun season. You can research county harvest on fw.ky.gov to see how Nickolas faired. Generally eastern counties have fewer deer, central has less pressure and west more deer and pressure.

From: Bowfreak
17-Dec-19
The only place in KY you don't want to be is SE KY. The rest of the state is going to be fairly good to great. If I was buying land as a NR in KY, I would look at zone 1 counties and focus on the right property. You can grow good deer anywhere in KY.

I sent you a pm on where I would specifically look.

18-Dec-19
Definitely western KY

From: Pat Lefemine
18-Dec-19
Thanks guys. I got a lot of DMs over this topic and I appreciate that. Bowfreak, I looked into that county last night and there’s some decent parcels for sale there. I may just take you up on your boots on the ground offer if I get serious about a particular parcel in your area.

As anything, I have to weigh the price, the amount of acreage, the drive and the quality of hunting.

18-Dec-19
I’m from SE Kentucky. Great turkey and lots of bear. Whitetails not so much.

From: Bowfreak
18-Dec-19
Ken is spot on.

Pat...just let me know. I don't think you can go wrong in that particular area.

From: Pat Lefemine
18-Dec-19
I'm not looking in SE Kentucky, one of the properties on my list is in NE Kentucky.

18-Dec-19
When I lived in Cincinnati, I hunted in NE Kentucky, on both private and public land. The poaching and blatant disregard for private property was pretty bad, and on the public land where there was a gated road, the locals just drove their 4 wheelers around and anywhere they pleased, seemingly without consequence. They also made sure to let any NRs hunting "their" spot know that they were unwelcome....

From: nehunter
18-Dec-19
I also was looking into NE KY, looking for a closer drive to CT. But the terrain was steep with very little AG fields. I'm sure there is the perfect place somewhere. I ended up in NW Kentucky

From: RMhunter
18-Dec-19
Pat I hunted Lewis county Kentucky for several years and my buddies have hunted it going on 15 years now. We had a big tract of timber company property that was all mountain land but held some great bucks. We took several every year from 140-165". Down around the river bottom they killed bigger bucks every year. The property we had would be tough for bowhunting as it was 1000s of acres of timber

From: redquebec
18-Dec-19
So here's the deal...I live in Louisville ky, hunt a lot and all over the state. I have many patients and friends that hunt all over the state. We all talk regularly and exchange pics and stories of the big ones and the problems of owning and hunting land.

Eastern KY: My wife's family is from there. If YOU aren't from there, you're not welcome. Some counties are rough. I thought about buying land there because of the introduced elk. Overall the deer hunting is poor. Not good land for whitetails. My wife's family told me the locals will learn my name, my truck and when I'm there. They'll hunt and trespass all over the land and stay off when I'm there. If I say something...any cabin or stands or truck is gonna get it.

Western Ky: more civilized, GREAT trophy deer. Ohio and Muhlenberg counties are hot. Way western Ky near paducah and the illinois/missouri border have a lot of wetlands, good hunting, slightly rough, but no fears. Just plain old trespassers.

The bluegrass area of KY are the counties northeast and southeast of Louisville. Those are the real best kept secrets of the state. This is where I hunt. There's a lot of old money in this state and some of the families that started the tobacco and alcohol, horse racing, newspapers and hospitals bought huge tracts of land in this region. Look for land in oldham county, henry county, shelby, spencer, anderson, woodford and franklin counties.

Most of the wealthy power people I have met and know are tree hugging liberal non-hunter types. As a result a lot of huge tracts of land aren't hunted. I hunt a property in the middle of some of the Brown/Williamson family land (tobacco and alcohol money) and I call the place 'the petting zoo." Animals everywhere, like park deer.

Those old money families run those counties and they pay most of the revenue. There's a good old boy network that runs the law they way they see fit. When a person trespasses on their land they call the police and let me tell you, justice for the families that have hundreds of millions is WAAAY different than for me and you. You get caught there, they'll spend thousands to ruin your life, and they will. Lawyers and judges are in their pockets and the low lives know it. I've never seen or even heard of a trespasser.

That's the hoytie toytie part of the state and very civilized very high brow. Not the stereotype of KY. The deer are plentiful and those counties are pope and young producers.

If you can afford it.

Look at Henry county, if you have half to three quarters of a million, you'll buy a piece of heaven with great neighbors and very little to worry about.

From: Rth1229
18-Dec-19

From: Pat Lefemine
19-Dec-19
Stephen, thank you very much for this information. Sounds like Eastern KY is a lawless, 3rd world country enforced by corrupt cops and judges. I won't dispute your assessment. The more I hear about KY the more I think maybe I should just stick with Ohio.

I own property in PA and NY and have zero trespassing issues. I was told it would be the complete opposite. I have never had a break in, lost a trail camera, or a treestand. Maybe I'm lucky. Anyway, thank you for your thoughtful response and it certainly gives me a lot to think about.

I think it's a moot point anyway, I can't get the Whitetail Properties guy to respond to me so maybe even the Realtor is part of the anti-NR sentiment that runs rampant in Eastern KY? ;-)

From: SteveD
19-Dec-19
If its mentioned on a social media site it aint no sleeper!!!!!!!!

From: Bowfreak
19-Dec-19
Pat,

SE Eastern KY is where you would have issue. You don't want to be there anyway as the deer hunting is crappy compared to the rest of the state. As a general rule, ignore the areas south of I64 and east of I75 and you will have great deer hunting and trespassing will be no worse than anywhere else you might purchase.

You will have zero issues in KY. You would be welcomed. The only thing with many Kentuckians is that they don't trust outsiders enough to give them access on their land. If they like you, and they will as you will treat them with respect, they will give you the shirt off their back.

If you would have asked me 15 years ago as to whether to purchase land in southern or eastern Ohio or KY, it would have been a no brainer for Ohio. Now....I'd say KY deer hunting is better overall, but you still have much better gun season dates in Ohio. KY gun season is going to be the second Saturday in November for nearly a month in most areas and in Ohio you will get to hunt right through the rut before gun season starts.

From: redquebec
19-Dec-19
I hope I didn't make it sound too bad. Not a third world country, just an insulated culture. A more even tempered description of the state came from Bowfreak. Stay north of I64 and West of I75 and it's not bad. The problem is the land in the above mentioned corridor has become really expensive. That corridor is mostly good people and great hunting opportunities.

Eastern KY culture is steeped in mistrust because of what outsiders did there 50 to 75 years ago in the coal mining industry. My wife's family told me how northerners and big companies came in and made promises but instead destroyed land, destroyed opportunities, stole, lied and cheated the local people. Those mountain folks have long memories. Simply put, if you're not from there, they won't trust you. And I fully understand why they feel that way.

I have a friend who is an attorney in Louisville. He's originally from Pike county. I found a big, cheap piece of land there that backs into Daniel Boone National Forest. Elk are plentiful and spreading into the area. I figured it would be a great investment. Elk hunting in the next decade may be open access where you don't have to draw a tag. The elk re-introduction program has done WAY better that the biologists thought possible. If I buy that land I could have access to my own 200 acres and tens of thousands more in Boone! Build a cabin and I have a great investment and my own piece of Elk heaven!

So I asked my attorney friend from Pike county what he thought. His exact words were.."The locals will put you on probation until they can find you guilty." He shook his head back and forth slowly while saying it...

Here's the thing, I've hunted public land all over the state including places I was told not to go. I hunt alone and I'm obviously a yankee (Massachusetts boy). I have never had a problem, anywhere. I've enjoyed great hunting here.

I love Kentucky, the hunting is great and the people are too, in the areas around cities. Really rural areas you have to be known by your family's name.

Poaching??...I don't know about trespass and poaching on someone else's property, but I DO KNOW THIS... You're only allowed one buck per year in KY. I have met so many people with land and farms that take out their phones and show me there buck(s) for the year. They brag..."Here's my buck, here's my wife's buck, here's my daughter's buck, here's my sister's buck...hehehehe. None of those girls even got out of bed to get their bucks this year, they're good hunters hehehehe." The pictures they show me are great deer too. Pisses me off. And it's rampant.

From: Bowfreak
19-Dec-19
I agree redquebec and this below, sadly is absolutely spot on.

"Poaching??...I don't know about trespass and poaching on someone else's property, but I DO KNOW THIS... You're only allowed one buck per year in KY. I have met so many people with land and farms that take out their phones and show me there buck(s) for the year. They brag..."Here's my buck, here's my wife's buck, here's my daughter's buck, here's my sister's buck...hehehehe. None of those girls even got out of bed to get their bucks this year, they're good hunters hehehehe." The pictures they show me are great deer too. Pisses me off. And it's rampant."

From: woodguy65
19-Dec-19
Redquebec so your saying you don’t want to show up driving a Subaru with a Northeastern accent?

From: redquebec
19-Dec-19
My wife's grandparents lived their entire lives in Harlan County.

GOOD PEOPLE! Strict southern baptists, law abiding, God fearing, generous and REALLY hard working. Not sure about outsiders though... Like Bowfreak said, if you're very respectful and share their faith and work ethic they'll be the best family you could hope for. I miss them. I got tested hard down there as a yankee though LOL. Since I'm canadien french and and my first language was french they called me a "Super Yankee"

An elk stepped out of the woods at Grandpaw's funeral while they lowered him into the ground...

From: SJJ
19-Dec-19
we hunted in Southern Ohio near the KY boarder and the locals who were helping us told us not to park on certain public access areas or we would come out to 4 flat tires....

From: redquebec
19-Dec-19
woodguy65, if you're very respectful with a lot of Yessirs and Yes ma'ams and God Bless your soul talk... You'll live...Just kidding. LOL

After I made some friends and found my place here I found some of the most generous people I've ever met.

From: redquebec
19-Dec-19
But there are places I was told not to go. Even by family and the generous friends I have made. So I went anyway, a little nervous, people were decent. You just never when you'll encounter the really rough element. I think that's anywhere. My brothers live in upstate NY and they told me the same type of rough cultural pride exists there.

People are actually having armed confrontations in the woods over moose hunting blinds in Quebec according to my family who live there. My dad doesn't want to go anymore. ?!?Canada?!? of all places. This stuff can be anywhere.

From: dmann
19-Dec-19
Bowfreak is pretty much spot on. The zone 1 counties is where you should focus.

From: JTreeman
19-Dec-19
I’m never going to Kentucky! Told dangerous!

—jim

From: Pat Lefemine
19-Dec-19
Good to know. I won’t drive my BMW with the bumper sticker that says “I’m with Her”

From: Bowfreak
19-Dec-19
You'd do fine Pat. They wouldn't have a clue what you are saying and I promise you won't know what they are saying. My roommate from college was from Stratford, CT. After 4 years at EKU, he started understanding eastern Kentucky speak.

From: RMhunter
19-Dec-19
All the people I met around Lewis county were great to us, but im from the hills of east Tenn and driving a Chevy truck and they probably figured I was local

19-Dec-19
Where ever you buy try and find a QDMA area where surrounding land owners meet often to decide what deer to pass and are people who approach deer management as “people” management. That way your 200 acres can be like 5,000 acres. A good rural land realtor should be able to steer you into a group like that.

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