2024-2025 Kentucky fishing and hunting licenses now available

Published 11:18 am Thursday, February 15, 2024

Staff Report


Licenses and permits to fish, hunt and trap in Kentucky in the coming license year are on sale now. The commonwealth offers some of the finest outdoor opportunities available anywhere.

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The 2024-2025 license year starts March 1 and runs through Feb. 28 of next year. License and permit fees for Kentucky residents and nonresidents are unchanged from the 2023-2024 license year. Both license years are available concurrently through Feb. 29, for those making a late February outing.

In Kentucky, a license covers basic hunting or fishing for many species, whereas additional state permits are required when pursuing other species, such as fishing for trout or hunting for migratory birds, deer, wild turkey or black bear. Sportsmen’s-type licenses include multiple permits as well as basic hunting and fishing privileges.

The newest licensing option is a resident Senior Lifetime Sportsman’s License at a price of $180. It includes hunting and fishing licenses plus permits for trout, deer, spring and fall turkey, migratory game birds and waterfowl. It is available to Kentucky residents aged 65 and older, who can purchase it once and then simply carry an electronic copy or reprint each year to display the current license year.

Seniors in Kentucky still have the option to purchase an annual Senior Sportsman’s License that provides the same licenses and permits good for a year at a $12 price point. Resident anglers should consider a 3-year Fishing License for added convenience and value at just $55.

Also new for the 2024-2025 license year are options for resident and nonresident bear hunters. The following out-of-state permits have been added:

  • Youth bear permit (nonresident) – $100
  • Bear chase permit (nonresident) – $50
  • Youth bear chase permit (nonresident) – $15

Also added for residents is a combination bear chase permit and bear hunting permit for $50. This is a savings of $10 if bought separately. The combination permit is not available for nonresidents.

Licenses and permits are sold online through Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s website License Sales portal, searchable off the homepage at fw.ky.gov. Licenses and permits also are sold at agent locations across the state. A list of license agents by county is available on the department’s website. The department receives its primary funding through revenue raised by the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, as well as federal excise taxes generated by the sale of recreational firearms and ammunition, archery gear and fishing equipment.

Springtime provides many opportunities to take someone new into the field. Youth turkey weekend is April 6-7, while the main turkey season opens a week later, on Apr. 13. The Youth Sportsman’s License, available to residents ages 12-15, is a great value at $30 and covers turkey hunting and deer hunting.

The warmer weather also provides for fantastic fishing across the state. Learn about those opportunities in our Fishing and Boating Guide. The 2024-2025 guide will be available on the agency website Mar. 1.

Another great resource is the Fish Boat KY app. Available free from iTunes and Google Play, the app helps anglers find waterbodies, boat ramps and other water access from the palm of their hand. Users can also search by species of fish, store copies of their licenses, and much more using the smartphone app.

To learn all the basics on hunting and fishing, the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website (fw.ky.gov) has many resources for individuals new to the sports. For in-person classes, search Hook and Cook or Field to Fork on the site. Classes are offered across the state to provide learning opportunities for all ages.

Kentucky is a top destination nationally for deer hunting and maintains the largest elk herd east of the Rocky Mountains. Anglers from throughout the central United States come to Kentucky to fish its waters, including the state’s renowned trout fishery in the Cumberland River and the crappie fishery in Kentucky and Barkley lakes.

For more information about hunting and fishing opportunities in Kentucky, visit the department website at fw.ky.gov. For questions, please call 1-800-858-1549, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (ET) weekdays, excluding holidays.