Elk NetworkKansas Elk Herd Expanding Its Range

General | December 30, 2020

The only wild, free-ranging elk herd in Kansas is near the sprawling military base of Fort Riley in the northeast portion of the state. However, elk from that herd are showing up more and more across the Sunflower State.

“I saw this really big deer coming down a draw. It looked huge, and I noticed it was darker than a whitetail deer. I realized pretty quickly it was an elk,” Ed Markel, an avid elk hunter from Kansas, told Kansas Farmer. “Here came this big cow elk, right there walking across my 80. It passed right by me.”

That experience happened to Markel a few years ago about 130 miles southwest of Fort Riley in Reno County. Additional sightings took place across a number of different Kansas counties including Kingman County, an additional 30 miles to the southwest, or Leavenworth County, 240 miles northeast of there just outside Kansas City.

“A pretty cool fact is that we’ve had elk harvested in about one-fourth of our Kansas counties,” Matt Peek, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism biologist, told Kansas Farmer. “It used to be Fort Riley was about the only place we had an elk harvest. Now, we get as many elk killed off Fort Riley area as on it. is really growing.”

Go here for information about elk hunting seasons in Kansas.

(Photo source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)