About Hunting in Kentucky

There are top quality fish and wildlife resources when used with responsible management, conservation and use. Many of these references are available through the sales of hunting and fishing and boater registration to support conservation education in Kentucky.

Kentucky Hunting Seasons Offered

Big Game: Deer, Elk, Bear

Small Game: Squirrel, Rabbit

Bird: Turkey, Quail, Grouse

Other Species: Crow, Bullfrog, Groundhog, Turtles

Kentucky Deer Hunting Season Dates 2021 – 2022

ArcherySep 4 2021 – Jan 17 2022either sexStatewide
CrossbowSep 18 2021 – Jan 17 2022either sexStatewide
MuzzleloaderOct 16 2021 – Oct 17 2021either sexStatewide
Dec 11 2021 – Dec 19 2021either sexZone 1, 2, and 3
Dec 11 2021 – Dec 19 2021either sexZone 4
Modern GunNov 13 2021 – Nov 28 2021either sexZone 1, 2, and 3
Nov 13 2021 – Nov 28 2021Hunters may not harvest antlerless deer.Zone 4
  • A hunter is limited to one (1) deer with visible antlers (excluding button bucks) per license year regardless of what zone it is taken. The one antlered deer can be taken under the statewide deer permit or the Deer Management Permit.
  • Bag limits by zone are listed below.
  • Hunters shall abide by the equipment restrictions in place for each season.


Zone 1

  • Unlimited antlerless deer may be taken with the proper permits.

Zone 2

  • A hunter may take no more than four (4) deer total.
  • All four (4) deer may be taken with any weapon.

Zone 3

  • A hunter may take no more than four (4) deer total.
  • A hunter may take no more than one (1) antlerless deer with a firearm. Firearm means a breech or muzzle-loading rifle, shotgun or handgun .
  • All four (4) deer may be taken with archery or crossbow equipment.

Zone 4

  • A hunter may take no more than two (2) deer total.
  • A hunter may take no more than one (1) antlerless deer.
  • Antlerless deer may be taken during the archery season, crossbow season, both youth seasons or the last three days of the December muzzleloader season.

Kentucky Bear Hunting 2021 – 2022

Kentucky Bear Hunting Season Dates 2021 – 2022

Archery/CrossbowOct 23 2021 – Oct 29 2021All Bear Zones, Except Zone 3.
Quota Hunt with Dogs**Oct. 18-31, 2021All Bear Zones Except McCreary
FirearmDec. 11-17, 2021Statewide
Chase-Only*June 1 – Aug. 31 and Sept. 9-30, 2021All Bear Zones Except McCreary
*Bear chase only is not permitted on WMAs until the third Saturday in August (Aug. 21, 2021). However, Hensley-Pine Mountain WMA is closed to bear chase and all bear hunting seasons.
**Any legal equipment may be used during the Quota Hunt with Dogs.
Note: Chase-Only season continues after quota is met.

Please see Kentucky’s Official Hunters Guide pages 14 and 15 for more details.

Elk Season Hunting Dates 2021 – 2022

FirearmsWeek 1: Sept. 25-29, 2021
Week 2: Oct. 2-6, 2021
Bull (antlered)
Week 1: Nov. 27 – Dec. 1, 2021
Week 2: Dec. 25-29, 2021
Cow (antlerless)
Sept. 11-24 and Dec. 4-10, 2021Either Sex
Note: Hunters must follow deer season regulations and use only the legal elk hunting equipment described on page 17 to take elk from any county not included in the 16-county elk zone (out-of-zone), and must have an Out-of-Zone Elk Permit.

Kentucky Hunting License

Purchase a license at : fw.ky.gov You will need your DOB and Social Security Number as well as the license must be carried at all times along with a picture ID.

To hunt deer you will also need an annual hunting license and a statewide deer permit.This applies to Turkey as well as birds.

Annual Hunting$27$150
Shooting Area License$5$5
Annual Combo Hunt/Fish$42N/A
Additional 2 deer$15$15
Spring Turkey (statewide) (2
Fall Turkey (statewide) (4
Elk Drawing$10$10

Kentucky Hunting News

Kentucky has gorgeous scenery ranging from forest to fields to even high elevation geography. It truly does fuel passion for the outdoors! There are many ways to get involved and give back to our beautiful country and state. If you need more information links are at the bottom of this page.

Located East of the Mississippi there is a herd of nearly a million deer that keeps the state at the top of prime destinations to reserve a spot! There is so much this state has to offer and youth are encouraged to join as well. Be sure to bring the entire family out and remember that safety always comes first, to ensure years to come for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

Find a hunting guide

Kentucky hunting guides

Deer hunting guides

Elk hunting guides

Links to Official Sites

Kentucky Licenses and Permits
Kentucky State Regulation Site
Kentucky Hunting Regulations PDF