The 2023 Virginia elk quota hunt application period is open. Instructions on how to apply for the 2023 elk drawing can be found at https://dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/elk/hunting/elk-lottery/. The deadline to apply is midnight (ET) on March 30th.
Virginia accepts online applications for the elk drawing. If you have questions about or need assistance with applying, call 804-367-1000. Virginia does not accept party applications for elk. The elk permit is not transferable to another individual.
Winners of the elk tags will be notified by May 30th. Successful applicants will have 30 days from notification to purchase the license. Licenses that are not purchased by the deadline will be awarded to alternate hunters who will be drawn concurrently with the original hunters. No more than one, or 10% of the tags, may be issued to non-residents. A minimum of one permit or 10%, whichever is greater, will be awarded to applicants whose primary residence lies within the Elk Management Zone.
The application fees must be paid for using Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or a debit card. The drawing application costs $20, which is non-refundable.
Hunter education is required for hunters 12-15 years of age. An apprentice hunting license can be purchased by a new hunter before successfully completing a hunter education course and is an easier way for a new hunter to hunt with a mentor during the season. The apprentice hunter must be accompanied and directly supervised by a hunter possessing a valid Virginia hunting license who is an adult over the age of 18.
Virginia does not have a minimum age to apply.
Virginia does not have a preference or bonus point system.
This will be the second time Virginia has offered an elk draw. In 2022, there were 31,951 total applications for the inaugural hunt.
Youth have a reduced-price hunting license if drawn, but no elk tags are set aside for youth only. Also, there are no reduced-price elk tags for youth. All non-resident elk tags will be $400.
The following are legal weapons to hunt elk in Virginia: a .23 caliber or larger rifle, a muzzleloader (.40 caliber or larger), a shotgun, or a handgun .35 caliber or larger. For archers using a crossbow, longbow, recurve, and/or compound bow, there is not a draw weight limit, but you must hunt with a fixed blade or mechanical broadhead that has at least a 7/8" wide cutting edge.
The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources will issue one elk permit this year through their Conservation Licence Program. At the time of print, the information to purchase a raffle ticket was not available. They expect it to be on their website shortly at https://dwr.virginia.gov. Proceeds from the raffle of the special elk hunting license will be returned to the wildlife-related habitat or wildlife management projects within the Elk Management Zone. Last year, the permit was issued to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to be raffled off, in which they raised more than $90,000 to be put back into conservation efforts within the EMZ.
Outside of the Elk Management Zone, elk may be hunted during deer seasons with a deer permit. There are typically very few elk found outside of the Elk Management Zone.
Virginia uses electronic reporting. All deer, bear, turkey, elk, and bobcat hunters, including those hunters exempt from purchasing a license, must report their harvests through the Department’s telephone reporting system (1-866-GOTGAME or 1-866-468-4263) or over the Internet at www.gooutdoorsvirginia.com. Licensed hunters have a third reporting option. They may use eNotch on the Department’s free Go Outdoors Virginia mobile phone application.
The hunt for the 2023-2024 season will be held Saturday, October 14, 2023 through Friday, October 20, 2023. With the potential of 350"+ bulls, it is hard not to spend the $20 and apply for an elk tag. There will be a total of five tags available in the draw, and an additional tag will be raffled off through a Conservation License Program.
Between 2012 and 2014, 75 elk were successfully reintroduced to Virginia from Kentucky. Most of the elk are still close to the original restoration site in Buchanan County. The state selected Buchanan, Dikenson, and Wise counties to make up their Elk Management Zone. This is a good mix of timbered country that is perfect elk habitat. The elk herd has done great and has grown to over 275 elk with plenty of mature bulls available.
Within the Elk Restoration Zone, most of the country is made up of reclaimed coal mine lands and almost all private land. The Virginia Department of Wildlife has many partnerships and agreements with private landowners in the Elk Management Zone that will allow public access for elk hunting. Hunters will gather and meet up with respective landowners who will help escort you through the properties. With no preference or bonus point system, you have as good of odds as anyone else applying. We expect the odds of drawing an elk tag in Virginia to be lottery type odds. With it only being $20 to apply and with 350" bulls available, you can bet that all of us at Huntin’ Fool will have our names in the draw. Give us a call if you are lucky enough to draw a coveted Virginia elk tag.