Kentucky Elk Hunt Drawing Completed

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Names of 302 hunters selected for Kentucky's 2007 quota elk hunts are now posted on the department’s web site at fw.ky.gov.

Overall, 31,002 people applied for a Kentucky elk hunt this year, topping last year's record of 26,186 by nearly 5,000. Of that number, more than 1,417 were youth applicants and 5,739 out-of-state hunters applied. This is the seventh year of elk hunts in the modern era.

"Kentucky began restoring its free-ranging elk herd in the winter of 1997 with a handful of animals," said Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Jon Gassett. "Now we have approximately 6,500 elk in Eastern Kentucky - the largest herd east of the Mississippi River – and hunters are taking bigger bulls every year. By all measures, our elk restoration program has been an outstanding success."

As part of the quota draw, Kentucky will issue 75 bull tags and 225 cow elk tags this season. In addition, the state issued a bull tag and a cow elk tag for two drawn youth hunters under the age of 16.

While new state records for typical and non-typical bulls were set last year, there are even bigger bulls out there. "This will prove to be one of our best elk hunts ever," said Wildlife Director Karen Alexy. "Congratulations to all those who were drawn – it’s truly the hunt of a lifetime."

Kentucky's hunter success rate since the first year of the hunts in 2001 is 100 percent for bull hunters and 85 percent for cow elk hunters. The percentage for cow elk hunters is lower because some hunters have declined to hunt.

One hunter selected for a cow elk tag this year has declined to participate. Matt Orr, son of newly appointed Fish and Wildlife Ninth District Commission member Taylor Orr Jr., turned down his at-large cow elk tag after being drawn. Hunters are drawn at random using a computer program. Orr did not want to give the appearance of any conflict of interest because of his father’s position. Officials at Kentucky Fish and Wildlife drew another hunter to replace Orr.

Hunters selected this year will receive a packet of information in the coming weeks with details about their hunting areas. For the at-large tags, hunters will receive information regarding opportunities on public and private properties. The packet will also include a list of guides licensed through the department.

In addition to a hunting license, elk hunters drawn for the quota hunt must purchase their elk tag. The cost is $30 for residents and $365 for non-residents. The mailing address will be included in the information packets.

Hunter education requirements apply for anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1975. Although a temporary exemption card is available, some landowners may require that hunters successfully complete a hunter education course before allowing access to their property.

Hunters are encouraged to practice to become proficient with their weapon of choice, scout their areas thoroughly prior to opening day of the season, and line up a meat processor and taxidermist well in advance.

Firearms season for bull elk opens Oct. 6, while the firearms season for cow elk opens Dec. 8. Archery and crossbow seasons for elk also open in October. Check the 2007 Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide for more details.

With the number of elk increasing and the herd getting older, Tina Brunjes, big game coordinator for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, predicts hunters will have an outstanding season. "We are seeing some great big healthy elk out there," she said. “"It should be a great hunt."