Licenses and Permits


Persons who take or attempt to take game are considered hunters and therefore subject to licensing requirements.

Unless license exempt, hunters and trappers must obtain and carry while in the field proof that they have met the license requirements for the kind of hunting they are doing. This proof can be either a paper license/permit or a license authorization number.

Persons who can’t show they are licensed properly while hunting risk being issued a citation.

Each hunter and trapper must have his or her own license or permit. Paper licenses and permits must be signed and the hunter information portion (signature, address, eye and hair color, sex, height and weight) completed before going afield.

Lose your license or permit? Replacements can be printed at no cost at


Other Laws Apply!

Hunters exempt from buying licenses and permits are required to follow hunting season laws, bag limits, comply with the hunter orange clothing law, and follow hunter harvest recording, checking and tagging requirements. Kentucky landowners, their legal dependents and their tenants, as described above, are subject to the usual license requirements anytime they hunt somewhere other than their own lands.

In some cases, a resident hunter may not be required to buy a hunting license or game permits.  Here are those situations:

  • Kentucky resident owners of farmlands, their spouses and dependent children hunting upon their own farmlands during an open season.
  • Tenants, their spouses and dependent children hunting on farmlands where they reside and work.
  • Kentucky residents on military leave of more than three days in this state who carry identification and papers verifying their leave status.
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces based in Kentucky engaged in sport hunting or fishing on these Kentucky National Guard properties: Hidden Valley Training Area in Powell County, and the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Muhlenberg County.

Resident and nonresident children under the age of 12 are not required to purchase licenses and permits, except the elk hunt drawing application. Hunters eligible to participate in the Free Youth Hunting & Trapping Week or Free Youth Deer Hunting Weekend, and adults who accompany a youth hunter but are not hunting themselves, are not required to have a license or permit during these seasons.


A shooting preserve license, available only online, is valid for one license year only, and only at the shooting preserve indicated at the time of purchase.


In addition to purchasing a Migratory Bird-Waterfowl Permit, or any license that includes it, hunters who intend to hunt migratory birds must go online or make a phone call and fill out the Harvest Information Program (HIP) questions before they are legal migratory bird hunters. Only those who plan to hunt migratory birds need to complete the HIP survey. The process takes less than five minutes. Go to the "My Profile" page to complete the survey. This page will ask for some basic information to confirm your identity. After completing the HIP questions, you will receive a confirmation number that must be written on your hunting license or Kentucky Migratory Game Bird-Waterfowl Hunting Permit. Those without internet access may call the department at 1-800-858-1549 from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. weekdays for assistance.