elk bugling

Elk Hunting Info

​​​​​​​Elk Hunting Regulations

Unless license exempt, all elk hunters are required to purchase a Kentucky annual hunting license and an elk hunting permit. Elk hunters must also print a vehicle hang tag to display in their vehicle while hunting, and is only available to print once a hunter has purchased their elk permit. Hunters must comply with all season dates, bag limits, hunter orange requirements, and equipment restrictions for their individual permit type. Upon the conclusion of their hunt, hunters are also required to complete the postseason elk hunter survey listed in their MyProfile. Failure to comply with the survey requirement will prohibit a hunter from applying for all KDFWR-administered quota hunts and no-hunt options the following year.

Please see the 2022–2023 Kentucky Hunting Guide for a comprehensive list of elk hunting regulations.

Elk Hunting Areas

Elk Hunting Units:The Kentucky elk management zone is divided into 7 Elk Hunting Units (EHU), 6 of which are open for elk hunting. Kentucky is approximately 95 % privately owned and much of the public land available to elk hunting received significant hunting pressure. The EHU system was developed in 2019 to reduce the risk of overharvesting elk in any one area.

Regulated Areas: Regulated Areas (RA) are privately owned properties that KDFWR has entered into an agreement with the landowner (via the voucher-cooperator or landowner-cooperator programs) to allow limited public access for elk hunting.

Hunting Area Drawing

All drawn elk hunters and Commission permit holders have the ability to apply for a specific Elk Hunting Unit and/or Regulated Area in a secondary drawing conducted by the Commonwealth Office of Technology. Prior to the drawing, each hunter will have the ability to choose up to five unit or area preferences prior to midnight on July 2nd. Once the selections have been made, each applicant, regardless of permit type, will be given an identifying number and drawn at random for the unit or area of their choosing. A computer will randomly draw an individual and look at all of their choices prior to moving to the next applicant. If there are no openings in any of that applicant’s choices, or if an applicant failed to make a selection, the computer will randomly place the applicant in a hunt unit with an opening for their permit type. Results will be available by July 16th. Any remaining spots for Regulated Areas will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis on August 9th at 8 AM EST through your “My Profile” page.

2022 max hunters per unit  
2021 percent success  

Elk Hunting Reports

The following reports detail the results of the previous elk hunting seasons, and also highlight any regulatory changes to the elk hunting structure.