Special Called Commission Meeting, April 18, 2014 - more info​

 Elk Hunting

This page is dedicated to elk hunting but you may download the

Entire 2013-14 Hunting and Trapping Guide here


Changes from last season are printed in blue throughout this guide to assist you in noticing those changes.

The number of elk permits issued through the general quota hunt drawing will increase from 900 to 1,000.

The 16-county elk restoration zone has been divided into North At- Large and South At-Large, and three Limited Entry Areas (LEAs) have been established. This means elk hunters will have a choice of five areas to hunt.

Two WMAs have been designated Active Restoration Areas, and are off limits to elk hunting – Fishtrap WMA in the North At-Large Area, and southernmost parcel of Corrigan WMA in the South At-Large Area.

There is no restriction on the number of people who can accompany an elk hunter.

The three-day youth elk hunt on Paul Van Booven WMA has been replaced with a special youth-only permit (10 permits will be awarded) that allows youth hunters to hunt during all seasons, but they must decide where they wish to hunt, or they will be assigned an area.

On Jan. 1, 2014, applications will go on sale for the 2014-15 Kentucky elk quota hunts. The application period is now Jan. 1 through April 30.

Hazard LEA, with 77,200 acres in Breathitt, Knott and Perry counties. It includes 14,120 acres open to public hunting.

Caney LEA, with 16,665 acres in Floyd and Knott counties. It includes 3,720 acres open to public hunting.

Straight Creek LEA, with 118,081 acres in Bell, Clay, Harlan and Leslie counties. It includes 55,189 acres open to public hunting.

The North At-Large Area is 1.7 million acres and is composed of all or parts of nine counties, bordered by Martin County on the north and Perry County on the South. The South At-Large Area is 2.2 million acres and is composed of all or parts of eleven counties, bordered by Breathitt County on the north and McCreary County on the South. The boundary between the North and South At-Large Areas runs through four counties – Breathitt, Perry, Knott and Letcher.



Season Dates Search

Hunters must follow deer season and equipment regulations to take elk from any county not included in the 16-county elk restoration zone (out-of-zone), and must have an out-of-zone elk permit.


  • On Jan. 1 applications will go on sale for Kentucky elk quota hunts.
  • Elk quota hunt applications can only be purchased online click here to view. Residents and nonresidents are eligible to apply for elk quota hunts.
  • Each application costs $10. Only individuals may purchase elk applications, not a party of hunters together.
  • Hunters may apply for up to two of four tag types (bull firearms, bull archery or crossbow, cow firearms, and cow archery or crossbow), but may not apply twice for one tag type.
  • Hunters 15 years of age and under may apply for a youth-only quota hunt during the same application period as the regular elk quota hunt drawing. Ten (10) either-sex elk permits were awarded to youth hunters, who have the option of hunting during any elk season, provided they used the appropriate equipment (firearm, archery or crossbow).
  • Applicants for this youth-only hunt may also purchase elk applications for the regular elk quota hunts. A youth may not be drawn for the youth-only quota hunt and the regular quota hunt for elk in the same year, and if drawn for the youth-only hunt, a youngster will be permanently blocked from applying for the youth-only hunt again.
  • Hunters must buy their elk quota hunt applications before midnight EDT of the last day of April.
  • After the application period ends, a computer drawing is held which randomly selects the hunters that are awarded permits from the pool of applicants. Hunters may check to see if they were drawn by clicking here.
  • It’s the hunter’s responsibility to find a place to hunt in the area they choose or are assigned to hunt. Hunters must get landowner permission to hunt private land.
  • There’s no limit to the number of assistants an elk hunter may take into the field, but only the permit holder is allowed to hunt.
  • Two WMAs have been designated Active Restoration Areas, and are off limits to elk hunting – Fishtrap WMA in the North At-Large Area, and southernmost parcel of Corrigan WMA in the South At-Large Area.
  • Quota elk permits must be purchased from the department’s website prior to hunting.
  • Resident hunters drawn for a quota elk permit are required to buy either a $100 quota bull elk permit or a $60 quota cow elk permit in addition to an annual hunting license.
  • Non-residents drawn are required to buy either a $550 nonresident quota bull elk permit or $400 nonresident quota cow elk permit in addition to an annual Kentucky nonresident hunting license.
  • Hunters awarded a bull elk permit will be blocked for three years from applying for another bull elk permit.


The elk restoration 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 restoration zone, elk may only be taken by hunters drawn for a quota hunt as previously described. Permits for quota elk hunts are non-transferable. All quota elk hunters must display a department-issued hang tag in their vehicles while hunting.


Elk may be taken from any county outside the restoration zone by hunters who possess an annual Kentucky hunting license and an out-of-zone elk permit. These hunters must follow deer season and equipment regulations, but are not required to possess a deer permit.


Elk Restoration Zone:

Elk Management Units:

Elk Limited Entry and At Large Area Overview:

Elk Limited Entry Area Details:


Elk may not be hunted over bait on public or private lands within the elk restoration zone.


Elk may only be hunted during daylight hours, from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Orange is the Law!

Kentucky’s Hunter Orange Clothing Law requires ALL HUNTERS and persons accompanying them, hunting for any species during the modern gun, muzzleloading, and youth fire - arm deer seasons, or a firearm elk or bear season to wear solid, unbroken hunter orange color visible from all sides on the head, back and chest.


The season bag limit on elk is one per hunter per season, regardless of permit type. Hunters may not take an elk during a quota elk hunt and also take an elk out-of-zone during the same season. Elk hunters and those who accompany them, or any other person hunting public or private lands in the elk restoration zone during firearm elk seasons, must comply with the hunter orange clothing law.


All elk must be telechecked. Hunters must call 1-800-245-4263 and report the harvest. (See the General Information section for details.)

Hunters who fail to properly report harvested elk taken in counties outside the restoration zone are subject to severe fines and other penalties. A carcass tag is required if a harvested elk leaves the hunter’s possession for any reason.


  • A modern rifle of .270 caliber or larger, with a magazine capable of holding no more than 10 rounds.
  • A muzzleloading rifle of .50 caliber or larger.
  • A muzzle-loading or breechloading shotgun no larger than 10-gauge, and no smaller than 20-gauge, firing a single projectile (slug, round ball, conical bullet or saboted bullet) only.
  • A handgun with a barrel length of six (6) inches, or longer, with a bore diameter of .270 inches or larger, when firing a bullet, producing at least 550 ft/lbs of energy at 100 yards.
  • Firearms may not be fully-automatic (capable of firing more than one round with one trigger pull).
  • Full metal jacketed or tracer bullet ammunition is prohibited
  • Archery and crossbow equipment that is legal for deer hunting. Hunters under 16 years of age and over 65 years of age may use a crossbow during all crossbow and archery seasons.

KENTUCKY’S TROPHY BULLS: Top 10 bull elk taken by hunters

  • Score: *372 6/8
  • Hunter: Terrell Royalty
  • County: Knott
  • Method: Modern gun
  • Year: 2009
  • Score: 371 0/8
  • Hunter: Greg Neff
  • County: Bell
  • Method: Modern gun
  • Year: 2007
  • Score: *367 7/8
  • Hunter: Kelvin Jackson
  • County: Harlan
  • Method: Modern gun
  • Year: 2008
  • Score: 367 0/8
  • Hunter: Bill Auxier
  • County: Knott
  • Method: Modern gun
  • Year: 2007
  • Score: 361 4/8
  • Hunter: Franklin Scott
  • County: Knott
  • Method: Modern gun
  • Year: 2006
  • Score: *357 0/8
  • Hunter: Bruce Brantley
  • County: Perry
  • Method: Crossbow
  • Year: 2011
  • Score: *356 6/8
  • Hunter: Chris Godby
  • County: Knott
  • Method: Modern gun
  • Year: 2009
  • Score: 353 2/8
  • Hunter: Daniel Ware
  • County: Breathitt
  • Method: Modern gun
  • Year: 2012
  • Score: 353 1/8
  • Hunter:Wesley Gage Fultz
  • County: Leslie
  • Method: Modern gun
  • 2007
  • Score: *349 2/8
  • Hunter: Andy Kidd
  • County: Perry
  • Method: Modern gun
  • Year: 2006

* Non-typical

This list includes the 10 largest bull elk scored and reported to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. The department is compiling a list of the top 100 elk taken in Kentucky. Please send copies of signed score sheets to: Kentucky Trophy Elk List, KDFWR, 1 Sportsman’s Lane, Frankfort, Ky 40602.