Contact: Kent Keene, Lower Midwestern States Coordinator
Sportsmen and women looking for a new big game opportunity in the Ozarks recently had their dreams fulfilled by the Missouri Conservation Commission. During their meeting on April 8, the Commission announced plans to move forward with Missouri’s first elk season, marking the next milestone in the successful restoration of wild elk in the Show-Me State. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation first reported that Missouri was considering this move last July. Since then, the Commission and the Missouri Department of Conservation have incorporated several regulatory changes to accommodate elk hunting in the state.
In this inaugural season, only five bull (antlered male) elk permits will be made available for Missouri residents across both an archery season and a modern firearms season. The archery portion will occur during October 17-25 while the firearm portion will run December 12-20. All permits will remain valid during both nine-day seasons until filled.
One of the permits will be set aside for a landowner in Carter, Reynolds, or Shannon County. Qualifying landowners may apply for the special landowner lottery at no cost. To be eligible, landowners must own at least 20 acres within a designated zone, and these permits will only be valid on the landowner’s property. The remaining permits will be distributed through a general random lottery. All permits will be nontransferable. Application fees for general permits will be $10. Those awarded permits, including the landowner receiving a landowner permit, will be charged a $50 permit fee.
Missouri’s efforts to reintroduce elk to part of their historical range began with the release of around 100 elk into the Ozarks from 2011 to 2013. Once plentiful across much of Missouri, elk were extirpated from the state in the mid-1800s due to unregulated market hunting. Current estimates of Missouri’s elk population suggest that the herd has exceeded 200 elk. With a population goal of 500, Missouri’s elk researchers have determined that current growth rates are sufficient to sustain and benefit from a limited harvest by hunters.
Sportsmen and women interested in learning more about the success of Missouri’s elk restoration program can visit MDC’s website or click here to view their informational booklet. Missouri residents interested in applying for one of these limited elk permits may do so throughout the month of May by clicking here. CSF applauds this announcement and the successful reintroduction of this magnificent species to the Show-Me State.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?