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Apply now for Kentucky elk hunt permits

You don’t have to wait until midnight April 30 to apply for a Kentucky elk hunting permit. You can avoid an Internet traffic jam at the deadline by applying sooner than later at www.fw.ky.gov.

This year, Kentucky will issue 10 youth permits and 1,000 general quota hunt permits through a random drawing conducted by the Kentucky Commonwealth Office of Technology. The quota hunt permit number is 105 more than last season and represents an all-time high for the state.

Elk hunts are open to Kentucky residents and those who live outside of the state.

“We have an abundance of elk, with an estimate of more than 10,000 animals in the herd,” said Tina Brunjes, Kentucky’s deer and elk program coordinator. “We also have more private guides than ever before to help people find a place to hunt and to assist with a hunt.”

Because of the possibility of unexpected technical issues – an electrical storm interrupted the state’s ability to process online applications shortly before last year’s deadline – officials advise hunters not to wait until the last minute to apply. All applications must be completed by midnight (Eastern time) on Tuesday, April 30, to meet this year’s deadline.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources offers four different permits for elk. These include hunting for a bull or cow elk with either a bow or firearm. Crossbows are allowed under a bow permit. Hunters may apply for up to two permits; the cost is $10 for each application.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife has set a season limit of 250 bulls and 750 cow elk for the general quota hunt. The allotment includes 150 firearms permits for bulls; 460 firearms permits for cow elk; 100 archery/crossbow permits for bulls; and 290 archery/crossbow permits for cow elk. Youth hunters may take a bull or cow elk with their permit.

Last year, a Kentucky resident applying for a bull firearms permit had a 1 in 151 chance of being drawn. Residents who applied for a cow elk archery permit had a 1 in 13 chance of being drawn.

Elk hunters in Kentucky traditionally enjoy a high success rate. Last season, for example, 89 percent of bull firearms hunters were successful. Bull archery/crossbow hunters recorded a 76 percent success rate.

Bull elk firearms seasons are held in October while cow elk firearms season are held in December. A special bull elk archery season begins in the weeks prior to the firearms hunts.

Kentucky’s 4.2 million acre elk zone is divided into five hunting areas. The state has nearly 574,000 acres of public hunting land within the elk zone. Hunters drawn for a quota hunt must apply for a hunting area assignment by July 5.

Hunters can only apply online. Visit the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website at www.fw.ky.gov for more information. Results of the drawing will be posted online by the end of the day on May 10.

Brunjes notes that Kentucky is an appealing choice to those who want to experience outstanding big game hunting while keeping their expenses down.

“If you live in Kentucky or the eastern United States, it’s a lot less expensive travel wise than going out west,” she said. “If you’re a Kentucky resident, the cost of an elk permit and hunting license is a lot less than a western hunt.”