Hunting in Kentucky

Kentucky Hunting at Glance

Hunting in Kentucky is a great way to experience the state’s natural beauty and wildlife. There are many different types of hunting available in Kentucky, from small game hunting to big game hunting. The most common type of hunting in Kentucky is deer hunting, but the largest herd of Elk east of the Mississippi is in Kentucky too. Other popular types of hunting include turkey, quail, grouse, and waterfowl.

Kentucky ranks #21 in the nation for hunting license per capita and has a strong hunting culture with over 7.2% of the population classified as registered hunters.

Key Insights

  • Hunting in Kentucky offers opportunities for small and big game, including deer, elk, turkey, quail, grouse, and waterfowl.
  • Small game hunting in Kentucky includes squirrels, rabbits, quail, dove, and pheasant.
  • Big game hunting in Kentucky includes deer, elk, bison, moose, and bear.
  • Public hunting areas in Kentucky include the Daniel Boone National Forest and the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.
  • To hunt on private land in Kentucky, it is recommended to seek permission from the landowner or to lease hunting rights from them.

Table of Contents

Hunters (Based on Hunting Licenses)
Population: 4,505,836
Hunters 324,420
Hunter % 7.20%
Hunters Rank 21

The state of Kentucky is predominantly private land and only 3.16% of the total acres could be considred huntable public land. In fact, Kentucky ranks #41 overall in acres of public huntable land.

Land Types (Acres)
Acres % Rank
Total 25,428,500
Huntable Public 804,000 3.16% 41
Private Land 24,528,700 96.46% 8
Tribal Land 0 0.00% no tribal land

Kentucky ranks #8 for the percentage of private land vs total acres and doesn’t have any tribal land.

Kentucky Hunting Seasons & Requirements

For the most accurate information on Kentucky Hunting Seasons, along with the state’s requirements for tag and bag limits, it’s a good idea to check with the Kentucky DNR.  We’ve provided their contact information below, along with links to helpful resources, including licensing.

Kentucky DNR

#1 Sportsmans Lane
Frankfort, KY 40601

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Popular Game to Hunt in Kentucky

Kentucky is a great state for hunting, offering opportunities for deer, bear, elk, as well as smaller game like squirrels, rabbits, quail, and grouse. Migratory bird hunting is also excellent, with opportunities for doves, ducks, geese, sandhill cranes, and more.

Small Game Hunting in Kentucky

According to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, the most popular small game animals to hunt in the state are squirrels, rabbits, quail, dove, and pheasant. Squirrel hunting is especially popular in the fall, as hunters can take advantage of the animals’ abundance as they search for food before winter sets in. Rabbits are also common prey for hunters, and their numbers tend to peak in the spring. Quail and dove hunting often takes place in the early morning hours, as these birds are most active at dawn and dusk. Pheasant hunting usually occurs in the late fall or early winter, when the birds are looking for food sources prior to hibernation.

Big Game Hunting in Kentucky

The most popular animals to hunt in the state are deer, elk, bison, moose, and bear. Each species offers its own unique challenge, and all are abundant in Kentucky. Deer are perhaps the most popular game animal in the state, due in part to their abundance. Elk are another popular target, as they are relatively easy to find and provide a thrilling hunt. Bison are less common, but their size makes them a coveted trophy. Moose are the biggest game animal in Kentucky, and their elusive nature makes them a true prize for any hunter. Finally, bear are found throughout the state and provide a challenging hunt for even the most experienced hunter. Whether you’re looking for a trophy or simply want to test your skills, Kentucky has something for everyone.

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Where are the Best Areas to Hunt in Kentucky

Kentucky offers great hunting opportunities across the state, both on public and private land. We’ve included some of the best areas for public hunting below and as we have access we’ll be adding more private land too.

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We’re working with landowners all across Kentucky to provide private land access for more activities. Add your information below to stay up to date.

Popular Public Hunting Land in Kentucky

Kentucky is home to some of the best hunting grounds in the country. With five different national forests, there is a decent amount of land available for hunters looking to bag a trophy deer or turkey. The Daniel Boone National Forest, which covers over 708,000 acres, is the largest and most popular national forest in the state. It is known for its diverse terrain, which includes everything from mountains and valleys to caves and rivers. The Jefferson National Forest, which covers nearly 1.8 million acres, is another popular destination for hunters. It is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, turkey, bear, and quail. Pike National Forest, which covers nearly 1,106,604 acres, is also a popular hunting ground. It is known for its rugged terrain and abundance of game. Harlan National Forest, which covers over 3,510 acres, is another popular destination for hunters. It is known for its large population of deer and turkey. Finally, Cumberland National Forest, which covers nearly 16,154 acres, is also a popular destination for hunters. It is known for its beautiful scenery and abundance of game.

1. Daniel Boone National Forest
2. Jefferson National Forest
3. Pike National Forest
4. Harlan National Forest
5. Cumberland National Forest

Hunting Private Land in Kentucky

Since the majority of Kentucky is private land getting access for hunting can be very appealing. When you hunt private land, it’s not only less crowded, the animals also tend to be less skittish and this means you’ll have a better day out in the field.  Traditionally, accessing private land for hunting has been complicated and expensive.  You either needed to join a club, hire a guide, or start knocking on doors.

Fortunately Wing It is simplifying this for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts of all types. We’re adding new land every day and if we have some in your area, you’ll see some options great below.

More Private Hunting Land

• 80 acres •
  • Hunting
  • Others activities
    • Woodchuck and rabbit hunting
  • Hunting
  • Others activities
    • Woodchuck and rabbit hunting
• 552 acres •
• 79 acres •
• 152 acres •
• 343 acres •
Wing It - Access. Granted White

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