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Virginia Set to Open First Ever Elk Hunt Lottery in February

Virginia Elk Season
Getty Images: Harry Collins

The application period for Virginia's first-ever managed elk hunt opens soon.

Virginia is opening their elk management zone to hunters for the first time ever, and a handful of people will get the chance to harvest one this fall. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources has announced the 2022 season will take place October 8 through the 14th this year and the state's lottery application period will start on February 1.

This first season is going to be antlered bull only. It's likely going to be difficult to get a tag, as the DWR are only issuing five of them for this year's hunt.

Still, the addition of this hunt will give hunters a rare opportunity to harvest a bull east of the Mississippi River. One interesting wrinkle here is that unlike Kentucky, which doles out tags to residents only, Virginia is going to be open to residents and non-residents. Albeit with a stipulation that: "no more than one, or 10% of, whichever is greater, of all special elk hunting licenses allotted through random lottery within a single license year will be awarded to applicants from out-of-state," the DWR wrote on their website.

Another interesting wrinkle to Virginia's new elk lottery is that there will be no preference points system. The DWR decided a completely random drawing would give everyone a fair and equal chance of being drawn each year.

"Such a system does not discriminate against or act as a deterrent to new hunters, seniors, youths, or anyone else who enters the drawing from having an opportunity to be drawn within a reasonable period of time," the site reads.

As far as application fees and license costs, they are quite affordable when compared to other states. The application fee is $15 for residents and $20 for non-residents. If drawn, the license itself is just $40 for residents and $400 for non-residents, which makes it one of the most affordable elk tags in the country.

There will be another way to get a Virginia license without entering the drawing though. The DWR says they are reserving a "conservation license" each year that will be raffled off by a conservation organization. The money will go back into helping manage the elk management zone.

The application period starts February 1 and will end on March 30. Anyone interested in applying can call DWR Customer Service at 866-721-6911, or online at goooutdoorsvirginia.com

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Virginia Set to Open First Ever Elk Hunt Lottery in February