An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) publishes an annual Hunting and Trapping Guide to aid hunters in the current season. You can find the guide online, or at any local license agent that sells hunting and fishing licenses.
The questions below offer hunters a quick guide to the most frequently asked questions regarding deer hunting in Kentucky. The questions are covered in more detail in the hunting guide if you need further assistance. You may also call the KDFWR office 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. EST Monday through Friday at 800-858-1549 for answers to your hunting and fishing questions.
There are a few things you need to have or know before you leave for your hunt.
Unless a hunter is considered license exempt, he or she will need:
Purchase your license online now.
*Please note the 1-day and 7-day hunting license options are not available for deer, turkey, bear or elk.
Find out which type of license you need here.
View a complete list of license exemptions.
Please remember those exempt from purchasing license and permits are still required to follow hunting season laws, zone restrictions, bag limits, complete and carry a harvest log and follow checking and tagging requirements.
All 120 Kentucky counties are identified as being in a particular zone (Zones 1-4). Each zone has different restrictions and hunters in those zones will need to abide by the regulations for that particular zone.
You can find out what zone you are hunting and the restrictions of each here.
All hunters, and anybody accompanying them, must wear hunter orange that can be seen from all sides on the head, back and chest when hunting for any species during daylight hours in modern gun deer season. A simple, solid blaze orange vest and hat combo fulfills this requirement. Hunter orange apparel can be made of mesh-type material but the openings in the mesh weave cannot be wider than 1/4 inch. A small section of color such as a logo is permissible but camouflage-patterned hunter orange garments without additional solid hunter orange clothing on the head, back and chest do not satisfy the requirements. Hunters are not required to wear hunter orange during a firearms season on a state owned or managed Wildlife Management Area where firearms hunting for deer, elk or bear is prohibited.
However, hunter orange is not required when hunting waterfowl or doves during a gun deer, elk or bear season, or when hunting furbearers at night during a legal furbearer season.
View more information regarding hunter orange.
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, regardless of the zone or method.
On some public hunting areas, including Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge, Fort Campbell and Fort Knox Military Reservations and Blue Grass Army Depot, a bonus antlered deer may be taken, as determined by the governing agency for each area.
There is no daily bag limit on deer. Each deer zone has its own independent bag limit.
In Zone 1 counties, a hunter may take an unlimited number of antlerless deer using the Statewide Deer Permit and Additional Deer Permits.
In Zone 2, a hunter may harvest no more than four deer.
In Zone 3, a hunter may harvest no more than four deer. A firearm or air gun cannot be used to take more than one anterless deer.
In Zone 4, a hunter may harvest no more than two deer. Only one can be antlerless. Antlerless deer cannot be harvested during the modern gun season, the early muzzleloader season or the first six days of the late muzzleloader season. The statewide bag limit of one antlered deer still applies.
After you’ve harvested a deer, you’ll need to record the information on your harvest log and report it to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources through our Telecheck system.
A harvest log is a record of your harvests throughout the year. Each hunter will need to keep an accurate log on their person at all times while in the field during the current year. The log should be filled out immediately after taking a deer and prior to moving the carcass.
The log can either be handmade or printed here.
Information for the harvest log includes:
Hunters who successfully harvest a deer must report it to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife through the Telecheck system either online (using your My Profile account), or by telephone at 800-245-4263 (800-CHK-GAME).
All harvested animals must be telechecked by midnight on the day the animal is recovered.
You will be asked your Social Security number and code for the county in which the animal was taken. You will also be asked to indicate the animal’s species and sex and the type of equipment used to harvest the deer.
Those checking an antlerless male deer will also be asked to distinguish it as a male fawn – also known as a button buck – or as an adult that has shed its antlers. Hunters checking an antlered deer will be asked to enter the total number of antler points measuring 1 inch or longer and indicate if the outside antler spread is greater or less than 11 inches. The outside spread is the widest distance between the outside of the main beam antlers.
You will then get a confirmation number, which must be recorded on your harvest log and retained throughout the season.
Youth hunters telecheck a deer using their Social Security number and then following the same process as other hunters.
This also applies to youth hunters who are license exempt because they are under 12 or hunting on their parents’ land.
The county codes are listed on Page 7 of the current Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide. (County Codes are located at the bottom of page 7 of the hunting guide). They can also be viewed here.
Those needing to report violations can call 1-800-25-ALERT (800-25-25378).
If you are a Kentucky resident hunting on your own property, then neither you, your spouse nor your dependent children need a license or statewide deer permit to harvest a deer. Please remember those exempt from purchasing license and permits are still required to follow hunting season laws, zone restrictions, bag limits, complete and carry a harvest log and follow checking and tagging requirements.
You can make your own harvest log or print one here.
If you own land in Kentucky, on which you plan to hunt, but are not a Kentucky resident, you will be required to purchase a non-resident hunting license and a non-resident deer permit.
Current Kentucky regulations allow hunters to hunt deer using bait while on private property. Hunting deer over bait on public property is not allowed. Current Kentucky regulations define “Bait” as “a substance composed of grains, minerals, salt, fruits, vegetables, hay, or any other food materials, whether natural or manufactured, that may lure, entice, or attract wildlife.”
In order to hunt in Kentucky, anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1975, and age 12 or older must carry a Hunter Education card in their possession while hunting. The KDFWR now has a permit that allows someone to hunt without a Hunter Education card for up to one year. This is a one-time only exemption. View details regarding the One-Year Hunter Education Exemption Permit.