FRANKFORT – Gov. Steve Beshear will likely sign into a law a bill filed by state Rep. Fitz Steele and passed during the General Assembly’s ongoing session earlier this month.
House Bill 60 was enrolled and delivered to the governor on March 11, and will expand nighttime hunting of coyotes in Kentucky.
Steele said he filed the bill to help quell Kentucky’s population of coyotes, an animal which Steele noted has become a nuisance for landowners in the state. Fish and Wildlife officials have said a precise population count has not been conducted, but coyotes have been increasing in number for the past few years.
“They’re a big nuisance, from killing people’s livestock to chickens and even to their pets, and not counting the wildlife, the small game,” Steele said of Kentucky’s coyote problem. “We need to weed them out as much as possible.”
Specifically, House Bill 60 will allow hunters to take coyotes at nighttime without a light, but only with a shotgun, Steele said.
The bill essentially cruised through the Kentucky House of Representatives with a favorable vote of 99-1 before passing the Senate with a vote of 37-0.
Officials with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife did not return calls seeking comment on the bill last week, but the Fish and Wildlife Commission did approve a measure during its quarterly meeting in March that would establish a hunting season for coyotes from Feb. 1 through May 31, during which lights or night-vision equipment can be used during the nighttime hours. Though hunting would coyotes still be legal for the remainder of the year, the use of lights or night-vision equipment would not be allowed through June 1 and Jan. 30.