Deer Hunting

This page is dedicated to deer hunting but you may download the

Entire 2013-14 Hunting and Trapping Guide here

TYPES OF DEER PERMITS

Carry Proof

Hunters who buy their license or permit by phone or internet must carry while hunting: a picture ID and proof of purchase (an authorization number, paper license or computer printout). Paper licenses/permits must be signed and all information completed before hunting.

STATEWIDE DEER PERMIT

All deer hunters, unless license exempt, must first buy and carry proof of purchasing a statewide deer permit while deer hunting. This permit allows a hunter to take two deer: one antlered and one antlerless, or two antlerless. It doesn’t matter if the antlered or antlerless deer is taken first.

ADDITIONAL DEER PERMIT

To take more than two deer, an Additional Deer Permit must be purchased.

The Additional Deer Permit is valid for deer of either sex. Regardless of what permit a deer hunter carries, the statewide season limit for antlered deer is one per hunter.

The Additional Deer Permit is not valid unless the hunter has first purchased an annual hunting license and statewide deer permit and is able to show proof of that in the field. A Statewide or Additional Deer Permit may be used on public and private land, and during some quota hunts.

Deer Hunting Leagal take
Adrienne Yancy illustration

DEER HUNTING ZONES AND SEASONS

Deer Hunting Zones

SEASON DATES

Go to the Season Dates search for season dates.

Q: Can a hunter take a deer for someone else?

A: No. Hunters must claim any deer they take as their own. They must use their own license/permit and harvest log, and telecheck the deer using their own Social Security number.

BAG LIMITS

Bag limits and harvest restrictions apply to all hunters.

A person may take no more than one (1) deer with visible antlers (excluding button bucks) in Kentucky on private land.

On some public hunting areas -- Land Between the Lakes, Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge, Ft. Campbell and Ft. Knox Military Reservations and Blue Grass Army Depot – a bonus antlered deer may be taken, as determined by the governing agency for each area.

In Zone 1 counties, there is no season limit on antlerless deer.

Q: Can a hunter take two deer from private land in a Zone 2 county, and later take three more deer from another private farm in a Zone 3 county?

A: No. If you hunt private land in Zone 2, 3 or 4, the total season bag limit is four deer per hunter. Even if you hunt in more than one of these zones, four deer is all you can legally take. (You can take additional anterless deer in Zone 1.)

In Zone 2, 3 and 4 counties, the combined season limit is four (4) per hunter. Hunters may choose to take up to one (1) antlered deer and three (3) antlerless deer, or take up to four (4) antlerless deer total.

In summary, hunters may take a total of four deer statewide, except in Zone 1, where hunters may take an unlimited number of antlerless deer using Additional Deer Permits.

In Zone 3 a hunter may take no more than two (2) deer with a firearm.

In Zone 4 a hunter may take no more than two (2) deer with a firearm (one with a modern firearm and one with a muzzleloader, or both with a muzzleloader). In Zone 4 antlerless deer may only be taken with a firearm by a youth during Youth Season or Free Youth Weekend, or by any hunter during the final three days of the December muzzleloader season.

Deer Hunters Take Note!

There is no daily bag limit on deer, but the number of deer taken shall not exceed the season bag limit.

HUNTING EQUIPMENT RESTRICTIONS

MODERN GUN SEASON

During modern gun deer season, hunters may hunt with modern firearms, muzzleloading firearms, archery and crossbow equipment, and must follow season restrictions, zone guidelines and hunting requirements in effect.

All hunters, including archery and crossbow hunters, and persons accompanying hunters, must wear hunter orange clothing.

ARCHERY SEASON

During portions of the deer season when only archery equipment can be used, deer hunters shall not use firearms or crossbows to take deer.

Hunters using archery equipment during a deer firearms season must follow all firearm season restrictions, zone guidelines and hunting requirements in effect, and must wear hunter orange clothing.

The only exception is on state owned or managed WMAs where firearms hunting for deer or elk is prohibited. On these areas hunters are not required to wear hunter orange while hunting for deer or elk with archery equipment during firearms seasons.

CROSSBOW SEASON

Hunters may take deer with crossbows and archery gear during crossbow seasons, but shall not use firearms to take deer during crossbow seasons.

Hunters using crossbows during a deer firearms season must follow all firearm season restrictions, zone guidelines and hunting requirements in effect, and must wear hunter orange clothing.

The only exception is on state owned or managed WMAs where firearms hunting for deer or elk is prohibited. On these areas hunters are not required to wear hunter orange while hunting for deer or elk with crossbows during firearms seasons.

MUZZLELOADING SEASON

Muzzleloaders, archery and crossbow equipment may be used during this season.

All hunters must comply with the hunter orange clothing law.

Persons ages 15 and under hunting deer with a muzzleloader must be accompanied by an adult who shall remain able and in a position to take immediate control of the youth’s muzzleloader at all times.

LEGAL FIREARMS EQUIPMENT

  • Any caliber centerfire rifle or centerfire handgun.
  • Rifle or handgun magazines may not be capable of holding more than 10 rounds.
  • Rifles or handguns may not be fully-automatic (capable of firing more than one round with one trigger pull).
  • Full metal jacketed or tracer bullet ammunition is prohibited
  • Shotguns, no larger than 10-gauge, shooting slug ammunition (includes saboted bullets) only.

LEGAL ARCHERY EQUIPMENT

  • Longbows, recurves and compound bows of any draw weight (no minimum).
  • Wood, carbon or metal arrows, but arrows may not be chemically-treated.
  • Fixed blade or mechanical broadheads at least 7/8” wide (when blades extended), but broadheads may not be barbed, or chemically-treated.

LEGAL CROSSBOW EQUIPMENT

  • Crossbows of any draw weight (no minimum), with a working safety.
  • Wood, carbon or metal arrows (bolts), but arrows (bolts) may not be chemically treated.
  • Fixed blade or mechanical broadheads at least 7/8” (when blades extended), but broadheads may not be barbed, or chemically treated.

LEGAL MUZZLELOADING EQUIPMENT

  • Muzzleloading rifles or handguns of any caliber, with flint or percussion ignition (including in-lines), shooting round balls, conical bullets or saboted bullets.
  • Muzzleloading firearms equipped with open sights or telescopic sights (scopes).
  • Muzzleloading shotguns no larger than 10-gauge, shooting round balls, conical bullets or saboted bullets.

TREE STANDS

Construction and use of tree stands on private lands is regulated by landowners.

YOUTH DEER HUNTING

Q: A youth hunter took a buck during modern gun season. Can a second buck be taken during the Free Youth Deer Hunting Weekend?

A: No. Kentucky has a one-buck limit per hunter, per season.

  • Youth may hunt deer during any open season, including two special deer seasons for resident and non-resident hunters who have not reached their 16th birthday.
  • Any legal deer hunting equipment is permissible.
  • All other deer season regulations apply.
  • Adults accompanying youth deer hunters during either of these hunts may not use firearms to take deer. Adults accompanying youth hunters are not required to possess a hunting license or deer permit if the adult is not deer hunting, but by law, the hunter and the accompanying adults must wear hunter orange clothing.

Q: How many Youth Deer Permits ($10 each) may a youth hunter purchase?

A: Two. To take additional deer, youth hunters must purchase Additional Deer Permits ($15 each, for two deer).

OCTOBER YOUTH-ONLY FIREARMS SEASON

The special youth deer season is on the second weekend of October. Youth hunters may take deer with firearms, or any other legal method, statewide. During the October youth-only firearms season the appropriate hunting license and deer permits are required for hunters ages 12-15, and all bag limits, zone restrictions and deer hunting requirements apply. Youth hunters under age 12 are not required to have a hunting license or deer permit.

FREE YOUTH DEER HUNTING WEEKEND

On the first weekend following Christmas, resident and nonresident youth 15 years of age and under, who are accompanied by an adult, are eligible to participate in this hunt. Youth hunters may hunt deer with firearms, or any other legal method, statewide without a hunting license or deer permit, but all bag limits, zone restrictions, and deer hunting requirements apply.

Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry (KHFH), a nonprofit, volunteer run organization, encourages hunters to harvest and donate deer each season, to be distributed to homeless shelters and food banks throughout the state. You can also donate $2 when renewing your car or truck’s registration and help pay the cost of turning venison into a nutritious meal for the less fortunate in local communities across Kentucky. To view a list of participating processors visit their website at www.huntersforhungry.org .

DEER SEASON REPORTS

 

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE (CWD)

If you hunt deer in Illinois, Missouri, Virginia and West Virginia and any other CWD positive state you may not bring a deer back into Kentucky unless the brain and spinal column have been removed first.

Allowed parts from CWD-infected states and provinces include: quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached, boned-out meat, antlers, antlers attached to a clean skull plate, a clean skull, clean teeth, hides and finished taxidermy products. CWD has not been detected in Kentucky.

CWD has been found in 22 states and 2 Canadian provinces: Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

View more info on CWD here.

EPIZOOTIC HEMORRHAGIC DISEASE (EHD) AND BLUE TONGUE

Hemorrhagic disease (HD), a vector-borne disease of white-tailed deer (WTD, Odocoileus virginianus), is caused by two related orbiviruses, epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) and bluetongue virus (BTV). Hemorrhagic disease viruses are considered the most important viral agents affecting deer populations in the United States. Although elk have been known to be exposed to these viruses, there is no evidence that elk are ever affected by the disease.

In the United States, clinical HD is generally reported in late summer and early fall and is thought to correlate with vector activity. In southern latitudes, where prevalence of EHD virus antibodies is high because of frequent and diverse serotype exposure, most infections result in mild or unapparent disease. Antibody prevalence is low in northern and western states where outbreaks are infrequent and are characterized by severe clinical disease and mortality.

Clinical presentation of EHD viral infection varies considerably and ranges from rapid death to chronic disease. Deer infected with EHD or bluetongue viruses may be depressed, feverish, emaciated (very thin), and remain near water in late summer or fall.

View more info on EHD and Blue Tongue here.

SPECIAL WILDLIFE PERMITS