JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KY3) - Missouri’s first elk hunting season begins Saturday.
It comes after years of restoration efforts of the once-native species by the Missouri Department of Conservation, numerous partners, including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and many supporters including local communities and landowners.
For this first elk season, MDC has designated a nine-day archery portion running Oct. 17-25 and a nine-day firearms portion running Dec. 12-20.
In April, MDC approved the issuance of five permits for hunting bull elk for the 2020 season. Four general permits will be for the public and one permit will be reserved for qualifying area landowners.
“The timing of the season was designed to come after the peak of elk breeding during late September and early October and to avoid the elk season coinciding with portions of the firearms deer season,” explained MDC Elk and Deer Biologist Aaron Hildreth.
General permits can be used in Carter, Reynolds, and Shannon counties, except the refuge portion of Peck Ranch Conservation Area.
“The allowed hunting methods for each season will be the same as for deer hunting,” Hildreth said. “The permits will allow for the harvest of one bull elk with at least one antler being greater than six inches in length. Successful hunters must Telecheck their harvested elk, like for deer.”
Elk are a native species in Missouri but were hunted to extinction in the state through unregulated hunting during the late 1800s. With the help of numerous partners and supporters, MDC reintroduced about 100 elk to a remote area of the Missouri Ozarks from 2011-2013.
MDC hopes to eventually reach a target population of 500 elk and will use hunting to manage herd size and location.
CLICK HERE to learn more about elk restoration in Missouri.