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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 successful hunters, including those who are license exempt, must fill out a harvest log as soon as the animal is taken and prior to moving the carcass. Information that must be written on the harvest log includes the species and sex of animal taken, date and county where taken.
A telecheck confirmation number must be obtained and recorded on the harvest log.
The harvest log is included with your license or permit.
License exempt hunters, youths 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 index card.
Hunters and trappers must have the completed harvest log in their possession whenever afield during the current season.
All deer, turkey, elk, bobcat, river otters and sandhill cranes harvested must be telechecked through the toll-free, 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.
Hunters who harvest a bear during any bear hunting season must telecheck the bear by 8 p.m. Eastern time the day that it was harvested, and also call 1-800-858-1549 within 24 hours of harvest to arrange for a physical check of the animal and receive a tag issued by the department. All other harvested animals must be telechecked by midnight on the day the animal is recovered and prior to processing the carcass. Bobcats and river otters must be telechecked prior to leaving Kentucky.
Deer must be telechecked before removing the hide or head.
If the hide or head is removed from the carcass of a harvested deer or elk before the animal is telechecked, the hunter must demonstrate proof of the sex of the deer or elk.
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 male fawns (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 used. License choices may include: Statewide license, Senior/Disabled license, Landowner, Deer Control Tag, Trapping license, Elk permit or Out-of-Zone Elk permit.
Youths under 12, youths who check deer taken during the Free Youth DeerHunting Weekend, or license exempt military personnel should select “Statewide license.”
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. The hunter then 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.
A hunter shall attach a handmade tag to the carcass of any harvested deer, elk, turkey, bear, bobcat, or otter if transferring possession of the harvested animal to another person.
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 theirs, unless the carcass tag states otherwise. The carcass tag must include the hunter’s name, phone number and telecheck confirmation number.Hunters who harvest bears during the modern gun bear season must attach a department-issued carcass tag before leaving the check station. Hunters who harvest a bear during the archery-crossbow season must attach a department-issued carcass tag after having the bear inspected by department personnel.
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 Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, must be attached to the raw fur, pelt or unskinned carcass 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. Those without internet access may call 1-800-858-1549 weekdays from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Eastern time, and provide the animal’s telecheck confirmation number.
CITES tags must immediately 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.
If you hunt big game outside of Kentucky, you may not bring any member of the deer (Cervidae) family, which includes deer, elk, moose, caribou, reindeer and any hybrids, back into Kentucky unless the brain and spinal column have been removed.
Allowed parts from other states and provinces include: quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached, boned-out meat, antlers, antlers attached to a clean skull plate, a clean skull, clean teeth, hides and finished taxidermy products.
An unchecked animal taken in Kentucky may not be transported out of Kentucky.
Furs and hides may only be sold to a licensed fur buyer, fur processor of taxidermist.
Butchers, meat processors, and licensed taxidermists shall dispose of any unused cervid carcass material or waste product by proper burial, removal by a duly licensed rendering establishment, or deposit into a contained landfill approved pursuant to KRS Chapter 224 (KRS 150.722).