An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
Q: Can game or hunting dogs be retrieved from another person's land without permission?
A: No. You MUST have permission to enter private property. Landowners are under no obligation to allow hunters to retrieve game or dogs from their land. Think before you shoot when hunting near a property line. You may not be able to retrieve your game.
A person shall not enter upon the
lands of another to shoot, hunt, trap,
fish or for other wildlife-related recreational
purposes without the oral or
written permission of the landowner,
tenant, or person who has authority to
Those who fail to obtain permission
are subject to arrest and prosecution.
Landowners are under no obligation
to allow hunters to retrieve game or
hunting dogs from their property.
Persons born on or after Jan. 1, 1975
must carry proof of valid hunter education certification or a hunter education exemption permit while hunting. Hunters may use hunting licenses or electronic documentation with proof of identity. Persons not required to
have licenses or permits are exempt from
hunter education certification.
Hunter education courses are held
throughout the state. Effective March 1, 2014, pre-registration must be done online in order to receive the hunter education card. More information about the registration process is available here or by calling Kentucky Fish and
Wildlife. Children must be at least 9
years old to take the hunter education
course. People who complete the course
are issued an orange certification card.
Hunter education cards issued by other
states are valid in Kentucky.
Children younger than 12 years old
are exempt from hunter education certification,
but must be accompanied by an
adult who meets the hunter education
requirement. The adult must be in a position
to take immediate control of the
bow or firearm at all times while hunting.
One adult cannot accompany more
than two hunters under 12 years old at
the same time.
Persons new to hunting who have not taken the hunter education course may buy a one-time temporary hunter education exemption permit online.
This apprentice hunting opportunity allows new hunters in Kentucky to hunt for up to one year (from date of purchase) without a hunter education card. The permit requires its holder to hunt with a licensed, adult hunter (at least 18 years old) who meets the hunter education requirement. The adult shall be in a position to take immediate control of the exempted hunter’s bow or firearm at all times while hunting. This law applies even if the exempted hunter is an adult.
After the hunter education exemption permit expires, the hunter is no longer exempt and must successfully complete a hunter education course.
The temporary hunter education exemption permit is valid only in Kentucky. It is not accepted at Blue Grass Army Depot or Fort Campbell.
Resident landowners, spouses and dependent children, tenants, their spouses and their dependent children are only hunter education exempt on property they own, or the property where they reside and work. When hunting elsewhere, they must comply with Kentucky's hunter education law.
Kentucky’s Hunter Orange Clothing Law requires ALL HUNTERS and persons accompanying them, hunting for any species during the modern gun, muzzleloading, and youth firearm deer seasons, or a firearm elk or bear season to wear solid, unbroken hunter orange color visible from all sides on the head, back and chest.
Waterfowl and dove hunters are exempt from this requirement.
Hunter orange garments can be of mesh type material, as long as openings in the mesh weave are no wider than one-quarter inch by any measurement. Garments may display a small portion of another color.
The following are common examples of violations related to hunter orange clothing:
Hunters using archery equipment during deer firearms seasons must wear hunter orange clothing.
Whenever gun deer hunting is allowed
on a wildlife management area,
state park or Otter Creek Outdoor
Recreation Area, a person who will be
hunting from inside a ground blind
must first attach a hat or vest made of
solid, unbroken hunter orange material
to the blind so it is visible from all sides.
Hunter orange clothing requirements
still apply for anyone inside the blind.
Hunters are not required to wear hunter orange clothing or display hunter orange on ground blinds during a firearms season on a state owned or managed WMA where firearms hunting for deer, elk or bear is prohibited.
Unless otherwise noted, shooting hours for most species are 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. Exceptions include waterfowl, migratory birds, raccoons, coyotes, turtles and frogs. Hunters may be in the field outside of shooting hours.
Raccoons and opossums may be taken day or night, except during modern gun deer season when raccoon and opossum hunting is permitted only at night.
Exceptions also apply for coyotes. See the Furbearer Hunting and Trapping section.
Sunrise and sunset tables are provided by USNO.
The department grants exemptions to hunters with certain physical disabilities to hunt with a crossbow during archery-only seasons, or to use a stationary vehicle as a hunting platform. However, persons with qualifying physical disabilities must first have an exemption form completed and signed by a licensed physician certifying why the exemption is necessary.
Forms are available online or by calling 1-800-858-1549. A completed exemption form serves as the hunter’s exemption permit. It should not be returned to the department. Persons who obtain an exemption are still required to have the appropriate hunting license and permits, and must carry the signed exemption form with their hunting license and permits while in the field.
A person convicted of a felony is prohibited from possessing or hunting with a firearm in Kentucky. Breech and muzzle-loading rifles, shotguns and handguns are all considered firearms. The prohibition on handguns applies to those convicted after Jan. 1, 1975. The prohibition on other firearms applies to those convicted after July 15, 1994. (See KRS 527.040 for more details.) If you need further clarification on your ability to hunt with a particular weapon, please contact the county or commonwealth attorney in your county of residence.
No person may deliberately cast
the rays of a spotlight or other artificial
light into any field, pasture, woodlands
or forest, whether public or private,
where wildlife or domestic livestock
may reasonably be expected to be located.
Shining artificial lights into private
residences or other structures also
This does not apply to: headlights
of vehicles engaged in a normal
course of travel; lights being used in
legitimate agricultural activities; anyone
involved in activities legitimate
to his or her business or occupation;
circumstances including lawful hunting
activities; or any landowner, his
or her immediate family, or any paid
employee while working on his or her
land at that time.
No person shall take wildlife, except
raccoons, opossums, frogs and fishes,
using lights or other means designed
to blind wildlife or make wildlife visible
at night. Exceptions also apply for
coyotes. See the Furbearer Hunting &
A person may not take or possess live wildlife without first obtaining a permit when prescribed by regulation. See the Transportation and Holding of Live Native Wildlife page for detailed information.
Orphaned wildlife may only be possessed by a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Persons transporting live deer or other types of cervids (members of the deer family) without proper documentation or permits, or holding live deer captive in unpermitted facilities or pens, are subject to severe fines and may have their animals confiscated or destroyed.
Dogs are permitted for locating and flushing turkeys during the fall turkey season only, and dogs on leash are permitted for tracking and locating wounded deer, elk and bear. Except during the hunting season, raccoon and opossum hunters shall not use any device to force a raccoon or opossum from trees or dens. Raccoon squallers may be used year-round.
See the Dog Training Areas page for detailed information.