Kentucky on map
About hunting in Kentucky
The “Bluegrass State,” part of the upland south and the Appalachian region, may be best known for horse racing and bourbon, but it also offers some of the best hunting in the region. Here in the land of Daniel Boone, hunters can roam beautiful forests, rolling open fields, and spectacular mountains in search of deer, bear, elk, and turkeys. Kentucky boasts the largest elk herd east of the Mississippi River. Elk were reintroduced in the southern part of the state in the 1990s after an absence of 150 years, and the herd is thriving. More than 500 elk were taken by hunters last year. White-tailed deer populations are at all-time highs, with nearly a million deer roaming the state, and Kentucky produces enough trophy bucks to stay consistently in the top five rankings of the Boone and Crockett Club listings. In addition, black bear hunting opportunities are expanding as more bruins colonize the state from the southeast. Kentucky is home to a variety of smaller game, including squirrels, rabbits, quail, and grouse. Migratory bird hunting opportunities include doves, ducks, geese, sandhill cranes, and more. Wild turkeys, restocked in the state in the 1950s, are flourishing in numbers that allow them to be hunted throughout the state. Hunters in Kentucky must carry a valid hunter education card while hunting in addition to their license and applicable species permit. Hunter orange must be worn on the head, chest, and back when hunting during the rifle and muzzleloader seasons. Learn more about regulations, licensing requirements, and hunting in Kentucky at fw.ky.us.
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