Turkey Hunting in Kentucky

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  • A
  • 220,000 Eastern

    Wild Turkey Population

  • 87,000

    Number of Licenses Sold Annually

  • $50

    Resident annual hunting license ($20) and turkey permit ($30).

    Cost of Resident License and Permit

  • $215

    Non-resident annual hunting license ($140) and turkey permit ($75).

    Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

I first turkey hunted Kentucky in the late 1990s, riding the wave of the restoration effort for the big birds, and enjoying all the Bluegrass State had to offer. I filled both tags then, on hard-gobbling birds. My buds did, too.

And so, I returned the next year, and did the same thing. Turkeys were everywhere.

Each visit to this great state has resulted in memorable turkey hunting experiences, and in different locations around Kentucky. From mountain birds to those haunting agricultural land on which we had permission, my memories of hunts here are all good.

In all honesty, connections with friends in places I hunted made all the difference, though Kentucky also has some public lands where anyone can chase gobblers.

Even that time drenching spring rains, driven by wind, curtailed our efforts, I still came away smiling, vowing to return. The gobblers were surely there.

Here's why you should, too.

Kentucky offers mountainous big-timber hunting in the east, rolling pasture and farm country in the heart of the state, and river-bottom birds to the far West.

As implied earlier, though 95 percent of the state is privately owned, there are some good Wildlife Management Areas and public spots where you can turkey hunt, including Land Between the Lakes in the West and Daniel Boone National Forest in the East.

As when I first turkey hunted the state almost 20 years ago, and the most recent time, the current bag limit is still two bearded spring turkeys.

If there's any downside for the non-resident turkey hunter, it's the total licensing and permit cost, which is fairly expensive when compared to other states.

Turkey Hunting in Kentucky (c) Ted Randle Jolly photo

Fun Fact: Cost aside for non-resident turkey hunters, on the upside, you can return later in the year for some of the most generous fall turkey hunting in the country.

– Steve Hickoff

Kentucky Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations

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