Big game hunters

Elk hunt is a unique opportunity
for Henry County father and son

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(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.”

James & Andrew Pollard with Jordan Campbell

Photo provided

Henry County elk hunter James Pollard
(front) with his brother Andrew Pollard
and friend Jordan Campbell.

Pollard’s 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 he’ll 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 coordinator.
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 Kentucky zone.
“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 don’t see,” said Timothy Pollard of his son’s 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 you’ll 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 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta