An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
Before hunting migratory birds, hunters must go
online and fill out the Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey before they are legal migratory bird hunters. See below for detailed information.
The information listed here is for Dove, Wood Duck, Teal, Woodcock, Snipe and Crow
September 1, 2020 - February 28, 2021
This page is dedicated to migratory bird hunting.
To view the public dove fields click here
Find the latest information on public dove fields online at fw.ky.gov. Always check before hunting, as fields are subject to change due to weather conditions or crop failures.
Hunters must pass a migratory bird identification test before receiving their sandhill crane permit.
License: Unless license exempt, hunters must possess a valid Kentucky hunting license when hunting the species listed in this guide.
A Kentucky Migratory Bird/Waterfowl 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, only a Kentucky Migratory Bird/Waterfowl Permit is required.
Before hunting migratory birds, hunters must now go online or call 1-800-858-1549 weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and fill out the Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey before they are legal migratory bird hunters.
The process takes less than 5 minutes. Go to "My Profile" to fill out the survey. This takes you to a page that asks for some basic information to confirm your identity. After completing the HIP survey, you will receive a confirmation number that must be written on your hunting license or Kentucky Migratory Bird/Waterfowl Permit.
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.
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 or smaller 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 or Sandhill cranes is prohibited statewide. Non-toxic shot is required for hunting waterfowl. Most major manufacturers offer non-toxic shot shells. A list of non-toxic shot currently approved by the USFWS can be found at:
Only USFWS-approved non-toxic shot may be possessed and used to hunt doves, gallinules, rails, woodcock, snipe or other migratory birds on the following WMA’s: Ballard, Boatwright, Doug Travis, Duck Island, Kaler Bottoms, Sloughs, Kentucky River, Ohio River Islands, South Shore, Yatesville Lake, and other areas as posted by signs.
* Included in Youth Sportsman's License** Included in Resident Sportsman's LicenseNOTE: HIP survey required for all migratory bird hunters 16 and older
September 1, 2020: 11 a.m. to sunsetRemainder of dove season: one-half hour before sunrise to sunset
September 1 - October 26, 2020: 11 a.m. to sunset.
Second and third segments of dove season: one-half hour before sunrise to sunset
One-half hour before sunrise to sunset
Daily Bag Limit − The total limit of a specific migratory game bird species that may be taken during legal shooting hours for one calendar day.
Possession Limit − The total limit of a specific migratory game bird species that may be in your possession at any time, whether on your person or stored in another location(including your home or taxidermist).
Note: Migratory birds shot in another state, count toward a hunter’s daily and possession limits.
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.
Mechanical devices and electronic attracting devices for crow hunting may only be used during the open 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 during this season:
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. See the
Waterfowl Hunting section for more information.
All public dove fields will be closed to all access from August 15 until sunrise on September 1.
To view a map of the 2020 Kentucky Dove Fields
Click Here .
Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) are open during regular seasons under statewide regulations unless otherwise specified in this guide. 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. From August 15 until sunrise on September 1, there is no access allowed in the dove fields. All scouting must be done from the road or parking lot.
Cooperator fields in the cooperative dove field program are open for public dove huntingSept. 1, but will be closed Sept. 2 - 4, reopening Sept. 5 - Oct. 26, 2020. Private cooperative fields are closed to public access except on the dates listed above. Prior to the season, hunters may drive by private cooperative fields but may not leave their vehicles to scout.
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.
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, portions 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 quota hunt permittes. The area of Yellowbank WMA posted by signs is closed to the public Oct. 15 - March 15.
Wildlife Management Areas not listed here or in the “Closed Areas” section are open under statewide regulations.
Dove: Sept. 1 - Oct. 13, 2020Snipe: Sept. 18 - Oct. 13, 2020Rails, Moorhen, Gallinules: Sept. 1 - Oct. 13, 2020
No woodcock hunting permitted. Areas designated by signs are closed to all hunting.
Dove: Sept. 1 - Oct. 13, 2020Snipe: Sept. 18 - Oct. 13, 2020
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.
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.
FORT CAMPBELL MILITARY RESERVATION
Outdoor Recreation Branch, Bldg. 6645
101st Airborne Div. Ave.Ft. Campbell, KY 42223-5000
FORT KNOX MILITARY RESERVATION
Hunt Control Office
Fort Knox, KY 40121-5719
LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES NATIONAL RECREATION AREA100 Van Morgan Drive
Golden Pond, KY 42211-9001(270) 924-2065
OHIO RIVER ISLANDS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
3982 Waverly Road
Williamstown, WV 26187
(304) 375-2923, ext. 117
REELFOOT NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
4343 Hwy. 157
Union City, TN 38261
Fields set aside for Mentor/Youth hunts are open Sept. 5 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. 6.