The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) shared its initial plan for a limited elk-hunting season with the Missouri Conservation Commission at the Commission’s public meeting June 28 at MDC headquarters in Jefferson City. The Commission gave its initial approval of the proposed plan, and MDC is asking for public comments.
According to MDC Elk and Deer Biologist Aaron Hildreth, who presented the elk-hunting plan at the meeting, MDC will begin offering a limited season for hunting elk once the herd of about 175 animals reaches a minimum of 200 with an annual herd growth rate of at least 10 percent and a herd ratio of at least four cow elk for every bull elk.
According to MDC research, the herd will likely reach 200 animals by 2020. With that in mind, MDC has designated a nine-day archery season for elk running Oct. 17-25, 2020, and a nine-day firearms season for elk running Dec. 12-20, 2020.
Hildreth noted that the number of permits for a possible 2020 hunt has yet to be determined.
“If the elk population is below desired numbers in early 2020, the Conservation Commission may choose to not open the online application process or issue any permits for a fall 2020 hunt,” he explained. “We will then focus on 2021.”
MDC hopes to eventually reach a target population of 500 animals and will use hunting to manage herd size and location.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation assisted with the successful introduction of elk into Missouri in 2011-2013.
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(Photo source: Missouri Department of Conservation)