The biggest complaint about elk hunting in Kentucky doesn’t come from the people drawn to hunt these animals. In fact, with last year’s 96 percent success rate among bull hunters and 88 percent success rate among cow elk hunters, nearly everyone is returning home with a truckload of some of the most delicious wild meat around.
Instead, the biggest complaint about elk hunting in Kentucky comes from those not drawn for a hunt. The odds are too low, they say.
That changes this season. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will issue 1,000 general elk hunting permits this year through its quota hunt drawing. The number more than doubles the permits issued in 2008. It’s considerably more than 10 quota hunt permits issued in 2001, the first year of the modern-day elk hunts.
“Now we estimate that we have a herd of 10,000 elk in eastern Kentucky, enough to support 1,000 permits,” says Tina Brunjes, big-game coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
Brunjes says the hunter success rate is a clear sign that elk harvest can increase. “You don’t see that kind of success rate for elk in the western United States,” she adds. “You don’t even see that kind of success rate among deer hunters in Kentucky.”
The cost for anyone to apply for a Kentucky elk hunt remains a low $10. Hunters wishing to apply for a hunt must do so online at Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s Web site, www.fw.ky.gov
. The registration deadline is April 30.
In addition to the general hunt, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife will have special drawings for seven youth elk hunter tags. These drawings are only open to hunters under the age of 16.
The 2008-09 Kentucky Waterfowl Collector’s Stamp is now available online at www.fw.ky.gov. Only 1,000 of these individually numbered collector stamps were printed, so quantities are limited.