Looks like Missouri elk hunting is about to become a thing.
The Peck Ranch Conservation Area in the southeast part of Missouri has been exploding with elk. Since these animals were reintroduced to the area back in 2011, the 108 originals from Kentucky have exceeded expectations. Now, estimates put the herd at approximately 175 total elk with 130 adults and 30 calves. With numbers this high, a very selective Missouri elk hunting season will be opening in the near future.
"We are in our third year of data collection, and we'll use that data to determine hunting dates in the future," said David Hasenbeck of the Missouri Department of Conservation in an interview. "If the herd continues to reproduce in satisfactory fashion, then we can start looking at our first hunting season within the next couple of years."
Currently, the state has a target population of around 400 to 500 animals in the next 20 years. However, it is going to take approximately 200 total elk to allow a hunting season.
"It's not like if we hit 201 animals there will be a season," Hasenbeck explained. "But that's the point where we'll start considering a limited season, most likely a managed hunt."
I don't know about you, but I think it's great to see elk starting to make such a strong comeback just about everywhere they've been reintroduced.