Is It Illegal To Kill Pigeons In Kentucky [No, check Rules Here]

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Folks consider pigeons as safe and elegant birds. Contrary to their belief, pigeons are pests that can transmit disease and damage houses. There are a few parts of your home that attract them the most. Therefore, you must get rid of them. So, is it illegal to kill pigeons in Kentucky?  

No. It is not illegal to kill pigeons in Kentucky. But, state law forbids the killing of Migratory pigeons. People can shoot and kill Feral pigeons and Eurasian-collared doves all year. However, hunters can shoot the protected pigeons in small games.  

You must have a hunting license and permit to shoot pigeons in the state. Continue reading the article to find more shooting and hunting laws.  

Which Type Of Pigeons Are Illegal To Hunt And Eat In Kentucky?  

Hunters can hunt and eat all pigeon species in Kentucky. However, the state doesn’t allow the hunting of Migratory pigeons off-season. It means you cannot hunt Migratory pigeons other than on the specified dates. The Migratory pigeons in the state are Mourning doves.   

The Mourning doves are small, graceful birds. They have small heads, plump bodies, and long pointed tails. You can also identify Mourning doves from their color. They are light brown or tan with black spots on their wings. Plus, their tail feathers have black borders with white tips.   

Hunters can hunt Mourning doves during Small games, which begin on September First and last ninety days. The hunting days are split into the season according to the zones. However, the daily bag count for all the zones is the same. It is fifteen birds per day.  

Why Is It Illegal To Hunt And Eat Pigeon In Kentucky?  

In Kentucky, it is illegal to hunt Migratory pigeons off-season. The only Migratory pigeon species found in the state is known as the Mourning dove. The Mourning doves’ hunting is limited to ninety days every year. Mourning doves are part of the treaty known as the Migratory bird treaty act.   

This treaty protects all birds that move according to the season. It was signed in 1918 by the US and other countries’ governments. The treaty states that no one shall harm, kill, trap, or trade these birds. Anyone found causing any harm to the Mourning doves will face the charges. So, if you spot Mourning doves living on your property, look for alternate methods to remove them without causing harm.   

Eating pigeons is not illegal. But it is better to avoid feral pigeons’ meat as it can contain bacteria. However, you can freely eat doves in the state. 

Laws Governing About Pigeon Shooting In Kentucky State

The pigeon shooting and hunting rules in the state ensure safe hunting. The hunting rules are the same in all the states. But there are slight changes according to the requirements and conditions. Following are the pigeon shooting law in Kentucky. Go through them thoroughly to learn all the essential rules. 

Hunting Education Course  

The Hunting education course is mandatory for all hunters in the state. It is ten hour-long course divided into two sessions. The first session includes theory learning which teaches hunting laws and ethics.   

The second session is on hand hunting practice. The practice session lasts four to six hours, depending on the number of students. It teaches students the use of weapons and safe hunting technique. Hunters will have to apply for different classes to learn the use of archery equipment.  

There is a test at the end of the classes. People who achieve more than eighty percent on the quiz pass the course. 

Hunting License  

Hunters can apply for a hunting license after completing the education course. The hunting license depends on age, residence, and background. People from ages 10 to 17 are youth hunters. They must complete the hunting course to purchase the license.  

Plus, youth hunters must be under the direct supervision of an adult. The guide must be of at least 21 years. The hunting license in Kentucky expires in a year. So, hunters will have to renew their hunting licenses every year, depending on the issue date. 


All hunters and people accompanying them must wear bright clothing on the field, preferably blaze orange or pink. The clothing item must include the same color vest, cap, and backpack. The hunters must avoid wearing camouflage print clothing as it will blend them in the surroundings. The hunter’s clothing must be a solid color and prominent from a distance. 

Hunting Weapon 

The state allows air rifles and shotguns to take down the pigeons. You can use air rifles to shoot Feral pigeons and Eurasian-collared doves. On the other hand, hunters can only use shotguns to shoot Migratory pigeons. It is essential to carry proof of legal weapons while hunting. 

The shotgun must be of ten gauges. It should not hold more than three pallets. The shotguns with three bullets in them but can hold more are not allowed on the field. Plus, hunters can use bows and arrows to hunt pigeons at any time. 

How Can You Shoot And Hunt Pigeons In Kentucky State? 

Shooting and hunting pigeons are as easy as long as you know the rules. The state rules are more than enough to guide any beginner about pigeon hunting in Kentucky. The pointers below will further assist you in shooting pigeons. 

  • Apply for the hunting license online or via a wildlife agent.  
  • Register for the small games by filling out a forum online.  
  • Purchase a legal hunting weapon. It can be a shotgun, air rifle, or bow and arrow.  
  • The hunting hours begin 30 minutes before the sun rises and end 30 minutes after sunset. So, hunting after these hours is forbidden. 
  • You cannot hunt or shoot pigeons within 150 acres of dwellings. Nor is legal to use weapons within 500 meters of any worship place.  
  • To hunt on private land, apply for a permit. Hunting on private land without a hunting permit is considered trespassing.  
  • Hunters cannot use decoys, electronic calls, or food to attract Mourning doves. However, you can use these tricks for Feral pigeons.  
  • Submit the Migratory pigeons harvest count online by filling out the forum.  
  • Collect all the pigeons after shooting and discard them in separate bags according to the species. 


It is legal to shoot pigeons in Kentucky, but you must follow the state laws. There are mainly three pigeon species in the state Feral pigeons, Eurasian collared doves, and Mourning doves. The latter is the protected species. You cannot hunt it until the hunting season begins. Typically, the hunting games start in September and end in November. The daily bag count for doves is fifteen, and the possession count is 45.

However, hunters can shoot unprotected pigeon species at any time. The state requires hunters to carry hunting licenses and permits on the field. It is also illegal to hunt on private land without hunting permits.