Migratory Bird Hunting

Please Note: The information listed here is for the 2014 season and is kept here for reference only. The 2015 season information will be posted here in late August, 2015.

This page is dedicated to migratory bird hunting but you may download the

Entire 2014 Dove Guide here



License: Unless license exempt, hunters must possess a valid Kentucky hunting license when hunting the species listed in this guide.

A Kentucky Migratory Game Bird-Waterfowl Hunting Permit, along with a federal migratory bird stamp, authorize the holder to hunt all types of migratory game birds including waterfowl (ducks, geese, coots, mergansers).

For those who hunt migratory birds other than waterfowl, a Kentucky Migratory Game Bird-Waterfowl Permit is required. This  permit authorizes the holder to hunt dove, snipe, woodcock, moorhens, rails and gallinules. (A federal migratory bird stamp is not required to hunt these species.)

When purchasing a Kentucky Migratory Game Bird-Waterfowl Hunting Permit, hunters will be asked survey questions at the time of purchase.


It is illegal to hunt doves or waterfowl over a “baited” field. Baited fields are areas where grain, salt or other attractants have been placed other than those that occur by legitimate agricultural practices. Mature wildlife food plots grown to attract doves are legal hunting areas, as long as no additional attractants have been placed on these areas.


The wildlife species listed in this guide may be taken by licensed falconers with any legal hunting raptor during the regular hunting dates listed for each species. All bag and possession limits apply to falconry hunting.


When field dressing, or otherwise preparing for transportation, any of the species on this page, except doves, one fully feathered wing or the head must be left on each bird for identification.


All shotguns used to hunt any game species in Kentucky except deer must be plugged to hold three shells total; one in the chamber and two in the magazine. Shotguns of 10 gauge maximum are permitted.


No person shall give, put or leave any migratory game birds at any place or in the custody of another unless the birds are tagged by the hunter with the following: 1) The hunter’s signature and address; 2) The total number of birds involved, by species; 3) The dates such birds were taken. Tagging is required if birds are being transported by another person for the hunter, or if birds have been left for cleaning, storage (including temporary storage), shipment or taxidermy services.


All migratory game birds shall be retrieved, if possible, and retained in the custody of the hunter in the field.


Possession or use of any lead shot while hunting or attempting to take waterfowl is prohibited statewide. Only US-FWS-approved non-toxic shot may be possessed and used to hunt doves on Ballard, Boatwright, Doug Travis, Sloughs, Kaler Bottoms, Kentucky River, Duck Island, Taylorsville Lake, Ohio River Islands, South Shore, Yatesville Lake WMAs and Clarks River NWR and other areas as posted by signs.


NOTE:  Licenses and permits are not required for kids under the age of 12.


Migratory Birds (dove, snipe, woodcock, moorhens, rails gallinules)

Ages 12-15:

Youth Hunting License*

Ages 16-64:

Annual** or 1-Day Hunting License
+ Migratory Game Bird-Waterfowl Permit **

Ages 65 and over OR Disabled:

Senior/Disabled License

Waterfowl (ducks, geese, coots and mergansers)

Ages 12-15:

Youth Hunting License *

Ages 16-64:

Annual** or 1-Day Hunting License
+  Migratory Game Bird-Waterfowl Permit **
+ Federal Duck Stamp

Ages 65 and over OR Disabled:

Senior/Disabled License
+ Federal Duck Stamp

NONRESIDENTS (must buy nonresident licenses/permits)

Migratory Birds (dove, snipe, woodcock, moorhens, rails gallinules)

Ages 12-15:

Youth Hunting License

Ages 16 and over:

Annual, 1-Day or 7-Day Hunting License
+ Migratory Game Bird-Waterfowl Permit

Waterfowl (ducks, geese, coots and mergansers)

Ages 12-15:

Youth Hunting License

Ages 16 and over:

Annual, 1-Day or 7-Day Hunting License
+ Migratory Game Bird-Waterfowl Permit
+ Federal Duck Stamp

* Included in Youth Sportsman's License
** Included in Resident Sportsman's License


SEASON DATES - searchable application


Dove, private land:

September 1:  11 a.m. to sunset
Remainder of dove season:  one-half hour before sunrise to sunset

Dove, public land (WMA's, leased fields):

September 1 - October 26:  11 a.m. to sunset. 
Remainder of dove season:  one-half hour before sunrise to sunset

All other species:

One-half hour before sunrise to sunset


Daily limit refers to the number of birds which may be taken during a one-day period. Possession limit applies to transporting birds after two or more days of hunting but does not permit a double daily bag limit in the field.



Eurasian collared doves resemble mourning doves but possess a black slash across the back of their necks. Hunters should not continue to hunt for Eurasian collared doves after reaching the 15-bird daily dove bag limit. Eurasian collared doves cleaned in the field count toward the 15-bird daily dove bag limit. If the head and/or wing remains attached during transport or in the field, hunters may take unlimited numbers of Eurasian collared doves.

Eurasian Collared Dove



Mechanical devices and electronic attracting devices for crow hunting may only be used during the open season. Crows observed committing or about to commit acts of depredation may be taken year- round; however, persons attempting to take depredating crows shall not use blinds, decoys, calls or other lures to attract birds into shooting range during the closed season.


USFWS-approved non-toxic shot no larger than size T is required for all waterfowl hunting. Hunters may not possess or use lead shot while hunting or attempting to take waterfowl.


The following areas are closed to this season:

  1. Northeast Goose Zone: Bath, Menifee, Morgan (except the portion in Paintsville Lake WMA) and Rowan counties including Cave Run Lake.
  2. West-Central Goose Zone public lands (private lands are open): Muhlenberg County, Ohio County south of Rough River, Butler County west of Hwy. 79 and north of Hwy. 70, and Hopkins County east of Hwys. 814 and Madisonville, and south of Hwy. 85 east of Madisonville.
  3. Ballard Zone: Private lands in this zone are now open to this season, public lands remain closed. The portion of Ballard County north or west of the Ballard-McCracken County line to Hwy. 358; Hwy. 358 to U.S. 60; U.S. 60 to the city limits of Wickliffe; the city limits of Wickliffe to the center of the Mississippi River.

Areas manipulated for dove hunting ARE NOT legal for waterfowl hunting.


Two weekends, one in each duck zone, have been designated for youth only to waterfowl hunt. Hunters under age 16 may take a legal limit of ducks, coots, mergansers and geese on these days. (Western Duck Zone: All counties west of and including Daviess, Ohio, Butler, Warren and Simpson). See the Waterfowl Hunting section for more information.


PUBLIC DOVE FIELDS (WMA's and Cooperative Fields)

Private fields in the cooperative dove field program are open for public dove hunting Sept. 1 and 6 (except Mentor- Youth Hunt sites are closed to the general public Sept. 1).  All fields reopen Sept. 6 - Oct. 24. Private cooperative fields are closed to public access except on the dates listed above. Hunters may drive by private cooperative fields prior to the season but may not leave their vehicles to scout. Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) are open during regular seasons under statewide regulations unless otherwise specified in the following list.

Wet weather may have delayed spring planting of some fields.  Field conditions may vary considerably, even on the same WMA. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife recommends hunters scout fields listed below to ensure they are ready for the time you plan to hunt. When hunting a public area, hunt safely and be courteous of others. Do not leave trash behind. The future of the cooperative dove field program depends on you.


Ballard County

  • Ballard Wildlife Management Area (WMA): U.S. 60 west from Paducah, about 16 miles then right onto Hwy. 310. Travel about 6 miles to stop sign at Hwy. 358. Cross Hwy. 358 and continue on Hwy. 310 to Hwy 1105. Cross Hwy. 1105 onto Mitchell Lake Rd. then travel about 2 miles to fields on both sides of road. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS)-approved, non-toxic shot only.

 Livingston County

  • From Carrsville, take Hwy. 135 east 0.6 mile to field on left.  Closed for Mentor/Youth Hunt Sept. 1, call 1-800-858-1549 for reservations.

Special Closings

StarIndicates a Mentor/Youth Hunt site, where all or part of the area is reserved for Mentor/Youth Hunt participants on certain dates. Reservations are required for these hunts. Call 1-800-858-1549 for more information.

McCracken County

  • Clark’s River National Wildlife Refuge: From Symsonia, Hwy. 131 north about 2.15 miles to fields on left marked by signs. Mentor/Youth Hunts Sept. 6, 7, call 1-800-858-1549 for reservations. Opens to public hunting Sept. 8. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS)-approved, non-toxic shot only.
  • West Kentucky WMA: Tract 1 – From Paducah, U.S. 60 west to Future City, right (north) onto Hwy. 996 for 1.5 miles. Left at stop sign onto Hwy. 725 for 1 mile. Field on right. Tract 4 and 4A: Two fields. U.S. 60 west from Pa - ducah for 10.5 miles from I-24, turn right (north) onto Bethel Church Rd., travel about 3.25 miles, turn right onto gravel road for 0.6 mile to mobility- impaired accessible pond. Fields directly north and east of pond. Tract 5: Two fields. U.S. 60 west from Paducah to Future City, then right (north) onto Hwy. 996, for 3.5 miles, then left (west) onto Hwy. 358 for 1.7 miles. Turn right (north) onto Boldry School Rd. for about 1 mile to fields on both sides of road.


Barren County

Breckinridge County

  • MA: 20 miles north of Hardinsburg on Hwy. 259; 20 miles west of Brandenburg on Hwy. 144 to Hwy. 259. 2 fields, see map at Information Station. On Tract 4, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)-approved, non-toxic shot only (marked by signs).

Henderson County

  • Sloughs WMA:  Two fields off Hwy. 268; one field off Mt. Vernon Rd.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)- approved, non-toxic shot only.

Hopkins County

  • From the Pennyrile Parkway, take exit 37, turn east toward Pilot Truck Stop, then right onto Hwy. 813 for about 4.8 miles to field on left side of highway.

Ohio County

  • From Owensboro, take Hwy. 54 east, turn left on Old Leitchfield Rd., then right onto Zion Church Rd. From Hartford, take Hwy. 69 north to a left onto Zion Church Rd.

Muhlenberg County

  • From Western Kentucky Parkway exit 48, take Hwy. 175 north to a right just north of the parkway onto Hwy. 2693 (Graham-Cypress Rd.) for 0.5 mile. Turn left onto Powerhouse Rd. for 0.4 mile to field on right.

Muhlenberg/Ohio Counties

  • Peabody WMA: Sinclair Unit, 5 fields; Baker Bottoms Unit, 2 fields; and Ken Unit, 3 fields. User permit required for Peabody WMA, call (270) 476-1889 for more information.

Union County

  • StarHigginson-Henry WMA:  Hwy. 56, about 7 miles southeast of Morganfield. Two fields, see maps at kiosk. One field (marked by signs) closed Sept. 1 for Mentor/Youth Hunt; call 1-800-858-1549 for reservations.
  • Big Rivers WMA:  Union County: Two fields. From Sturgis, take Hwy. 109 north, then left on Hwy. 1508 for about 1.4 miles. One field each on two access roads, Locust Lick Rd. and Lovers Lane, on the left off Hwy. 1508.  Crittenden County:  From Sturgis, Hwy. 365 south to field next to WMA office.


Anderson County

  • Taylorsville Lake WMA:  Two fields.  Field 1: From Taylorsville, travel east on Hwy. 248 for 14.8 miles. Field in Van Buren Bottoms below Hwy. 248 Bridge at Salt River. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS)- approved, non-toxic shot only.  Field 2:  From Taylorsville, travel east on Hwy. 248 about 2.1 miles to a right onto Hwy. 2239.  Travel 0.75 miles to field on right.

Franklin County

  • T.N. Sullivan WMA:  From Frankfort, take U.S. 127 north for 4.1 miles to a right onto Steele Branch Rd. and proceed to the "T" with Old Owenton Rd.  Turn left and travel 0.4 mile to a right onto Hwy. 1262 (Sullivan Lane) for 0.75 mile to WMA.  Follow signs to field.  Closed Sept. 1 for NASP Mentor Hunt, opens to public hunting Sept. 2.

Garrard County

  • From Lancaster, take Hwy. 39 north about 4.3 miles to a left onto Hwy. 563. Travel about 1.1 miles to a right onto Kirby Ln. and follow signs to field.

Grant County

  • Curtis Gates Lloyd WMA:  3 fields. Take Crittenden exit from I-75. Follow U.S. 25 south to Hwy. 491, turn left across railroad tracks, then right on Wildlife Rd. Fields 2 and 3 closed Sept. 1 for Mentor/Youth Hunt; call 1-800-858- 1549 for reservations.

Harrison County

  • Griffith Woods WMA:  Fromt Georgetown, take U.S. 62 east toward Cynthiana. Field on left 0.5 mile from intersection of Hwy. 353 (Russell Cave Road).

Henry County

  • Kentucky River WMA:  Welsh Tract: U.S. 421 to Hwy. 561, 1 mile west of Gest (near Lock 3). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)-approved, non-toxic shot only.

Kenton County

  • Mullins WMA:  One mile north of Crittenden on Eads Rd., bordering I-75.

Madison County

  • Miller Welch-Central Kentucky WMA:  9 miles southeast of Richmond; from U.S. 421 at Kingston left (east) onto Hwy. 3376 (Dreyfus Rd.) for about 2 miles. Turn right (south) onto Muddy Creek Rd. (just past WMA office) to dove fields on right.

Marion County

  • From Lebanon, take U.S. 68 west.  Turn right onto Hwy. 426 (Miller Pike) for 3.5 miles and turn left onto Hwy. 84 for 0.3 mile.  Turn left onto Hwy. 412 (St. Joe Rd.).  Travel 1.5 miles and turn right onto Sallie Ray Pike and follow signs to fields.

Owen County

  • Kentucky River WMA:  Three tracts. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)- approved, non-toxic shot only for all fields. Gilbert track:  Hwy. 355 north to Browns Bottom Rd.  Roberts II tract:  Hwy. 355 north to a left onto Old Landing Rd.  Chesney tract:  Hwy. 355, east of Old Landing Rd.

Shelby County

  • U.S. 60 to Hwy. 395, travel about 3 miles, take left onto Hwy. 1005 for 2 miles, then left onto Harley Thompson Rd. for 0.25 mile to field on right.

Washington County

  • 20 acres:  Field is 0.5 mile south of Fredericktown, 2 miles from U.S. 150 on Burg Hill Rd., off Short Creek Rd. Closed Sept. 1 for Mentor/Youth Hunt ; call 1-800-858-1549 for reservations.


Bath County

  • Clay WMA: Justice Tract: From I-64 at - exit 110, take KY 11 north for 17.8 miles to a left onto Little Flat-Ledford Rd. Travel 0.7 miles to parking area on right.
  • From Sharpsburg, take Hwy. 11 (northeast) for 9 miles, to a right onto Hwy. 1325 for 1.5 miles. Take a left onto Hwy. 1602 for 2 miles to Pebble, then left onto N. Lick Branch Rd. for 0.5 mile to field on left.

Carter and Elliott counties

  • Grayson Lake WMA: Frazier Flats Unit - From I-64 at Grayson, take Hwy. 7 south for 7.5 miles to a left onto Hwy. 1496 for 4 miles. Turn right onto Hwy. 1122 (Little Fork) for 3.3 miles, then right onto Wells Branch Rd. for 2.6 miles. Turn left at intersection and travel 0.2 mile to WMA parking area.

Fleming County

  • Marietta Booth tract of Clay WMA: From Carlisle take Hwy. 32 east for about 12 miles then right at WMA sign. Go 0.3 mile to WMA parking area on left.
  • From Flemingsburg, take Hwy. 11 south for 5 miles, take Hwy. 1336 southeast for 3.6 miles, then 1 mile east on Graham Rd.
  • From Flemingsburg, take Hwy. 32 west for 1.9 miles. 

Greenup County

  • South Shore WMA:  From South Shore take U.S. 23 east to a left (north) at the South Shore WMA sign for 0.4 mile. Field is adjacent to parking area. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)-approved, non-toxic shot only.

Lawrence County

  • le Lake WMA:  From Hwy. 201 3.5 miles north of Blaine, take Cherokee-Irish Rd. for 1 mile to fields on right. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)-approved, non-toxic shot only.

Nicholas County

  • From Millersburg, take U.S. 68 north - east 1 mile to a right onto Hwy. 396 (Carpenter Pike) and travel 2.8 miles to farm on left.

Pike County

  • trap Lake WMA:  From U.S. 23 south of Pikeville, take U.S. 460 east for about 15.2 miles. Turn left and proceed about 3.2 miles to field.


Green County

  • From Greensburg take Hwy. 61 north for 8.1 miles, turn left onto Hwy. 569 for 5.3 miles to a right onto Hwy. 566. Travel 1.4 miles to fields on both sides of the road.

Lincoln County

  • From Stanford, take U.S. 27 north for 0.16 mile to a left on to KY 590. Travel 1.5 miles to a gravel lane marked by yellow dove field sign.  Turn left and proceed to marked parking area.  Closed Sept. 1 for Mentor/Youth Hunt; call 1-800-858-1549 for reservations.

McCreary County

  • Daniel Boone National Forest:  Three fields.  From Somerset, take U.S. 27 south for 8.5 miles to a right onto Hwy. 751 (Keno Rd.).  Take Hwy. 751 for 4.4 miles to left onto Dead Ox Hollow Rd. for 0.6 mile to Field 1 on left.  Go 0.9 mile to Field 2 on the right and continue another 0.7 mile to Field 3 on right.

Taylor County

  • Green River Lake WMA: From Campbellsville, take Hwy. 70 east for about 2.2 miles to dirt road on left (across from Hwy. 76).

Wayne County

  • From Burnside, go west on KY 90 for 1.4 miles to a left onto KY 790 for about 11 miles to a left onto Brammer Hill - Delta Road. Go 2.4 miles to a left onto Brammer Hill Ridge Road for 1.8 miles to field.




Wildlife Management Areas not listed here or in the “Closed Areas” section are open under statewide regulations.


Dove: Sept. 1 - Oct. 13, 20124
Snipe: Sept. 19 - Oct. 13, 2014
Rails, Moorhen, Gallinules: Sept. 1 - Oct. 13, 2014

No woodcock hunting permitted. Areas designated by signs are closed to all hunting.


Dove:  Sept. 1 - Oct. 13, 2014
Snipe:  Sept. 17 - Oct. 13, 2014

No woodcock hunting permitted.


Breech- and muzzle-loading shotguns may be used to take wood ducks and teal on the shoreline portions of the Pioneer Weapons Areas at 1) Cave Run Lake, and 2) all waterfowl at Barren River Lake.

WEST KENTUCKY WMA (McCracken County)

Dove, snipe and woodcock: Open under statewide seasons, except closed during gun deer seasons.

(WMA closed to September Canada goose season.)


The following areas have special seasons and regulations for all hunting. Contact the individual areas at the addresses and telephone numbers listed below.

P.O. Box 89
Benton, KY 42025
(270) 527-5770

Outdoor Recreation Branch,
Bldg. 6645 101st Airborne Div. Rd.
Ft. Campbell, KY 42223-5000
(270) 798-2175

Hunt Control Office
Fort Knox, KY 40121-5719
(502) 624-7311

100 Van Morgan Dr.
Golden Pond, KY  42211-9001
(270) 924-2065

3982 Waverly Rd.
Williamstown, WV 26187
(304) 375-2923, ext. 117

4343 Hwy. 157
Union City, TN 38261
(731) 538-2481



1) The main block of Robinson Forest WMA; 2) the portion of Grayson Lake WMA within three-quarters of a mile of the dam, the Deer Creek Branch, the shores of Camp Webb and the state park; 3) the Greenbrier Creek Branch of Yatesville Lake, including all islands, north of the mouth of Greenbrier Creek Branch; 4) Land Between The Lakes NRA from Sept. 30 - Nov. 30.


All designated goose refuge lakes within the Western Kentucky coalfields are closed to all waterfowl hunting.


The following areas are waterfowl refuges: portion of Lake Cumberland WMA including Wesley Bend (bounded by Fishing Creek, Fishing Creek Road and Beech Grove Road) and Yellowhole (bounded by Fishing Creek Road and Hickory Nut Road) are closed to the public Oct . 15 - March 15. Ohio River Waterfowl Refuge (From Smithland Lock and Dam upstream to powerline crossing at river mile 911.5) is closed to hunting Oct. 15 - March 15 and Stewart Island is closed to the public Oct. 15 - March 15. On Peabody WMA, por - tions of Sinclair and Homestead mines as marked by signs are closed to the public Oct. 15 - March 15. On Sloughs WMA, the Sauerheber Unit is closed to the public Nov. 1-March 15 except the Crenshaw and Duncan tracts which are open for waterfowl hunting only. The area of Yellowbank WMA posted by signs is closed to the public Oct. 15 - March 15.



Fields set aside for Mentor/Youth hunts are open Sept. 1 (except for Clarks River NWR) to pre-registered hunters only. On this day, adult dove hunters can introduce a young hunter to the challenge and tradition of the early season dove hunt. Hunts require pre-registration (see rules below for details). Thereafter, unreserved slots will be available on a first come, first served basis. Mentor/Youth dove fields on wildlife management areas reopen to the public Sept. 2, while private fields operated by the department reopen for general public hunting Sept. 6. The following rules describe the hunt.


  1. Open only to adults accompanied by a youth (ages 15 and under), though not necessary for the youth to hunt.
  2. Both mentor and youth can hunt, but must do so from the same field location (stake). All hunters must stay within 15 feet of their assigned shooting location. One adult may take two youths to these hunts. Two shotguns are allowed per stake. Two limits of 15 doves allowed per stake.
  3. The number of hunters in Mentor/ Youth Hunt fields will be strictly limited to insure a safe and quality hunt.
  4. Field slots will be available only by advanced registration from 8 a.m. EDT Aug. 11, until 4:30 p.m. EDT, Aug. 22; call 1-800-858-1549 weekdays from 8 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Unreserved slots will be available on a first come, first served basis at the field on the day of the hunt until all slots are filled.
  5. Hunting groups must check in prior to hunting and check out prior to leaving the field with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife staff.
  6. After the field is filled, no new hunting groups will be allowed in.
  7. Hunting groups in the field may move to different staked sites when the assigned group vacates that site.
  8. Hunters must leave their guns at their shooting location (stake) when retrieving downed birds.
  9. Shooting hours limited to 2 - 7 p.m., local time. All hunting groups must be out of the field by 7:30 p.m., local time.
  10. All hunters will be responsible for cleaning up their shooting location (including empty shells) prior to leaving the field.
  11. Mentors and youth must conduct themselves in a safe manner and abide by these and other rules posted at the hunt field. Failure to do so will result in termination of hunting privilege for that field that day.
  12. Hunter education and licensing requirements apply.