Virginia’s First-Ever Elk Lottery Taking Place Next Month: What to Know

by Michael Freeman
(Photo by: Jon G. Fuller / VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

There’s been a lot of lottery talk lately with Mega Millions surpassing $600 million with its jackpot, but Virginia has another kind of lottery I’m sure hunters there will love. For the first time ever, it’s holding its own elk lottery.

Outdoor Life reports the hunt will take place this fall inside Virginia’s Elk Management Zone. The event will occur from October 8 to October 14, with five antlered elk tags being made available to the hunting public and distributed through the Inaugural Virginia Elk Hunt Lottery. However, before getting ready to apply, there are a few things you should know.

Resident and non-resident hunters alike may apply for the lottery anytime from February 1 to March 30. If you’re a state resident, you’ll need to pay a nonrefundable $15 application fee. Non-Virginia residents will need to pay $40. If you’re lucky enough to have your name drawn, you then need to buy one of the elk tags previously mentioned. Tags cost Virginia natives $40, while non-residents will have to shell out a whopping $400. The state plans to notify winners by May 30.

Virginia establishing a managed elk hunting season, as well as its first-ever elk tags, is a monumental undertaking. Though hunters have been able to legally harvest elk during the state’s deer season since 2001, it’s the first time the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources will hold a managed elk hunt.

Locals hunted elk into extinction back during the mid-19th century, the Virginia DWR reported. “The last native elk in Virginia was harvested several years prior to the start of the Civil War in 1855,” the statement reads. Luckily, the state successfully reintroduced them there, as well as the southeastern United States as a whole.

Judge Sentences Idaho Poacher to Spend the Next 3 Elk Hunting Seasons in Jail

Though the elk population is stabilizing, there are still rules and regulations to follow when hunting them. On that note, poaching them is a serious issue, but an Idaho judge’s creative sentence may be a good way of dealing with it. Rather than serving his sentence consecutively, the judge ordered a poacher to spend the next three elk seasons behind bars.

The Idaho judge sentenced Paul D. Coward to 90 days of jail time for poaching, though not in a conventional sense. Field and Stream reported the incarceration will occur for 30 days at a time for three years in a row. The 30 days happen to coincide with Idaho’s elk hunting season. Coward will serve his sentence starting this year, in addition to paying fines. Besides the $16,000 in general fines, he also must pay $10,000 for unlawful possession of a mountain goat.

Dave Overman, an Idaho Fish and Game conservation officer, stated Coward was convicted after a three-year investigation.