Topic 8
Hunter Options

Hunter Options

Elk hunters in Kentucky have the option to hire a guide or hunt on their own. Both options offer the hunter great experiences and many positives can be said about hunting either way.

Here we’ve highlighted some of the pros and cons of hunting with or without a guide for Kentucky elk.

Hunting with a Guide

Hunting with a guide can offer many benefits.

  • Pros
    • Scouting is done for you: No need to travel pre-season to scout, unless you just want to get a feel for the terrain prior to the hunt
    • Access to private lands via guide and guide-contacts
    • High success rates: Depending on the guide, success rates for elk hunting with a guide are typically higher than hunting on your own.
    • Help after the kill: Removal of the elk from the field, skinning it out, field dressing or quartering
    • They know how to elk hunt and can “teach” novice elk hunters.
  • Cons
    • Extra expense
    • Plans are more concrete versus going by yourself, which can be more laid back

Do It Yourself (DIY)- Hunting

  • Pros
    • Hunt at your own speed and leisure
    • Complete full hunting experience on your own from scouting to processing
    • Self-reflecting
    • Hunt what season and what area you prefer to hunt
    • Can be less expensive
  • Cons
    • Hunting on your own means less help with removal of the elk from the field, skinning it out, field dressing or quartering.
    • Can be overwhelming if you’re not fully prepared.
    • What happens if you were to get ill or be in an accident? There is safety in numbers.
Elk Hunter
Image Source: Joe Lacefield


Most hunters will bring friends with them to witness and help with the hunt. Put them to work, too! Use your assistants by having them call in your elk so you can be set and ready for a good shot when the opportunity presents itself. Assistants can help watch shot animals to reduce chance of shooting multiple animals. Remember, you can have as many assistants as you want on your hunt. Use another helper to range the distance between you and the approaching elk. Have them on top of a ridge glassing while you are trying to stalk the herd from the bottoms. Your options are endless; there's no reason you have to do ALL of the work! Before the hunt, make sure that both you and your hunting buddy know that being a responsible hunter means one should call 1-800-25ALERT to report a fish or wildlife violation.