Transportation and Holding of Captive Cervids

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Captive Cervid Permit

General Information

  1. Begin by building a facility according to current Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) regulations regarding captive cervids (301 KAR 2:083).
  2. Once you have a facility that meets the specifications in the regulation (301 KAR 2:083), contact your local law enforcement captain to schedule an inspection. Your captain will mail the completed and signed inspection form to KDFWR Headquarters in Frankfort. (You should retain the pink copy for your records.) If your captain does not approve your facility, the inspection form should explain why. Make the necessary changes, and schedule another inspection with your captain.
    • Captive Cervid Permit Inspection Form
      • Note: You may not move any animals into the facility until you have passed the facility inspection and received a valid captive cervid permit from KDFWR and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA).
  3. Apply for a permit from both the KDFWR and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture State Veterinarian’s Office. See below for details.
  4. Once you have received your Captive Cervid Permits from KDFWR and KDA, you may begin adding cervids to your facility (as long as they are not on the list of prohibited species).
    • REMEMBER: Importation of live cervids from out-of-state is only permitted from Indiana at this time. A transportation permit (from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture) must accompany any cervid being transported.
  5. All deer and elk 6 months old and older must have a visible flop tag in the ear, and must also comply with KDA requirements for tagging.
  6. Renewal inspections for your KDFWR Captive Cervid Permit will be done in February. The KDA also does annual inspections of the animals in your facility; however, the time of year varies.
  7. The following species of cervids are not permitted:
    • Genus Cervus species, except Cervus elaphus nelson
    • Genus Axis species
    • Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus and Capreolus pygarus)
    • Any hybrids of these

Issuance Cycle

Captive Cervid Permits must be renewed annually by the last day of February of the calendar year.

Application Process

Two applications are required: one with the KDFWR and one with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. Once you have a fence up and it has passed inspection with your regional law enforcement captain, follow these steps:

  1. Mail your completed application and payment of $150 to KDFWR, #1 Sportsman’s Lane, Frankfort, KY 40601, ATTN: Captive Cervid Permit. (You may mail your application and payment before the inspection, but please note that we cannot begin to process an application until we have received all three parts: the application form, correct payment, and the completed inspection form.)
  2. Concurrently with the KDFWR application, submit an application with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) State Veterinarian’s Office. You can reach KDA at 502-564-3956. The KDA will issue a permit for your facility only after you are issued a permit from the KDFWR.
  3. If your KDFWR application is approved, you will receive a copy of your valid Captive Cervid Permit. If denied, you will receive notice as to the reason and be given 60 days to rectify any deficiencies.



  • ​You must report any cervid that escapes from the pen (and are not immediately recaptured) to both KDFWR and the KDA, by telephone or in writing, within 48 hours of escape.
  • If the cervids are not recaptured, a written report must be submitted to KDFWR within 10 days.
  • Any wild cervids that enter the pen must also be reported to KDFWR.

​Grandfathered Non-Commercial Permit

General Information

Grandfathered Non-Commercial Permitted facilities are managed the same as Captive Cervid facilities listed above, with the following exceptions:

  • The application fee is $75 and must be renewed only every 3 years instead of annually.
  • Cervids in grandfathered non-commercial facilities cannot be sold, bartered, or traded.
  • The herd owner will be required to not allow their animals to breed and/or separate the males and females within the facility.
  • Herd owners will not be allowed to purchase or add any additional animals to their current stock.

The same application form is used for the captive cervid permit and the grandfathered noncommercial facilities, and the same facility inspection form is used.