Hunting Seasons In Kentucky 2023-2024

Hunting seasons in Kentucky offer outdoor enthusiasts a diverse range of opportunities to pursue game animals and enjoy the state’s natural beauty. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) is responsible for regulating and managing hunting seasons to ensure sustainable wildlife populations while providing recreational opportunities for hunters.

Kentucky’s hunting seasons are typically organized based on the type of game species, and they adhere to specific dates and regulations set by the KDFWR. These seasons are designed to balance conservation efforts with the interests of hunters, providing ample opportunities for both residents and non-residents to enjoy the state’s hunting heritage.

In Kentucky, you can find hunting seasons for a variety of game species, including white-tailed deer, wild turkey, waterfowl, small game like rabbits and squirrels, and many other animals. Each season is carefully planned to coincide with the natural rhythms of the wildlife population and the preferences of hunters.

Hunting seasons also include specific regulations regarding hunting methods, bag limits, licensing requirements, and safety measures to ensure responsible and sustainable hunting practices. It is essential for hunters to familiarize themselves with these regulations and stay updated on any changes made by the KDFWR.

Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or a newcomer to the sport, Kentucky’s hunting seasons offer a chance to experience the state’s rich outdoor traditions and connect with nature. Before heading out on a hunting adventure in Kentucky, make sure to check the current regulations and licensing requirements to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in the great outdoors.

When does hunting season begin?

SeasonStart DateEnd Date
Bear – Chase-Only 1
All Zones: June 1-Aug 31
Jun 1, 2023Aug 31, 2023
Bear – Chase-Only 2
All Zones: Sep 9-30
Sep 9, 2023Sep 30, 2023
Bear – Hunt with Dogs Zone 2
Use of dogs permitted.
Oct 23, 2023Oct 27, 2023
Bear – Hunt with Dogs Zone 1
Use of dogs permitted.
Oct 23, 2023Oct 27, 2023
Bear – Archery Zone 2
Includes Crossbow.
Oct 28, 2023Nov 1, 2023
Bear – Archery Zone 1
Includes Crossbow.
Oct 28, 2023Oct 30, 2023
Bear – Firearm Zone 2Dec 9, 2023Dec 13, 2023
Bear – Firearm Zone 1Dec 9, 2323Dec 11, 2023
Bobcat – Trapping
Bag Limit 5
Nov 13, 2023Feb 29, 2024
Bobcat – Hunting
Bag Limit 5; no more than 3 of which shall be taken with a gun.
Nov 18, 2023Feb 29, 2024
Coyote – Hunting
No limit
Jan 1, 2023Dec 31, 2023
Coyote – Trapping
No Limit
Nov 13, 2023Feb 29, 2024
Deer – Archery
Bag limits vary by zone. Check regulations for more details.
Sep 2, 2023Jan 15, 2024
Deer – Youth/Senior Crossbow
Bag limits vary by zone. Check regulations for more details.
Sep 2, 2023Jan 15, 2024
Deer – Crossbow
Bag limits vary by zone. Check regulations for more details.
Sep 16, 2023Jan 15, 2024
Deer – Youth-Only Gun
Bag limits vary by zone. Check regulations for more details.
Oct 14, 2023Oct 15, 2023
Deer – Muzzleloader Early Season
Bag limits vary by zone. Check regulations for more details.
Oct 21, 2023Oct 22, 2023
Deer – Modern Gun
Bag limits vary by zone. Check regulations for more details.
Nov 11, 2023Nov 26, 2023
Deer – Muzzleloader Late Season
Bag limits vary by zone. Check regulations for more details.
Dec 9, 2023Dec 17, 2023
Deer – Free Youth Weekend
Bag limits vary by zone. Check regulations for more details.
Dec 30, 2023Dec 31, 2023
Dove – 1st Portion
Season 1
Sep 1, 2023Oct 26, 2023
Dove – 2nd Portion
Season 2
Nov 23, 2023Dec 3, 2023
Dove – 3rd Portion
Season 3
Dec 23, 2023Jan 14, 2024
Duck – Early Teal & Wood Duck
Bag limit: 6; may include no more than 2 wood ducks
Possession Limit: 18; may include no more than 6 wood ducks
Sep 16, 2023Sep 20, 2023
Duck – Teal Only
Bag limit: 6
Possession Limit: 18
Sep 16, 2023Sep 24, 2023
Duck – Youth Waterfowl EarlyNov 18, 2023Nov 18, 2023
Duck – Early
Bag Limit: 6; may include no more than 4 mallards (only 2 of which may be hens), 3 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 1 pintail, 2 black ducks, and 2 canvasback. 1 scaup Nov. 23-26
Possession Limit: Triple the daily bag limit.
Nov 23, 2023Nov 26, 2023
Duck – Late
Bag Limit: 6; may include no more than 4 mallards (only 2 of which may be hens), 3 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 1 pintail, 2 black ducks, and 2 canvasback. 1 scaup Nov. 23-26
Possession Limit: Triple the daily bag limit.
Dec 7, 2023Jan 31, 2024
Duck – Youth Waterfowl LateFeb 10, 2024Feb 10, 2024
Elk – Archery/Crossbow Either Sex – Week 1Sep 9, 2023Sep 22, 2023
Elk – Firearm Bull – Week 1Sep 30, 2023Oct 4, 2023
Elk – Firearm Bull – Week 2Oct 7, 2023Oct 11, 2023
Elk – Firearm Cow – Week 1Nov 25, 2023Nov 29, 2023
Elk – Archery/Crossbow Either Sex – Week 2Dec 2, 2023Dec 8, 2023
Elk – Firearm Cow – Week 2Dec 30, 2023Jan 3, 2024
​​River Otter, Muskrat, Mink, Beaver, Red Fox, Gray Fox, Weasel & Striped Skunk – Hunting
River Otter – 10; Only 6 of which can be taken from Otter Zone 2
Muskrat, Mink, Beaver, Red Fox, Gray Fox, Weasel & Striped Skunk – No Limit
Nov 13, 2023Feb 29, 2024
​​River Otter, Muskrat, Mink, Beaver, Red Fox, Gray Fox, Weasel & Striped Skunk – Trapping
River Otter – 10; Only 6 of which can be taken from Otter Zone 2
Muskrat, Mink, Beaver, Red Fox, Gray Fox, Weasel & Striped Skunk – No Limit
Nov 13, 2023Feb 29, 2024
Raccoon & Opossum – Hunting
No Limit
Oct 1, 2023Feb 29, 2024
Raccoon & Opossum – Trapping
No Limit
Nov 13, 2023Feb 29, 2024
Free Youth Hunting & Trapping Week
Standard Bag Limits Apply
Dec 30, 2023Jan 5, 2024
Goose – September Canada Goose – Western Zone
Bag limit: 5
Possession Limit: 15
Sep 1, 2023Sep 15, 2023
Goose – September Canada Goose – Eastern Zone
Bag Limit: 5
Possession Limit: 15
Sep 16, 2023Sep 30, 2023
Goose – Snow & Ross
Bag limit 20; No Possession Limit
Nov 23, 2023Feb 15, 2024
Goose – Canada/Cackling Goose, White-Fronted Goose & Brant
Bag limit: 5 combined; 3 Canada geese, 2 white-fronted geese, and 1 brant.
Possession Limit: Triple the daily bag limit
Nov 23, 2023Feb 15, 2024
Goose – Conservation Order
No limit
Feb 16, 2024Mar 31, 2024
Turkey – Youth Spring
Bag limit of 2.
Apr 1, 2023Apr 2, 2023
Turkey – Spring
Bag limit 2.
Apr 15, 2023May 7, 2023
Turkey – Fall Archery
Two (2) turkeys per season.
One (1) turkey with a beard longer than three (3) inches.
One (1) turkey with no visible beard or a beard shorter than three (3) inches.​
One (1) bird may be taken per day.
Sep 2, 2023Jan 15, 2024
Turkey – Early Fall Crossbow
Two (2) turkeys per season.
One (1) turkey with a beard longer than three (3) inches.
One (1) turkey with no visible beard or a beard shorter than three (3) inches.​
One (1) bird may be taken per day.
Oct 1, 2023Oct 22, 2023
Turkey – Early Fall Shotgun
Two (2) turkeys per season.
One (1) turkey with a beard longer than three (3) inches.
One (1) turkey with no visible beard or a beard shorter than three (3) inches.​
One (1) bird may be taken per day.
Oct 28, 2023Nov 3, 2023
Turkey – Late Fall Crossbow
Two (2) turkeys per season.
One (1) turkey with a beard longer than three (3) inches.
One (1) turkey with no visible beard or a beard shorter than three (3) inches.​
One (1) bird may be taken per day.
Nov 11, 2023Dec 31, 2023
Turkey – Late Fall Shotgun
Two (2) turkeys per season.
One (1) turkey with a beard longer than three (3) inches.
One (1) turkey with no visible beard or a beard shorter than three (3) inches.​
One (1) bird may be taken per day.
Dec 2, 2023Dec 8, 2023

Deer Season Types

In Kentucky, there are basically four different deer Kentucky hunting seasons: Archery, Crossbow, Muzzleloader, and Modern Gun.

From the first Saturday in September until the third Monday in January, the archery season is open. The first Saturday of September also marks the start of crossbow season. For the first two weeks, it is solely available to seniors and young people. The end of the crossbow season coincides with the end of archery season. The muzzleloader season is divided into early and late seasons. Only on Saturday and Sunday, the third weekend in October is the early Muzzleloader season available. The second Saturday in December marks the start of the late Muzzleloader season, which lasts for nine days.

Modern gun season is open from the second Saturday in November to the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Only young people are allowed to attend this weekend in October. Free Youth Weekend is the first weekend following Christmas when young people can go hunting without having to buy a hunting license or permission.

Hunting rules in Kentucky

Hunters are required to utilize permitted hunting equipment and techniques during the various season types. Details of each season type are provided below:

Archery Season

Hunting during the archery season is permitted using longbows, compound bows, or recurve bows. Arrows can be made of wood, carbon, or metal, but they cannot have been chemically processed.

Broadheads, which may have mechanical or fixed blades, must be utilized. They must have a minimum diameter of 7/8 of an inch. For bows, there is no minimum draw weight. During the season, no firearms of any kind are allowed to be used.

Crossbow Season

Hunters may use crossbows with any draw weight and functional safety during the crossbow season. During the archery season, arrows must meet the same specifications as archery equipment.

Muzzleloader Season

Hunters may use muzzleloading rifles and handguns of any caliber that fire round balls or conical bullets during this season. Shotguns with a muzzleloader that are no bigger than ten gauge and fire single rounds similar to rifles are permitted.

The ammunition (bullet and powder) for these single-shot weapons must be loaded into the barrel’s muzzle end. The use of modern guns that discharge cartridges is prohibited at this time.

Modern Gun Season

Any caliber centerfire rifle or handgun may be used by hunters during the Modern Gun season. It is not permitted to use tracer ammo or full metal jackets. Rifles and pistols are not permitted to discharge more than one bullet with a single trigger stroke and cannot be fully automatic. Shotguns no bigger than ten gauges may be used, but only slug ammunition buckshot is prohibited.

Shotguns, rifles, and pistols might not be able to contain more than 10 rounds each. A useable firearm or air gun must be at least.35 caliber and must be charged by an external tank. They shoot a single bullet that expands upon impact. During this time of year, muzzleloading rifles may also be utilized.

Youth Weekends

Only youth hunters under the age of 16 may participate in the two youth hunt weekends. Any of the aforementioned archery, muzzleloader, or modern rifle gear is available for use by young hunters.

Any young hunter using a firearm must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Since the adult is not hunting, they are not allowed to use guns to capture deer and do not need to have a hunting license or additional deer permit (although they must wear hunter-orange attire as explained in the following section).

The Youth hunter is expected to have the necessary permits (youth deer permit) and licenses for the first weekend. Youth hunters are permitted to hunt on the second “free” weekend without a hunting license or permission. During these particular youth weekends, all bag limitations, zone restrictions, and hunting deer laws are in effect.

Overall Regulations and Safety

Before going deer hunting in Kentucky, be aware of the following important rules. This list is not all-inclusive, so study and comprehend every guideline in the Kentucky hunting guide as they could be applicable to you.

Safety Information

Safety should always come first while using a lethal weapon and going antlerless deer hunting. Always abide by these four fundamental laws of gun safety: Every firearm should be handled as if it were loaded. You should also always maintain your gun’s muzzle pointing in a safe direction, wait to pull the trigger until you are ready to shoot, and be certain of your target and what is beyond it.

Make sure your target animal is the kind of deer you are permitted to take since Kentucky only allows you to take one antlerless deer each year. If you’re using a gun, be sure there isn’t another deer just behind your target antlerless deer. You run the risk of accidentally taking the wrong deer and exceeding your bag limit if you miss your target deer.

More importantly, make sure your target antlerless deer is not beyond any highways, structures, or other locations where humans could be. Each and every bullet that leaves your weapon is your responsibility.

Another crucial aspect of operating a tree stand safely is that. It’s a popular misconception that the majority of hunting mishaps result from hunters mistakenly shooting other hunters seeking game. Falls from tree stands are the cause of more hunting accidents than any other type of injury. Before the day you go hunting, learn how to operate a tree stand if you use one.

Examine it and repair or tighten any damaged or missing components. Before your feet leave the ground, use a safety harness and rope to secure yourself to it. Also, don’t try to climb while carrying a gun, a bow, or any other equipment. When you are secure in your stand, bring up your equipment using a haul line, and make sure that any rifles are unloaded.


Hunting License Requirements

Anyone who takes or attempts to take a deer in Kentucky is considered a hunter. All deer hunters in Kentucky must possess a valid Kentucky hunting license. Hunting licenses can be purchased online. If you purchase your license online, you will not be mailed a paper copy. Instead, you will need to print it. Licenses can also be purchased from a licensed agent.

If you live outside of the state and are not a resident of Kentucky, you must purchase a Kentucky non-resident hunting license if you would like hunting deer. A hunting license from another state is not valid. When you are hunting, ensure that you always carry your hunting license and photo ID.

The type of license required varies by age. Hunters between the ages of 12 and 15 should purchase a youth hunting license plus a Youth deer permit. Those between the ages of 16-64 should purchase an annual hunting license and a statewide deer permit. Hunters aged 65 and older or disabled hunters only need to purchase a Senior/Disabled license.

If you also like to fish, an annual combination hunting and fishing license is available. If you want to take advantage of all the hunting and fishing opportunities in Kentucky, then a Sportsman’s license is the best option. These are available for youth hunters and adult deer hunters. It includes hunting and fishing licenses along with a statewide deer permit, spring and fall turkey permits, a state migratory bird-waterfowl permit, and a trout permit.

The statewide deer permit allows the harvest of up to four total deer. However, only one of those can be one antlered deer across the entire state. If you would like to harvest more than four deer since it is allowed in Zone 1, you must purchase an “Additional Deer Permit” that allows you to harvest two additional deer.

Hunting Hours

Unless you’re shooting waterfowl, migratory birds, raccoons, coyotes, turtles, or frogs, Kentucky additional deer permits shooting from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Hunters without firearms are permitted in the field. Opossums and raccoons can be put to death at any moment. However, the current firearms deer hunting season only permits hunting at night. See here for the hunting and trapping prohibitions on coyote furbearers. USNO offers tables for sunrise and sunset.

Hunting Exceptions

Hunting from stationary cars and using crossbows during archery-only seasons are both permitted by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. Before going hunting, these sportsmen need to get a doctor’s exemption form. You can obtain a form from the website or call 1-800-858-1549. The completed exemption form becomes the hunter’s authorization and is not required to be submitted back to the government. A completed exemption form, a hunting license, and permits are required for exempt hunters.

Property Permission

Illegal activities include shooting, hunting, trapping, fishing, and other wildlife-related sports on private land. Private property, including railroad lines and rights of way, must be accessed by hunters. Landowners are not compelled to allow hunters to bring their dogs and/or wildlife back. Undocumented individuals may be arrested and found guilty.

Hunter Education

Hunters in Kentucky must obtain a hunting education certificate or an exemption permit if they were born after January 1, 1975. This demand is satisfied by hunting licenses and digital documents with image identification. Non-licensed hunters do not need to complete hunter education. Hunting education cards must be pre-registered online as of March 1, 2014. To receive an orange certification card, a 9-year-old must successfully complete the hunter education course. Kentucky accepts hunter education cards from other states. Children under the age of 12 are not needed to complete Hunter Education, but they must be accompanied by a trained adult and have access to a weapon. Less than two or more children under the age of 12 must hunt with an adult.

Apprentice Hunting

A temporary hunter education exemption permit for Kentucky’s first-time hunters can be obtained online. To be eligible for this permit, novice hunters must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter (at least 18 years old), who has finished the hunter education course and is capable of taking immediate control of the novice hunter’s bow or rifle at all times. When the exemption authorization expires, Hunter’s schooling is necessary. The hunter’s age is irrelevant. Outside of Kentucky, the temporary hunter education exemption permit will not be honored by Blue Grass Army Depot or Fort Campbell. Without attending a hunter instruction course, landowners, their spouses, and their dependent children are allowed to go hunting on their own or work property. Thus, even if they are hunting somewhere else, Kentucky’s hunter-education regulations still apply.

Hunter Orange

In Kentucky, hunters and anyone with them are required to wear a solid, uninterrupted hunter orange hue on the head, back, and chest during the modern gun, muzzleloading, young firearm, and weapon elk or bear seasons. This law only applies to deer hunting during the day. Hunters of ducks and doves are free from this restriction. A little amount of another color may be visible through holes no larger than one-quarter of an inch in any measurement in mesh apparel with the Hunter Orange brand. During rifle deer or elk seasons, squirrels, rabbits, and quail cannot be shot without hunter-orange. This legislation also forbids the wearing of hunter-orange clothing with camouflage patterns if the head, back, and chest gear are not identical. During the deer firearms seasons, ground blind and archery hunters must paint their blinds hunter orange.

Prohibited Hunting Practices

Kentucky forbids hunting with firearms, bows, arrows, crossbows, and similar tools on highway medians and rights of way. Unless otherwise allowed by law, hunting from a vehicle is forbidden. However, it is legal to hunt small game and furbearers from boats. It’s also forbidden to shoot at animals in an effort to catch or kill them or to disturb wildlife from an aircraft. It’s against the law to approach water-bound deer, elk, and turkeys covertly or with dogs or mounts. Only in the fall can dogs locate and flush out turkeys. It’s against the law to feed bears, hungry or not.

No amount of fire, smoke, explosives, or gas will catch an animal. Hunting is permitted in all state parks, WMAs, Daniel Boone and Jefferson National Forests, Land Between the Lakes, Big South Fork National River, and Recreation Area. Baiting is not permitted. It’s against the law to hunt deer and elk using electronic noises and decoys, hunt turkeys while they’re roosting, use live turkeys as decoys, or bait wild turkeys or bears. After all bait is removed, the area is considered to be baited for 30 days, making hunting illegal.

Permits to carry dangerous weapons covertly Form

Hunting in Kentucky is permitted with any legal firearm, but only when an animal is lawfully taken.

Devices Restrictions

Kentucky only permits electronic calls and lures during the furbearer hunting season. The use of mouth- or hand-operated calls for hunting other species is permitted by the state. Mechanical or electronic calls only work during crow season to capture crows. Elk, deer, and turkey hunters are not allowed to use electronic calling devices.


In Kentucky, it is illegal to throw a spotlight or other artificial light onto a private home or other structure, as well as any public or private field, pasture, forest, or woods where it is reasonable to expect the presence of wild or domestic cattle. This law does not apply to persons engaged in lawful business or occupation activities, including lawful hunting, who are landowners, members of their immediate families, or any paid employees working on the land at the time. It also does not apply to vehicles using their headlights in the normal course of travel, lights used in lawful agricultural activities, or anyone engaged in such activities. It is against the law to blind or light wildlife at night, with the exception of raccoons, opossums, frogs, and fish. See here for the hunting and trapping prohibitions on coyote furbearers.

Live Native Animal Transport & Holding

In prohibited areas, wild animals cannot be captured or retained without the appropriate paperwork. Native species that have been taken in the wild may not be sold, traded, or exchanged for parts. Illegally procured wildlife may be seized and penalized. Live deer or other cervids (members of the deer family) that are transported unlawfully or kept in unregistered facilities or cages run the risk of being seized, put to death, and subject to severe fines. Orphaned animals must be taken care of by wildlife rehabilitators.

Hunting with Dogs

Kentucky hunters are allowed to operate or train dogs year-round to hunt rabbits, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, and opossums as long as they hunt during authorized Kentucky hunting seasons. Before entering a Wildlife Management Area, pets must be inspected. Even if you’re training your dogs, you must get a hunting license if you want to lawfully kill rabbits or other furbearers. During specific hunting seasons, dogs may pursue bears but not deer or elk. Leashed dogs can discover and find wounded bears, elk, and deer. Except during hunting season, raccoon squallers may flush raccoons and opossums out of trees and dens at any time.

Bobwhite Hunt

Shoot-to-kill Bobwhite Private landowners are permitted to hunt Bobwhite quail for bird dog training during the training season. The season, with the exception of bobwhites, runs from August 15 to May 15. Before releasing pen-reared birds, you must have a license or be exempt from needing one, fill out and submit a department application, provide documentation of the purchase or ownership, have a captive wildlife permit if you keep more than 100 birds or for more than 10 days, remove wild quail from the training area, and band the birds with department bands or No. 7 leg bands.

Convicted Felons

In Kentucky, convicts are prohibited from owning breech- and muzzle-loading rifles, shotguns, and pistols (the ban on handguns applies to offenders convicted after January 1, 1975, while the ban on other weapons applies to felons convicted after July 15, 1994). If you’re unsure about whether a hunting rifle is lawful in your area, ask the county or commonwealth attorney.

  • A deer with discernible antlers is referred to as a one-antlered deer.
  • Zone 4 has a few significant changes in bag restrictions from the other zones. Neither the early muzzleloader season nor the first six days of the late muzzleloader season, nor the current gun season, permit the taking of antlerless deer.
  • Horseback deer hunting is prohibited.

Fines for not Following Regulations

You may be subject to penalties, forfeit your firearm, lose your hunting rights, and possibly go to jail if you harvest a deer in Kentucky against the law. If you are found guilty of willfully poaching deer, you might face a $1,000 fine and a year in prison. In addition to your own legal bills and court costs, you may also be subject to civil fines and restitution charges.

In Kentucky, you also lose your right to hunt for up to three years if you are found guilty of poaching. The Wildlife Violators Compact, a means to exchange information between states and people whose licenses have been suspended, includes Kentucky. If your driver’s license is revoked in Kentucky, it will also be revoked in the following 41 states.

Hunting on private property without permission is another infraction that is frequent in rural Kentucky. For the first crime, a punishment of up to $300 is imposed. For the second, a fine of up to $1000 is imposed, and for the third and subsequent violations, a fine of up to $1000 and/or a year in jail are also possible penalties. Always make sure you are aware of whether the land you are hunting on is private or public.

As you can see, there are several ways to violate the law if you merely are ignorant of it. Read and comprehend the license requirements, laws, and restrictions for the hunting season before organizing your first deer hunt in Kentucky. Even if you regularly hunt in other places, Kentucky may have different laws than your own state. Give the Kentucky hunting guide some thought.

Where are the public hunting areas in Kentucky?

Lee2,50641311Whitetail Deer, Turkey, Exotics
Bell54,55640977Whitetail Deer, Elk, Turkey, Exotics
Laurel6,69140741Whitetail Deer, Elk, Turkey, Exotics
Pulaski85042501Whitetail Deer, Turkey, Exotics
Leslie316,66840988Elk, Exotics
Ballard8,01442056Whitetail Deer, Turkey, Duck, Exotics
Union7,57442459Whitetail Deer, Turkey, Duck, Exotics
McCreary17,75342634Whitetail Deer, Elk, Turkey, Quail, Exotics
Barren8,73542156Whitetail Deer, Turkey, Quail, Duck, Exotics
Ballard8,64542024Whitetail Deer, Turkey, Duck, Exotics

Best Public Hunting Lands in Kentucky:

A hunting map book can help hunters locate any public hunting place in Kentucky. Some properties demand on-site registration while others allow online registration in advance of hunting. Hunters do not encounter crowds since these regions are not accessible to the general population. Hunting grounds do not permit hunting from vehicles. Only those with impairments are permitted to use motor vehicles.

Additionally, hunters are permitted to bring their pets onto hunting grounds, but only if they have a recent vaccination slip. On hunting lands, there are authorized camping spots, however, it’s against the law to stay there for more than 21 days in a row in a 30-day period.

Hunting guests may also use the opulent restrooms. Additionally, it is forbidden for hunters to bring any type of alcohol or illegal substances onto hunting grounds. Additionally to hunting, these grounds provide opportunities for fishing, trapping, hiking, skiing, and horseback riding.

Hunting Kentucky:

In Kentucky, there are more than 804,000 acres of hunting ground, offering a variety of options for those who like hunting. More than 100,000 licensed hunters travel to this state’s hunting grounds each year. Public, private, and hunting ranches are all types of hunting areas that are accessible in this area. This state has a wide selection of hunting animals, including both domestic and foreign species.

Examples of well-known games that may be hunted are White-tailed Deer and turkey. On most units, hunters are allowed to bring their dogs along when hunting rabbits, hares, game birds (other than turkey), squirrels, and other predatory animals.

Additionally, the majority of the hunting areas in Kentucky are gated and fenced in, making them perfect hunting grounds. In comparison to other states, Kentucky has fewer public hunting areas, and the majority of these areas are owned by private individuals.

Northern Kentucky Public Hunting Lands:

More than 0.5 million acres of this state’s property are designated for hunting, making it a popular destination for hunters. Depending on the laws and restrictions of the particular hunting property, hunters who wish to hunt in this state can either pre-book hunting land or register on-site.

Most of the hunting properties in Kentucky provide advantages such as opulent facilities, toilets, and tents. A person must be at least 17 years old and have a current license and permit in order to hunt on any hunting land.

A specific map book with all the hunting spots and their addresses is available to help hunters locate ideal hunting grounds. Hunters may also bring their pets to the hunting grounds, but they must have proof of most current vaccinations. Additionally, no type of motor vehicle is permitted on hunting areas’ grounds.

However, physically handicapped hunters can shoot games from their cars as long as the engine is turned off. In every 30-day period, hunters are permitted to camp on hunting lands for a maximum of 21 consecutive days. In addition, pastimes other than hunting such as fishing, hiking, skiing, trapping, and horseback riding are permitted on hunting grounds. Finally, it should not be hunted with alcohol or drugs as these are prohibited on hunting grounds.

Chronic Wasting Disease Concerns in Kentucky

The cervid family of animals (deer, elk, moose, and caribou) is susceptible to the devastating CWD (chronic wasting disease), which attacks the nerve system. While CWD has been identified in other states particularly in the adjacent state of Tennessee in 2021, as of 2022 it has not been identified in Kentucky.

Once CWD has spread to a region, it cannot be eradicated. The state has established a CWD surveillance zone in Calloway, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, and Marshall counties to stop CWD from entering Kentucky and harming the local deer population. If CWD is found in further locations, this zone could be extended in the future. For the most recent information, visit

In the CWD monitoring zone, there are no changes to the hunting season dates or regulations. However, there are certain unique rules that do apply.

When an obligatory CWD check station is operational, you must bring your harvested deer there for testing if you harvest a deer inside the CWD surveillance zone. 13 stations will be located in the CWD surveillance zone in 2022. During the Modern Gun season, the check stations will only be open on the weekends.

Hunters may bring a whole deer carcass, a field-dressed deer, or simply the deer’s head for sample once their deer has been telechecked. The information on how to access the test results for their deer is included on a card that hunters obtain after visiting the check station. Results are usually available in no more than six weeks.

It is not necessary to bring your harvested deer to the check stations outside of the open check station days. However, there are locations where deer samples can be collected freely. Instructions, bags, and tags may all be found at the collection location, and the only item that has to be sampled is the deer head. Any deer taken in the state may be tested through these websites.

Other safety measures have been implemented to aid in stopping the disease’s spread. It’s crucial that there aren’t too many deer gathered in one place. It is prohibited to use mineral blocks, feed, grain, salt blocks, and other deer-attracting lures in the counties that make up the CWD surveillance zone because they tend to draw deer in for extended periods of time and might potentially transmit the illness.

Additionally, no high-risk deer components may be removed from the CWD monitoring zone after being harvested there. A deer must be fully processed and any taxidermy must be finished inside the zone if it is taken there. The only items that may be removed from the area are deboned meat, antlers, clean skull caps with antlers, clean teeth, hides, and finished taxidermy products.

Similar to this, only the aforementioned deer components may be transported back into the state once a deer has been harvested outside of it. You cannot enter Kentucky with any whole deer, elk, moose, or caribou carcasses from another state.

Humans have not been found to be impacted by CWD. However, deer or elk meat that seems unwell or has tested positive for CWD should not be consumed, according to health experts. When field dressing and/or butchering the flesh of your killed deer, be careful to use gloves.

Another choice is to have the deer butchered by a skilled deer processor.

After handling any deer, wash your hands and your instruments thoroughly. Also, stay away from the high-risk areas, namely the brain and spinal cord. Never leave the body pieces outside to deteriorate; always dispose of them properly in a landfill.

What to do After a Deer is Harvested?

You must fill up a harvest log right away after harvesting a deer and before moving it. The harvest log has to be completed with the deer’s species, sex, capture date, and capture site.

Any paper licenses or permits obtained from a licensed agency are included in the harvest log. If you bought your license online, you may print a harvest report by selecting “Hunting Home” from the dropdown menu under the “Hunt” button on the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife webpage. You can field dress and transport your deer after a harvest log has been completed.

You must use the Telecheck system to submit your deer harvest report by contacting 1-800-CHK-GAME by midnight on the day you harvest the animal. Online harvest reports can be made at Prior to processing the carcass, this is necessary. The hunter must show evidence of the deer’s sex if the skin or head is taken from the carcass before the deer is telechecked.

You will receive a confirmation number after responding to all of the check-in questions. This number serves as evidence that the animal was taken and reported legally. The quantity has to be noted on the harvest log and saved for the season.


1. What kinds of animals may you hunt in Kentucky?

There are several game animals that can be legally hunted in Kentucky. These include turkey, hog, coyote, groundhog, bear, grouse, rabbit, quail, coyote, bobcat, and fox.

2. On privately held land in Kentucky, are deer bailable?

In Kentucky, deer hunting on private property is permitted with the use of bait. Any publicly accessible properties cannot be used for bait deer hunting.

3. In Kentucky, how much does a hunting license cost?

There are several varieties of hunting and fishing license combos available. The typical resident annual hunting and fishing license is $42 for residents. The sportsman’s license costs $95 and combines a hunting and fishing license with licenses for deer, turkeys, trout, and waterfowl.

The statewide deer permit cost is $185 for those who live outside of the state and wish to hunt deer.

4. How long is the hunting season in Kentucky?

The Kentucky season, which starts in the middle of November and lasts for 16 days, falls during the rut, or peak of fall mating, when deer are more active than usual. When food supplies are in short supply, deer become more active and go farther.

5. What was Kentucky’s biggest deer killed?

The Smith buck, which measured 204 2/8 inches and was shot in 2000 by Robert Smith in Pendleton County, was the biggest deer ever captured in Kentucky.

In terms of the number of deer killed per state, Kentucky ranks #6 on the Boone and Crockett list.

6. Is a license necessary to hunt squirrels in Kentucky?

Trappers who are older than 12 must obtain a license. Trappers must act quickly to capture squirrels and rabbits unless they obtain authorization from the Kentucky Fish and Species Cabinet.

7. In Kentucky, is it legal to use bait to kill deer?

Everything is based on where you go hunting. Use of bait is permitted only on privately held land for hunting.

8. When is the Kentucky rut?

The rut, also known as the deer mating and reproduction season, usually takes place between the end of October and the first few weeks of November. The bucks are eager to mate with female deer.

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