2020 brought constant change and new experiences for resident hunters in Missouri. Perhaps the most unique among these new experiences was the opportunity to hunt free-range elk right here in the Show-Me state.
Whitetail deer, turkey, waterfowl and other small game are widely hunted across the state. In fact, 176,604 deer were harvested during Missouri’s eleven day rifle season. However, deer are not the only big game roaming the diverse Missouri terrain. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), “Elk are a native species in Missouri but the herd was hunted to extinction during unregulated hunts in the late 1800s.”
MDC reintroduced about 100 elk to a remote area of the Missouri Ozarks in 2011, 2012, and 2013. To date, the herd is growing towards almost 200 animals.
Starting this year, five lucky residents had the chance to hunt within a special elk hunting area relating to Carter, Reynolds and Shannon Counties. Hunters first had the opportunity to tag an elk with a bow and then again with a rifle in mid-December. Of these five permits, all five were successfully able to fill their tags. One permit was allocated to a landowner within the area. Bill Clark, 78, was lucky enough to pursue and harvest an elk on his family’s acreage 80 miles west of the Peck Ranch Conservation Area in southern Missouri.
The inaugural season was a great success for Missouri’s elk hunting program. Keep your eyes open for additional tags to be allocated in fall of 2021! For more information on elk hunting in Missouri, be sure to follow Alec Wardenburg – National Land Realty on Facebook.