Nearly 95 percent of land in Kentucky is under private ownership. The state prides itself on the availability of hunting in the Bluegrass State and actively encourages it. However, there are many areas where cooperation is needed between property owners and the authorities. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources police the management of hunting, issuing licenses and permits, deciding active hunting seasons and quotas. The private landowner is exempt from many of these state hunting regulations, but must also be aware of their responsibilities.
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Here are six things for private landowners in Kentucky to know about hunting on their property:
This article is for information only. Please check current regulations before hunting.
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- Permits for Hunting - Resident owners of farmland in Kentucky are not required to possess a permit for hunting from the Department of Wildlife when they are hunting on their own land, during open-season. The waiver also applies to the landowner's spouse and children.
- Non-Resident Landowners - A non-resident landowner who hasn’t lived in the state for 30 days prior to the buying of a license, will need to purchase one for hunting on their own land. The KDWF says that if you serve in the military away from Kentucky, and are a landowner, you are exempt from these restrictions if you can produce papers verifying your status.
- Permissions to Access Property - Private landowners have rights regarding hunting on their property and should be aware of them, as it is inevitable they will meet hunters during a busy hunting season. According to the KDWF, the private landowner has the right to refuse hunting on their property and permission must be granted by them for all activity on their land.
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- Permission for Retrievals - Permission needs to be sought from the landowner for the retrieval of hunting dogs and shot animals that have strayed onto their property. The KDWF has strict regulations on what a hunter may and may not do in such circumstances, but the onus is on the individual to avoid straying onto private land whenever possible. The landowner is under no obligation to grant permission for the retrieval of game from their property.
- Prosecution of Trespassers - In Kentucky many KDWF owned parks and forests share a boundary with private land and trespassing is bound to happen; both deliberate and accidental. Landowners may prosecute those hunters found trespassing on their land without permission.
- Breeding Programs - The KDWF engages with landowners to help with breeding programs, habitat improvements and control of population numbers. It is in the interest of both landowners and the state to manage herds to ensure good stock for hunting each year, but also for disease control and habitat protection.
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