KY BHA: Defeat Senate Bill 3

Senate Bill 3 is a concerning piece of legislation that could have profound impacts to hunting, fishing, and trapping in the state of Kentucky.


In 1945, Kentucky was divided into nine fish and wildlife law enforcement districts. In 1952, our Fish and Wildlife Commission was born to represent those same nine districts. The laws that established our Commission have been amended and updated as necessary over time, but it was always with the founding principle, that, “the system was created by Kentucky Sportsmen to ensure that both managerial and financial control of the state’s wildlife resources stayed out of political control.”  

Some would ask, “Why would that be? Why would Sportsmen and Women be above politics and political control?”  

Well, the simple fact is that the Sportsmen and Women of Kentucky pay the bills. Over 90% of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resource’s annual budget is paid directly or indirectly by the sportsmen and somen of the Commonwealth. No general fund money goes into the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR). Because sportsmen and women pay the bills, we have a vested interest to maintain or improving our hunting, fishing, and public lands heritage. Our forefathers created this system, and it has served us well. 

Senate Bill 3 must be defeated. 

Our specific objections include, but are not limited to: 

1.   Senate Bill 3 would give the Commissioner of Agriculture the authority to appoint the members of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission. This blatantly violates well established state constitutional law for the appointment of commission members and the enforcement of law, and because it removes the independence of the KDFWR by placing it in an agency- The Department of Agriculture- with competing interests to the conservation of our game, fish, and non-game species. Further, agriculturally minded Fish and Wildlife Commissioners appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture need only increase bag limits and lengthen seasons over a decade to reduce wildlife populations that took nine decades to recover. This type of action could see our wildlife population decimated and leave us explaining to our grandchildren why there is no game to hunt or fish to catch.  

2.   This bill would also administratively attach the entirety of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to the Department of Agriculture. The Department of Agriculture is diametrically opposed to the work that the biologists and staff at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife do, so much so as to be antithetical to the proven science-based methodologies that have been used by our department for decades. Agriculture focused entities like Kentucky Farm Bureau- which greatly influence the Department of Agriculture- have labelled elk, deer, turkey, and bear as pests. One of Kentucky Farm Bureau’s current policy objectives stated on their website says, “… reduce the wildlife population in an effort to alleviate continued crop and livestock losses…”  

3.   This is the seventh bill in three legislative sessions that puts the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) squarely in the center of partisan politics. If there is one group of Kentucky constituents who want politics left out of their lives it is hunters, fishers, and public land enthusiasts. For the past 4 years, the KDFWR has undergone tremendous change and stress from annual legislative restructuring. 

4.   Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and the Kentucky State Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers are fully committed to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and the tenant that, “science is the proper tool for the application of wildlife policy.” Further, we believe and support the concept that wildlife is held in the public trust by state game and fish agencies, like the KDFWR, and that only wildlife scientists should make management recommendations to Fish and Wildlife Commissioners who are nominated by sportsmen and women- as it is today. 


If you wish to review the bill you may do so at this link: orig_bill.pdf ( 

Please join Kentucky BHA in urging your members of the Kentucky Legislature to defeat Senate Bill 3. 


About Kentucky BHA

Our chapter is dedicated to serving the interests of conservation and access to clean public lands and waters. Through planning, collaboration, and dedication, we will make a difference.

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