Whitesburg KY
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Struttin’ Time

Elk restoration has been a success


From zero to 11,000 in just 12 years. “Bonanza in the Bluegrass State” is the way the July-August, 2009 Bugle magazine starts telling about the elk restored here in our area.

What started as a far-fetched idea has become a sparkling reality. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has spent more than $1.4 million to capture, transport, release, and monitor the fledgling Kentucky elk herd. The foundation has spent another million since implementing the conservation plan.

In 1997 we hauled in seven elk from Kansas. Then within a short time we got 1,550 more from five other states. Released at eight locations, these wapiti exploded into their former haunts with unheard of vigor, achieving survival rates and reproduction as high as 80 calves per 100 cows. Kentucky now ranks 10th in the nation in the size of its elk herd.

This year 1,000 tags were issued. I can see in the near future where we will be giving out 1,500. I am proud of the many people that thought outside of the box and made this happen. This hunter’s hat is off to all of you. But while the future of elk hunting in Kentucky looks promising, it’s only as good as the public’s ability to get out on the land where elk roam, and negotiate agreements to assure hunting access.

For the ones who were lucky enough to get a tag this year, the season will open soon. I wish you the best, and that your shot travels true.

I hope to see ya’ll at the final Kids Days event on July 31 from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. at Whitesburg’s Riverside Park. Remember, back-to-school supplies will be given out, and everything is free. Hope to see a lot of my old hunting buddies there.

Take a kid hunting, put a smile on not only on their face, but yours as well. Life is a journey, the day you are born, you start to die. It’s the journey in between that counts.


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