Apply today for a Kentucky elk hunt

FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 28, 2021) — Take your big game hunting to another level and apply today for the 2021 Kentucky elk hunt drawing. 

Kentucky's mountains are home to the largest elk herd and hunt east of the Rockies. A Kentucky elk permit eliminates the need to drive for days to a western destination to hunt elk. Whether you're a new or experienced hunter, the random drawing makes hunting elk accessible to everyone. 

Kentucky's elk permit drawing system gives applicants equal opportunities of being selected for one of nearly 600 permits to hunt the thousands of elk in the state's herd. The deadline to enter the drawing is coming up quickly– April 30 at midnight (EDT).  

Kentucky offers three types of permits through a randomized drawing open to residents and nonresidents. By state regulation, at least 90 percent of Kentucky's elk permits are allotted to residents each year.

Proceeds from application fees help to support Kentucky's elk management, research and public hunting access. Each application costs just $10. License purchase is not required to apply, but for those drawn an annual hunting license and the applicable elk permit are required to hunt.

Each applicant may apply for any of the three available permit types: firearms for bull elk, firearms for cow elk, and archery/crossbow for a bull or cow elk (either sex). In addition, youths age 15 or younger may also apply to a bonus allotment of 25 special youth-only permits, which are valid to harvest a bull or cow, during any season segment, and with any legal hunting equipment.

Applicants can draw only one permit per year, and those who have drawn must wait three years before they can apply again.

Kentucky is offering 594 elk permits through the 2021 drawing. This total includes 175 archery/crossbow permits for a bull or cow; 150 firearm permits for bulls; 244 firearm permits for cows; and 25 youth-only permits for a bull or cow.

The Commonwealth Office of Technology, the state's information technology agency, conducts the Kentucky elk hunt drawing independently. Applicants are assigned unique numbers and their names are removed from the electronic applications for the computer drawing, thus guaranteeing a fair drawing.

A private accounting company audits the results of each year's drawing. Results are certified for accuracy, and then delivered to the host of a live results-revealing event and to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife for notifying applicants.

Kentucky's elk hunting zone encompasses more than 4.3 million acres across 16 southeastern counties. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife offers numerous public access areas for hunting. The Kentucky elk zone is split into elk units to distribute hunting pressure across the elk zone.

Kentucky's elk hunt continues to achieve one of the top harvest rates among states with elk.

Discover your road map to elk hunting in Kentucky by visiting Kentucky Fish and Wildlife's elk hunting webpage at

Results will be revealed during a live event at 1 p.m. on May 15 at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg. The results will be livestreamed.

Full details about this special live results revealing event will be emailed to applicants. Reults will be uploaded into applicants' My Profile accounts at by no later than 5 p.m. (EDT) on May 20.

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