Thursday, October 5, 2017

Deer Hunting Season is Upon Us, Here Are the Laws


With the coming of fall and hunters throughout the county hitting the fields, I thought it may be helpful and informative to review some of the laws related to hunting in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.


Unless exempt, a person may not hunt or fish without a valid license and must conduct such activity during open seasons.  Among the several exceptions, a resident, owner, or tenant of farm lands, their spouse and dependent children are exempt and permitted to hunt on their own land without obtaining a hunting license.  Moreover, a child under twelve (12) is exempt from being required to obtain a hunting or trapping license and a child under sixteen (16) is exempt from a fishing license.  It is illegal for all others to hunt without a license and the appropriate permits.  Special licenses are available for senior citizens age 65 or older and children under 16 years of age. 

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Open seasons are set every year by the state and information on the open seasons for different game can be found at: https://app.fw.ky.gov/seasondates/.   In addition, if you are required to carry a license, a person must also complete a hunter education course and obtain a hunter education card.  Information on courses and exemptions can be found at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources website at: https://fw.ky.gov/Education/Pages/Hunter-Education.aspx. 

Kentucky’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (https://fw.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx) is a great resource for information to ensure you comply with all the statutory and regulatory requirements to hunt and fish.  Moreover, if you have specific questions, you can contact the Department of Fish and Wildlife at 1-800-858-1549 with any questions.  Despite the numerous resources available to our citizens, every year we have individuals charged with violations of Kentucky’s hunting, trapping and fishing laws.  Beyond the fines and jail time that may be imposed, the offender's hunting privileges are generally suspended for some period of time and the weapons used may be forfeited.  The most issued citations related to hunting and trapping are: 1) Hunting or trapping without a license; 2) Hunting or trapping without landowner's permission; 3) Illegal taking of game; 4) Taking more game than the bag limit; and 5) Failure to tag or check game.    

One common issue we have in Northern Kentucky in particular is complaints of people hunting on another’s land without permission.  Under Kentucky law, a person is prohibited from entering on another's land without their oral or written permission.  The penalty under the Chapter 150 of Kentucky Revised Statute is up to a $300 fine for a first offense; up to a $1,000 fine for a second offense; and up to $1,000 and/or a year in jail plus forfeiture of one’s hunting license for a third or subsequent offense.  In addition, anyone trespassing on another’s property would also be liable for damages caused to the property.

Another common complaint is people hunting while under the influence.  Not only is this extremely dangerous, but under Kentucky law, it is illegal to hunt if a person is manifestly under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance.  Such a person may be arrested by a peace officer and upon conviction, is subject to a fine of up to $200 and/or up to six months in jail.

Although this time of the year is very exciting for the many hunters in Campbell County, it is very important to follow the law regarding hunting wildlife and fishing.  The excitement and thrill of getting a deer or other game is not worth the trouble that can occur if engaging in illegal and/or dangerous activity.


If you have any topics you would like to have covered in this column, please contact my office by e-mail at countyattorney@campbellcountyky.org, by phone at (859) 491-7700 or by regular mail addressed to 319 York Street, Newport, Kentucky 41071.

By Steven J. Franzen, Campbell County Attorney

Steven Franzen. Provided. 

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