On Jan. 14, Trump used a bow and arrow to kill a bull elk on private property in Martin County, said Mark Marraccini, communications director for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. Marraccini said he believes Trump’s elk weighed about 700 pounds.
“It doesn’t really matter what you’re hunting, if you’re an archer, that’s a higher skill level than using a rifle. He made this kill with a bow and was probably 30 yards away,” Marraccini said. “To get close enough to make a kill with a bow, there’s a lot of skill involved in that.”
Trump was able to procure a hunting tag quickly thanks to the unique relationship the department has with certain private landowners, Marraccini said. There are about 40 of these landowner-cooperator tags in Kentucky.
“Say you’re a big coal company or a big power company and you own 40,000 acres of land. The department has entered into an agreement with some of those landowners that for every 5,000 acres that they will deed over to us to be used for public recreation year round, we would let them have one elk tag, and they can use that tag anyway they want,” Marraccini said.
For the rest of the public, obtaining a hunting tag takes luck.
In 2016, there were about 75,000 applications for elk hunting licenses in Kentucky put into a lottery. Nine hundred ten licenses were granted. The license drawing is random, Marraccini said.
This December marks the 20-year anniversary of Kentucky bringing seven elk into the state to establish a population, Marraccini said.
Marraccini said he has put his name into the lottery for an elk tag every year since 2001 and has never been chosen.