GENERAL INFORMATION

Statewide Deer Permit Regulations

Hunters have the privilege to harvest up to four deer through the statewide deer permit and youth deer permit. This includes the option to take one antlered deer and three antlerless deer, or four antlerless deer, facilitated by either the statewide deer permit or youth deer permit.

Seasonal Limit for Antlered Deer

One Antlered Deer per Hunter

Adherence to the statewide season limit is crucial, allowing the harvest of only one antlered deer per individual. This regulation ensures sustainable hunting practices and contributes to overall conservation efforts.

Zone-specific Harvest Limits

Hunters are entitled to take as many deer as specified for each designated zone. To exceed the statewide limit of four deer, individuals must acquire an additional deer permit.

Additional Deer Permit Benefits

This supplementary permit allows hunters to harvest up to two extra deer, beyond the quota permitted by the statewide or youth deer permits, with zone bag limits applicable.

Deer Management Permit for Antlered Deer

For those who have not harvested an antlered deer using their statewide or youth deer permits, the acquisition of a deer management permit allows the harvest of one antlered deer and up to one antlerless deer. Alternatively, hunters can opt for up to two antlerless deer with the deer management permit.

Harvesting Hours

Shooting hours commence 30 minutes before sunrise, providing hunters with a specific timeframe to engage in their activities. This regulation ensures safety and standardizes the hunting experience for all participants.

HUNTER ORANGE SAFETY REQUIREMENTS

Mandatory Hunter Orange Attire

Hunters and their companions are obligated to wear solid, unbroken hunter-orange attire that is visible from all sides. This includes coverage on the head, back, and chest during specific hunting seasons:

  • Modern Gun Season
  • Muzzleloader Season
  • Youth Firearm Deer Season
  • Firearm Elk Season
  • Firearm Bear Season

Exceptions to Hunter Orange Requirement

Hunter orange attire is not mandatory under certain circumstances:

Waterfowl and Dove Hunting

During a gun deer, elk, or bear season, hunters engaging in waterfowl or dove hunting are exempt from the requirement to wear hunter orange.

Nighttime Furbearer Hunting

When participating in nighttime hunting of furbearers during a legal furbearer season, individuals are not obliged to wear hunter orange. This exception ensures flexibility for hunters engaged in specific activities during designated seasons.

CHECKING AND TAGGING PROCEDURES

Mandatory Telechecking

All harvested deer must undergo telechecking. Hunters have two options to fulfill this requirement:

  1. Telecheck via Phone: Call 1-800-245-4263
  2. Online Check-in: Utilize the online check-in process through My Profile

For comprehensive details, refer to the "Recording, Checking, Tagging, and Transportation" section in the guide's "General Information."

Proof of Sex Requirement

In instances where the hide or head is removed before checking in the harvested deer (e.g., quartering the animal), proof of sex must be demonstrated. This can be achieved by retaining the head or keeping the genitalia attached to the carcass. Despite these circumstances, hunters are still obligated to promptly fill out the harvest log immediately after the harvest. Telechecking the animal is mandatory and must be completed before midnight on the day of the deer's harvest or recovery.

Carcass Tag Necessity

A carcass tag is a mandatory requirement if a harvested deer leaves the hunter's possession for any reason. This ensures proper documentation and adherence to regulations regarding the transportation of harvested game.

BAG LIMITS AND HARVEST RESTRICTIONS

General Bag Limits

Bag limits and harvest restrictions are universally applicable to all hunters. Each individual is permitted to take no more than one (1) deer with visible antlers, excluding male fawns (button bucks). This regulation applies regardless of the designated hunting zone, the method employed, or the ongoing season.

Bonus Antlered Deer Opportunities

Federally Controlled Areas

On specific federally controlled areas, such as Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge, Fort Campbell, Fort Knox military reservations, and Blue Grass Army Depot, a bonus antlered deer may be taken. The determination of this allowance is made by the governing agency overseeing each respective area.

Statewide Antlered Deer Harvest Limit

Despite variations in zones, hunting methods, or seasons, hunters are restricted to harvesting only one antlered deer per individual statewide. This regulation ensures equitable distribution and sustainable management of the deer population.

Kentucky Dear Hunting Laws and Regulations

Only one antlered deer per hunter may be harvested statewide, regardless of zone, method, or season.

DEER BAG LIMITS BY ZONE

Statewide Antlered Deer Harvest Limit

Hunters are restricted to harvesting only one antlered deer statewide, irrespective of the designated hunting zone or method employed.

ZONE 1

In Zone 1, hunters have the opportunity to harvest an unlimited number of antlerless deer using the statewide deer permit and additional deer permits. This flexibility allows for effective population control and aligns with sustainable hunting practices.

ZONE 2

Hunters in Zone 2 are subject to a maximum limit of four deer. This includes antlered and antlerless deer, ensuring responsible hunting practices, and contributing to population management efforts.

ZONE 3

In Zone 3, hunters are limited to harvesting no more than four deer. Notably, the use of a firearm or air gun to take more than one antlerless deer is prohibited. This restriction is in place to maintain a balanced and sustainable deer population in the region.

ZONE 4

Zone 4 imposes a specific limit on hunters, allowing the harvest of no more than two deer. Of these, only one can be antlerless. Additionally, antlerless deer cannot be harvested during the modern gun season, the early muzzleloader season, or the first six days of the late muzzleloader season. It's important to note that the statewide bag limit of one antlered deer still applies, ensuring careful management of deer populations in Zone 4.

CARRY PROOF REQUIREMENTS

Hunters obtaining their license or permit through phone or online channels are obligated to carry specific documentation while engaged in hunting activities. It is imperative to adhere to the following carry-proof regulations:

Mandatory Documentation

Hunters purchasing their license or permit via phone or the Internet must carry the following:

  • Picture ID
  • Proof of Purchase: This can be an authorization number, paper license, or computer printout.

License and Permit Requirements

Annual Hunting License and Statewide Deer Permit

All deer hunters aged 16 and older, unless license-exempt, must initially purchase and carry proof of an annual hunting license and a statewide deer permit while hunting. The statewide deer permit allows the harvest of four deer in various combinations: one antlered and three antlerless or four antlerless. The sequence of harvesting antlered or antlerless deer is inconsequential.

Additional Deer Permit

To exceed the limit of four deer, hunters must purchase an additional deer permit. This permit enables the harvest of up to two additional deer beyond the statewide permit allowance:

  • One antlered and one antlerless, or
  • Two antlerless.

Regardless of the permit carried, the statewide season limit for antlered deer remains one per hunter. The additional deer permit is only valid if the hunter has previously purchased an annual hunting license and statewide deer permit, providing proof in the field.

Permit Usage Restrictions

Statewide or additional deer permits are applicable on both public and private lands and during specific quota hunts. It is crucial to note that additional deer permits can only be used in counties with unlimited antlerless harvests (Zone 1). Compliance with these regulations ensures responsible hunting practices and contributes to effective wildlife management.

LEGAL HUNTING EQUIPMENT

MODERN GUN EQUIPMENT

Hunters utilizing modern gun equipment must adhere to the following regulations:

  • Caliber: Any caliber centerfire rifle or centerfire handgun.
  • Magazine Capacity: Rifle or handgun magazines must not exceed a capacity of 10 rounds.
  • Fire Mode: Rifles or handguns may not be fully automatic (capable of firing more than one round with one trigger pull).
  • Ammunition Type: Full metal jacketed or tracer bullet ammunition is prohibited.
  • Shotguns: Shotguns, no larger than 10-gauge, are allowed, but they must shoot slug ammunition only (including saboted bullets).
  • Muzzle-loading: Muzzle-loading rifles, handguns, or shotguns shooting round balls, conical bullets, or sabotaged bullets are permitted.
  • Air Guns: Air guns of .35 caliber or larger charged by an external tank, shooting single projectile ammunition designed to expand upon impact, are allowed.

ARCHERY EQUIPMENT

For hunters using archery equipment, the following rules apply:

  • Bows: Longbows, recurves, and compound bows of any draw weight (no minimum) are permitted.
  • Arrows: Wood, carbon, or metal arrows are allowed, but arrows may not be chemically treated.
  • Broadheads: Fixed blade or mechanical broadheads at least 7/8” wide (when blades are extended) are allowed, but broadheads may not be chemically treated.

CROSSBOW EQUIPMENT

Crossbow hunters must adhere to the following equipment guidelines:

  • Draw Weight: Crossbows of any draw weight (no minimum) are permitted, provided they have a working safety.
  • Arrows (Bolts): Wood, carbon, or metal arrows (bolts) are allowed, but arrows (bolts) may not be chemically treated.
  • Broadheads: Fixed blade or mechanical broadheads at least 7/8” (when blades extended) are allowed, but broadheads may not be chemically treated.

MUZZLELOADING EQUIPMENT

For hunters using muzzleloading equipment, the following rules apply:

  • Caliber: Muzzle-loading rifles or handguns of any caliber, with flint or percussion ignition (including in-lines), are permitted.
  • Sights: Muzzle-loading firearms equipped with open sights or telescopic sights (scopes) are allowed.
  • Shotguns: Muzzle-loading shotguns no larger than 10 gauge are permitted, shooting round balls, conical bullets, or sabotaged bullets.

HUNTING EQUIPMENT RESTRICTIONS

ANTLER TRAPS

The use of devices designed to entangle or trap the antlers of deer is strictly prohibited.

MODERN GUN SEASON

During the modern gun deer season, hunters are allowed to use the following equipment:

  • Modern guns
  • Air guns of .35 caliber or larger charged by an external tank
  • Muzzleloaders
  • Archery equipment
  • Crossbows

Hunters must adhere to season restrictions, zone guidelines, and other hunting requirements. Additionally, all hunters, including those using archery and crossbow equipment, must wear hunter-orange clothing throughout the modern gun season.

Youth Hunting Regulations

For persons ages 15 and younger hunting deer with a firearm, adult supervision is mandatory. The accompanying adult must be in a position to take immediate control of the youth's firearm at all times.

ARCHERY SEASON

Hunters using archery equipment during a deer firearms season must follow all firearm season restrictions, zone guidelines, and other hunting requirements. The only exception is in state-owned or managed Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) where firearm hunting for deer or elk is prohibited.

CROSSBOW SEASON

Similar to archery season, hunters using crossbows during deer firearms season must follow all firearm season restrictions and zone guidelines. Hunter orange clothing is mandatory during this season unless hunting on state-owned or managed WMAs where firearms hunting for deer or elk is prohibited.

Age Exceptions

Legal resident hunters aged 65 years or older or youth hunters (resident or non-resident), age 15 or younger, are permitted to hunt deer with a crossbow from the first Saturday in September through the third Monday in January.

MUZZLELOADER SEASON

During the muzzleloader season, hunters can use muzzleloaders, archery, and crossbow equipment. All hunters must comply with the hunter-orange clothing law during this season.

Youth Hunting Regulations

Youths age 15 and younger hunting deer with a muzzleloader must be accompanied by an adult who remains able and in a position to take immediate control of the youth’s muzzleloader at all times.

TREE STANDS

The construction and use of tree stands on private lands are subject to regulation by landowners. Hunters should be aware of and comply with any specific rules or guidelines established by the landowners regarding tree stand usage.

YOUTH DEER HUNTING

Important Information

For more detailed information, please refer to the FAQs available on our Free Youth Deer Hunting Weekend page or the Youth-Only Firearms Deer page.

Important Dates

  • Free Youth Deer Hunting Weekend: December 31 - January 1

    • A dedicated weekend for youth deer hunting, providing young hunters with a unique opportunity to participate.
  • Free Youth-Only Firearms Season: Second Weekend in October

    • A special firearms season exclusively for youth hunters during the second weekend in October.
  • Free Youth Small Game Hunting & Trapping Week: December 31 - January 6

    • A designated week for youth to engage in small game hunting and trapping, promoting skill development in a controlled environment.

These initiatives aim to foster a safe and educational environment for young hunters, allowing them to develop essential skills while enjoying the experience of the outdoors.

YOUTH DEER HUNTING GUIDELINES

For More Information

For additional details, consult the FAQs available on our Free Youth Deer Hunting Weekend page or Youth-Only Firearms Deer page.

Important Dates

  • Free Youth Deer Hunting Weekend: December 31 - January 1
  • Free Youth-Only Firearms Season: Second Weekend in October
  • Free Youth Small Game Hunting & Trapping Week: December 31 - January 6

Youth Deer Hunting Regulations

General Youth Deer Hunting

  • Youths may participate in deer hunting during any open season.
  • Two special deer seasons are designated for resident and non-resident hunters below the age of 16.

Accompanying Adults

  • Adults accompanying youth deer hunters during these special seasons are prohibited from using firearms to take deer.
  • Accompanying adults are not required to possess a hunting license or deer permit if they are not deer hunting.
  • Both the hunter and accompanying adults must, however, wear hunter-orange clothing as per legal requirements.

YOUTH-ONLY FIREARMS SEASON/FREE YOUTH DEER HUNTING WEEKEND

October Youth-Only Firearms Season

  • The first special youth deer season occurs on the second weekend of October.
  • Youth hunters aged 12-15 must possess the appropriate hunting license and deer permits during this season.
  • Youth hunters under 12 are exempt from hunting license and deer permit requirements.

Free Youth Deer Hunting Weekend

  • On the first weekend following Christmas, resident and nonresident youth aged 15 and younger, accompanied by an adult, can participate in the Free Youth Weekend.
  • Youth hunters during this weekend are not required to have a hunting license or deer permit.

Regulations

  • All bag limits, zone restrictions, and general deer hunting requirements apply during these special youth deer seasons, ensuring a controlled and lawful hunting experience for young hunters.

DEER HARVEST OWNERSHIP

No Transfer Permitted

Hunters are not allowed to take a deer on behalf of someone else. The process of claiming a deer is strictly individual, and the following regulations apply:

  • License/Permit Usage: Hunters must use their license/permit for any deer they harvest.
  • Harvest Log: The harvest log used must belong to the hunter, and it should be filled out accordingly.
  • Telechecking Process: When telechecking the deer, hunters must use their own Social Security number for accurate record-keeping.

This ensures accountability and compliance with hunting regulations, emphasizing the individual responsibility of hunters for each deer they harvest.

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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.