In 1997 KDFWR started the Elk Restoration Program, which brought elk back to Kentucky. Last month I put my $10 chance in for the Kentucky Elk drawing, which closed on April 30th. This time, I chose the rifle hunt for a bull elk. Back in 2009, I was lucky enough to have been drawn for a bull elk tag; Kentucky has a 16 county Elk zone in the southeastern part of the state, which is a quota hunt, and back then I picked Zone 3, which was made up of about half of Knott county at that time.
I had looked at several potential outfitters in that area and ended up with Jerry Hall as my guide. I had gone to West Virginia the weekend before my scheduled hunt with a bunch of friends and family to whitewater raft the Gauley River, so instead of returning home to Paducah, I went on to Jerry’s place and camped on his property. I went out with Jerry every morning and afternoon, to drive through his property and view the elk. I saw a lot of elk – some were fighting, making rubs, chasing cows, bugling, and much more. I asked Jerry how many hunters he had coming on Saturday, and he said “four,” so I asked him if he would hunt with me in the spot we were at on Saturday, and he said, “yes.” The next morning, before light, Jerry and I returned to that location. We heard elk bugling all around us! Jerry procced to cow call. Soon after it got light, I saw a 4 X 4 coming our way to investigate the calling. He was right in our laps in just minutes, but I had seen much bigger elk earlier that week, so I passed on the young bull at 10 yards. About 2 pm, a much larger bull stepped out of the woods at 175 yards from our position, and I let that 8×6 elk have some lead from my 30.06. He went down. My heart was about to beat out of my chest. I had just shot a monster! It was such an exciting moment.
It took the rest of the evening to get that elk out of the bottom of the terraced-off land, where we were hunting, but it was worth it. It was “good eating” for an entire year, and the trophy mount is very impressive. This was truly a hunt of a lifetime for me, and I am really looking forward to the next time I get drawn. Have you put in for the KY elk hunt?