KEnTuCky laws


(Revised Effective 5/3/22)

PERMIT (Transportation Permit) or permit authorization number needed to receive a shipment of native and exotic wildlife
outside KY, import into KY, and transport into KY [REMOVED or through the state to destination outside KY].  Must accompany all shipments. 

    • AZA
    • Permit-exempt exotics (click for list) 
    • Falconry Permit holders (for those raptors only)


  • Individual Transportation Permit (one-time shipment)
  • Annual Transportation Permit (multiple shipments for 1 year)
    • Must renew by mail or email AND no shipments until renewed


  • At least 18
  • NO conviction in past year of the exotic wildlife or native wildlife regulations
  • Need Certificate of veterinary inspection or federal quarantine certificate
    • EXEMPT: Reptiles and amphibians
  • Annual: notify department 48 hours before shipment of any permit changes
  • Follow local laws
  • USFWS permit required for federally protected migratory birds not exempt when possessing or transporting from out of state
  • Wildlife must come from legal source



(Revised Effective 5/3/22)


BANS import and possession of inherently dangerous exotic wildlife.  Also allows counties and cities to ban them along with sea snakes, Komodo dragons, cougars, and wolf and hybrids over 25%.

  • EXEMPT: AZA zoos
    • Owners in 2005 if veterinary and acquisitions records maintained and not replaced or bred – allows transfer if owner dies with approval
    • Lynx owners on 12/1/21 with veterinary and acquisition records

PERMIT (Transportation Permit) issued for temporarily transporting inherently dangerous
exotic wildlife through the state for less than 48 hours if animals are not exhibited or sold and in enclosures to prevent escape and no public contact [REMOVED - except Asian elephants]
where local ordinances allow.

BANS possession, import and transport
into state of environmentally injurious species listed. 

  • EXEMPT: AZA and Commissioner’s Exemption - Import with written request
    • municipal zoos
    • [REMOVED - government agencies]
    • colleges or universities (must conduct research or education to fulfill classroom requirement)
    • [REMOVED - accredited educational or research institutions]
    • Circuses (excludes ESA endangered)
    • [REMOVED - exhibitors at county or state fair with written permission from the Commissioner]
    • facility previously granted exemption for housing confiscated wildlife and serving as animal holding facility for department
    • previously exempted education or research institute with permanent facility

BANS import, transport into KY and possession of federally endangered exotic species

    • As allowed by 150.183 and 301 KAR 3:061
    • AZA zoos (all activities must be official zoo activities)

detailed lists


  • Bites or exposure to disease or zoonotic infection must be reported to local county health department in 12 hours – if mammal shows signs of rabies, it must be killed to preserve brain
  • All must allow inspections even if exempt from permit



NO PERMIT NEEDED for permit-exempt exotics or possession of all exotic wildlife (nonnative species and those introduced
by man) not listed as inherently dangerous wildlife, environmentally injurious species, or endangered. 

BANS release of exotic wildlife except pheasants or chukars.


  • All including exempt: Immediately report escapes
  • Allow inspections

(Kentucky Rev. Statutes 65.877; 301 Kentucky Admin Regs 2:082)



BANS import, transport and possession of:

  • Alligator snapping turtle
  • Black bear
  • Copperbelly water snake
  • Cougar or mountain lion
  • Wild turkey
  • Wolf

BANS import and transport of:

  • Coyote
  • Fox including arctic fox and gray fox
  • Raccoon
  • Skunk including Eastern spotted skunk and American hog-nosed skunk

EXEMPT for all prohibited species above:

  • AZA zoos
  • Permission for scientific or educational purposes by:
    • municipal zoos
    • government agencies
    • colleges or universities
    • accredited educational or research institutions

(Kentucky Rev. Statutes 150.280-290; 301 Kentucky Admin. Regs. 2:081)



BANS purchase, sale, trade or barter of wild-caught native wildlife. 

PERMIT (Captive Wildlife Permit) required to hold and propagate native wildlife.  

  • PROHIBITED: wildlife rehabilitation permits
    • 100 Northern bobwhites with receipt or proof of purchase if not propagated or sold
      • Must comply with facility requirements
      • dog training areas or a shoot-to-train season must comply with that law
    • Unlimited snapping or softshell turtles
    • 15 bullfrogs/night
    • 25 dusky salamanders or spring lizards (Desmognathus)
    • 5 per species of rest of reptiles and amphibians taken or possessed for personal use
    • Reptiles with distinctly different color morphology


  • Commercial Captive Wildlife Permit (sell, trade or barter native wildlife) – Annual
  • Noncommercial Captive Wildlife Permit (possess native species) – 3 years

LIMITS: Allows unlimited reptiles and amphibians under permit


  • commercial captive wildlife permit holder
  • gift from commercial or noncommercial captive wildlife permit holder
  • trapping during season with trapping license
  • import with transportation permit


  • 18+ years old
  • Conviction of violating exotic or native wildlife regulations in last year
  • Must euthanize rabies vector species (coyote, gray and red fox, raccoon, and spotted and striped skunks) in enhanced rabies surveillance area
    • EXEMPT: foxes and coyotes trapped during season transferred to commercial foxhound training enclosure in same county
      • May hold under captive wildlife permit for 48 hours before transfer
  • BANS transporting rabies vector species into or out of surveillance area
  • Maintain records for 5 years and allow inspections of them
  • Have pre-constructed facilities
  • Meet facility requirements including mobile facility requirements
    • Temporary facilities must meet permanent requirements if in location more than 10 days
  • Follow local laws
  • Allow inspections and correct violations in 10 days or have permit revoked and animals seized

(Kentucky Rev. Statutes 150.280-290; 301 Kentucky Admin. Regs. 2:081)


               Game Birds – quail, pheasant, chukar, grouse, waterfowl or other birds used for game
             Livestock – cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, alpacas, llamas, buffaloes and other animals of those families
              Migratory shore or upland game birds – migratory game birds except waterfowl
               Waterfowl – wild ducks, geese, swans, mergansers and coots


  • Ferret Permit (wild-caught ferret as pets or other than hunting)
    • EXEMPT: captive-bred
    • Must have within 10 days
    • BANS use in hunting
    • Kentucky Rev. Statutes 150.355

  • Captive Cervid Permit (sell, trade and barter cervids)
    • Kentucky Rev. Statutes 150.725-150.730; 301 Kentucky Admin Regs. 2:083

  • Noncommercial Captive Cervid Permit (cervids grandfathered in 2016)

  • Scientific and Educational Collecting permits (take and transport for scientific or educational purposes)
    • Kentucky Rev. Statutes 150.275; 301 Kentucky Admin Regs. 4:070

  • Commercial Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator (take and transport)  
    • Kentucky Rev. Statutes 150.275; 301 Kentucky Admin Regs. 4:070

  • Conservation Permit (conservation organizations)
    • Kentucky Rev. Statutes 150.177; 301 Kentucky Admin Regs. 3:100

  • Wildlife Rehabilitation Permits
    • 301 Kentucky Admin Regs. 2:075

  • Falconry
    • 301 Kentucky Admin Regs. 2:195
    • Issue 1 permit to take passage Tundrius peregrine falcons


BANS taking wild birds other than game birds or raptors with a season

  • EXEMPT: Unprotected starlings and English sparrows – make take with hunting license

(Kentucky Rev. Statutes 150.320)



BANS taking, pursuing, possessing, transporting, selling and purchasing migratory birds except as allowed by federal law.

(Kentucky Rev. Statutes 150.330)



Department may regulate buying, selling and taking mussels.

(Kentucky Rev. Statutes 150.520)



PERMIT needed to take turtles: hunting license for gun or bow and arrow and fishing license for other methods.

  • Season: Year-round 24 hours/day
  • Limit:
    • unlimited noncommercial take
    • commercial – BANNED
  • Methods: BANS commercial fishing gear
    • Gun
    • bow and arrow
    • hand hook and line
    • fishing pole
    • jugging
    • setline
    • sport fishing trot line
    • hand
    • handled hook
    • gigging
    • snagging
    • turtle trap checked daily and animals removed except 1 decoy

(301 Kentucky Admin. Regs. 1:058)



PERMIT required to take bullfrogs.

  • Hunting license for gun or bow and arrow
  • Fishing license for pole and line
  • Either for gig or hand

Season: 3rd Friday May – Oct 31 from noon to noon

Daily Limit: 15

Possession Limit:

  • 30 after 2+ days
  • 15 while in field

BANS gigs on boats or from lake or stream Nov 1 – Jan 31.

(301 Kentucky Admin. Regs. 1:082)





BANS import, possession, buying and selling listed prohibited aquatic species in aquaria. 


  • Piranha (Subfamily Serrasalminae)
  • Mexican banded tetra
  • sea lamprey
  • walking catfish (Clarias)
  • snakeheads (Channa)
  • zebra mussel
  • round goby

BANS buying, selling, importing, transport, or release of Asian carp (silver, bighead, black, grass carp). 

    • buy, sell, import, or possess sterile, triploid grass carp
    • import and possess fertile diploid grass carp by propagator to produce triploid
    • possession, sale and transport by commercial fisherman if not transported in water, moribund and transported to fish processing facility

BANS buying, selling, possessing, importing and releasing unlisted aquatic species not native to KY. 

  • EXEMPT: buy, sell, import, or possess unlisted aquarium species


  • import for scientific or educational purposes

(Kentucky Rev. Statutes 150.280; 301 Kentucky Admin. Regs. 1:122)


PERMITS: (click for
detailed information)

  • Fisheries Commercial Propagation Permit (buy, sell, transport mussels and non-sport fish)
    • elementary, middle, secondary schools and educational institutions - FREE

  • Live Fish & Bait Dealers License (sell at wholesale or retail live crayfish, mud eels, spring lizards, fish, aquatic invertebrates, or amphibians for bait OR sell live fishes for stocking or fishing)
    • EXEMPT:
      • commercial propagation permits
      • sale of fish in food establishments

  • Live Fish Transportation Permit (import live fish, bait, or aquatic organisms)
    • EXEMPT:
      • Transport of aquarium species
      • Fish propagators (except import of fish)
      • sport or commercial fishing license for bait or fish
      • Transport fish purchased from bait dealer for private water stocking
      • Department agents
      • Transport of aquatic organisms purchased for consumption from retailer
      • roe-bearing fish harvesters for those species

  • Commercial Roe-Bearing Fish Harvester’s Permit (harvest, transport and sell paddlefish, shovelnose sturgeon, and bowfin or unprocessed roe)
    • EXEMPT: special commercial fishing permit holder

  • Roe-bearing Fish Buyer's Permit (buy, sell, barter, receive, ship unprocessed roe - paddlefish, shovelnose sturgeon, and bowfin)

(Kentucky Rev. Statutes 150.485; 301 Kentucky Admin Regs. 1:115, 1:120, 1:125, 1:155)