The Tennessee elk population has been through a lot since the 1700s, learn how things changed with the growth of America.
Early settlers to the Volunteer State had a profound effect on wildlife, most notably the Middle Tennessee elk herds. They were almost hunted into extinction, as they were very vulnerable to the white man’s gun powder and bullets.
Many Tennessee elk traveled all over the state finding the many salt licks that are still in existence today. In 1783 men surveying roads reported seeing massive herds of Tennessee elk traveling across Middle Tennessee.
A resident of Van Buren County wrote in 1880, “…the oldest mountaineer cannot remember back to the time when elk and buffalo roamed through these forests.”
After the expansion of the country west, many elk were hunted vigorously across the Great Plains. Although the Tennessee elk numbers have dropped significantly since then, these majestic animals can still be found in parts of Tennessee. Thanks to reintroduction and protection efforts, wildlife officials are helping the elk population grow in the Volunteer State.
Today only five hunters are able to hunt Tennessee elk each season through a sophisticated lottery system.