Harvested Deer, Elk, Turkey, Bear, Bobcat and Otter
The following regulations apply to all deer, elk, turkey, bear, bobcat and otter taken by hunters or trappers, including landowners and other license-exempt hunters.
All hunters must fill out a harvest log as soon as the animal is taken and before it is moved.
Information that must be written on the harvest log includes the species and sex of animal taken, date, county of harvest and telecheck confirmation number.
A harvest log is on the back of any paper license or permit. Hunters may also print a harvest log.
License exempt hunters, youth under 12 years of age, and those who only have a license authorization number, may create their own harvest log by writing the information on a piece of paper or note card.
Hunters and trappers must have the completed harvest log in their possession whenever afield during the current season (KAR 2:140).
Call 1-800-245-4263 (1-800-CHK-GAME)
- Call toll-free 1-800-245-4263 It’s in service 24 hours a day while seasons are open.
- Listen to each question carefully and provide the requested information using the keypad on any touch-tone phone. You will be asked to indicate the animal’s species and sex, type of equipment used, whether the land was private or public and what type of license you used (or if you are a landowner).
- Once your harvest information has been entered correctly, you will be asked to hold while the system submits your survey information. Be prepared to write down the confirmation number given by the system on the hunter harvest log for the animal you are checking in.
All hunters must telecheck the deer, elk, turkey, bear, bobcat and river otters they harvest, providing the details requested by the automated check-in system. Hunters can either call 800-245-4263 to check in their harvest or use the online telecheck system.
Checking a harvested animal takes about five minutes. Entering false information is unlawful. Multiple animals may be telechecked during the same call.
All harvested animals must be telechecked by midnight on the day the animal is recovered.
Bears must be telechecked before the hunter leaves the department check-in station. Deer and elk must be telechecked before removing the hide or head.
Callers will be asked their Social Security number and code for the county in which the animal was taken. All youth hunters must use their social security number when telechecking an animal.
Callers must also indicate the animal’s species and sex. Deer hunters who take button bucks should check the deer as “male” and then choose “no visible antler” when prompted.
Next, callers will be asked about the type of equipment used to harvest the animal, whether the land was private or public, and the type of license they have. License choices may include: Statewide License, $5 Senior/Disabled License, Landowner, Deer Control Tag, Trapping License, Elk Permit or Out-of-Zone Elk Permit.
Youth under 12, youth who check deer taken during the Free Youth Deer
Hunting Weekend, or license exempt military personnel should select “Statewide
Q: Due to a cell phone dropped call, a hunter loses a confirmation number. Should the animal be checked in again?
A: No. To get that telecheck confirmation number, call the department at 1-800-858-1549 the next business day.
Once the harvest information has been entered correctly, the caller will be asked to hold for several seconds while the system submits the survey information.
Then the hunter will be given a confirmation number which is proof that the harvested animal was legally reported. This number must be recorded on the hunter’s log and retained throughout the season.
Hunters may also check in the animals they harvest online at fw.ky.gov from a home computer, smartphone or tablet.
Carcass tags must be placed on the animal before the hunter gives it to or leaves it with someone else; or leaves a deer, for example, hanging unattended in a deer camp or elsewhere. Hunters must also telecheck the animal first and write the confirmation number on the carcass tag as proof of doing so. The easiest item to use as a carcass tag is an index card. The carcass tag must remain attached until processing begins or the hunter returns to take possession of the carcass.
All hunters shall attach a hand-made tag to the carcass of deer, elk, turkey, bear, bobcat, or otter they have harvested, when the animal leaves the hunter’s possession.
For example, a carcass tag is required if the hunter gives the animal to another person, drops it off to be processed, or takes the head and cape to a taxidermist.
A harvested animal in a hunter’s possession is assumed to be his or hers, unless the carcass tag states otherwise. It is recommended that a carcass tag be attached to any harvested animals left hanging unattended anywhere (deer camp, barn or in a yard, for example).
Hunters who harvest bears must bring them to a department operated check station where they will be issued a permanent carcass tag.
Meat processors and taxidermists are prohibited by law from accepting any harvested animal without a carcass tag attached.
The carcass tag must include hunter’s name, phone number and telecheck confirmation number.
Reminder: All hunters must fill out a hunter harvest log. Carcass tags are only required if the carcass leaves your possession.
A Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) tag, issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, must be attached to the raw fur of any bobcat or river otter taken in Kentucky, if the hunter or trapper intends to sell or export internationally.
Request a CITES tag online or call 1-800-858-1549, and provide the animal’s telecheck confirmation number.
CITES tags must be attached to the animal or pelt per the instructions included with the mailed tag and remain with the pelt until it is processed. Possession of an unused bobcat or otter CITES tag is prohibited.
Transporting and Harvesting Animals
Hunters bringing any deer or elk, or parts of deer or elk, into Kentucky shall have proof that the animal was legally harvested elsewhere and shall do so in compliance with the carcass importation law.
An unchecked animal may not be transported out of Kentucky.
Furs and hides may only be sold to a licensed fur buyer, fur processor of taxidermist.