Kentucky Adds 15,000 Acres to Graham WMA

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Kentucky hunters now have 15,000 new acres to pursue deer, elk, turkey and small game this fall in Clay, Bell and Leslie counties at Graham Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Roughly three-quarters of this area is part of the Begley WMA/Daniel Boone National Forest Limited Entry Area for elk hunting while the remainder is open to at-large elk hunting.

"This is part of our ongoing commitment to provide more hunting access to the public," said Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Commissioner Jon Gassett. "We are extremely grateful that Tommy Graham, the landowner, made this happen. People like Mr. Graham share our love of the outdoors and recognize the importance of preserving our hunting heritage by allowing more public access to large tracts of property."

The portions of the area open to at-large elk hunting mainly lie west of KY 66 and north of KY 1850.

"There are a lot of elk on that property," said Tony Wheatley, lands acquisition coordinator for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. "You have a great place to elk hunt."

The area is a mixture of mature hardwoods and reclaimed coal mining land.

"The majority of it is in timberland," said Graham, a resident of Linden, Tennessee. "I owned a lot of land in Tennessee and I was in a similar program in Tennessee. That was one of the main reasons I did this. I believe being in this type of program adds value to the land."

The strip benches and other remains of mining on portions of Graham WMA should make the property an easier place to hunt compared to the topography of the surrounding area. "The mountains in that part of the state are tall and steep," Wheatley said. "But, with all of the old strip benches, there should be plenty of places for hunters to set-up to deer or elk hunt. It should be relatively easy for hunters to go in and out and retrieve downed game."

The area is open to statewide regulations for deer, turkey, small game hunting. There are few viable fishing opportunities on the area. Be sure to follow all signage as some areas are off-limits to the public.

The area lies between KY 66 and U.S. 421 south of Hal Rogers Parkway in the area where Clay, Bell and Leslie counties meet.

A map of the property is available online at