Just the FAQs

Kentucky elk FAQ: frequently asked questions

Yes. (updated 4/20/2022)

How many wild elk are in Kentucky?

The current estimated Kentucky elk population is 15,876 animals, according to the most recent figures released by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources in its 2020-2021 Elk Report. (updated 4/20/2022)

What type of elk are in Kentucky?

The elk (Cervus canadensis) is one of the largest species in the deer family, Cervidae, and one of the largest terrestrial mammals in its native range of North America. All Kentucky elk are Cervus canadensis. The common name “elk,” used in North America, sometimes creates confusion because the larger Alces alces — called “moose” in North America — is called “elk” in British English.

The elk originally native to Kentucky belonged to the eastern elk subspecies, Cervus canadensis canadensis. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service declared Cervus canadensis canadensis extinct near the end of the 19th century. Kentucky’s modern-day elk herds belong to the Rocky Mountain elk subspecies, Cervus canadensis nelsoni. (updated 4/21/2022)

How much is an elk tag in Kentucky?

The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources doesn’t issue elk “tags,” only elk permits. Elk permits are distributed via an annual drawing. It currently costs $10 to enter the Kentucky elk draw in each of four different permit categories, with winners in each category needing to pay $30 to $550 for their elk permit. In addition to an elk permit, a valid Kentucky hunting license is required to hunt elk in Kentucky. (updated 4/20/2022)

Have a question about Kentucky elk you’d like answered? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll do our best to find an answer for you.

Billy Suratt

Billy Suratt is a Mid-South photojournalist and Kentucky writer. He enjoys long walks on beaches, short walks through parking lots and shooting football by candlelight. Follow him on Twitter, but please not through any parking lots.

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