Kentucky Hunting consists of big games like bears, deer, elks, and various small games. The state has plenty of hunting opportunities because of its woodlands. Hunters that have licenses for games they want to take will be granted access to take the animals.
Kentucky Hunting Regulation
There are hunting laws, requirements, and regulations for hunters to abide by while taking games in Kentucky. Some of these laws apply to only specific hunting seasons, while others are general laws regardless of the game season.
Some of the most important hunting laws in Kentucky include the following:
Hunter’s Clothing Requirements
It is compulsory for all hunters and their assistance to wear an outer garment cloth with orange color. The color must be visible from the head, chest, and back region during the daylight hunting of games in firearm seasons, muzzleloader firearm seasons, or elk and bear firearm seasons.
However, you do not have to follow the dressing requirements for dove and waterfowl hunting seasons.
You can make use of mesh material for your hunter clothing, but the condition is that your mesh weave should not be larger than ¼ of the measurements. If you are wearing an orange garment, then a small pattern of other colors may be displayed.
Some of the violations to Kentucky hunter orange clothing include the following:
- It is a prohibition to wear an orange garment that contains camouflage patterns and has no other orange color on the chest, head, and back regions.
- It is a prohibition to wear your hunter clothing to a stand then remove it when you reach the stand.
- It is a prohibition to hunt rabbits, quails, and squirrels without the dressing requirement.
- It is a prohibition to hunt deer and elk firearms seasons without the hunter’s orange dressing requirement.
- It is a prohibition for hunters making use of archery or crossbow equipment to hunt during firearm seasons without the required orange cloth.
For hunting deer with a firearm in WMAs like the Otter Creek recreational area, anyone hunting from a blind must make sure that the blind has hunter’s orange material attached, and it is visible from every side. Also, hunters in the blind must stick to the orange clothing requirement. For WMA or Kentucky public hunting lands where the taking of games like bears, elks, and deer is prohibited, hunters are not allowed to set up hunting blinds or wear orange clothing during the firearm seasons.
Kentucky Shooting Hours
The shooting hours for most game species in Kentucky are usually during daylights, between 30 minutes prior to sunrise and 30 minutes after sunsets. Notwithstanding, hunters are allowed to be on hunting fields and stands before the shooting hours. However, there are exceptions to these shooting hours for games like opossums, frogs, coyotes, and raccoons.
Hunters can take opossums and raccoons during the day or at night, with exception of modern firearm deer hunting season where you may only take opossums and raccoons in the night.
Prohibited Hunting Methods
Hunting practices that are illegal in Kentucky include the following:
- It is a prohibition to discharge firearms, archery devices, or a similar hunting weapon or device across a major road or public highway in the state, in the name of hunting.
- It is a prohibition to take or attempt to take games and wildlife with a vehicle or automobile, regardless of if they are protected or unprotected by the state hunting department. There is an exception for hunting from boats.
- It is a prohibition to chase games like turkey, elk, and deer with hunting dogs, or with the aid of a horse while on the horseback. An exception to this prohibition is the use of dogs to locate turkeys during the fall turkey season.
- It is a prohibition to take bears, elks, and deer when they are swimming.
- It is a prohibition to give bears food either directly or indirectly, regardless of the reason for doing so.
- It is a prohibition to take game or wildlife with explosives, fire, smoke, chemicals, or gas.
- It is a prohibition to bait game animals in all wildlife management areas of Kentucky.
- It is a prohibition for elks and deer hunters to make use of electronically generated calls or any form of decoy to draw the animals out.
- It is a prohibition to take turkeys while they are roosting. Roost refers to any place a turkey spends the night, but this is mostly on trees.
- It is a prohibition to use live turkeys as a form of decoy to hunt wild turkeys in Kentucky.
It is a prohibition to hunt bears and wild turkeys with baits or try to hunt them in areas where bait is already present. This prohibition also covers the baiting of games in Kentucky private hunting lands. For this law, any area that has been previously baited will still be considered baited until 30 days after the baits are removed.
Baited areas are lands or places where substances that can attract games like grains, or feeds have been placed to draw games like turkeys, deer, and bears out.
However, areas, where grains or other feed substances exist due to farm practices or growing crops for wildlife management, are not prohibited for hunting.
Game Calling Devices and Restriction
For game calling in Kentucky, the following are allowed:
- You can make use of hand or mouth-operated calls to draw out all game species you want to take.
- You can make use of electronic calling devices to draw out furbearer games during their legal hunting season.
- You can make use of electronic or mechanical calls to take crows during their hunting seasons.
However, it is a prohibition to use electronic calls or possess the devices during hunting seasons for elks, deer, and turkeys.
Open Carry While Hunting
Kentucky gun law allows anyone to open carry while hunting in the state, with the firearm handled according to gun laws.
The state also has hunter harassment laws for the protection of hunting activities.
The law states that on no account should anyone deliberately interfere or disturb hunting activities in the state, that has to do with fishing, trapping, and the likes.
Kentucky Hunting License, Permits, and Tags
There are various types of hunting licenses issued in Kentucky based on the residency and age of a hunter. Hunting permits are usually game-specific, and you will need the combination of a hunting license and a game permit to hunt some animals during their specific season.
Hunting licenses, permits, and tags issued in Kentucky include the following:
Kentucky Annuals Fishing License
Holders of this license can partake in Kentucky hunting seasons as long as they have the required permits to hunt. The license is available for residents and non-residents at a cost of $27 and $140 respectively.
One Day Hunting License
This hunting license is only valid for 1 day. With this license, hunters can take part in various game animal hunting except for big games like turkeys, bears, elks, and deer. It is available for residents and non-residents at a cost of $7 and $15 respectively.
7 Days Hunting License
This hunting license is only valid for 7 days. With this license, hunters can take part in various game animal hunting except for big games like turkeys, bears, elks, and deer. It is available for only non-residents at a cost of $55.
Annual Youth Hunting License
Youth that wants to hunt in Kentucky will need to purchase this license. However, for the taking of big games like deer and turkeys, additional permits will be required along with this license. The age requirement for a Kentucky youth hunting license is between the ages of 12 and 15 and the license will be valid for a year. It is available for residents and non-residents at a cost of $6 and $10 respectively.
Shooting Area License
This license is issued to hunters that want to take games with firearms in some areas of Kentucky. Hunters must obtain these licenses with any other additional ones. It is available for residents and non-residents at a cost of $5.
Annual Trapping Licenses
To trap some games in Kentucky, you need a trapping license. It is available for residents and non-residents of the state at a cost of $20 and $130 respectively.
Landlord/ Tenant Trapping Licenses
Hunters must obtain permission from private landowners before they set traps on their properties. They must also purchase the landlord/ tenant trapping license. The license is only available for residents and it costs $10.
Annual Youths Trapping License
Youths that want to trap games in Kentucky will need to purchase this license. The age requirement for a Kentucky youth trapping license is between the ages of 12 and 15 and the license will be valid for a year. It is available for only residents at a cost of $5.
Hunting and Fishing Combination License
Holders of this license will be able to hunt and fish in Kentucky. It is only available for residents of the state, and it is valid for one year. However, extra permits and tags will be required for the hunting of games like turkeys and deer. It costs $42.
Sportsman Hunting and Fishing License
This license is not only limited to the combination of hunting and fishing in Kentucky water bodies. It covers deer permits, turkey permits, migratory birds permits, waterfowl permits, and trout fishing permits. It is available for only residents of the state at a cost of $95.
Youths Sportsman Hunting and Fishing License
This license is not only limited to the combination of youth hunting and fishing in Kentucky water bodies. It covers deer permits, turkey permits, migratory birds permits, waterfowl permits, and trout fishing permits. It is available for only youth residents that are between the ages of 123 and 15 at a cost of $95.
Senior and Disabled Sportsman License
This license covers all the privileges of the Sportsman Hunting and Fishing License in Kentucky, but it is only available for senior and disabled residents. Seniors must be 65 and above before they can apply for this license. It costs $12.
There are various types of deer permits issued in Kentucky. They include the following:
Statewide Deer Permit
This permit will allow hunters to take deer in every part of the state. It has a bag limit of 4 deer in the hunting season. It is available for residents and non-residents of the state at a cost of $35 and $120 respectively.
Youth Deer Hunting Permit
Youths between the ages of 12 and 15 can purchase this deer permit. It has a bag limit of 4 deer. It is available for residents and non-residents at a cost of $10 and $15 respectively.
Additional Deer Permit
This is an additional deer permit available for residents and non-residents. The permit has a bag limit of 2 deer and costs $15.
Turkey permits available in Kentucky include the following:
Spring Statewide Turkey Permit
This permit will allow hunters to take turkeys in every part of the state. It has a bag limit of 2 turkeys in the hunting season. It is available for residents and non-residents of the state at a cost of $35 and $75 respectively.
Youth Turkey Hunting Permit
Youths between the ages of 12 and 15 can purchase this turkey permit. It has a bag limit of 1 turkey per season. It is available for residents and non-residents at a cost of $10 and $15 respectively.
Kentucky Hunting Fishing License, Permits, and Tags
Hunting fishing licenses, permits, and tags, available in Kentucky include the following:
Kentucky Annual Fishing License
This license allows holders to fish in various water bodies of the state. It is available for residents and non-residents at a cost of $23 and $55 respectively.
Joint Married Couple Fishing License
Resident spouses can share this fishing license. It is not available for non-residents. It costs $23.
One Day Fishing License
This license is only valid for 1 day. With this license, you can harvest fishes in Kentucky water bodies. It is available for residents and non-residents at a cost of $7 and $15 respectively.
3 Days Fishing License
This license is only valid for 3 days. It is available for only residents at a cost of $55.
7 Days Fishing License
This hunting license is only valid for 7 days. It is a Kentucky out of state hunting license for non-residents and costs $35.
The permit is available for only trout harvesting. It is valid for residents and non-residents and it costs $10.
Kentucky Hunting Season
Hunting season in Kentucky varies for various games and weapons to take the games. Hunters must be aware of the starting and ending dates for the game animals they want to take.
The 2020/21 hunting season for various wildlife in Kentucky includes the following:
Kentucky Deer Hunting Seasons
- Archery Hunting Season (5th of September to 18th of January)
- Crossbow Hunting Season 19th of (September to 18th of January)
- Muzzleloader Hunting Season (17th of October to 18th of October and 12th of December to 20th of December)
- Modern Gun Hunting Season (14th of November to 29th of November)
- Youth Only Gun Hunting Season (10th of October to 11th of October)
Some firearm seasons for deer hunting in Kentucky may vary based on the hunting zone. It is important that hunters visit the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife to confirm the specific date for their hunting zone.
Kentucky Elk Hunting Seasons
- Archery and crossbow hunting season (12th of September to 25th of September and 5th of December to 11th of December)
- Firearms Hunting Season for Bulls (26th of September to 30th of September and 3rd of October to 7th of October)
- Firearms Hunting Seasons for Cows (28th of November to 2nd of December and 26th of December to 30th of January)
- Youths Only Hunting Season (All elk season dates)
Elk hunting season in Kentucky varies by hunting season and antler or antlerless Elks.
Kentucky Turkey Hunting Seasons
- Fall Archery Season (5th of September to 18th of September)
- Fall Firearms Season (24th of October to 30th of October and 5th of December to 11th of December)
- Fall Crossbow Hunting Season (1st of October to 18th of October and 14th of December to 31st of December)
Turkey's spring hunting season is still in the proposal phase, hunters that are interested should visit the state hunting department website to confirm the date.
Kentucky Bear Hunting Seasons
- Archery Hunting Season (24th of October to 30th of October)
- Chase Season (1st of June to 31st of August)
- Crossbow Hunting Season (24th of October to 30th of October)
- Firearms Hunting Season (12th of December to 18th of December)
- Muzzleloader Hunting Season (No specific season defined)
- Dog Hunting Season (19th of October to 1str of November)
Kentucky Small Games Hunting Season
- Crow Hunting Season (1st of September to 7th of November and 4th of January to 28th of February)
- Groundhog Hunting Season (1st of March to 28th of February)
- Squirrel Hunting Season (15th of August to 13th of November and 16th of November to 28th of February)
- Grouse Hunting Season (1st of November to 28th of February)
- Rabbit Hunting Season (1st of November to 10th of February)
- Quail Hunting Season (1st of November to 10th of February)
Hunting season for small games will vary based on Kentucky hunting zones. Also, bag limits, hunting laws, and regulations for hunting season will vary based on the game animal you want to take. Hunters are advised to visit the Kentucky Department of Wildlife and Fish website to verify all important information about the specific games they want to take.
Kentucky Wildlife, Games, and Fish
Some of the most common wildlife and games in Kentucky include the following;
Kentucky Deer Hunting
Deer are common in Kentucky, and the best area for deer hunting is the BlueGrass Region. Owen county is the most common deer hunting location in this region. The county is famous for breaking the record of deer taken in a Kentucky deer hunting season, with more than 4000 deer.
Kentucky Turkey Hunting
Turkey hunting in Kentucky has amassed consistent numbers over the years, especially when it comes to harvesting wild turkeys. Also, they are fairly distributed in all counties, Logan county is popular for the best deer locations with about 655 turkeys hunted in a particular season.
Kentucky Bear Hunting
Bear hunting in Kentucky is becoming more popular with each passing season and this is due to their gradually increasing population. Bears in Kentucky are mostly found in regions like the black mountain areas, pine areas, and Cumberland. These days you can also find bears in the eastern part of Kentucky.
Kentucky Elk Hunting
Elk hunting in Kentucky is more concentrated in the eastern part of the state since this is where they are abundant. Breathitt county is the home to the largest elk herd in the state.
Kentucky Quail Hunting
Quail hunting in Kentucky is not as pronounced as it usually is in the past years. But there is still a lot of preserve hunting for the games, and many other opportunities to take quail in Kentucky public hunting lands.
Kentucky Pheasant Hunting
Pheasant hunting in Kentucky is not common because the games are not native to the state. Notwithstanding, there are a lot of preserves and game farms that have stock pheasant for licensed hunters to take.
Kentucky Hunting Shooting Ranges
Shooting ranges open for the general public in Kentucky includes the following:
- American Institute of Marksmanship
- Crittenden County Gun Club
- French Shooting Club
- Green River Gun Club
- Greenup County Wildlife Club
- Jefferson Co. Sportsmen's Club
- Jones-Keeney WMA
- Knob Creek Gun Range
- Montgomery County Fish and Game Club
- Rockcastle Shooting Center
Kentucky Hunting Lands for Sale and Lease
Hunting lands for sale in Kentucky include the following:
- Henderson, Kentucky (Henderson County) 550 acres.
- Caneyville, Kentucky (Grayson County) 157 acres.
- La Center, Kentucky (Ballard County) 80 acres.
- Wickliffe, Kentucky (Ballard County) 62.13 acres.
- Murray, Kentucky (Calloway County) 254 acres.
- Columbia, Kentucky (Adair County) 296 acres.
Hunting lands for lease in Kentucky include the following:
- Deer & turkey lease in Hancock County, 120 acres.
- Deer hunting land available in Caneyville, Grayson County, 100 acres.
- Short-term lease in Ohio County for 2 weeks, 210 acres.
- DIY deer and turkey hunts in Western Kentucky, Webster county, 165 acres.