If you live in the Midwest, don't make the expensive trip out west and apply to Kentucky's quota hunt instead.
Hunters who are interested in the opportunity to hunt elk in Kentucky are encouraged to apply soon for Kentucky's drawing for elk permits. The deadline to apply is midnight Eastern time on April 30, 2015. Applications for the elk draw are only accepted online at http://fw.ky.gov.
There are four permit types that you can apply for: elk anterless firearm, elk anterless archery/crossbow, elk antlered firearm, and elk antlered archery/crossbow. A hunter is allowed to apply for all four permits to increase their chance to hunt elk. The cost for each permit application is $10.
The computerized draw is held in May so participants can check back then to see if they drew a permit. If you draw a permit before actually participating in a hunt, make sure you purchase the appropriate elk permit.
Gabe Jenkins, deer and elk program coordinator with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources says:
There are a variety of reasons to apply. It's an opportunity to hunt a game species in the state that many consider the pinnacle. It's also fantastic table fare. An elk can provide a couple hundred pounds of meat. And it's close to home. Most of the elk hunters in the east have to travel west. The permits in Kentucky are about the same price as they are in the western states, but it's 20 hours closer. Our success rates are much higher, too.
There should be a good number of permits to go around. Kentucky's Fish and Game Commission has recommended that 900 permits be made available for the 2015-2016 hunting season. That includes 250 permits for bull elk between the firearm and archery permits. Still, with close to 40,000 people applying for permits last year, your odds are not a given.
If you need some help in your application, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has created a helpful page to guide you through the online process.