Last updated July 2020 

Link to state website


Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife
Phone (800) 858-1549
Ask to speak to staffer handling scientific collecting permits

Is a state permit required for banding?

Yes. The regulation (below) states “(2) “Collected”, “Collecting”, or “Collection” means any sampling activity that removes, even temporarily, any protected wildlife from the wild in Kentucky.”

Permit application forms

State lands

Instructions and application for working on state lands

Prior notice

Check permit conditions. As a matter of good practice, it is always a good idea to consult the land owner or manager before working in a particular location, so as to avoid conflicts with management activities, prior scheduled uses of the property, with the general public, and to assure the safety of the researcher and field assistants.


301 KAR 4:070. Scientific and educational collecting permits.

NECESSITY, FUNCTION, AND CONFORMITY: KRS 150.025(1) authorizes the department to promulgate administrative regulations to establish seasons for the taking of fish and wildlife, to regulate bag limits, creel limits, and methods of take, and to make these requirements apply to a limited area. KRS 150.183(3) authorizes the department to establish the terms and conditions for allowing the importation, transportation, possession, or sale of endangered species. KRS 150.275 authorizes the department to issue permits to persons for commercial nuisance wildlife control, and scientific or educational purposes. 50 C.F.R. Part 17 establishes the requirements for federally protected species. This administrative regulation establishes the requirements for the issuance and use of scientific and educational collecting permits.

 Section 1. Definitions. (1) “Agent of the state” means a status that is granted by the department to an individual working on a project on behalf of the department.

      (2) “Collected”, “Collecting”, or “Collection” means any sampling activity that removes, even temporarily, any protected wildlife from the wild in Kentucky.

      (3) “Educational collection permit” means a permit issued by the department to an individual for use in:

      (a) The instruction of students; or

      (b) A university-related research project.

      (4) “Federally protected species” means any species:

      (a) Listed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service as:

  1. Threatened; or
  2. Endangered; or

      (b) Any bird protected under the:

  1. Migratory Bird Treaty Act; or
  2. Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

      (5) “Permit holder” means a person who possesses one (1) of the following two (2) valid permits issued by the department:

      (a) An educational collection permit; or

      (b) A scientific collection permit.

      (6) “Scientific collection permit” means a permit issued by the department to an individual for the purpose of conducting a scientific study for which remuneration is received.

      (7) “Watershed” means an 8-digit Hydrologic Unit Code assigned by the United States Geological Survey.

       Section 2. Permit Issuance and Requirements. (1) A person shall obtain the applicable collection permit prior to collecting any protected wildlife species in Kentucky, except that a representative of the department who is engaged in collecting wildlife in an official capacity shall not be required to possess a collection permit.

      (2) A person shall:

      (a) Apply for an educational or scientific collection permit on a Scientific and Educational Wildlife Collection Permit Application form provided by the department; and

      (b) Submit to the department the appropriate permit fee established in 301 KAR 3:022 along with the completed application.

      (3) The department shall only issue a scientific or educational permit to a person who:

      (a) Has completed a college course in species taxonomy or species identification for the species group to be collected;

      (b) Has one (1) year of experience in collecting the species group to be collected; or

      (c) Submits a signed letter from a person qualified to be a scientific or educational permit holder attesting to the applicant’s ability in species identification.

      (4) A permit holder shall possess a valid federal permit or a department-issued agent of the state letter if collecting a:

      (a) Federally protected species;

      (b) Bat species;

      (c) Mussel species; or

      (d) Fish species in a watershed known to contain a federally protected fish species.

      (5) A permit holder shall complete a Project Proposal Form for every project involving the sampling or collecting of:

      (a) A federally protected species;

      (b) A bat;

      (c) A mussel; or

      (d) Fish in a watershed known to contain a federally protected fish species.

      (6) A permit holder shall submit to the department each Project Proposal Form at least fifteen (15) days in advance of the project.

      (7) A permit holder shall comply with all requirements pertaining to a federally protected species pursuant to 50 C.F.R. Part 17.

      (8) A permit holder shall:

      (a) Not intentionally kill a federally protected species; and

      (b) Report any inadvertent killing of a federally protected species by:

  1. Calling the department’s Wildlife Diversity Program at 1-800-858-1549 within twenty-four (24) hours of the kill; and
  2. Submitting all dead specimens to the department within seven (7) days of taking.

      (9) A permit holder shall not use a scientific or educational collection permit in lieu of a:

      (a) Hunting license;

      (b) Fishing license; or

      (c) Trapping license.

      (10) While collecting specimens, a permit holder shall carry a:

      (a) Valid scientific or educational collection permit; or

      (b) Photocopy of a valid collection permit.

      (11) A permit holder who is collecting wildlife that will not be killed shall release the wildlife at the capture location.

       Section 3. Reporting Requirements, Permit Renewal, and Revocation. (1) A permit holder shall submit to the department all wildlife collection data for the previous calendar year:

      (a) By January 15;

      (b) Electronically on the department’s Web site at; and

      (c) Prior to renewal of a collection permit.

      (2) A permit holder who is submitting annual collection data on the department’s Web site shall complete the data submittal process in its entirety.

      (3) The department shall not renew a scientific or educational collection permit until the permit holder has submitted the previous year’s collection data via the electronic data submittal process on the department’s Web site.

      (4) A scientific or educational permit shall be revoked or denied by the department if the permit holder:

      (a) In the last year has been convicted of a violation of:

  1. This administrative regulation;
  2. A federal regulation involving the collection of federally protected species pursuant to 50 C.F.R. Part 17; or
  3. Another state’s regulation or law pertaining to the collection of protected wildlife; or

      (b) Falsifies the permit application.

      (5) A person who has had a scientific or educational collection permit revoked shall be ineligible to apply for a period of one (1) year.

      (6) A person who has had a permit denied or revoked may request an administrative hearing pursuant to KRS Chapter 13B.

       Section 4. Incorporation by Reference. (1) The following material is incorporated by reference:

      (a) “Project Proposal Form”, 2012 edition; and

      (b) “Scientific and Educational Wildlife Collection Permit Application”, 2012 edition.

Endangered Species

301 KAR 3:061. Endangered species of fish and wildlife.

      NECESSITY, FUNCTION, AND CONFORMITY: This administrative regulation pertains to the buying, selling, transporting, importing, processing and possessing of state and federally protected endangered fish and wildlife species. This administrative regulation is necessary to comply with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Endangered Species Act of 1973 as amended. The function of this administrative regulation is to protect and conserve those endangered fish and wildlife species appearing on present and revised future lists issued by the state and federal governments. The commissioner, with the concurrence of the commission, therefore finds it essential to promulgate a new administrative regulation to meet statutory requirements for the management of endangered fish and wildlife.

      Section 1. Possession, Buying and Selling Endangered Fish and Wildlife. It is unlawful for any person to import, transport, possess, process, sell or offer for sale any endangered species of fish and wildlife, or parts thereof, except as provided in Sections 3 and 4 of this administrative regulation. Nor shall any article be made in whole or from any part or parts of any species of fish and wildlife designated as endangered by this administrative regulation.

       Section 2. Endangered Species. Definition and exclusions. Any species or subspecies designated as endangered by the Secretary of the Interior on a current United States List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife as recorded in 50 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 17, is considered an endangered species in Kentucky under the provisions of KRS 150.183. Those species described as “threatened” on the above federal list are not included under KRS 150.183 or this administrative regulation.

       Section 3. Exceptions and Permits. The Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources may, under permit, allow the importation, transportation, possession, sale or resale of any native or foreign endangered species or subspecies of fish and wildlife and part or parts thereof, for zoological, educational or scientific purposes, and for the propagation of such fish and wildlife in captivity for preservation purposes, except as otherwise prohibited by federal and other states’ statutes and regulations. This permit will be issued free of charge by applying in writing to the Commissioner of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Where applicable, an application for a Kentucky permit for zoological, educational or scientific purposes must be accompanied by a copy of the appropriate federal permit or permits from another state. The federal permit may be obtained by writing to the Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. 20240.

      Section 4. Possession Prior to 1973. Any person or organization who, prior to the enactment of the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, had in their possession an endangered species or part or parts thereof, may continue to possess same without a state permit. (4 Ky.R. 137; eff. 11-2-77.)

Endangered Species:

Interior Least Tern (Sternula antillarum athalassos)