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Kentucky hunting licenses are required for all anglers who plan on removing wildlife from state-sanctioned hunting areas. Hunters found to be catching game without a proper hunting permit will be charged with poaching, which carries numerous fines and penalties. To avoid these charges, make sure to have a valid hunting license during all hunting trips. Each license to hunt is regulated and issued by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to residents and non residents alike. Hunting permits are categorized based on a number of factors including the applicant’s age, residency status, the length of time the hunting license is valid for and the type of game the applicant plans on catching with the license. Prior to completing the hunting license application process, hunters in KY must complete the hunter education program. Hunter education programs are taught by wildlife experts and cover numerous topics, such as firearm safety, wildlife management and the ethical ways to hunt. Kentucky hunting license applicants can buy hunting licenses from the state wildlife department once the hunter education program is completed. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources offers three methods for buying hunting licenses: online, in person and over the phone. To learn more about how to get hunting licenses in Kentucky, read the sections outlined below:

  • Exemptions for hunting licenses in Kentucky
  • Types of residential hunting licenses in Kentucky
  • Types of non resident hunting licenses in Kentucky
  • How to buy hunting licenses in Kentucky
  • Renewing Kentucky hunting licenses
  • Replacing Kentucky hunting licenses
  • Hunter education in Kentucky

Who is exempt from having a Kentucky hunting license?

KY hunting licenses are not required for certain groups of individuals in the state. These groups  include residents and visitors younger than 12 years of age, farmland owners or tenants and their immediate family members (spouse and children) who are hunting on their own land, and youth hunters who participate in the Free Youth Deer Hunting Weekend or the Free Youth Hunting and Trapping Week (as well as any adults accompanying them).

Note that KY hunting laws, rules and regulations must be obeyed at all times, even by individuals who are not required to have hunting permits.

What are the types of Kentucky residential hunting licenses?

Various hunting licenses can be purchased by Kentucky residents, based on the animal being hunted. These residential hunting permits include deer hunting licenses, spring and fall turkey hunting licenses, migratory bird licenses (for woodcocks, doves, rails, snipes, moorhens and gallinules), small game hunting licenses and waterfowl licenses (for geese, mergansers, ducks and coots).

Each license to hunt has options for juniors, seniors and disabled individuals available. Hunters can get licenses with one-day expiration dates or annual expiration dates.

What are the types of Kentucky non-resident hunting licenses?

A number of hunting permit options are offered to nonresidents by the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Options include deer, spring and fall turkey, small game, migratory bird and waterfowl hunting licenses. Each license to hunt has options for youth hunters as well. Expiration periods for non resident hunting licenses include one-day, seven-day and annual options.

How can I buy a Kentucky hunting license?

Hunters can buy a hunting license in Kentucky through the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources online, in person or over the phone. To buy hunting licenses online, visit the KY Online License Sales page. To complete the online hunting license application, applicants must provide certain personal information such as their name, address, date of birth and Social Security Number. Applicants must also provide a valid credit card to pay the license and processing fees. Once the license purchase process is complete, applicants must print the license from their personal computer.

To buy a hunting license in person, visit one of the over 900 authorized license retailers in Kentucky. Hunters can also visit one of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources offices to complete a hunting license application. To buy hunting licenses over the phone, call the wildlife department’s license purchase hotline. Hunters cannot apply for disability or youth hunting licenses over the phone. Hunters must know the exact type of license they need before calling. Phone hunting license application submissions require a convenience fee in addition to the regular license fee. Once the process is complete, applicants will receive an authorization number, which will serve as the official hunting permit.

How can I renew a Kentucky hunting license?

KY hunting licenses are valid from March 1 until the last day of February the following year. Once the hunting license is expired, hunters must complete the hunting license renewal process prior to going on any more hunting trips. To renew hunting licenses, hunters should follow the same hunting license application process as if they were buying their first hunting license, as they are simply purchasing a new credential.

Hunting license renewals do not require hunters to retake hunter education courses.

How can I replace a Kentucky hunting license?

To replace a lost, stolen or damaged Kentucky license to hunt, hunters should visit the KY Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ online license system. Once logged in, hunters can easily reprint their license to hunt free of charge. Hunters without internet access can also visit a licensing agent and buy hunting license replacements. After purchasing the license, complete a Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources refund form and mail it to the wildlife department’s licensing office.

Are hunter’s education courses required in Kentucky?

To get a hunting license in Kentucky, a hunter’s education course completion is required of every individual. Hunter education courses available in Kentucky include instructor-led courses, CD-ROM courses and online courses. Topics covered include firearm safety, wildlife management skills and hunting ethics. All courses are free of charge.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. All throughout the United States, hunters safety classes must be completed in order for applicants to obtain their desired hunting permits and stamps. Failure to take this specific course will result in the rejection of your hunting license request, thus requiring you to start over.
Depending on your state of residence, you may be able to buy hunting licenses in a variety of ways, including online (through your state department’s portal), by mail, by phone or in person. Choose the option that is most convenient for you. Make sure to also have any type of official documentation and payment for fees on hand.
No. Different states have different limits and regulations on hunting licensure. Certain animals may be considered “prohibited species,” whereas other animals may be legal to hunt, so long as you have the necessary hunting permit/stamp. Keep in mind that if you do hunt for any type of prohibited species, you will be subject to serious consequences.
Yes. States typically offer various short-term hunters license options, such as one-day and one-week passes, to those who do not meet residency requirements. In order to receive issuance of a short-term hunting license, make sure to get in touch with your state/hunting wildlife department to find out the available methods you have to apply.
In the event your hunting credentials are lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, contact your state hunting/wildlife department to order a hunting license replacement. You may have to make an in-person visit to a local office to complete the process. At the time of your replacement request, you may be asked to present your state driving license or another type of identification.
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