‘It’s the hunter’s lottery’: 2022 Elk Hunt Draw brings hunters to MAC

WYMT Mountain News Weekend Edition newscast at 11 p.m. on Saturday
Published: May. 14, 2022 at 5:11 PM EDT
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WYMT Mountain News Weekend Edition newscast at 6 p.m. on Saturday

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - Hunters of all ages came to the Mountain Arts Center on Saturday in hopes of securing one of only 594 Kentucky elk hunting tags.

Donald Thomas, President of the non-profit Kentucky Elk Guide Association (KEGA), said it is the hunt of the lifetime.

“It’s the hunter’s lottery,” said Thomas. “When you get to experience that with them, I mean, some of them are overwhelmed and you get to help them out, then you get to see the end effect of it. When they do harvest an elk, you’re there and get to see the happy side of it.”

Non-hunters also came out to simply enjoy the festivities and vendors the event had to offer.

“We got vendors here, you can get you some popcorn and a cold pop to drink if you want to,” said Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Rich Storm. “We’ve got we’ve got guides and different vendors here that are here promoting their products and promoting Kentucky elk.”

On December 17, 1997, elk were first reintroduced to the region. 25 years later, the population is stronger than ever.

“Talk about an honor,” said Thomas. “You’re hunting one of the most majestic animals in North America right in your backyard.”

Officials hope the event will promote Appalachia and the Kentucky elk that call the region home while also boosting tourism and the economy.

“They’re going to be tens of thousands of people that are going to have the opportunity to come over here and experience what this wild elk herd is,” said Storm, “but they’re also going to get to share the beauty of Eastern Kentucky.”

Storm said 2022′s Elk Hunt Draw had nearly 95,000 entries, and these numbers have increased throughout the years.

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