An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
Note: Hunters must follow deer season regulations and use only the legal elk hunting equipment described on this page to take elk from any county not included in the 16-county elk zone (out-of-zone), and must have an Out-of-Zone Elk Permit.
The Kentucky elk zone is divided into six different units. The primary function of each unit is to prevent localized overharvest of elk on public access land; KDFWR accomplishes this goal by limiting the number of hunters allowed on each unit. When choosing a hunting unit, there is no substitute for up-to-date knowledge about the different hunting areas in which you are interested. Explore KDFWR’s elk webpage, review past harvest results from different counties and public hunting areas, talk to someone who has hunted elk in Kentucky, visit the area to scout, and/or interview some of Kentucky's licensed elk guides.
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 4.3 million-acre 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.
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.
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.
Elk may only be hunted during daylight hours, from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
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 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 regulations and use only the legal elk hunting equipment outlined above, but are not required to possess a Statewide Deer Permit.
All elk must be telechecked. Hunters must call 1-800-245-4263 and report the harvest. See the
“General Information” section for details.
All elk hunters must complete and submit a post-season elk hunting survey no later than the last day of February. The post-season survey will be accessible to elk hunters through the
“My Profile” feature on the department’s website. Any elk hunter who fails to complete and submit the post-season survey will be ineligible to apply for any Kentucky Fish and Wildlife administered quota hunt or no-hunt option the following year.
KDFWR offers five types of elk permits: general drawing quota permits, special commission permits, voucher cooperator permits, landowner cooperator permits, and elk restoration permits.
Emailed submissions to
firstname.lastname@example.org also will be accepted.