Fish and Wildlife regulations amended

​FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 20, 2023) In accordance with KRS 150.025, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is providing updated information about proposed fish and wildlife-related regulation amendments that have received final legislative approval and are now in effect.

The following is an overview of changes:

301 KAR 1:410 – Taking of fish by non-traditional fishing methods
This administrative regulation establishes the procedures for taking sport and rough fish by nontraditional fishing methods.

The amendments:

  • Apply the statewide daily harvest limit of two paddlefish to all non-traditional fishing methods;
  • Set a daily harvest limit of two shovelnose sturgeon;
  • Prohibit harvest of shovelnose sturgeon from the Mississippi River;
  • Prohibit harvest of pallid sturgeon statewide; and
  • Remove daily harvest limits for invasive carp.

 In addition, the following changes apply to gigging and snagging:

  • Anglers statewide must stop gigging or snagging for the day once they reach their shovelnose sturgeon daily harvest limit;
  • Snagging is prohibited from any fishing pier or jetty on the Tennessee River from the Kentucky Lake Dam down to the Ohio River;
  • Gigging and snagging are prohibited in the Cumberland River below Lake Barkley Dam to the Highway 62 bridge; and
  • On the Cumberland River below Lake Barkley Dam, the daily harvest limit of eight rough fish and the requirement to keep them has been removed.

The amendment also adds shovelnose sturgeon to the list of fish that must be taken into possession and not released if shot while bowfishing, and adds Carr Creek Lake to the list of lakes where anglers can only keep one blue catfish or channel catfish over 25 inches per day when hand grabbing.

One cleanup item clarifies there is no size limit on snagged sportfish from the Tennessee River below Kentucky Lake dam.

301 KAR 2:015 – Feeding of wildlife

This administrative regulation establishes restrictions on the feeding of wildlife to protect wildlife from disease and toxic substances that may cause harm to the wildlife population if left unregulated.

Under the newly amended regulation, wildlife cannot be fed from March 1 – July 31.

Exceptions include public areas not open to legal hunting or trapping (unless otherwise prohibited by state law, administrative regulation or municipal ordinance), within the curtilage of the home, in a zoo or other facility that lawfully keeps or exhibits wildlife for rehabilitation, rescue or public viewing.

Fish may be fed year-round.

301 KAR 2:075 – Wildlife rehabilitation permit

This administrative regulation provides standards for those who rehabilitate wildlife in Kentucky.

The amendments:

  • Define a Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Surveillance Zone as an area with special cervid regulations due to a detection of CWD within a specified distance from the area. Cervids include deer and elk;
  • Prohibit rehabilitation of cervids when obtained within a CWD Surveillance Zone;
  • Protect public health by placing added restrictions on the handling of rabies vector species (coyote, gray fox, raccoon, red fox, spotted skunk, striped skunk and any hybrid of these species);
  • Limit movement across the state to prevent the spread of wildlife diseases; and
  • Require wildlife rehabilitators to complete training before they can be issued a rehabilitation permit.

301 KAR 2:081 – Transportation and holding of live native wildlife
This administrative regulation establishes requirements for the buying, selling, holding and transportation of live native wildlife to help protect the health and welfare of native wildlife and the public. The amendments are necessary to better manage captive held native wildlife, improve the permitting process for those animals, and improve health and public safety in regard to the possession of live native wildlife.

The amendments:

  • ​​​Develop an online permitting system;
  • Expand the department's ability to deny or revoke a permit;
  • Clarify who is required to purchase a commercial wildlife permit;
  • Waive the fee for government agencies doing legitimate wildlife conservation;
  • Clarify that each non-contiguous captive wildlife facility needs a separate permit;
  • Prohibit the possession of eastern hellbender, eastern spotted skunk, Kirtland's snake, bobcats, copperbelly water snake, rabies vector species, and bats;
  • Update the prohibited species exemption section; and
  • Allow for previously held prohibited wildlife species.

301 KAR 2:082 – Transportation and holding of live exotic wildlife

This administrative regulation establishes the procedures for obtaining a transportation permit for exotic wildlife, prohibits the importation and possession of exotic species with the potential to damage native ecosystems and places restrictions on importing, transporting and holding species that are potentially dangerous to public health and safety.

The amendments to the regulation:
Develop an online permitting system;

  • Expand the department's ability to deny or revoke a permit;
  • Prohibit the importation and possession of wild rabbits, hares, pikas and lynx species;
  • Improve protections from rabies, meeting statutory requirements;
  • Update the prohibited species exemption section; and
  • Provide grandfathering for previously held legal prohibited wildlife species.

301 KAR 2:142 – Spring wild turkey hunting

This administrative regulation establishes season dates, shooting hours and other requirements for spring wild turkey hunting in Kentucky.

The amendments:

  • Allow for the harvest of one legal wild turkey per hunter per wildlife management area (WMA) during the spring season. A legal wild turkey is defined in this regulation as a turkey that is male or has a visible beard.
  • Clarify that turkey hunting requirements in the regulation reference the spring hunting season.

301 KAR 2:185 – Hunter education

This administrative regulation establishes the requirements for hunter education in Kentucky.

Under the amended regulation, hunters who have successfully completed hunter education are no longer required to carry a physical card for proof of successful course completion but are still required to have documentation of course completion.

Additionally, the amendment exempts current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces and certified peace officers from the live-fire component of the hunter education certification requirements.

301 KAR 2:251 – Hunting and trapping seasons and limits for furbearers

This regulation establishes seasons, bag limits, legal methods of take and checking and recording requirements for hunting and trapping furbearers, which include mink, muskrat, beaver, raccoon, opossum, gray and red fox, least and long-tailed weasel, river otter, bobcat, coyote and striped skunk.

The amendments extend the timeframe for the night hunting coyotes with lights season. It is now Dec. 1-March 31 and May 16-June 30 on public and private lands. On private lands only, hunters during this season may now use a modern firearm, including any modern breech-loading rifle, pistol or shotgun without caliber restrictions.

For updated information about proposed and recently enacted amendments to administrative regulations, visit

Another way to stay abreast of changes to administrative regulations is to sign up with RegWatch, a free service that enables users to register to be notified of changes to existing administrative regulations or to receive notice of newly-proposed regulations. Notifications are sent for four years after initial sign-up. More information about the service is available via the KAR FAQs online at

Recent Articles