Kentucky deer hunters will have a longer period in the field with their crossbows, after a proposal to expand the season went into effect May 31.

The new crossbow season will open the third Saturday in September and close the third Monday in January. This year that timeframe begins Sept. 21, 2019, and continues through Jan. 20, 2020.

The proposal to lengthen the season went through the legislative process earlier this year after being approved by the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission (board) late last year.

The extension of the crossbow season is a way to tap into the popularity crossbow hunting has gained in recent years. Expanding the season provides additional opportunities, keeps hunters afield longer and helps manage the state's deer herd.

With bag limits for deer in place, overharvest is not a concern. Biologists monitor deer harvest numbers annually to ensure the herd remains in good shape. The public may review up-to-date Telecheck harvest results anytime at fw.ky.gov.

This new regulation also allows all youth hunters - those ages 15 and younger - to hunt deer with a crossbow during the entire archery season. This mimics what the department already has in place for Kentucky residents who are age 65 and older. The archery season for deer opens the first Saturday in September and closes the third Monday in January.

This expanded crossbow season will create more opportunities for hunters to enjoy Kentucky's outstanding deer herd.