Kentucky's Elk Country Corridor
For all the modern day Daniel Boones who yearn for remote and unspoiled areas in which to hunt, look no further than the Elk Country Corridor of The Bluegrass State. Rugged, beautiful mountains, rolling hills, grassy valleys, and plenty of hollows... or hollers as they called by the locals, make for challenging terrain and great hunting spots. Elevations vary from 3,273 feet in the mountains to 675 feet in the valleys.
The Elk Country Corridor, located in southeastern Kentucky’s Cumberland Plateau, consists of these five counties:
In the mid 1700s, in the Elk Country Corridor region, Shawnee, Cherokee and Iroquois tribes claimed ownership of the land and hunted in the dense forests. During that period, colonists in Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina heard rumors about the sparkling streams and plentiful wildlife on the other side of the mountains, but the forbidding terrain kept them from entering the region.
Elk Herds Keep Growing
Kentucky has been part of two of the most successful wildlife reintroduction projects in U.S. history. In 1997, the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources began to re-stock elk in the state's eastern counties, which had been extinct from the area for over 150 years. As of 2009, the herd had reached the project goal of 10,000 animals, making it the largest herd east of the Mississippi River. And it's going strong!
The absence of predators, relatively mild Kentucky winters, and abundant food sources have not only contributed to the remarkable population growth, but also account for the fact that the Kentucky elk are on average 15% larger than elk found in western states. They are achieving a 90% breeding success rate, and a 92% calf survival rate.
Bagging a Kentucky Elk Tag
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. For more details, click HERE.
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Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, The Kentucky Elk Herd