Archery season for deer and fall turkey begins September 6.  Read the 2014-15 Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide before hunting.​

The hunting season for dove and some other migratory birds began September 1.  Read the 2014-15 Dove Hunting Guide before hunting.​

 Elk Hunting

 

DATES, RESTRICTIONS AND HOW TO APPLY

 


HOW THE QUOTA HUNTS WORK

  • Applications go on sale January 1 for the next year’s Kentucky elk quota hunts. Hunters must buy their elk quota hunt applications before midnight Eastern time on April 30.
  • Elk quota hunt applications can only be purchased online. A person who does not have access to the department’s website to apply for any quota hunt may contact the department toll free at 1-800-858-1549 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) for assistance.
  • Residents and non-residents 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 15 years of age and under may apply for a youth-only quota hunt during the same application period as for the regular elk quota hunt drawing.
  • 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, will be permanently blocked from applying for the youth-only hunt again.
  • A random computer drawing is held in May to select the drawn hunters. Applicants may check to see if they were drawn here in May.
  • It is 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 on private land. •
  • There is no limit to the number of assistants an elk hunter may take into the field, but only the permit holder is allowed to hunt.
  • For the 2014-15 elk season, two WMAs are designated Active Restoration Areas, and are off limits to elk hunting – Fishtrap WMA in the North At-Large Area, and the southernmost parcel of Corrigan WMA in the South At-Large Area.
  • Quota elk permits must be purchased prior to hunting.
  • Hunters drawn for a quota elk permit are required to buy an elk quota hunt permit in additon to an annual hunting license.
  • Hunters awarded a bull elk permit will be blocked for three years from applying for another bull elk permit.
 

QUOTA HUNTS WITHIN THE ELK ZONE

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.

 

BAITING

Elk may not be hunted over bait on public or private lands within the elk zone. However, it is legal to hunt elk over bait outside the elk zone.

 

CALLING

A person shall not mimic the sound of an elk on public land open to elk hunting from Sept. 1 until the opening of the elk archery season.

 

SHOOTING HOURS

Elk may only be hunted during daylight hours, from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

 

BAG LIMIT/HUNTER ORANGE

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 zone during firearm elk seasons, must comply with the hunter orange clothing law.

 

ELK HUNTING OUTSIDE THE ELK ZONE

Elk may be taken from any county outside the 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.

 

CHECKING and TAGGING

All elk must be telechecked. Hunters must call 1-800-245-4263 and report the harvest. (See the General Information section for details.) A carcass tag is required if a harvested elk leaves the hunter’s possession for any reason.

LEGAL EQUIPMENT FOR ELK SEASON

  • 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 (see the Deer Hunting section).  Hunters 15 years old or younger and over 65 years of age may use a crossbow during all crossbow and archery seasons.
 
KENTUCKY'S TROPHY BULLS


 

 
WHERE TO HUNT ELK


Please see the Elk Limited Entry Areas Overview Map