Hunters interested in entering this year’s elk hunt drawing have until midnight (EST) April 30 to buy applications. Hunters can apply online at the department’s website, fw.ky.gov.
Kentucky residents and non-residents are eligible to apply for four permit types but can only be drawn for one. Each application costs $10.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife will issue 700 general quota hunt permits and 10 youth permits this year through a random computer drawing conducted in early May by the Kentucky Commonwealth Office of Technology. Results will be available to applicants on the department’s website May 15.
Sixty-four percent of bull elk hunters using a gun last year enjoyed a successful hunt and 48 percent of hunters utilizing archery equipment successfully harvested a bull. The success rate for cow archery hunters was 28 percent last year and 47 percent among hunters using a firearm for cow elk.
“Our herd is strong and healthy,” said Gabe Jenkins, deer and elk program coordinator with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “However, the herd dynamics have changed in recent years. Hunters will have to work to be successful and time spent scouting will greatly increase chances for success.”
The season limit of 250 bulls and 450 cow elk is unchanged from last year, as is the allotment among tag types.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife will issue 150 firearms permits and 100 archery/crossbow permits for bulls; 290 firearms permits and 160 archery/crossbow permits for cow elk.
Demand is greatest for the bull firearms permit and lowest for the cow archery hunts.
The bull archery/crossbow season opens in September. The bull elk firearms seasons are spread over two separate, weeklong hunts in October while the cow elk firearms seasons are split into two weeklong hunts, both in December.
Hunters ages 15 and younger also can apply for the youth-only quota hunt during the same application period as the general elk quota hunt drawing. They may apply for the general quota elk hunt drawing as well, but cannot be drawn for both in the same year.
A landmark restoration effort re-established an elk herd in the state’s scenic southeastern region and created one of the most sought-after hunting opportunities east of the Rocky Mountains. Kentucky’s elk herd is the largest east of the Rocky Mountains and more than all the states east of the Mississippi River combined. The elk restoration zone in southeast Kentucky covers 16 counties and more than 4 million acres.