Bear Hunters: The quota for the 2015 bear season with dogs WAS NOT MET on Sat November 28.  Therefore, the bear season will remain open on Sun November 29.  For information about checking bears, click here.

Transportation and Holding of Captive Cervids

Commercial Permit

General Information

  1. Begin by building a facility according to current Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) regulations regarding captive cervids (301 KAR 2:083). 
  2. Once you have a facility that meets the specifications in the regulation (301 KAR 2:083), contact your local law enforcement captain to schedule an inspection. Your captain will mail the completed and signed inspection form to KDFWR Headquarters in Frankfort. (You should retain the pink copy for your records.) If your captain does not approve your facility, the inspection form should explain why. Make the necessary changes, and schedule another inspection with your captain.
    • Sample Inspection Form
      • Note: You may not move any animals into the facility until you have passed the facility inspection and received a valid captive cervid permit from KDFWR and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA).  
  3. Apply for a permit from both the KDFWR and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture State Veterinarian’s Office. See below for details.
  4. Once you have received your Captive Cervid Permits from KDFWR and KDA, you may begin adding cervids to your facility (as long as they are not on the list of prohibited species).
    • REMEMBER:  Importation of live cervids from out-of-state is only permitted from Indiana or Ohio at this time. A transportation permit (from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture) must accompany any cervid being transported.
  5. All deer and elk 6 months old and older must have a visible flop tag in the ear, and must also comply with KDA requirements for tagging.
  6. Renewal inspections for your KDFWR Captive Cervid Permit will be done in February. The KDA also does annual inspections of the animals in your facility; however, the time of year varies.
  7. The following species of cervids are not permitted:
    • Genus Cervus species, except Cervus elaphus nelson
    • Genus Axis species
    • Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus and Capreolus pygarus)
    • Any hybrids of these 

Issuance Cycle

Commercial Captive Cervid Permits must be renewed annually by February 28.  

Application Process

Two applications are required: one with the KDFWR and one with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. Once you have a fence up and it has passed inspection with your regional law enforcement captain, follow these steps:

  1. Mail your completed application and payment of $150 to KDFWR, #1 Sportsman’s Lane, Frankfort, KY 40601, ATTN: Captive Cervid Permit. (You may mail your application and payment before the inspection, but please note that we cannot begin to process an application until we have received all three parts: application form, correct payment, and the completed inspection form.)
  2. Concurrently with the KDFWR application, submit an application with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) State Veterinarian’s Office. You can reach KDA at 502-564-3956. The KDA will issue a permit for your facility only after you are issued a permit from the KDFWR.
  3. If your KDFWR application is approved, you will receive a copy of your valid Captive Cervid Permit. If denied, you will receive notice as to the reason and be given 60 days to rectify any deficiencies.



  • You must report any deer or elk that escape from the pen (and are not immediately recaptured) to both KDFWR and the KDA, by telephone or in writing, within 48 hours of escape.
  • If the deer or elk are not recaptured, a written report must be submitted to KDFWR within 10 days.
  • Any wild cervids that enter the pen must also be reported to KDFWR.


Non Commercial Permit

General Information

Non Commercial Permitted facilities are managed the same as Commercial facilities, listed above, with two exceptions:

  • The application fee is $75, and must be renewed only every 3 years instead of annually.
  • Cervids in non commercial facilities cannot be sold, bartered, or traded.

The same application form is used for both commercial and non commercial facilities, and the same facility inspection form is used.

Non commercial facilities are intended to be for small scale hobby farms or pets, and allowing animals to reproduce in these facilities is strongly discouraged. It is often not easy for a non commercial facility to change to a commercial facility; therefore, if the ultimate goal is to buy and sell deer or elk, or to sell shooting privileges for animals held in captivity, a Commercial Captive Cervid permit is recommended.