Kentucky Elk Hunt Deadline July 31st

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Hunters seeking the trophy of a lifetime or the opportunity to fill their freezers with some of the best tasting big game around have just a few days left to apply for this season's Kentucky elk hunt.

The deadline to apply for one of 300 elk tags that will be drawn this year is July 31. Apply wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold, online at, or by calling 1-877-598-2401. It costs $10 to apply.

Kentucky's elk herd is in its prime, with an estimated 6,500 free-ranging animals in the eastern end of the state. "If you put forth the effort, the odds are strongly in your favor that you'll harvest an elk if you're drawn for a hunt," said Tina Brunjes, big game coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

Last year saw the first Kentucky bull elk to qualify for the Boone and Crockett Club record book. The typical bull, taken by Floyd County resident Franklin Scott, scored 361 4/8. The bull's antlers, which measured nearly 50 inches across, had seven tines on either side.

Hunters last year also took some impressive non-typical bulls. Andy Kidd of Perry County took the new state record non-typical bull, which scored 349 3/8, while Waynesburg resident Danny Waldroup ran a close second, with a bull that scored 342 3/8. An even bigger non-typical bull was killed on a Pike County road last year, but it is not being recognized as the state record because it was not taken while hunting.

Brunjes said the potential exists for both state records to fall this season. "We know we've got bigger Boone and Crockett Club bulls out there, because our biologists have seen them," Brunjes said. "To get them, hunters will have to get off the beaten path and get into the hollows and deep woods, because that’s where they live."

With some exceptions, hunters can use the same equipment that they use for deer, including rifles, muzzleloaders, bows, shotgun slugs, crossbows and handguns. Some minimum calibers and restrictions apply, so check the current Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide for complete information.

Public land is available for elk hunting, and the department has gained access to some private lands for elk hunters.

Waldroup said the $10 application fee is money well spent. "It was the hunt of a lifetime – I'll never forget it," he said. “"I've had oodles of people come by to look at my bull, and I can't get any work done."

"I'm applying again this year," he added. "I'm hoping that I'll get drawn two years in a row."