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An image of an elk is shown by photographer Gary Wendell.

Attention all big-game hunters: Do you have chasing elk on your adventure bucket list? Do you dream of bugling bulls, beautiful country to roam, and settling your sights on a trophy that is considered by many to be the utmost in American big game species to pursue?

For many, the thoughts of elk surround western states and the Rocky Mountains. There are many options for western hunting, including DYI over-the-counter tags to lottery draws for limited tags in high-success hunting units.

Throw in an outfitter, guides, lodging, travel expenses, out-of-state licenses, tags and meals and it doesn’t take long for your adventure to add up in the money department.

Maybe some local options for elk may be exactly what your hunting budget calls for. If so, here are two options to consider.

Kentucky Elk Hunt Lottery Drawing

According to their online resource page, the application period opens on Jan. 1 every year. Deadline to apply: April 30, midnight, Eastern time. Go to and click the Buy Licenses tab. You will be taken to the Online License and Permit Agent page. Select the 2022-2023 license year.

The next screen will require you to enter your customer information. It will ask for your last name, date of birth (MM/DD/YYYY), and the last four of your social security number, then click “Continue.” If you are a new fish-and-wildlife license customer, you will be asked for more information to complete your profile. Alternatively, you can click “My Profile,” enter your last name, last four of your social security number and date of birth, then click “Submit.” From the main screen click “Purchase License.”

On the next page, make sure your information is correct and select the residency status and click “continue.”

The next screen is the “License and Permit Selection” page. You can purchase any licenses and permits here. Under the “permit” section you can select “Elk Antlerless Firearm Drawing,” “Elk Antlered Firearm Drawing,” and/or “Elk Either-Sex Archery/Crossbow Drawing.” You can apply for all three elk drawing permit types. (Note: youths 15 and younger can also apply for the youth-only elk permit, which appears as an option only for those who enter a qualifying birthdate.) After selecting your licenses/permits, click “Continue.”

This screen shows your order summary. You should see the elk drawing permit(s) you chose each for $10 as an item you are purchasing. If not, click “Change selections” to add the drawing.

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Once your order summary is complete, click “Checkout” and enter your credit/debit card information. Click “Submit order.”

You will receive a 19-digit confirmation number. Be sure to record this number, as you will need it to check to see if you were drawn for the elk hunt in May. (If you lose this number, you can also use your SSN and birthdate to see if you were drawn.)

The elk drawing is completed in early May and results are posted to “My Profile” later in the month.

Virginia Elk Hunt Lottery

Go to and click the link to the Inaugural Elk Hunt Lottery tab. On that page, you will find all the information you need to apply. From their landing page, I gathered the following information:

The hunt for the 2022-23 season will be held Saturday, Oct. 8 through Friday, Oct. 14, 2022. There are five antlered elk tags available for this year’s hunt via lottery. The application period for the elk lottery will open on Feb. 1 and close on March 30.

Applications for a special elk hunting license can be obtained online, under elk hunting, or by calling the Department of Wildlife Resources Customer Service for assistance in applying via phone.

Applications require a non-refundable fee of $15 for Virginia residents and $20 for out-of-state residents. Winners of the elk hunting application will then need to purchase a special elk-hunting license for $40 for in-state residents, and $400 for out-of-state residents. Winners of the randomized computer drawing will be notified by May 30. You can also check the status of your application by visiting your DWR GoOutdoorsVA page.

Good luck, and maybe, just maybe this will be the year your elk hunting dreams come true!

Contact Chris Ellis at

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