An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
One the second weekend of October, resident and nonresident youth 15 years of age and younger, who are accompanied by an adult, may take deer statewide. Please note the appropriate hunting license and deer permits are required for hunters ages 12-15. Youth hunters younger than age 12 are not required to have a hunting license or deer permit. Hunter education is not required for license-exempt hunters. Youth hunters may hunt deer with firearms, or any other legal method, statewide without a hunting license or deer permit. All bag limits, zone restrictions and deer hunting requirements apply during the special youth deer seasons.
Contact our Information Center at 1-800-858-1549 or
Info.Center@ky.gov if you have any questions not answered below.
Free Youth-Only Firearms Season: Second Weekend in October
Free Youth Hunting Weekend: Dec. 31 - Jan. 1
Free Youth Small Game Hunting & Trapping Week: Dec. 31 - Jan. 6
Youths ages 15 and under may use modern firearms (centerfire rifles or slug guns) or muzzleloaders, as well as crossbows or archery equipment, to hunt deer during this weekend. (Other legal hunters may use crossbows and archery equipment per statewide deer seasons.)
Yes, youths ages 12-15 are required to have a current Kentucky hunting license and deer permit. Licenses may be purchased
online, at local retail license vendors, and by phone for a small fee by calling 1-877-KYTAG-01 (877-598-2401).
Resident youths may purchase either
Nonresident youths may purchase a Nonresident Youth Hunting License for $10 + Nonresident Youth Deer Permit for $15. Resident and Nonresident Youths may purchase Additional Deer Permits for $15 (2 deer). License options are described in detail here:
http://fw.ky.gov/Hunt/Pages/Which-License-or-Permit-Do-I-Need-to-Hunt.aspx and a list of license fees is posted here:
EXEMPTIONS: Youths ages 11 and under are license (and permit) exempt. Youths hunting on land owned by their parents/legal guardians are exempt from license requirements on that land. This "landowner exemption" also applies to hunter education requirements for youths hunting on land owned by parents/guardians. However, Youth Hunting Licenses or Youth Sportsman's Licenses make great mementos, help fund conservation and recreation in Kentucky, and help youths develop good habits of hunting lawfully with a license, and completing their Harvest Log and recording their Telecheck confirmation number on the back of their license.
Hunter Education certification is required for youth hunters ages 12-15. Youths ages 11 and under are not required to have Hunter Ed certification, but must be accompanied by an adult who can immediately take control of the firearm if necessary. Youths hunting on land owned by their parents/legal guardians are exempt from hunter education requirements. A 1-year Temporary Hunter Ed Exemption Permit is available for free (for a limited time)
Yes, hunters may reprint their current licenses and Hunter Ed cards free of charge anytime using "My Profile" at
fw.ky.gov. Hunters may also use electronic copies on their smartphones, or use their current license and Hunter Ed certification numbers, provided they are valid and thus verifiable by a Conservation Officer.
Yes, youths must abide by Harvest Log and Telecheck requirements like other hunters. A Harvest Log is a record kept by the hunter, showing species and sex harvested, date and county. A printable harvest log is available here:
http://fw.ky.gov/Hunt/Documents/HARVESTLOG.pdf. Telecheck may be completed by telephone by calling 800-CHK-GAME (800-245-4263) or
online. Youth hunters' social security numbers should be used to report the harvest, and the appropriate license type (statewide license or youth under 12) selected when asked what type of license was used. The Telecheck Confirmation Number for each deer must be recorded on the Harvest Log.
Yes, the season bag limits apply to youths, like other hunters. All deer hunters in Kentucky are limited to 1 deer with visible antlers (the "1 buck rule", which does not include button bucks=male fawns). In Zone 1 counties, youths may harvest unlimited antlerless deer with valid Additional Deer Permits. In Zone 2 counties, youths may harvest up to 4 deer with a firearm during this special youth-only weekend firearms season. In Zone 3 and 4 counties, youth hunters may take up to 2 deer with a firearm during this special weekend season. The deer zones and limits are explained on pages 11-12 in the
Kentucky Hunting & Trapping Guide.
Yes, because there is not a daily bag limit on deer other than the season bag limits for the applicable deer zones. This special season is also "either sex,"" meaning youth hunters may harvest a buck with visible antlers and a doe or multiple doe(s) if they have valid deer permits to do so. In Zone 1 counties, youth hunters may harvest unlimited antlerless deer if they have valid deer permits to do so; Additional Deer Permits (2 deer per permit) are available
online. Deer zones and season limits are explained in the
DEER HUNTING section of the Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide.
Youths may use any firearm that is permissible for other deer hunters-centerfire rifles and pistols, shotguns with slugs, and muzzleloaders using single projectiles. Legal methods for deer hunting are described on page 13 of the
Hunting and Trapping Guide.
Youths may hunt deer with firearms on 1) private lands where firearms hunting is permitted and they have permission from the landowner, and 2) public lands that are open to firearms deer hunting during this special season. Many public lands, including most state Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), are open to youths for this special opportunity. Information about these opportunities are explained in the
Public Lands Hunting section in the Hunting and Trapping Guide.
No, special youth-only firearms seasons are open only to youths ages 15 and under. However, licenses and permits issued before the 16th birthday are valid for the hunter to use through the license year, ending February 28th.
Additional youth hunting opportunities are described in the
Kentucky Hunting & Trapping Guide.
No, adults accompanying youths do not have to be licensed or have Hunter Ed certification unless they are hunting deer with archery or crossbow (or other game) at the same time.
Yes, BOTH youths and accompanying adults are required to each wear blaze orange hats/caps AND vests/jackets during this special weekend season. It is a special time for learning hunting skills, including safety for everyone involved!
Yes, any properly licensed hunter age 16 or above may hunt deer using archery or crossbow equipment, or hunt for other game that is currently in season, during this weekend. However, all hunters in the field during these weekends must meet hunter orange requirements (wear blaze orange hat + vest/jacket/shirt) because a firearms deer season is open.