Hunting in Kentucky- The Essentials & Fundamental Tips to Know

Many name it the “Bluegrass State” and Kentucky is found in the Appalachian region. The horse racing and bourbon are what’s known for, but Kentucky is also very generous when it comes to hunting.

Amazing open fields, mesmerizing forests, and fantastic mountains hide deer, bear, elk, and turkey for anyone interested in hunting. For instance, in Kentucky, you may enjoy the largest elk herd east of the Mississippi River.

What can you hunt in Kentucky?

White-tailed deer populations are high throughout the year, and there are almost a million deer in the state. Interestingly enough, Kentucky offers trophy bucks so that its in the top 5 of the Boone and Crocket Club listings.

Should you decide to hunt in Kentucky, here are the most common choices:

  • Elk

You have plenty of options when hunting elk in the winter in Kentucky. The hunting season for archery bull elk starts at the end of December, throughout the entire January.

The archery cow elk firearm season typically begins in the middle of December, and it lasts for just one week.  Beginning at the end of December, the archery cow elk season will las until the late part of January.

Crossbow hunters can hunt in the second week of November until the middle of January.

  • Deer

Archery hunting of either sex  any sex is legal since the first week of September until the last part of January (in some zones).

There’s also a crossbow winter deer season for Zones 1-3, throughout the second week of November, finishing at the end of December.

  • Bear

Starting with the middle of December, for two days, you can crossbow, archery, and firearm bear.

  • Fall turkey

The first week in December is when you can try winter hunt turkey, whereas the first week of September marks the beginning of archery season. The latter part of January marks the end of it.

  • Other game animals

In Kentucky, you can also hunt small game, with rabbits, squirrels, grouse, and quail as popular choices. Ducks, doves, sandhill cranes, geese, and more are the migratory bird legal to hunt in Kentucky.

What are the essentials when hunting in Kentucky?

When you’re hunting in Kentucky, you will have to wear hunter orange on the head, chest, and back throughout the rifle and muzzleloader season. Don’t hesitate to check the rules and regulations of hunting in Kentucky at

Here’s a list of essentials you need when hunting, no matter the game animals you go after:

  • Hunting license

You should always have on you the hunting license. Play it safe and put it in a plastic bag so that you keep the elements away. The last thing you want is to have your hunting license all wet.

  • First aid kit

A first aid kit is something you want to carry not only when hunting, but every time you go outdoors. You may give a couple of small and large band-aids, some hand sanitizer, paracord, and antibacterial cream. The more you hunt, the more you know what do you need in the first aid kit.

  • Water

Some of you may know, but we actually can survive more without food than without water. Having said that, always pack enough water with you. If you’re out there for many hours and days, you should always have some pills to make water in the woods potable.

  • Food and snacks

Mixed nuts, freeze-dried food, any sort of jerky, or high-calorie protein bars are the best options when hunting for the whole day. It’s all about what you like to eat, so don’t suffer while killing only because you try to lose some pounds. Having enough energy is far more critical!

  • Proper outwear and boots

Look for the waterproof and weatherproof outwear when shopping for hunting. Go for the layering principle and always through another layer of clothing in your backpack. Being cold while hunting alters your concentration.

As for boots, you should seek for sturdy and waterproof (or at least water-resistant) boots that give you traction and stability. They should have a good grip and to be quiet. Never compromise on the comfort, though. You can’t hunt when some blisters are always bugging you. Scentless boots are also beautiful to have, too.

  • Survival blanket

It doesn’t matter what your game is, as long as you’re hunting and spending many hours out there in the field, and it’s common sense to pack a survival blanket with you. It’s lightweight and has a tiny footprint. One of the best parts about hunting is that you never know when you’re coming back home. Spending the night camping is happening quite a lot when hunting, in which a survival blanket is excellent to have.

  • Knife

Apart from your hunting gear, you should also pack a reliable field dressing knife. A sharp and durable blade is ideal when hunting.

  • Game call

You have to check the hunting laws on using game calls. Every state has provides specific rules.

  • Flashlight

Even if you cannot use artificial light when hunting (again, check the rules and regulations), you still need a flashlight. Look for high lumens on the flashlight and pack enough batteries too.

Don’t forget to pack a headlamp as it gives you freedom of using both hands while dressing your game. It should have basic settings such as strobe and SOS for emergencies.

  • Firestarter and lighter

More often than not, a good hunter doesn’t need a lighter for making fire. However, you should take a lighter too. It’s not that you always have the time and the materials to the light of the fire.

  • Rubber gloves

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so wearing rubber gloves while field dressing the animal is a wise thing to do. Even the tiniest scrape on your hand can be an open way for bacteria to enter your body. Grab a couple of pairs, as they’re lightweight and don’t take any space.

  • Trash bags/game bags

When packing the game, trash bags are an efficient solution. In the case of game bigger than whitetail, trash bags aren’t going to help much, so pack game bags instead. The chances for trash bags to tear when filled with some heavyweight meat are quite high. On the other hand, game bags are easy to use, and you can use them over and over again.

  • Rangefinder

Lightweight and small, the rangefinder helps you to make an ethical shot. Making the best shot and not wounding your game is a responsible thing to do when you’re a hunter.

Hope this article will help you out on your next trip but since we are talking about Kentucky, you may have want to see the Kentucky Derby 2020.