Overview of Kentucky Hunting Licensing Requirements

General Provisions

Licenses and permits to hunt various species are not required for children under the age of 12 in Kentucky. For more detailed information about exemptions, residency, licensing, and hunter education requirements, refer to the specific sections provided in the Kentucky Hunting Guide or on the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources website.

For all hunters aged 12 and older, appropriate licenses and permits must be obtained to hunt legally in the state. Licensing varies based on the hunter's age, the type of game being hunted, and the methods used.

Youth hunters (ages 12-15) generally require an annual youth hunting license, often included in a comprehensive Youth Sportsman's License. For hunters aged 16 and older, various license options exist, including day (1 or 7-day) hunting licenses or annual hunting licenses. Specific permits may also be needed for migratory bird and waterfowl hunting.

Senior citizens (65 and older) and disabled individuals may be eligible for the Senior/Disabled License, which provides the same privileges as an annual license.

Hunter education is also an important requirement for many first-time hunters and those who have not yet met state regulations for hunter safety training.

​​​​​​​​LICENSE / PERMIT Resident Nonresident
LICENSES:
Annual Fishing $23.00 $55.00
Joint/Spouses Annual Fishing $42.00 Not available
1-Day Fishing $7.00 $15.00
3-Year Fishing (Online Only) $55.00 Not available
Nonresident 7-Day Fishing Not available $35.00
Trout Permit $10.00 $10.00
Annual Hunting $27.00 $150.00
1-Day Hunting (not valid for deer, elk, turkey or bear) $7.00 $25.00
7-Day Hunting (not valid for deer, elk, turkey or bear) Not available $65.00
Annual Youth Hunting (ages 12-15 only) $6.00 $10.00
Shooting Area Hunting License $5.00 $5.00
Annual Trapping $20.00 $130.00
Annual Landowner/Tenant Trapping $10.00 Not available
Annual Youth (ages 12-15) Trapping $5.00 Not available
COMBO LICENSES:
Annual Combination Hunting/Fishing $42.00 Not available
Sportsman's License* (Includes combination hunting/fishing, statewide deer permit, spring and fall turkey permits, Kentucky migratory bird/waterfowl permit and trout permit.) $95.00 Not available
Senior Sportsman's (residents 65 years of age or older​)* (Includes same license and permits as Resident Sportsman's License.) $12.00 Not available
Senior Lifetime Sportsman's (residents 65 years of age or older​)* (Must maintain Kentucky residency; includes all senior sportsman's licenses and permits.) $180​.00 Not available
Disabled Sportsman's* (Includes same license and permits as Resident Sportsman's Licenses.) $12.00 Not available
Youth (ages 12-15) Sportsman's License* (Includes youth hunting license, youth deer permit and 2 youth turkey permits.) $30.00 Not available
DEER:
Statewide Deer Permit (four deer) $35.00 $185.00
Youth (ages 12-15) Deer Permit (four deer) $10.00 $15.00
Additional Deer Permit (two deer) $15.00 $15.00
BIRDS:
Spring Turkey Permit (statewide) (two turkeys) $30.00 $85.00
Youth (ages 12-15) Turkey Permit (one turkey, spring or fall) $10.00 $15.00
Fall Turkey Permit (statewide) (two turkeys) $30.00 $85.00
Kentucky Migratory Bird/Waterfowl Permit** $15.00 $15.00
Federal Duck Stamp** (available at post offices and online ) $25.00 $25.00
Pheasant Quota Hunt Permit (if drawn) $25.00 $25.00
Sandhill Crane Permit (apply for hunt drawing Sept. 1-30) $3.00 $3.00
Ballard 1-Day Permit (buy online available Nov. 1 - Feb. 15) $15.00 $15.00
ELK:
Elk Drawing Application (deadline April 30) $10.00 $10.00
Youth Elk Drawing Application (15 and under) (deadline April 30) $10.00 $10.00
Quota Bull Elk Permit (if drawn) $100.00 $550.00
Quota Cow Elk Permit (if drawn) $60.00 $400.00
Quota (Either Sex) Archery/Crossbow permit (if drawn) $100.00 $550.00
Youth Elk Permit (ages 12-15) (if drawn) $30.00 $200.00
Out-of-Zone Elk Permit $30.00 $400.00
BEAR:
Bear Permit $30.00 $250.00
Youth Bear Permit (ages 12-15) $10.00 $100.00
Bear Chase Permit $30.00 $50.00
Youth Bear Chase Permit (ages 12-15) $10.00 $15.00
Combination Bear Permit (includes Bear Permit and Bear Chase Permit) $50.00 Not available​
AREAS:
Peabody WMA User Permit $15.00 $15.00
Land Between the Lakes (LBL) Hunter User Permit $25.00 $25.00
Land Between the Lakes Hunt/Backcountry Camping $75.00 $75.00
Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area Admission Fees (per person) (may pay at the gate or purchase online) Daily: $3.00
Annual: $30.00
Children under 12 free
Daily: $3.00
Annual: $30.00
Children under 12 free
Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area Special Activity Fees (per person, for use of horse trails, mountain bike trails and shooting range) (may pay at the gate or purchase online) Daily: $7.00
Annual: $70.00
Daily: $7.00
Annual: $70.00
OTHER:
Temporary Hunter Education Exemption Permit (available online only) Free (for a limited time) Free (for a limited time)
Bobcat Permit (available online only) Free Free
Habitat Improvement & Public Access Donation (voluntary, available online only) Any amount
Kentucky Wild Membership (Includes a membership kit & the opportunity to go out in the field with our biologists!) Membership options range from $25 - $1,000

* Restrictions for Sportsman's License

Peabody, LBL and Otter Creek permits, elk lottery application, elk quota hunt permit, out-of-zone elk permit, bear permit, federal duck stamp and trapping license not included. An additional deer permit is not included with a Sportsman’s License. Kentucky’s license year begins March 1 and continues through the last day of February. New licenses are required annually, except for the 3-year fishing license. A 1-day or 7-day hunting license is valid only for the period shown on license. Resident and nonresident youth under the age of 12 are not required to purchase licenses or permits (except the elk lottery application).

** Federal Duck Stamp Required

A Federal Duck Stamp is required to hunt ducks, geese, rails and gallinules.

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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.