Landowner elk programs

Published 9:40 am Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Harlan Fiscal Court was advised about programs some county landowners can participate in to earn an elk tag allowing them to hunt elk on their land during a recent meeting.

Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley handed the floor over to Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife representative Will Bowling.

“These programs are allowing folks who live here to get an elk permit without being drawn for it.” Bowling said. “There are two different programs. One is the Voucher Cooperator Program — the other is called the Elk Restoration Permit Program.”

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According to Bowling, the programs were set up for small landowners.

“When we were putting this together a few years ago, we wanted to work with smaller landowners and give folks who might not own a huge chunk of land…maybe they own 100 acres here or 150 acres there. We wanted to give those folks an opportunity so they could earn an elk permit so they could hunt here in eastern Kentucky,” Bowling said.

Bowling said Fish and Wildlife often have landowners ask about hunting the elk on their own property.

“That’s a big reason why we created these two programs,” Bowling said. “They’re both point based systems. The Voucher Cooperator Program is an elk hunting program. It’s an access program for folks who will allow people come onto their property for limited hunting access.”

Bowling pointed out the program requires the owner to have 100 or more acres of land.

“For every elk that’s harvested on their property, they get one point,” Bowling explained. “When that landowner gets 10 points, they get an elk tag to be used on their own property the following year.”

Bowling said the points have recently been dropped from 20 to 10 to make the program more attractive to landowners. He also explained the points roll over from year to year.

“If you have just a few elk on your land, it might take you a few years to get 10 points,” Bowling said.

Bowling said it is a landowner friendly program.

“You’re allowed to limit the number of hunters, it’s not wide open,” Bowling explained. “It’s not for public access. It’s for elk hunting only, and the landowner gets to essentially choose how many people they want on their land.”

Bowling also explained the Elk Restoration Program.

“The point system works the same, at 10 points the landowner gets an elk permit,” Bowling said. “But, instead of hunter access, it’s set up for tracking.”

Bowling said Fish and Wildlife move elk around in order to create new herds.

“If a landowner isn’t comfortable providing hunting access, they can contact the department, we’ll come out and we can potentially put an elk track on your land,” Bowling said. “For every elk that we track and move on your property, that landowner gets a point.”

Bowling said the tags obtained through these programs are completely transferable and may be given to another individual or sold.

“If you’re not so much about elk hunting yourself, you can sell that tag or give it away,” Bowling said. “It’s up to you how you use it — you just have to let us know who’s going to receive the permit.”

Bowling asked the magistrates to let their constituents know about the programs.

For more information on the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s elk programs, visit or call 800-858-1549.