Waterfowl Hunting Regulations
Hunters participating in the sandhill crane hunting season must complete a post-season survey no later than 14 days after the close of the season or lose eligibility to apply the following year.
SHOT SIZE, TYPE, SHOTSHELL LENGTH RESTRICTIONS
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service- approved nontoxic shot no larger than size “T” is required for all waterfowl and sandhill crane hunting. Shot larger than size “T”, or shotshells longer than 3.5 inches, MAY NOT BE POSSESSED OR USED while hunting waterfowl or sandhill cranes. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may approve other types of nontoxic shot which, if approved, will be permitted for waterfowl and sandhill crane hunting. Possession or use of any lead shot or any shot not approved by USFWS while hunting or attempting to take waterfowl or sandhill cranes is prohibited statewide. https://www.fws.gov/birds/bird-enthusiasts/hunting/nontoxic.php
REPORTING BIRD BANDS
To report bird bands, visit www.reportband.gov. Many existing bands list a toll-free number that can no longer be used for reporting. Consequently, hunters may now only report bands online.
Banding plays a critical role in the management of migratory bird species. The data you provide by reporting bands gives wildlife biologists information on harvest rates and movements of migratory game birds. Please report the bands you recover.
LICENSES AND PERMITS
WATERFOWL (DUCKS, GEESE, COOTS AND MERGANSERS)
|Ages 12-15||Youth Hunting License *|
|Ages 16-64||Annual** or 1-Day Hunting License + Kentucky Migratory Bird/Waterfowl Permit ** + Federal Duck Stamp|
|Ages 65 and older OR Disabled||Senior/Disabled License + Federal Duck Stamp|
|NONRESIDENTS ( MUST BUY NONRESIDENT LICENSES/PERMITS)|
WATERFOWL (DUCKS, GEESE, COOTS AND MERGANSERS)
|Ages 12-15||Youth Hunting License|
|Ages 16-64||Annual, 1-Day or 7-Day Hunting License + Kentucky Migratory Bird/Waterfowl Permit + Federal Duck Stamp|
|Ages 65 and over OR Disabled||Annual, 1-Day or 7-Day Hunting License + Kentucky Migratory Bird/Waterfowl Permit + Federal Duck Stamp|
* Included in Youth Sportsman's License
** Included in Resident Sportsman's License
NOTE: HIP survey required for all migratory bird hunters 16 and over
Unless license-exempt under KRS 150.170, all hunters must possess a valid Kentucky hunting license when waterfowl hunting. Persons using a license authorization number in lieu of a paper license must have the authorization number and a picture ID with them while hunting. All Kentucky residents 65 years of age and older and Kentucky residents who are certified totally and permanently disabled by the Federal Social Security Administration, by a state Workers Compensation Board, by the Kentucky Teacher’s Retirement System, by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, by the United States Railroad Retirement Board, or Kentucky resident veterans who have a permanent 50 percent disability as the result of military-related injuries are required to purchase the Senior/Disabled combination hunting and fishing license ($12) and carry it while hunting or fishing. This license includes all the following state permits: deer, turkey, migratory bird, waterfowl and trout.) and carry it while hunting or fishing. This license includes all the following state permits: deer, turkey, migratory bird, waterfowl and trout.
KENTUCKY MIGRATORY BIRD/WATERFOWL PERMIT
Any person required to possess a hunting license, except children under the age of 16, taking or attempting to take waterfowl must possess a Kentucky Migratory Bird/Waterfowl Permit. (This permit is included with the Senior/Disabled and Sportsman’s License). The waterfowl permit covers all species of migratory birds. Those who buy a Kentucky Migratory Bird/Waterfowl Permit, senior/disabled license, or Sportsman's license MUST COMPLETE a Harvest Information Program Survey (HIP) by going online here before they are legal waterfowl hunters. This takes you to a page that asks for some basic information to confirm your identity. Then, click on the “HIP Migratory Bird Survey” on the right of the page. After completing the HIP survey, you receive a confirmation number that must be written on your hunting license or Kentucky Migratory Bird/Waterfowl Permit. Hunters may call 1-800-858-1549 for questions.
FEDERAL DUCK STAMP
In addition to the Kentucky Migratory Bird/Waterfowl Permit requirement listed above, all persons age 16 or older must carry a valid federal migratory bird hunting stamp (commonly called duck stamp) to hunt waterfowl. Hunters younger than 16 must possess a youth hunting license but the Federal Duck Stamp and Kentucky Migratory Bird/Waterfowl Permit are not required. The federal stamp must be validated by the hunter’s signature written across the face of the stamp in ink.
Electronic duck stamps may now be purchased from many state license vendors. When you buy an E-Stamp, you will receive an E-Stamp certificate. This certificate is unique to the purchaser and is valid as a Federal Duck Stamp across the nation for up to 45 days from the date of purchase. Within that time, a physical Duck Stamp will be mailed to you. Your Estamp certificate may be printed out or downloaded onto your mobile device and must be carried on your person while hunting waterfowl.
As soon as you receive your physical stamp, you must sign it and use it for hunting. Your E-Stamp certification is no longer valid once you receive your physical stamp. Regardless of whether you received your physical stamp, after 45 days from the date of purchase, the E-Stamp certificate is no longer valid. You must carry your current, signed Federal Duck Stamp while hunting.
All hunters born on or after January 1, 1975, must carry a valid hunter education course completion card while hunting, in addition to the appropriate Kentucky hunting license, federal duck stamp and Kentucky Migratory Bird/Waterfowl Permit. Hunters not required to have a hunting license are not required to possess the hunter education card. Hunters under the age of 12 may hunt without a course completion card, but must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age who remains in a position to take immediate control of the child’s firearm.
A one-time temporary hunter education exemption permit is available online. This free (for a limited time) permit allows hunting without a hunter education card for one year from the date of purchase. After it expires, the hunter is no longer exempt and must successfully complete a hunter education course.
BALLARD ZONE BOUNDARY
Starting at the northwest city limits of Wickliffe in Ballard County to the middle of the Mississippi River, then north along the Mississippi to the low water mark of the Ohio River along the Illinois shore to the Ballard-McCracken County line; then along the county line south to KY 358, then south along KY 358 to its junction with U.S. 60 at LaCenter; then following U.S. 60 southwest to the northeast city limits of Wickliffe.
All constructed or used blinds (including boats) must be at least 100 yards apart and at least 50 yards from any property line. A waterfowl hunter shall not possess more than one shotgun while in the blind.
In addition to the state regulations, the following federal laws apply to the taking, possession, shipping, transporting and storing of migratory game birds.
Note: The material below is only a summary. Each hunter should also consult the actual federal regulations, which may be found in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20.
More restrictive regulations may apply to National Wildlife Refuges open to public hunting. For more information on Federal Regulations, consult Assistant Regional Director - LE, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 4839, Atlanta, Georgia, 30302-4839; or call (404) 331-5872.
No person shall take migratory game birds:
- With a trap, snare, net, rifle, pistol, swivel gun, shotgun larger than a 10 gauge, punt gun, crossbow, battery gun, machine gun, fishhook, poison, drug, explosive or stupefying substance;
- With a shotgun capable of holding more than three shotshells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler which is incapable of removal without disassembling the gun;
- From a sink box (a low floating device, having a depression affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the surface of the water);
- From or with the aid or use of a car or other motor-driven land conveyance, or any aircraft, except that paraplegics and single or double amputees of the legs may take from any stationary motor vehicle or stationary motor-driven land conveyance. “Paraplegic” means an individual afflicted with paralysis of the lower half of the body with involvement of both legs, usually due to disease of or injury to the spinal cord;
- From or by means of any motor boat or sail boat unless the motor has been completely shut off and/or the sail furled, and its progress therefrom has ceased;
- By the use or aid of live decoys. All live, tame or captive ducks and geese shall be removed for a period of 10 consecutive days prior to hunting, and confined within an enclosure which substantially reduces the audibility of their calls and totally conceals such tame birds from the sight of migratory waterfowl;
- Using records or tapes of migratory bird calls, or sounds, or electrically amplified imitations of bird calls (except electronic calls may be used during the Snow Goose Conservation Order);
- By driving, rallying or stirring birds with any motor-driven land, water or air conveyance or any sail boat to put them in the range of the hunters; or
- By the aid of baiting (placing feed such as corn, wheat, salt or other feed to constitute a lure or enticement), or on or over any baited area. Hunters should be aware that a baited area is considered to be baited for 10 days after the removal of the bait.
- Areas manipulated for dove hunting are not legal for waterfowl hunting.
- Over areas where farmers feed livestock or areas where grain is stored, such as grain bins and elevators.
No person shall take migratory game birds during the closed season.
No person shall take migratory game birds except during the hours open to shooting as prescribed.
DAILY BAG LIMIT
No person shall take in any one day more than one daily bag limit.
FIELD POSSESSION LIMIT
No person shall possess more than one daily bag limit while in the field or while returning from the field to one’s car, hunting camp, home, etc.
All migratory game birds shall be retrieved, if possible, and retained in the custody of the hunter in the field.
No person shall put or leave any migratory game birds at any place or in the custody of another person unless the birds are tagged by the hunter with the following information: a) the hunter’s signature; b) the hunter’s address; c) the total number of birds involved, by species; d) the dates such birds were killed.
Tagging is required if the birds are being transported by another person for the hunter, or if the birds have been left for cleaning, storage (including temporary storage), shipment or taxidermy services.
POSSESSION OF LIVE BIRDS
Wounded birds reduced to possession shall be immediately killed and included in the daily bag limit.
No person shall completely field dress any migratory game bird (except doves and pigeons) and then transport the birds from the field. The head or one fully feathered wing must remain attached to all such birds while being transported from the field to one’s home or to a migratory bird preservation facility.
No person shall ship migratory game birds unless the package is marked on the outside with: a) the name and the address of the person sending the birds; b) the name and the address of the person to whom the birds are being sent; and the number of birds, by species, contained in the package.
For information regarding the importation of migratory birds killed in another country hunters should consult 50 CFR 20.61 through 20.66. One fully feathered wing must remain attached to all migratory game birds being transported between the port of entry and one’s home, or to a migratory bird preservation facility. No person shall import migratory game birds killed in any foreign country, except Canada, unless such birds are dressed (except as required in 20.63), drawn, and the head and feet are removed. No person shall import migratory game birds belonging to another person.
Violation of state migratory game bird regulations is also a violation of federal regulations.
PUBLIC LAND HUNTING
On the following areas, hunt sites must be registered on a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or Kentucky Fish & Wildlife before the blind is constructed: Barkley Lake, Barren River Lake, Buckhorn Lake, Doug Travis, Green River Lake, Nolin River Lake, Rough River Lake, and Sloughs. Applicants must show a valid hunting license, Kentucky Migratory Bird/Waterfowl Permit, and Federal Migratory (Duck) Bird Stamp when applying. An applicant may designate one other person as a partner and shall not hold more than one permit per area. Hunt sites registered on these areas not occupied by one hour before sunrise of any day are considered open to other hunters, first-come, first- served basis for that day. Permittees shall not lock blinds to prevent use by other hunters in absence of the permittee. Hunt sites on the above listed areas must be constructed by November 20 and removed within 30 days of the close of the season. Permittees who fail to remove their blind as stated will forfeit the opportunity to obtain a blind the following year. Hunters selected for a waterfowl blind at Sloughs Wildlife Management Area must complete a hunter survey report or lose eligibility for a blind the following year.
On Barkley, Barren River, Doug Travis, Green River and Sloughs WMAs, hunters who want hunt sites must register and be selected by random drawing. Drawings are held August through October and applicants must be 18 years of age and show a valid Kentucky hunting license, a Kentucky waterfowl permit and a Federal migratory bird stamp at that time. Each person drawn may select a partner of the hunt site for hunting in the absence of the person drawn. Partners must be present at the drawing. Drawn hunters may use their hunt site the entire season and may use a boat or a portable blind or construct a permanent blind. Each hunt site must be pinned with a permanent marker identifying the permit holders for the hunt site. If drawn hunters do not occupy a blind or hunt site by one- hour before sunrise that day, the blind or hunt site is open to other hunters on a first-come, first-served basis.
Unless otherwise stated under the CLOSED AREAS AND SPECIAL REGULATIONS FOR WMAs, the following restrictions apply to all open WMAs:
- permanent blinds are not permitted;
- decoys and temporary blinds must be removed from the WMA at the end of each hunting day;
- hunt sites must be at least 200 yards from any other hunt site or waterfowl refuge area;
- no more than 4 persons shall occupy a single hunt site at any one time; and
- designated recreation areas and access points are closed to all waterfowl hunting.
- discharge of firearms is prohibited within 100 yards of a residence or occupied building whether or not the building is on the WMA.
Waterfowl Hunting on Public Lands
Not all lands managed by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) are open to statewide seasons and bag-limits for waterfowl hunting. This section will list any special season dates, limits and requirements that are in effect for the following areas. If specific season dates are given for an area, then that is the only time waterfowl hunting is permitted. Otherwise, hunting is open under statewide season dates and regulations in that waterfowl zone. This section also lists any areas that are closed to hunting or public access. Areas owned or managed by the KDFWR that are not listed below are open to statewide seasons and limits, based on the zone in which they are located.
|BALLARD WMA - Ballard WMA is exclusively open for waterfowl hunting, Wednesdays-Sundays, beginning Dec. 8, 2021. Ballard WMA is closed to all access on Mondays-Tuesdays, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. All hunters must check in at the Ballard WMA check station, 864 Wildlife Lodge Rd, La Center, KY 42056. Hunting methods available at Ballard include hunting from an in-ground pit or above ground blind, free-lance hunting within a designated hunt unit or boat-in hunting for designated areas only. Hunt units mostly consist of harvested grain fields and seasonally flooded crops, moist soil units, and natural depressions or “Sloughs”, that are lined with shrubby cover and trees. Chest waders should be used to hunt in the water on all units. Woody vegetation, unsure footing and fast elevation changes are a possibility on all waterfowl hunting units. There are also two blinds available for mobility-impaired hunters. These mobility impaired blinds are wheelchair accessible. Hunters must draw a daily hunt permit available through the online quota hunt system, or through the daily stand-by drawing held for any unclaimed units. Each drawn hunter may bring up to three guests. The application period for this quota hunt is September 1 – 30, with the results posting in mid-October. 14 permits are issued each day though the quota hunt drawing.|
The check station opens at 4:30 a.m. CST, and all hunters must check in by 5:00 a.m. each morning. Before hunting a Ballard WMA, all hunters must go online and purchase Ballard 1-day hunt permit. The drawn hunter must have a valid photo ID when checking in. Quota hunt permits are not transferable. No hunt unit/blind site may be hunted unless the hunter selected for that specific date(s) is present. Each morning the drawn hunter will fill out a Daily Waterfowl Hunting Tag that lists the members of their hunting party. This will be collected at check in. The bottom portion of the tag will be retained and taken with the hunt party, to collect the daily hunt data. After each hunt, this card must be turned in at the drop box located outside of the check-station. Failure to complete and turn in the daily hunt data card will result in the permit holder being ineligible to hunt at Ballard WMA for the remainder of the current and following waterfowl season.
On all hunt units, legal shooting time starts one-half hour before sunrise, and all hunters must be off the area by 2 p.m. daily. Hunters are limited to 25 shells/person per day. Bag limit and possession limit are the same as statewide limits. At least one person in a hunt party must be 18 years of age or older. The Ohio River from 50 yards upstream of Dam 53 to 50 yards downstream of from the southern border of Ballard WMA is closed to waterfowl hunting October 15 – March 15. Remember: Public hunting will close when floodwaters prevent safe entry to hunting fields by wheeled vehicles on roads. Notice will be given at least 24 hours in advance of closure via radio, television and newspaper outlets, or hunters may check the department’s website at fw.ky.gov. Watch or listen for notices when floodwaters are expected.
BOATWRIGHT WMA - Boatwright WMA is open for waterfowl hunting, Wednesdays - Sundays, during the regular waterfowl season. Boatwright WMA is closed to waterfowl hunting on Mondays-Tuesdays, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Hunting methods available at Boatwright include hunting from an in-ground pit or above ground blind, layout blind hunting, walk-in hunting within a designated hunt unit at a drawn hunt site, or boat-in hunting for designated areas only. Hunt units mostly consist of harvested grain fields and seasonally flooded crops, moist soil units, and natural depressions or “Sloughs”, that are lined with shrubby cover and trees. Chest waders should be used to hunt in the water on all units. Woody vegetation, unsure footing and fast elevation changes are a possibility on all waterfowl hunting units. Boatwright WMA is separated into multiple units, each with specific regulations and hunt procedures. All hunters are limited to 25 shells/person per day. Bag limit and possession limit are the same as statewide limits. All decoys and gear must be removed at the end of each day’s hunt, and may not be left unattended. Areas identified by signs are closed to all access Oct. 15 - March 15.
During the first segment of the regular waterfowl season, shooting hours are ½ hour before sunrise to sunset, and the WMA is open to waterfowl hunting except that the Swan Lake Unit is closed. Hunters do not have to check in during these dates, and blinds and hunt units are available on a first-come first-served basis.
During the second segment of the regular waterfowl season, shooting hours begin ½ hour before sunrise, and all hunters and equipment must be off the area by 2:00 p.m. CST. All hunters are required to check in during these dates. For all units, hunters must check in at the Ballard Bottoms Tourism Council building (the old First General Baptist Church Fellowship Hall), 255 S. 4th Street, Barlow KY 42024. Hunters are not allowed to enter the area to hunt until after they have checked in, and are in possession of the daily check-in card. See details below for check in procedures, daily drawing procedures, and specific hunt unit regulations.
Any unit open to hunting during the regular waterfowl season are also open to snow goose hunting during the Snow Goose Conservation Order season.Daily drawing Rules and Procedures
These units have blinds and hunt sites open for waterfowl hunting through a daily drawing, held each day during the second segment of the regular waterfowl season. Hunters must check in at the Ballard Bottoms Tourism Council Building prior to the daily drawing. Doors will open at 4:15 a.m. CST, and check-in will be begin at 4:30 a.m. Each morning one hunter in each party must fill out a Daily Waterfowl Hunting Tag that lists the members of their hunting party. The top portion of this card will be collected at check in. The hunter will retain the bottom portion of this tag. This tag is to be kept by the hunt party for collection the daily hunt data. To check out after each hunt, this card must be deposited at the check station. Hunt drawings will begin at 4:45 a.m. CST. To participate in waterfowl hunt drawings, at least one person in a hunt party must be 18 years of age or older. When hunting assigned hunt sites through the waterfowl drawings, hunters must follow these rules: Hunters participating in random drawings for hunt sites or blind locations can only draw one site per day. For drawn blind locations, hunters shall only hunt waterfowl from a permanent department built blind, or from layout blind(s) in a single group of no more than 4 persons, with layout blinds set in such a manner that all layout blinds in the group lie within a 25 foot radius of the drawn hunt site. “Layout blind” means a portable blind that when fully deployed allows an individual hunter to conceal oneself above the surface of the ground. Hunters participating in drawings for boat-in units must hunt within 25 feet of their assigned hunt site. Mobility-impaired hunters may hunt from a boat in flooded timber not allocated by the daily drawing. Otherwise, boat blinds shall not be permitted in flooded timber, other than sites allocated by the daily drawing, except during periods of flood where no other access is possible. When flood conditions allow boat blinds in flooded timber, no hunter shall set up to hunt within a 200-yard distance of another hunt party. Floodwater Note Hunting is permitted from boats in flooded timber during periods of flood, as determined by the area manager. Boats must be a minimum of 200 yards apart while hunting. Public hunting on the Swan Lake Unit will close when floodwaters prevent safe entry to blinds by wheeled vehicles on roads. Notice will be given at least 24 hours in advance of closure via radio, television and newspaper outlets, or hunters may check the department’s website at fw.ky.gov. Watch or listen for notices when floodwaters are expected. The number of parties using these areas during periods of flood is limited to the following:
• 400 Acre Unit, 1 boat
• Olmsted Unit, 6 boats
• Upper Blenderman Unit, 3 boats
• Stevens Unit, 1 boat.
• Peal Unit- Hunting from boats permitted only within twenty-five feet of KDFWR assigned locations, and the number of hunting parties is limited to:
• Fish Lake, 4 boats
• Buck Lake, 7 boats
• Flat Lake, 7 boats
• First Lake and Second Lake combined, 3 boats.
NOTE: A party is defined as a person hunting alone or 2-4 persons sharing a blind.
|DOUG TRAVIS WMA- Carlisle & Hickman counties
Doug Travis WMA is open to statewide regulations for hunting EXCEPT the portions of the WMA as identified by signs, which are CLOSED to the public from Nov. 1 to March 15. Waterfowl hunting opportunities at Doug Travis WMA include walk-in, boat-in and season-long blind drawings. There are also two blind locations available for Mobility-Impaired hunters. One blind, blind 13, is an above ground blind that can be driven to, and is wheel chair accessible. The other blind, blind 19, is a boat-in blind location, built to conceal a mobility-impaired hunter in their boat. Both, blinds 13 and 19, are available through a mail-in preseason draw (see below for details). Hunters who wish to draw a season-long blind must register and be selected by random drawing the last Saturday in August. Certain regulations apply on this area and are listed below. For more details, see the “Blind Drawings” portion of this guide, or the online waterfowl-hunting page. Hunt units on this area mostly consist of harvested grain fields and seasonally flooded crops, moist soil units, and natural depressions or “Sloughs” that are lined with shrubby cover and trees. Chest waders should be used to hunt in the water on all units. Woody vegetation, beaver runs, and rapid changes in elevation are a possibility on all waterfowl hunting units. Mississippi River levels should be closely monitored to determine if a boat is needed to access and hunt the area. Mississippi River levels exceeding 35 feet at the Cairo, Illinois river gauge indicate the potential loss of road access to some areas of the WMA. Click here to check levels. Typically, river levels above 41 feet on the Cairo gauge cut off road access on both ends of the Berkley - Fish Lake Road, making a boat necessary to access most of the area. On all hunt units, shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until 2 p.m. CST. Hunters must exit the area by 2 p.m. daily. Hunters may not enter a hunt area until 4 a.m. CST daily..
On Forked Lake, Indian Camp Lake, Fish Lake, Number Four Lake, Black Lake, Upper Goose Pond Field, Twin Ponds Field and Town Creek Moist Soil Unit, all waterfowl hunting after Nov. 1 will be from Kentucky Fish & Wildlife-designated sites assigned by preseason drawing, even during periods of Mississippi River flooding. Hunters may walk in or boat in to hunt any units not mentioned in this list, except for the areas closed November 1 – March 15. Individuals must be 18 years of age and possess a valid Kentucky Hunting License, Kentucky Waterfowl Permit and Federal Migratory Bird (Duck) Stamp when applying for designated hunt sites. All blinds must remain within 10 yards of the designated numbered location. Permanent blinds, if constructed, must be in place by Nov. 20 and removed within 30 days of the close of the season. Persons who fail to remove their blind will forfeit the opportunity to obtain a blind site the following year. Persons drawn for a designated site (blind owners) may name one other person as a co-owner who may also claim the site each day. Blind owners and co-owners may not have more than one designated permanent blind site on the area each year. All selected sites must be marked with the blind owner’s name and permit number. Blind sites that are not claimed by the blind owners one hour before sunrise, may be claimed by other hunters on a first-come first-served basis. All hunting parties, both at designated blind sites and those walk-in/boat-in hunting, must be at least 200 yards apart. No more than four persons shall occupy a single blind at any time. The WMA road into the Twin Ponds Field is open for entry from 4 A.M. until 30 minutes prior to sunrise each day during waterfowl season. Potential stand-by hunters for Blinds 16 and 17 may enter the area during this time frame, but MAY NOT ENTER after 30 minutes prior to sunrise. Hunters already present at these sites before 30 minutes prior to sunrise may exit this unit at any time, although they MUST exit the unit by 2 P.M. each day.
Mobility-impaired Blind Drawing and Procedures
To register to be drawn for these blinds during one or more of the mobility-impaired hunts, mail a 3 x 5 white index card in an envelope addressed to: “Attn. Wes Little – Doug Travis WMA Mobility-Impaired Waterfowl Hunt Application, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, #1 Sportsman’s Lane, Frankfort, KY, 40601.” The envelope must be post marked between Sept. 1-30. You must specify on the index card the dates for which you are applying and list them in order of preference. You may list up to three sets of dates for either blind, but will only be drawn for one set until all applicants are successful. (see dates below) The index card must include your name and complete mailing address, and phone number, as well as an email address if possible. Successful applicants may invite up to three guests. After Nov. 15, those selected for hunts will be mailed a quota hunt permit for the dates they are drawn, a map showing the blind location and other instructions concerning the hunt. Unsuccessful applicants will not be notified. Duplicate applications for the same hunt will result in disqualification.
Each hunting party will be responsible for bringing and placing decoys as well as retrieving birds. These blinds will be open to standby hunters on a first-come, first-serve basis if the drawn party does not occupy the blind by one hour before sunrise.
The hunt dates for the mobility-impaired quota hunts during the 2021/2022 waterfowl season are: Nov. 25 – 28; Dec. 6 – 9; Dec. 10 – 12; Dec. 13 – 16; Dec. 17 – 19; Dec. 20 – 23; Dec. 24 – 26; Dec. 27– 30 and Dec. 31 - Jan. 2 (2022); Jan. 3 - Jan. 6; Jan. 7 – 9; Jan. 10 – 13; Jan. 14 – 16; Jan 17 – 20; Jan. 21 – 23; Jan. 24 – 27 and Jan. 28 - 31, 2022.
|OBION CREEK WMA - Carlisle, Hickman & Fulton counties|
Walk-in hunting is available on this area. Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to 2 p.m. Hunters may not enter the area until 4 a. m.
KALER BOTTOMS WMA
Walk-in hunting is available on this area. Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to 2 p.m. Hunters may not enter the area until 4 a.m.
|LAKE BARKLEY WMA - Trigg, Lyon & Livingston counties
At Lake Barkley WMA, waterfowl opportunities include walk-in or boat-in hunting on the lake, & season long hunting blind sites drawn in September (see Blind Drawings and Blind Restrictions sections of this guide). No person shall hunt within 200 yards of another hunting party. Lake Barkley has two waterfowl refuge areas that are closed to hunting. (see WMA map found online) Each refuge has specific rules for boating and other access.
1. On the refuge area west of the main river channel, that is between river mile 51 (Hayes Landing Light) and the TVA power transmission lines at river mile 55.5, there shall be no hunting, fishing or boating or molesting of any species, from Nov. 1 - Feb. 15. Also within this refuge area, the portion west of a line from the north point of the mouth of Fulton Bay to the south point of the mouth of Honker Bay will be closed to all access Nov. 1 - Mar. 15.
2. On the refuge area known as Duck Island, boating is allowed but hunting is prohibited within 200 yards of the area surrounded by a levee and located between river mile 68.4 and river mile 70.4, from October 15 – March 15.
The following sections of Lake Barkley have special regulations for hunting blinds. Only temporary hunting blinds are allowed on these sections, except for the permanent blind sites drawn in the season long blind drawing. Any permanent hunting blind must remain within 10 yards of the assigned numbered blind marker within the two areas described as follows:
1. Beginning at the mouth of Donaldson Creek and proceeding south along the east side of the old Cumberland River channel as marked by buoys, to a point due west of the boat ramp at Linton, then east to the Linton boat ramp, and then north along the east shore of Lake Barkley to the mouth of Donaldson Creek;
2. Beginning at Pryor’s Creek Light and extending south along the western shore of Barkley Lake, to the boat ramp at the end of Land Between The Lakes Road 204, to the west side of the Cumberland River channel marked with buoys, to river mile 73.5 and then north along the west side of the Cumberland River channel marked with buoys to the Pryor Creek Light.NOTE: The western shoreline of Lake Barkley is a part of Land Between the Lakes. To hunt there, you must be carrying your LBL permit, and you must follow all LBL rules and regulations.
OHIO RIVER ISLANDS WMA - Waterfowl hunting can be found on the Ohio River Islands WMA. The following special regulations apply on this area. The portion of the Ohio River from Smithland Lock and Dam upstream to the powerline crossing at river mile 911.5 is closed to hunting from Oct 15 - March 15. Stewart (Birdsville) Island is closed to all public access from Oct. 15 - March 15, except for October muzzleloader season. Shooting hours on this area are from one-half hour before sunrise to 2 p.m. Hunters may not enter the area until 4 a.m.
LAND BETWEEN THELAKES - Trigg & Lyon counties
Land Between the Lakes (LBL) is a United States National Recreation Area and is managed by the United States Forest Service. To hunt LBL, you must purchase a LBL permit in addition to the applicable hunting licenses and permits. This includes hunting on land, as well as hunting from a boat on flooded portions of LBL when the lake level is above 359. Waterfowl hunting opportunities at LBL include walk-in or boat-in hunting from the shoreline, or on any inland water bodies that are open to waterfowl hunting. Permanent blinds are prohibited on inland areas of LBL, and along the Kentucky Lake shoreline. All decoys, equipment and temporary hunting blinds must be removed at the end of each hunting day. LBL inland areas are also closed to waterfowl hunting during quota deer hunts. The following areas are closed to waterfowl hunting, and have special regulations that apply:
1. Long Creek Pond- The eastern one/third of Smith Bay and the eastern two/thirds of Duncan Bay on Kentucky Lake are closed to all activity Nov. 1 – March 15, as indicated by a visible marker on the south corner.
2. The Environmental Education Center and Energy Lake are also closed to all waterfowl hunting.
|WEST CENTRAL KENTUCKY|
|BARREN RIVER LAKE WMA - Allen & Barren counties At Barren River Lake WMA, waterfowl opportunities include walk-in or boat-in hunting on the lake or river, season long hunting blind sites drawn in October (see Blind Drawings and Blind Restrictions sections of this guide), or walk-in hunting on moist-soil units on the WMA (see map found online). Special regulations apply to certain sections of this area. Portions of this WMA are designated as “Primitive Weapons Areas”. Here, hunters may not use breech-loading firearms other than for waterfowl hunting along the Barren River Lake shoreline bordering the primitive weapons area known as the “Peninsula Unit (see online map). In addition, a person shall not hunt sandhill cranes within 100 yards of the normal summer pool level of 552 feet in the following embayments: Beaver Creek, Skaggs Creek and Peters Creek.|
|YELLOWBANK WMA - Yellowbank WMA is open to waterfowl hunting, according to state-wide seasons and bag limits; except that areas designated by signs and markers on Tract 1 are closed to the public Oct. 15 - March 15. Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to 2 p.m. Hunters may not enter area until 4 a.m.|
|BIG RIVERS WMA - Walk-in hunting is available on this area. Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to 2 p.m. Hunters may not enter the area until 4 a.m.|
|SLOUGHS WMA - Henderson & Union counties|
Waterfowl hunting can be found on the Sauerheber, Jenny Hole, Highland Creek and Grassy Pond/Powel’s Lake units of Sloughs WMA. Waterfowl hunting opportunities at Sloughs WMA include online quota hunt draws, weekly on-site drawings, and season-long blind drawings. There is also walk-in hunting available on large portions of the WMA. Hunt units consist of a diverse mix of seasonally flooded grain crops and natural “moist soil” vegetation, natural marsh, seasonally flooded bottomland forest, and natural depressions or “sloughs,” that contain flooded stands of bald cypress lined with buttonbush thickets. Waders should be used to hunt in the water on all units. Woody vegetation, beaver runs, and rapid changes in elevation are a possibility on all waterfowl hunting units. Hunting the Jenny Hole Unit typically requires a boat or canoe. Ohio River levels should be closely monitored to determine if a boat is needed to access and hunt the remaining hunt units at the Sloughs. Ohio River levels exceeding 30 feet at the Evansville and/or J.T. Meyer gauge indicate the potential loss of road access to some areas of the WMA. Click here to check levels. There is one blind available for mobility impaired hunters on the Sauerheber Unit. The blind is wheelchair accessible. On all hunt units, shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until 2 p.m. CST. Hunters must exit the area by 2 p.m. daily. Hunters may not enter a hunt area until 4 a.m. CST daily. Each unit has specific information that can be found below.
During the regular duck season, waterfowl hunting is available on the Crenshaw and Duncan tracts through an online Quota Hunt drawing. Hunting is permitted only within designated hunt unit boundaries or blinds. The remainder of the Sauerheber Unit is closed to all public access from November 1-March 15. The quota hunt application period is September 1 to September 30. Visit the “Quota Hunt” section of this guide for more detailed information and application procedure. Results of the drawing will be available in mid-October. New this year: successful applicants will be assigned a hunt unit or a specific hunting blind. If you draw a hunt unit, you may hunt anywhere within the defined hunt unit boundary (See Sloughs WMA: Sauerheber Hunt Unit Maps). Two of the twelve available units are blind locations only. You cannot hunt outside of the blind on these two units.
Hunters selected for a Sauerheber Quota Hunt must check-in on the Sunday prior to their hunt by sending an email to email@example.com. In the email, please include your name, hunt unit, hunt dates, and hunt confirmation number. If the permit holder fails to check-in the Sunday prior to the hunt, the vacated hunt unit(s) will be allocated via a drawing held every Monday at 6 p.m. CST at the Sloughs WMA office. If Monday falls on the Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day holiday, the drawing will be postponed until the following Wednesday night. At least one hunt unit will always be available through the weekly draw each week.
All hunters must complete and submit the Daily Post-Hunt Survey provided by the Department by 3 p.m. CST each day. Failure to complete the Daily Post-Hunt Survey will result in the permit holder being ineligible to hunt at Sloughs WMA for the remainder of the current and following waterfowl season. Daily Post-Hunt Survey cards and drop-box will be located next to the kiosk in front of the Sloughs WMA office on Highway 268.
Quota hunt permits are not transferable. No hunt unit/blind site may be hunted unless the hunter selected for that hunt unit/blind site, for that specific date(s) is present and has on their person a valid Hunt Confirmation Number issued by KDFWR. No standby hunting is allowed.
Quota permit holders may bring up to three (3) additional hunting guests. No more than four (4) hunters are allowed per hunt unit/ blind site. Hunters are allowed 25 shells per day on the Crenshaw/Duncan tracts. All hunters must have a photo ID and all appropriate licenses and permits.
The entire Sauerheber Unit is closed to all public access on Tuesday and Wednesday during waterfowl season.
Jenny Hole Unit
New this year: During the regular duck season, waterfowl hunting on the Jenny Hole Unit is allowed by permit only. A person or party that wishes to hunt waterfowl on the Jenny Hole Unit must attend a weekly on-site drawing at the Sloughs WMA office or apply using the online quota hunt system. The drawing will be held each Monday prior to a hunt week, at 6 pm CST during duck season; unless Monday falls on the Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day holiday, in which the drawing will be postponed until the following Wednesday night. Nine hunt parties will be permitted to hunt the Jenny Hole Unit each week during duck season through the on-site drawing. One hunt party will be allocated using the online quota hunt system. Hunt permits are issued for a 5-day hunt each week (Thursday-Monday). Online applications for this unit will be taken September 1 – September 30. Visit the “Quota Hunt” section of this guide for more detailed information and application procedure. The successful online drawing participant must check-in on the Sunday prior to their hunt by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the email, please include your name, hunt unit, hunt dates, and hunt confirmation number. If the permit holder fails to check-in the Sunday prior to the hunt, the vacated hunt unit slot will be allocated via the drawing held every Monday at 6 p.m. CST at the Sloughs WMA office. If Monday falls on the Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day holiday, the drawing will be postponed until the following Wednesday night. The Jenny Hole Unit is closed to waterfowl hunting on Tuesday and Wednesday during waterfowl season. The Jenny Hole Unit is closed to ALL boats from Thanksgiving Day through Feb. 2, except for hunters with a valid Jenny Hole Hunt Permit. Trappers who wish to trap the Jenny Hole Unit during this time must obtain a special permit from the Sloughs WMA office. Hunters drawn for the Jenny Hole Unit may NOT access the unit except during the dates listed on their hunt permit(s). Therefore, scouting in the afternoon or prior to hunt dates is NOT allowed. All hunters must complete and submit the Daily Post-Hunt Survey provided by the Department by 3 p.m. CST each day. Failure to complete the Daily Post-Hunt Survey will result in the permit holder being ineligible to hunt at Sloughs WMA for the remainder of the current and following waterfowl season. Daily Post-Hunt Survey cards and drop-boxes are located at two sites within the Jenny Hole Unit.
Highland Creek and Grassy Pond-/Powell's Lake Units
On these units, waterfowl hunting is allowed from permanent blind sites that are seasonally assigned by a pre-season drawing. Information about the season-long blind drawing can be found in the Blind Drawins section of this guide. Walk in hunting is also available on this unit, but walk in hunters must remain a minimum of 200 yards between hunters or hunting parties. Pre-season drawn blinds/blind sites not occupied one-half hour before shooting hours are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
|PEABODY WMA - Ohio, Hopkins & Muhlenberg counties|
Peabody WMA waterfowl hunting opportunities include walk-in or boat-in hunting from the shoreline or from the many lakes, ponds and waterways. Persons entering the area for any purpose must obtain a Peabody WMA user permit ($15). Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to 2 p.m. each day on those portions open to hunting. Hunters may not enter the area until 4 a.m. Peabody WMA has two waterfowl refuge areas that are closed to public access. (see WMA map)
1. Sinclair Unit refuge: That portion as bounded by Hwy. 176, S1 road and Goose Lake Rd., (including Goose Lake) and as posted by signs, is closed Oct. 15 - March 15.
2. Ken Unit refuge: That portion as bounded by Wysox Rd., H2 road, H1 road and H6 road (including Island and South lakes) and as posted by signs, is closed Oct. 15 - March 15.
KENTUCKY RIVER WMA - Henry & Owen counties
Walk-in hunting is available on this area. Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to 2 p.m. Hunters may not enter the area until 4 a.m.
|MILLER WELCH-CENTRAL KENTUCKY WMA - Walk-in hunting is available on this area. Special season dates apply on Miller Welch- Central WMA. Miller Welch-Central is open for September wood duck, teal and goose seasons, as well as the Snow Goose Conservation Order season. The area is closed to waterfowl hunting from October 15 – January 14. During the regular waterfowl season, duck, coot and merganser season is Jan. 15-31, and goose season is Jan. 15 - Feb. 15. Certain areas marked by signs are also closed to all hunting.|
J.C. WILLIAMS WMA - Walk-in hunting is available on this area. Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to 2 p.m. Hunters may not enter the area until 4 a.m.
|KENTUCKY RIVER WMA - Henry & Owen counties Walk-in hunting is available on this area. Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to 2 p.m. Hunters may not enter the area until 4 a.m.|
|TAYLORSVILLE LAKE WMA - Anderson, Spencer & Nelson counties|
Taylorsville Lake WMA waterfowl hunting opportunities include walk-in or boat-in hunting from the shoreline or from the lake. Hunters may hunt waterfowl from temporary blinds only, and must not set up to hunt within 200 yards from another hunter. Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to 2 p.m. Hunters may not enter the area until 4 a.m.
GREEN RIVER LAKE WMA - Taylor & Adair countiesAt Green River Lake WMA, waterfowl opportunities include walk-in or boat-in hunting on the lake or river, season long hunting blind sites drawn the last Saturday in September (see Blind Drawings and Blind Restrictions sections of this guide), or walk-in hunting on moist-soil units on the WMA (see map found online). Walk-in hunting is allowed on the portions of the WMA with permanent KDFWR blind sites; however, a walk-in hunter cannot hunt within 200 yards of an occupied blind. NEW : A person shall not hunt Sandhill cranes within 100 yards of the normal summer pool level of 675 feet, east of the Hwy 551 Bridge in the following embayments: Green river to the Snake creek Boat Ramp; and Casey Creek to the HWY 76 bridge.
CAVE RUN LAKE AREA – Bath, Menifee, Morgan, and Rowan CountiesCave Run Lake is open to waterfowl hunting, except that no goose hunting is permitted on public lands or waters within the block of land lying inside the boundaries of Hwy. 801, Hwy. 1274, Hwy. 36, Hwy. 211, Hwy. 60 and Hwy. 826.
PIONEER WEAPONS WMA - Bath & Menifee counties
This WMA is a place for hunters who practice traditional methods of hunting, to pursue waterfowl in Kentucky. Modern firearms are not allowed on this area. Hunters may use breech or muzzle-loading shotguns for duck hunting along the Cave Run Lake shoreline bordering the area, but hunters must use muzzle-loading shotguns or archery equipment elsewhere on the WMA. Crossbows, though allowed on the WMA, are not a legal means to take waterfowl in Kentucky.
GRAYSON LAKE WMA - Carter & Elliott counties
Grayson Lake WMA waterfowl hunting opportunities include walk-in or boat-in hunting from the shoreline or from the lake. The following portions of the lake are closed to all waterfowl hunting: You cannot hunt waterfowl within three-quarters of a mile of the dam, within the no-wake zone of the dam site marina, along the shores of Camp Webb or in the Deer Creek Fork of Grayson Lake. All other portions are open to statewide seasons and limits.
YATESVILLE LAKE WMA - Lawrence County
Yatesville Lake WMA waterfowl hunting opportunities include walk-in or boat-in hunting from the shoreline or from the lake. The following portions of the lake are closed to waterfowl hunting:
1. The Greenbriar Creek Branch of Yatesville Lake
2. The portion of Yatesville Lake, including all islands, north of the mouth of Greenbriar Creek Branch are closed to waterfowl hunting, except for Yatesville Lake State Park. (see the State Park hunting section of this guide for more details)
|SOUTH SHORE WMA- Waterfowl hunting is available on this WMA. During the early season wood duck and teal seasons, as well as the September goose season, the WMA is open to statewide hunting regulations and bag limits. During the general waterfowl season, Thanksgiving Day through February 15, hunters can only hunt waterfowl from a KDFWR built blind. There are two blinds available on a first-come first-serve basis. South Shore WMA is closed to all hunting and trespassing Nov. 15 - Jan. 15, except for dove and waterfowl hunting.|
ROBINSON FOREST WMA - Breathitt, Perry & Knott counties
Waterfowl hunting is allowed on the outer tracts of this WMA; however, the main block of Robinson Forest WMA is Closed to all hunting.
CEDAR CREEK LAKE WMA - Waterfowl hunting opportunities here include walk-in and boat-in hunting along the shoreline or on the lake. Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to 2 p.m. Hunters may not enter the area until 4 a.m.
DIX RIVER WMA - Walk-in hunting is available on this area. Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to 2 p.m. Hunters may not enter the area until 4 a.m.
LAKE CUMBERLAND WMA - Lake Cumberland WMA waterfowl hunting opportunities include walk-in or boat-in hunting from the shoreline or from the lake. The following portions of the lake are closed to the public from October 15 – March 15:
- Wesley Bend, the area bounded to the north, west and south by Fishing Creek and to the east by Beech Grove Road and Fishing Creek Road.
- Yellowhole, the area bounded to the west by Fishing Creek Road and the south by Hickory Nut Road.
Regulations for Greenbo Lake, Lake Barkley, Lincoln Homestead, Nolin River Lake, Paintsville Lake, and Yatesville Lake state parks are as follows:
- Open waterfowl hunt Dec. 13, 2020 - Jan. 31, 2021.
- Selected portions of the lake and adjacent shoreline only.
- Statewide waterfowl hunting regulations apply.
- Hunters shall check in each day at the designated check-in location no earlier than 4 a.m.
- During check-in, hunters will be provided a map showing portions of the area that are open.
- Hunters shall check out each day at the designated check-in location.
MENTOR / MOBILITY-IMPAIRED HATCHERY HUNTS
MINOR CLARK AND PFEIFFER FISH HATCHERIES
Open for waterfowl Mentor quota hunts Jan. 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, and 30 (2022).
- Hunts by advance registration only. No standby hunting. Only youths and mobility-impaired hunters may apply.
- Mentor hunt only, limited to youths younger than 16.
- Youth(s) must be accompanied by an adult (mentor) at least 18 years or older.
- Hunters drawn to hunt must carry postcard notification with them during the hunt.
- Limited to 4 hunters with no more than two hunting adults. One mentor may have two youth but one youth may not have more than 1 mentor in a blind.
- Hunters cannot enter blinds until 5:30 a.m.
- Bag limits same as statewide.
- Hunting only permitted from established blinds assigned by random pre-season draw.
- Hunters may only discharge firearms from the blind.
- Hunters may not change blinds.
- Hunters may only have 15 shotshells each.
- Hunters must immediately retrieve downed birds. Chasing or harassing waterfowl outside the blinds is strictly prohibited.
- Firearms must be encased when traveling to and from the blind.
- Hunting ends at noon and hunters must be off the area by 1 p.m.
- All decoys and equipment must be removed at the end of each day’s hunt.
- Hunters must report harvest by dropping hunt permit at designated location.
- Those participating in a KDFWR waterfowl quota hunt must follow state and federal regulations or the hunter will be prohibited from participating in any other waterfowl quota hunts that year and the following year.
- Mobility-impaired hunters are also eligible to participate in the Minor Clark Mentor Hatchery Hunt. Hunters must supply a copy of their mobility-impaired access permit from Kentucky Fish and Wildlife when applying for the hunt and must abide by hunt rules. Mobility-impaired hunters may only have one assistant.
HUNT APPLICATION PROCEDURES
Individuals wishing to be drawn for one or more of the Mentor Hatchery Waterfowl hunts must apply online between Nov. 1 - 15. A youth may apply for more than one date. A mentor and youth selected may invite two additional youth or one youth and one mentor to hunt with them. The names of guests do not have to be listed on the application. By the end of November, individuals selected will be mailed a quota hunt permit for the date(s) they are drawn, a map showing hatchery location, blinds and other instructions concerning the hunt. Unsuccessful applicants will not be notified. An individual drawn for one quota hunt during a season will have lower preference to be drawn for a second quota hunt during the same season. Duplicate applications for the same hunt day will result in disqualification.