How to Bag a Tag for the Kentucky Elk Quota Hunt Image

How to Bag a Tag for the Kentucky Elk Quota Hunt

Updated: June 30th 2017 @ 9:08am

elk hunting kentucky

A Kentucky elk tag is one of the hottest tickets in big-game hunting, but the odds of drawing a tag are very slim. Out of 38,935 hunters who applied for a 2014 Kentucky elk tag, 37,925 didn't make it. The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Department issued 1,000 tags for the 2014 season, divided up among firearm antlered (150), firearm antlerless (460), archery antlered (100) and archery antlerless (290). An additional 10 tags were available for the youth quota hunt.

Rules for Applying for Kentucky Elk Hunt

Applicants have the opportunity to apply for each of the 4 different elk permits (antlered firearm, antlered archery/crossbow, antlerless firearm, and antlerless archery/crossbow). This means that a hunter may apply for up to four different elk permits. Under this system, there is a separate applicant pool for each permit type. Some permits have historically received more applications than others; antlered firearm tags have received the most applications annually, followed by antlered archery/crossbow, antlerless firearm, and then antlerless archery/crossbow.

To account for this difference in popularity between permit types, the elk lottery system has been designed to draw applicants for antlered firearm permits first, antlered archery/crossbow permits second, antlerless firearm permits third, and antlerless archery/crossbow permits fourth. This maximizes the likelihood (odds) that an applicant will draw a more desirable permit, if he/she has applied for multiple permit types. Since a person can receive only one Kentucky elk permit per year, individuals who are drawn from a particular applicant pool are automatically removed from any other applicant pools they may have entered. It is important to note that an applicant can only be drawn from an applicant pool to which they applied. For example, if someone applied only for the antlered firearm permit and was not drawn for that permit, their name would not be automatically placed into any other applicant pool.


The elk zone includes the following 16 counties: Bell, Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Harlan, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, Perry, Pike and Whitley. Inside this zone, elk may only be taken by hunters drawn for a quota hunt as previously described. All elk hunters must display a department-issued hang tag in their vehicles while hunting.

For a complete description of all rules and regulations concerning Kentucky elk hunting, please visit the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.



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