Kentucky elk hunting? There is a little place east of the Rocky Mountains where the elk hunting is fantastic. Yes, Kentucky! Kentucky elk hunting, with an 80% success rate in 2010, could not be any better. Well, maybe… for the 20% that were not fortunate to complete their harvest, but hopefully they will score this year.
Today, elk hunting in Kentucky is one of the most sought after sportsman opportunities in the country. With the largest hunt-able herd east of the Mississippi River, elk hunting in Kentucky is mainly reserved to a 16 county area in the southeastern part of the state known as the “restoration zone.”
There are out-of-zone areas that can be hunted, but the big bulls are fewer in those areas. Our first elk came from Kansas in 1997. Those seven elk were the beginning of something many thought was impossible.
The vision that made our herd a reality came from people like C. Tom Bennett, then Kentucky’s Fish and Wildlife Commissioner; Taylor Orr of London, Kentucky, now a sitting Commission member; the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the states who contributed elk.
Other states that contributed to our restoration project were North Dakota, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah. Many thanks are owed to those states, organizations and individuals involved in the transportation of the elk to Kentucky. The herd is now over ten thousand and growing.
At this juncture in my life, I had never entertained the thought of being able to hunt a species that has been gone from Kentucky for over 150 years. Kentucky elk hunting is not only a premier opportunity now, but is also one that is very affordable to the ordinary hunter. There are special elk hunting opportunities available for our youth and disabled hunters.
Elk hunting is available in our rolling hills as well as in the mountainous areas. (The Rockies are not America’s only mountains!) Our mountains are not quite as big, but they are beautiful. View this video of an actual hunt in Kentucky. It was recorded by our renowned Tim Farmer, of "Kentucky Afield".
Last year 800 permits were issued through the Kentucky elk hunting lottery that is conducted by the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. That number is slated to go up for the 2011 season. A $10 lottery entrance fee is required.
In May of each year the winners, which are drawn randomly by computer, are notified of their opportunity. They are assigned to either a bull or a cow and to an elk hunting zone. A simple process but the odds are approximately 1 in 48-60,000.
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