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April 30 deadline for KY elk hunt drawing

From Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

-- Hunters have until midnight April 30 to apply for Kentucky's elk hunt quota drawing. The elk permit hunt drawing is open to residents and nonresidents.

Kentucky will issue 900 general quota hunt permits this year, an increase of 100 permits over the 2011 season. Kentucky's elk herd is expected to surpass 10,000 animals by fall.

Kentucky has more elk than all the states east of the Mississippi River combined. The state's 16-county elk restoration zone encompasses more than 4 million acres, nearly twice the size of Yellowstone National Park. More than half a million acres are open to public hunting for elk in Kentucky.

Hunters can select from among four different elk permits: Firearms bull, archery bull, firearms cow elk or archery cow elk. While hunters may apply for two different permits, they can only be drawn for one of those permits. Each application costs $10.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife will issue 135 permits to hunt a bull with a firearm through the general quota hunt this season. The department will issue 90 bull archery permits, 265 cow elk archery permits and 410 cow elk gun permits. A separate youth-only drawing will allow five young hunters to take a bull or a cow.

Hunters may only apply online.

While there's no sure thing in hunting, Kentucky does offer phenomenal odds for hunters.

"Kentucky's success rate for hunters is higher than you'll see for wild elk practically anywhere else," noted Tina Brunjes, deer and elk program coordinator. "If hunters put in a little effort, they will see elk. If they put in a little more effort, they will take an elk."

Last year, 93 percent of bull elk hunters using a firearm were successful. Even when using more challenging archery equipment, 68 percent of hunters took their bull. Thirty-seven percent of cow elk archery hunters were successful in 2011, but the success rate climbed to 73 percent for cow elk hunters using a firearm.

Brunjes said 2012 will be a superb season for hunters. "We had no real winter and no shortage of groceries for the animals," she said. "We should be set up for big, healthy animals coming into the hunting season and a lot of them."

Demand is highest for the bull firearms hunts. Cow elk archery hunts are in the lowest demand, meaning this permit offers a hunter the best odds of being drawn.

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