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Did you know that Kentucky has the largest herd of wild elk east of the Mississippi River?

In 1997, seven elk were shipped from Kansas to the mountains of southeastern Kentucky. Over the next several years some 1,550 more wapiti were transported from various Western states into the Kentucky mountains. The animals thrived in the hilly, rugged reclaimed strip mine habitat. Today Kentucky’s elk herd is estimated at a strong and healthy 10,000 animals.

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It is one of America’s top wildlife restoration stories, and we highlight and celebrate that success on tonight’s episode.

The conservation story is weaved amid a great hunt that took place last October. My friend and Sportsman Channel colleague, Graig Hale, somehow beat astronomical odds and drew a tag. As you will see, Graig encountered several Appalachian bulls and cashed in with a nice one.

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I had hoped to somehow get a tag and go along on this unique hunt. The folks in charge of the elk tags laughed and said, “Yeah, maybe you can draw one in 20 or 30 years!”

So we let Graig and ace videographer Danny Dodge handle it, and as you will see they did a superb job.

Set your DVR, BIG DEER TV Wednesdays at 7 pm ET on Sportsman Channel.