Hunting in Kentucky requires being aware of those animals who are listed on either a state or federal level as protected, threatened, or endangered, and those unlisted animals who are designated as nongame and thus are not viable game for hunting activities.
Nestled between the Appalachian Mountains in the east and the rich Mississippi River in the west, Kentucky is a robust habitat for species that thrive in a variety of different ecosystems including some unique to the expansive cave systems for which the area is renowned.
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Here are three animals designated nongame and endangered in Kentucky:
1. Bald Eagles
Although this iconic species was unlisted by the federal government's United States Fish & Wildlife Service in August 2007, they remain protected from hunting or other harvesting by federal law and are considered nongame.
The bald eagle population in Kentucky is part of an active and ongoing tracking project that is the result of a partnership between the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR)
, and the Center for Conservation Biology. Each of the tagged specimens has been allocated a unique nickname and mapped tracking data is available for online viewing.
Although it's a federal offense to kill, injure, or possess so much as a feather, those who have the privilege of catching sight of one should feel free to shoot to their heart's content with a zoom lens camera.
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2. Spotted Skunks
Although unlisted, this species is a rarity in eastern Kentucky and the KDFWR designated them a nongame animal. They differ from standard skunks mainly in their coloration, having white spots on a solid black pelt as opposed to the traditional white stripe along the spine that most hunters would be intimately familiar with.
This is the single mammalian in Kentucky listed by the state or federal government as endangered. In actuality there are three different species of bat that are currently listed with indigenous populations in the state.
The vast network of caverns and caves throughout Kentucky makes it a fertile habitat for these creatures. While other nocturnal creatures may inhabit shallow cave areas, hunters should be sensitive to the disturbance of habitat areas designated within the ranges of listed species.
This article is for information only. Please check current regulations before hunting.
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