Live Wildlife Possession

The possession of live native wildlife is an equal privilege to their take by hunting or trapping. With few exceptions a permit shall be obtained prior to possessing any live native wildlife, whether wild-caught or captive-bred. Wildlife permits will not be issued for animals illegally acquired, including injured and orphaned wildlife; these animals should be left in the wild, returned there, or may be promptly transferred to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator.

Transportation of both native and exotic wildlife species from out-of-state is also strictly regulated; a wildlife transportation permit is required and some species are altogether prohibited. Review the regulations closely if you plan to move wildlife into Kentucky for any reason.

The possession and transportation of live cervids is specifically regulated jointly by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. Compliance with both agencies’ requirements is necessary.

Pursuant to 301 KAR 2:084 Section 2; Importation of game birds; in addition to obtaining a transportation permit from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, applicants are responsible to ensure that the shipment is in compliance with the Department of Agriculture’s entry and avian influenza health requirements as established in 302 KAR 20:020, 20:040, and 20:250. Please contact the Kentucky Department of Agriculture for consideration of permit requests at 502-782-5901.

Please note: Importation of Salamanders;  In light of the recent threat of introduction of the salamander chytrid fungus into U.S, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued an interim rule under the Lacey Act by which the importation, transportation, or acquisition of any live or dead specimen of the following genera is prohibited: Chioglossa, Cynops, Euproctus, Hydromantes, Hynobius, Ichthyosaura, Lissotriton, Neurergus, Notophthalmus, Onychodactylus, Paramesotriton, Plethodon, Pleurodeles, Salamandra, Salamandrella, Salamandrina, Siren, Taricha, Triturus, and Tylototriton.