Celebrating nine years of elk hunting in the state of Tennessee, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency announced this year’s allotment of Special Elk Take Permits for the 2017 hunting season.

In total, eight elk tags will be made available for this year’s elk hunting season. Six of the available tags will be issued through the Agency’s quota hunt drawing system, one will be earmarked for a Young Sportsmen permit (ages 13-16) and the final will be awarded to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation (TWRA).

The tag awarded to the TWRA is always sold via an auction by an NGO (non-governmental agency) and the TWRA has accepted the tag for the second year in a row.

Held on eBay, the tag is currently being auctioned off to the highest bidder with the entire proceeds of the sale heading to future elk restoration efforts in Tennessee.   After reintroduction began in 2000, the following eight years saw 201 elk released into the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area.  Shortly thereafter, the first elk hunt took place in 2009 after a 150-year hiatus and marked the very first NGO permit sold as part of the program.

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TWRA Executive Director Ed Carter pictured with Chuck Flynn in October 2009. This was the first elk legally taken in Tennessee in nearly 150 years.

The first auctioned tag raked in $17,000, while last year’s NGO permit sold for $9,000 on eBay.  The buyer, Wade Roberts of Leoma was unsuccessful in his attempt to take an elk in 2016.

Since 2009, 33 bulls have been legally taken in Tennessee, however, only three of those were killed in 2016 due to poor weather and abundant corn crops.

The auction kicked off on Sunday evening and is set to expire this Sunday, August 6th at 9:30 p.m. (CST).  Currently speaking, the current bid sits at $7,600, topping the list of 46 total bids on the tag.  The 2017 7-day elk season in Tennessee is scheduled from October 14-20, marking a two-day increase from previous hunts.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency estimates the current elk population to hover around the 300 mark.