hunt is a unique opportunity
for Henry County father and son
Helen E. McKinney
(December 2006) Most hunters only dream of
being drawn in the lottery for the eastern Kentucky elk hunt. For Eminence,
Ky.s Timothy Pollard, whose son was drawn for the hunt, it felt
like a once in a lifetime opportunity.
County elk hunter James Pollard
(front) with his brother Andrew Pollard
and friend Jordan Campbell.
Pollards 11-year-old son, James, was drawn to try
his chances at harvesting an elk at a reclaimed coal mine in Knott County,
Ky. His father and twin brother, Andrew, went along with him, and his
father called it an opportunity you could not pass up.
James began hunting within the last few years and has been very involved
with 4-H sports, his father said. His interest paid off and, according
to his father, the only drawback to the experience is that he thinks
hell be drawn again to hunt elk.
But James experience was an unforgettable one. He was confident
that he could win the draw, calling it a good experience.
July 31 was the deadline to purchase an elk quota hunt application permit
for the 2006-hunting season. After this cut-off period, the Kentucky
Department of Fish and Wildlife resources drew 200 hunters randomly
by computer and notified them by mail.
Qualifying hunters were required to have a valid Kentucky hunting license
and to purchase an elk tag before their hunt. There were more than 26,000
applicants for the 2006 elk hunts, which occurred in October and December.
The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Department partnered with the Rocky Mountain
Elk Foundation in 1997 to begin an elk restoration project in eastern
Kentucky. About 1,563 elk were released between 1997 and 2002, said
Dr. Tina Brunjes, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Big Game
Prior to this, elk had been absent from the state for about 150 years.
Limited elk hunting began in Kentucky in 2001 in the eastern Kentucky
elk restoration zone. This is a different subspecies from what
was originally here, said Brunjes.
Biologists estimate that Kentucky now has approximately 5,700 free-range
elk in a 16-county zone and are trying to keep the elk in this eastern
By 2016, we will hit our target of 10,000, said Brunjes.
This ongoing research project will keep close tabs on such elements
as population growth, pregnancy rates and migration trends. Biological
data will be collected from the hunts.
The Pollards had a chance to see a part of Kentucky most people
dont see, said Timothy Pollard of his sons hunt. James
was drawn for a zone-at-large bull-tag. Fifty of these were issued for
the hunt, said Pollard.
Before the hunt, he worked with his son to practice his rifle shooting.
James used a 7-millimeter firearm to bring down his bull. Pollard also
located an Internet website hunting forum. It is located at www.unclelees.com.
From this site, the Pollards met up with Sam Taylor, their guide on
the hunt. Taylor volunteered his services and advice to help James locate
and kill his bull elk.
With a growing herd, the number of tags issued will increase each year,
and chances are that if you get drawn for a hunt, the odds are
really good youll get an animal, said Brunjes. The elk project
has brought back a critical part of the eco-system.
Elk have been released on reclaimed coal mines, which also provide an
excellent habitat for quail and rabbits. The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife
Department has replanted food sources that will benefit the elk and
animals that co-exist with them.
The elk do not have a lot of reason to leave these areas,
Brunjes said. Conditions are right for the elk to have necessary food
sources and the opportunity to be in a herd, which is the type of living
condition they prefer.
There are several locations in Kentucky that provide organized tours
of the elk population. Hazard County, Ky, the Jenny Wiley State Resort
Park and the Begley Family ATV Park are a few eastern Kentucky spots.
Efforts are being made to keep the elk in remote areas of Kentucky,
said Brunjes. The herd is growing fast, but we will issue more
tags in the future to control them.
For more information, visit: www.fw.ky.gov.
Back to December 2006