Whitesburg KY
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Struttin’ Time

What is happening to our elk herd?

The faster I went the last few days, the farther behind I got.

I have been getting ready for my Mexico wild turkey hunting trip, and so far everything looks to be a go. I am reminded of the words my papaw spoke to me in 1957, when he was wanting a ditch dug. Seems a friend of his told him there was no need to start digging that ditch by hand, that he would bring his backhoe over and have it dug in no time.

After a week, my Uncle Lo, along with our McRoberts gang, was digging away, no backhoe in sight. When I asked after we finished the ditch what happened to his friend with the backhoe, Papaw looked at me and said, “Son, the more people you get involved with a project, the less likely it will get done.” Nothing has changed.

If you want to hunt elk in Kentucky, your deadline has passed for this year. April 30 was the last day you could apply. Have you noticed the way the number of tags available has declined? We were hitting over 1,000, now it is around 500.

We have closed areas, shipped our elk to other states, and no one can tell you anything about how we went from being the crown jewel with the biggest elk herd east of the Mississippi, to being on the verge of closing elk season. Several outfitters have already stopped doing cow hunts, hoping the herd will come back.

If you are like me, or several of my friends, whose name has never been drawn, you got your elk in another state — after four years, in my case.

We are now looking at never being able to hunt elk in Kentucky. I predict if the number of available tags drops below the current 500, the Department of Fish and Wildlife will have no choice but to rebuild the herd, and that means no hunting.

I have no answer, nor do I try and find blame. Elk are wild animals, and nature will call the shots on them. I guess not all is bad; we waited many years just to hunt a deer, and at least we gave it a shot with elk.

Who knows? They may come back, bigger and better than ever. Now on to finish packing for Mexico.

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