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Hunting or fishing without a license in Kentucky could cost you

With the fall hunting seasons almost upon us, it's important to understand Kentucky's licensing requirements for hunting, trapping and fishing. Kentucky requires licenses for both residents and non-residents above certain age thresholds unless they qualify for an exemption from licensing. You are expected to have the proper licenses and permits on hand when you are out in the field.

Legally, a Kentucky resident is someone who has established permanent, legal residence in the state and who has resided in Kentucky for 30 days before applying for the license. Full-time students who have been enrolled in a Kentucky educational institution for at least six months also qualify, as do military service personnel who are on permanent assignment in Kentucky. Owning land in the state does not necessarily make you a resident.

Certain specialty licenses are available, such as operator-issued permits on pay lakes and landowner/tenant licenses. You should check with the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife for additional information and for information on license exemptions. For example, hunters under the age of 12 require no license but are still required to submit elk lottery applications and obtain elk quota permits, out-of-zone elk permits and bear permits, if applicable.

Additionally, keep in mind that even people who are exempt from licensing must still comply with other legal requirements such as hunting season laws, bag limits, checking and tagging requirements and the hunter orange clothing law.

Penalties for poaching in Kentucky

Poaching is a serious crime in Kentucky. You could be fined up to $1,000 and/or sentenced to up to a year in jail if you are convicted. You could also be assessed civil penalties and restitution costs.

Moreover, people convicted of poaching in Kentucky forfeit their hunting privileges for up to three years. And, since Kentucky is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact, the loss of those privileges extends to 41 other states.

If you are stopped by a game warden or conservation officer and do not have the proper license or permits, the penalties can be serious. Protect your rights and privileges by contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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Sheehan, Barnett, Dean, Pennington, Little & Dexter, P.S.C.
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