Kentucky Turkey Hunting Laws and Regulations

Fall Turkey Hunting Regulations

Seasonal Applicability

The regulations outlined on this page are specifically tailored for fall turkey hunting and are applicable from August 2023 to March 2024. Hunters must be vigilant in adhering to these temporal constraints to ensure a lawful and safe hunting experience.

Legal Framework (301 KAR 2:144)

The legal intricacies governing fall turkey hunting in Kentucky are encapsulated in 301 KAR 2:144. Hunters are strongly advised to acquaint themselves with the exact wording of these regulations to guarantee compliance and avoid legal repercussions.

Additional Resources

Kentucky Hunting Guide

For a more in-depth understanding of fall turkey hunting in Kentucky, hunters can refer to our comprehensive Kentucky Hunting Guide. This resource provides valuable insights into various aspects of the hunting experience, enhancing the overall knowledge base of hunters.

Other Pages on

Kentucky General Hunting Regulations

Explore the Kentucky General Hunting Regulations page on to gain a broader perspective on the legal framework governing hunting beyond the scope of fall turkey hunting. Familiarize yourself with overarching rules and regulations applicable to the broader hunting community.

Deer Regulations

Delve into the Deer Regulations page to grasp the specific guidelines governing deer hunting in Kentucky. Understanding these regulations is vital for hunters seeking to engage in deer hunting activities during the specified seasons.

Contact Information

In case of unanswered questions or the need for clarification, hunters can proactively seek assistance. Local F&W Law Enforcement Officers are readily available for inquiries. Alternatively, our Info Center can be contacted at 1-800-858-1549. Having access to these resources ensures that hunters are well-informed and equipped to navigate the nuances of fall turkey hunting regulations.

Empower yourself with comprehensive knowledge not only about fall turkey hunting but also about the broader hunting landscape in Kentucky. This ensures a well-rounded understanding of the regulations governing different hunting activities on

Fall Turkey Season Dates and Restrictions

Seasonal Dates

  • Shotgun: Oct. 28 - Nov. 3 and Dec. 2 - 8, 2023
  • Archery: Sept. 2, 2023 - Jan. 15, 2024
  • Crossbow: Oct. 1 - 22 and Nov. 11 - Dec. 31, 2023

Bag Limits

  • Fall Season: Two (2) turkeys
  • Bearded Turkey: One (1) turkey with a beard at least three (3) inches long
  • Non-Bearded Turkey: One (1) turkey with no visible beard or a beard shorter than three (3) inches

Daily Limit

  • One (1) turkey may be taken per day.

Ensure strict adherence to these dates and limits during the fall turkey hunting season. Understanding the specifics of bag limits for different types of turkeys is crucial to maintain compliance with Kentucky's hunting regulations.

Permit Requirements

Adult Hunters (16 and Older)

Adult fall turkey hunters, unless exempt, are required to adhere to the following:

  • Carry proof of purchase for a valid Kentucky hunting license.
  • Possess a valid fall turkey permit.
  • Note: Short-term (1- or 7-day) hunting licenses are not valid for turkey hunting.

The fall turkey permit covers the fall archery, crossbow, and shotgun turkey seasons, enabling hunters to harvest up to the fall season bag limit of turkeys.

Youth Supervision

Firearm Turkey Hunters (15 Years and Younger)

  • Must be accompanied by an adult.
  • The adult must be in a position to take immediate control of the youth’s firearm at all times.

Youth Hunters

  • Youths younger than 12 are exempt from license and turkey permit requirements.
  • Youths aged 12-15 can purchase a youth turkey permit, valid for one turkey during any turkey season.
  • Youth hunters must comply with season bag limits and harvest restrictions.
  • The youth permit remains valid throughout the license year.
  • The youth sportsman’s license includes two (2) youth turkey permits.

Callers and Assistants

  • Anyone may call turkeys or assist in the hunt.
  • Callers and assistants are not required to possess a hunting license or turkey permit.
  • They may carry equipment while in the field.

Legal Fall Turkey Hunting Equipment

To engage in fall turkey hunting within the legal framework in Kentucky, hunters must adhere to specific equipment regulations. The following equipment guidelines are crucial for ensuring a lawful and responsible hunting experience:

  • Shotguns:

    • Breech-loading or muzzleloading shotguns are permitted.
    • Shotguns must be no larger than 10 gauge and no smaller than .410.
    • Breech-loading shotguns must be plugged to hold a maximum of three shells (two in the magazine and one in the chamber).
  • Ammunition:

    • Hunters are allowed to use lead or non-toxic shot, with a maximum size of No. 4.
  • Archery Equipment:

    • Longbows, recurve bows, and compound bows are acceptable for fall turkey hunting.
    • There is no minimum draw weight requirement for bows.
  • Crossbows:

    • Crossbows of any draw weight (no minimum) are permitted.
    • Crossbows must be equipped with a working safety device.
  • Broadheads:

    • Non-barbed broadheads are mandatory.
    • Broadheads, whether expandable or non-expandable, must have a minimum cutting diameter of 7/8-inch.

Prohibition on Hunting Turkeys Over Bait

It is imperative to understand and adhere to the legal restrictions related to hunting turkeys over bait in Kentucky. Violation of these regulations can result in legal consequences.

  • Illegal Practices: Hunting turkeys over bait, defined as an area where feed, grains, or other enticing substances have been placed, is strictly prohibited.

  • Proximity Restrictions: Fall turkey hunters are prohibited from hunting within 600 feet of a baited site. This restriction extends for thirty (30) days after the removal of bait.

  • Exceptions: Areas where grain, feed, or other substances exist due to bona fide agricultural practices or manipulation of a crop (such as a food plot) for wildlife management purposes are considered legal for turkey hunting.

Other Restrictions

Bait Usage

  • Hunters are forbidden from using bait or any substance capable of luring wild turkeys.

Distance Restrictions

  • Regulation amendments stipulate that fall turkey hunters must not hunt within 600 feet of a baited site or for thirty (30) days after bait removal.
  • This prohibition does not apply to bona fide agricultural practices or planted food plots, and it does not restrict hunting across property boundaries.

Firearm Restrictions

  • Turkey hunters are not allowed to use firearms to take turkeys during archery or crossbow-only seasons.

Special Equipment Restrictions

  • On some Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), special equipment restrictions may apply. It is crucial for hunters to be aware of and adhere to these specific regulations on designated WMAs.

Harvest Recording and Tagging Requirements

Hunters engaging in turkey hunting must adhere to the same rigorous processes and requirements applicable to deer and elk. The procedures for recording, checking, and tagging harvested turkeys align with the guidelines outlined in the "Recording, Checking, Tagging, and Transporting" section of the Kentucky Hunting Guide.

To ensure compliance and contribute to effective wildlife management, hunters are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the comprehensive guidelines provided in the "General Information" section of the Kentucky Hunting Guide. Consistency in recording, checking, and tagging practices is essential for maintaining accurate harvest data and upholding the integrity of Kentucky's hunting regulations.

Possession/Release of Live Turkeys

Possession of Live Wild Turkeys

  • Illegality: It is strictly illegal to possess live wild turkeys due to the potential risks associated with disease problems and genetic pollution.

Release of Domestic or Pen-Raised Turkeys

  • Prohibition: Releasing domestic or pen-raised turkeys into the wild is strictly prohibited.


  • Disease Concerns: The prohibition is in place to mitigate potential disease problems that could arise from the interaction between wild and domestic turkeys.

  • Genetic Pollution: Additionally, the release of domestic or pen-raised turkeys into the wild is prohibited to prevent genetic pollution, safeguarding the integrity of the wild turkey population.

Wild Advisor Pro


The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.